Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Les Feuilles Mortes

I'm slow on the bike right now and I love it. Bike riding in autumn is the best. Cool weather and knee warmers...while the crisp leaves are so refreshing. I like coming home after a ride with a cold nose, sip on a cup of hot tea, and turn on Bravotv for a little while.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Happy Science Friday

Hilarious! I could hang with those guys. How about missplacing a parentheses in a super long excel equation, so annoying!

Well, I think we had our first ever unofficial SCSU Hydrology Club meeting this week. My Hydrologic Modeling class stayed an hour after our 2hr class had already ended. We got so wrapped up in the project and debating its hydrostratigraphy layers. Yep, us Hydro majors. We're few in numbers at SCSU and are the misfits of the Earth & Atmospheric Science department. We always get the hand-me down stuff from Meteorology. We get their old computers, computer screens, etc. That's ok, we'll take what we can get.

One of the reasons I study Hydrology is the moving story of how a dam traumatized the lives of the people of Fort Berthold Reservation, and it's the reason I want to work with and for my people. There was even a movie,
Waterbusters, that was about the Garrison Dam and its affect on the Three Affiliated Tribes(Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara).
Let's do some science today.

Monday, November 02, 2009


My trip to Portland came and went in a flash. I was so busy and productive at the conference it was nuts. I met so many people my head was spinning. My poster presentation session went well, however, my oral presentation didn't go so smooth. I had a really small audience--the 3 judges and that was it. Some of the slides on my my powerpoint presentation somehow got corrupted in the process of me emailing it to the presentation organizers laptop. Some images were too big and one slide's text was super small and unreadable for the judges. What a disaster. Then one of the judges was being badass by asking challenging questions, but her questions about my research didn't make any sense. I felt like she was asking, "Why does ice cream taste like a heavy radio?". Then I would try and answer her question the best I could, where then she would follow with another strange statement like, "If your results expanded onto wax paper, my dog would hula-hoop." I was not happy with the way it went. I didn't place in either of my competitions.

The rest of the time at the conference went really well. I made some great connections with people at NASA, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research(UCAR), US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, a handful of engineering firms, a few universities with environmental engineering grad programs, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNL). Then I got an unexpected job interview with Natural Resources Conservation Service. I was chatting with a hydrologic engineer when moments later he was ushering me into a private booth where another man held out his hand to take my resume before I realized what was happening. The impromptu interview was a smash and there's a good chance I could work for them next summer if I'm interested. They have offices everywhere and I am very interested in the type of work they do. It looks like I will have some decision making to do in the near future. I could go back to UM SAFL where I have been the last couple of years. I love my work and all my homies there, and also have a good history with the project I've been a part of for last two years. My current plan is grad school at UM so it would be smart if I go back to SAFL again next summer and continue my rapport there. Hmmm...possible summer in Boulder,CO...Seattle...Maryland...Portland...or some other unknown location?

Well I could definitely see myself in Portland. What a frickin cool bike city. It's a very progressive city and so environmental. I know I would fit in there. I met up Friday night with a fellow University of Idaho alum, David "Dragon" Meredith and his wife Steph. He has a bike company, OneGhostIndustries. We have both been past presidents of the UI Mountain Bike Club. We went to Hopworks, a cool biker bar with tasty organic beers, locally grown ingredients on the food menu, and an eco-friendly sustainable building.

Lots of cool food vendors on the street near my hotel.

April and I went to Chinatown one night for dinner, where you can play Oregon Lottery while you eat. We saw a lot of homeless people, too. It's so humbling when you see the reality that so many have to endure. We were all cush and warm in the Embassy Suites with a classy room and open the window curtains to see the less fortunate milling hungrily around in the streets below. Yeah, sometimes you think you have it hard, you a bad day, you had a shitty race result, your hair went flat in the rain--try being homeless, eh?

April and I ran into Amy Roloff from Little People Big World. She was at the Portland Convention Center at for a women's conference.

April and I tried on a ton of hats at Portland Outdoor Store.

Hopworks decor.

Dragon and Steph at Hopworks.

Katie the Raver and me as Tinkerbell. I flew into Minneapolis Saturday night and had packed my costume along with. I got off the plane and changed in an airport bathroom, Katie picked me up off the lightrail soon after went to Nomad World Pub where her band played their last show before their west coast tour.

One of the many good costumes of the evening, here's Balloon Boy.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Second Ugliest Bike on Campus

SCSU's Second Ugliest Bike, check out the handlebar. Gross. It's a free bike, go figure, it's supposed to be ugly. One time on campus I saw a guy screaming down the sidewalk because the brakes didn't work on one of the yellow free bikes, Out Of Control!

I got a lot going on this week, from being sick the first part of last week and now going out of town this week, I have a lot to get done in a short amount of time.
I don't know if I had the H1N1 strain but I was completely debilitated for a few days. A couple of weekends ago I was in a smoky Superior bar enjoying The No-No's and The Rock & Roll Whores and I thought that the smoke was what made me sick, but a congested chest accompanied with high fever and chills doesn't quite add up. I finally rolled back into St. Cloud last Tuesday.

The Rock & Roll Whores

So this week I'm making a quick trip to Portland for AISES National Conference. I'll be competing in the undergraduate poster and oral presentations. The title of my abstract is:
Using Tracer Injection of NaBr and KNO3 to detect temporal responses of subsurface flow in a large-scale experimental facility

Wish me luck. If I'm not competing on the bike I better be competing with my head...and I've been spending lots of time in the books. I'm teaching myself more MATLAB and trying to learn Maple, oddly enough I do better at MATLAB. I don't write the most efficent code,though.

Halloween this weekend! My baseball uniform didn't come together so I have my back-up fairy costume, not very exciting but it's better than nothing.
The No-No's are playing at the Nomad on Halloween. I'll be there and it's going to be good! My favorite costume so far this year...robots rock.

Fun with MATLAB:
t = linspace(0, pi);
x = t.*cos(t); y = t.*sin(t);
x = eval(vectorize('t*cos(t)'));
y = eval(vectorize('t*sin(t)'));
h = 4:0.4:6;
y4 = 0*h+3;
i = 4:0.4:6;
y5 = 0.5*i+0;
r = (1.5-cos(6-t*5))+4;
y6 = (1.5-sin(6-t*5))+4;
u = ((5*cos(3*t/4)+4)/3 - (2*cos(11*t/2)+2)/3);
y7 = ((5*sin(3*t/4)+4)/3 - (2*sin(11*t/2)+2)/3);
l = 4:0.4:6;
y8 = ((-l.^2)+6);
p = 4:0.4:6;
y9 = abs(sqrt(p.^2)-5);
o = 4:0.4:6;
y15 = -.67*o+4.9;

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Frank Vandenbroucke Memorial Road Ride

I'm riding today at 3pm from Halenbeck Hall on SCSU campus and I'm calling it the Frank Vandenbroucke Memorial Road Ride. I only told like 6 people about it, and so far no one can make it, but anyone can come. I suck at updating the blog. That's ok, it will be a long moment of silence for VDB. Not only that but it's going to rain!
I tried getting a SCSU Cycling Club meeting this week to get signatures for some liability forms required by the school and it ended being just an informal meeting of 4 of us last night, this time no drinking afterward, geez, we're going to lose our reputation as a party school.

I'm going home to Duluth this weekend! I get to see Mysteries of The Great Lakes at Duluth Omnimax. And Katie's band is playing Friday night at Norm's!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Ugliest Bike on Campus

U-G-L-Y you aint got no alibi, you UGLY! Poor franken-shite bike is just ugly. I admire the creativity though, and I'm just glad that people ride bikes to school.

The new commute between my place and school is pretty short, I don't even get the chance to warm up before I get to school, and I have to slalom course through broken glass. This week every night on the way home it has been something different. Early part of the week there was fireworks because of the Vikings and Twins games. People can see my lights coming for blocks away and I've been getting drunken cheers, and one car did honk at me. I promptly gave them the middle finger, but it was dark and I don't think they could tell through my gloved-hand anyway. I am starting to think I might try riding without my lights at night, then I won't attract so much attention.

Been doing a bunch of homework, and I love my calculator. It's the HP 50g. This one kicks the snot out of TI-89's geeky ass. I know I'm such a nerd.

Getting in some decent Stearns County bike rides. I was out near Marty on this ride, the big hill! I was glad that the wind wasn't blowing the chicken coup stench in my direction.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

St. Cloud Race Weekend

St. Cloud races last weekend, I decided to volunteer all weekend and not race. On Saturday was Revolution's Singletrack Escape. I was on timing chip duty, I handled all the sweaty, muddy and bloody velco straps that came through the finish chute. Not very glamorous work, but I had plenty of company all day. Gopherwheelmen crew were exceptionally generous with sharing New Glarus beers, imported across state lines from WI. After being so road-orientated last few years, it's funny to notice little differences between the two disciplines. I like the fact that there are so many category breakdowns in mtb races and they go 3 deep with medals.

Sunday was the Porkchop Challenge CX. Good seeing everyone. I drank too much and took too many photos, including some video. We had a lot of beer!
Big thanks for all the St. Cloud people coming out and pulling off another great weekend of racing. Nice job us.

So I moved again this week. I was living with Jeff & Lyssa in Waite Park until I found a place that I liked that was closer to school. I found a small place not too from campus. No more commuting down 2nd street north at 7am through the corridor of cheering and jeering elementary school kids waiting for the bus.
I think this guy is one of my neighbors. I don't think he knew I got a photo of him, I can be sneaky. He was asking me about the grey house across the street. Who knows, maybe we'll exchange blueberry muffin recipes??

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Last Starfighter

I did something very bad today. I rode my bike without my helmet. I got a ride home from a friend last night and I forgot my helmet at school...what a dumbass. What makes matters worse is I left my spare helmet up in Duluth, go figure, even my auxiliary plan is bust. So I rode to school with no helmet. People do it all the time, and I don't know how. I felt so naked. I had my snowboard helmet, but I really didn't want to look like this guy:

Races up in St.Cloud this weekend, please join us! I'll be around, don't know what I'm racing yet, if at all, I just might volunteer all day and drink beers.
MTB on Saturday, CX on Sunday.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

New Commuter Bike

Last weekend I picked up a Miyata steel frame, 12speed, at a garage sale for super cheap, and it's super fast. I bought it from a woman who was selling it for her daughter. I hope it wasn't stolen at some point before it came to me. After my old commuter bike was stolen this past summer I find myself peering through bikes in bike racks thinking that someday I will find it again and what I would do if I did find it, steal it back? Get angry and render it useless like bashing in the rear wheel? Which would be a stupid thing to do because after it was stolen, it was probably sold off to some dude who got a good deal on a sweet old steel commuter, like me.

I put on some new bartape, and I've already been criticized for the wrap job, so don't worry wrap-snobs I'll re-wrap them later. I want to put on some platform pedals next time I make to the bikeshop. At some point I will put on fenders, too. I love this bike!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Powder Monkey owned me

Raced last Sunday at Spirit Mtn, COGGS hosted the Powder Monkey mtb race. Big thanks to Kyia for letting me borrow her GaryFisher. She won Chequamegon on it back in the day. I was hoping it still had some fast left in it for me, however, I sure know how to pick races when this is the first time I've even touched a mtb in a year+. Effing Brilliant! It was fun anyway, into my 2nd lap my skills started to come back around somewhat but my chain fell off 3 times during the race. The climbing and any open sections I felt fast, but any time I hit the singletrack I totally sucked. I can't believe I used to only mtb race, it's funny to recall all the differences between mtb racing and road racing. The mtb climbing is slow and the air was all sticky so I just felt like my whole racing kit was soaked, when I finished I was so uncomfortable writhing in a fine film of dust sticking to my skin. Ish. It was great to see everyone, some people going 10yrs back when I first got into COGGS. I rode home back to my Mom's place after the race. It's ~9miles almost all offroad except for a section where I have to cross Becks Rd and then the last half mile into my Mom's neighborhood. The first part leaving Spirit Mtn is and old railroad grade, then the last couple of miles is 7 Bridges trail, that runs parallel to Mission Creek (say 'crick' not 'creek' in our 'hood, fool.).

View from Spirit Mtn.

Ride through old railroad tunnel.

Gorgeous view.

Ride over really high railroad bridge and looking over St.Louis River.

Hitting up some trails on my way home from race.

Last Saturday I worked at Twin Ports Cyclery, one of my customers is getting back into cycling. In the 80s he used to have a similar setup. He used to ride with a regular radio/double cassette player, ham radio, and a cb radio in his rear rack. Rockin' 3 antennas and one time he almost got hit by lightening. At the shop we're getting him all set up again. He already has his stereo on his bars.

I really hoped my nieces Emily (11yrs) and Riley (8yrs) were going to come out and mtb race at the Powder Monkey, but they wanted to do the Duluth Mile instead. They went 3,4 in the Girl's division, and finished together. What I liked best was the fact that Riley (in green shorts) ran the mile in her black/pink DC skate shoes. She is an absolute riot, and I absolutely love those kids.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

F U Dandelion

I was trying to be good and get a good night's sleep before Sunday's race, didn't happen. Terra and I went to a metal show the night before the MN State RR Champs. We were supporting her co-worker's band. We thought he was going to play around 10,10:30pm but they didn't go on till almost 11:30. The lead singer of the band was great at dropping the F-bomb, it wore off on me and I was pumped up when I left the show, had a hard time falling asleep and was still amped when I woke up the next morning, 5:45am and I hopped out of bed. I was so motivated from the previous night's performance I was inspired to dropping my own F-bombs during my race warm-up, apologies for all who had to endure, "all right all you motherfuckers out there, let's do this fucking race, I got my goddam janky-ass bike ready to rock this motherfuckin house, and while I'm getting my fucking warm-up on I'm going to swear at all these fuckin flowers on the side of the goddam road, Fuck you Dandelion!" Geez, so unlady-like!
Well, hearing the crash behind me after the turn at the bottom of the downhill was sobering. My teammate Lisa and Megan L(LGR/BehindBars) and a few others went down and fortunately no broken bones, just lots of nasty roadrash and bruises. At the end of the race it was me, Terra (speedfix) and Tiff (UND) pulling some fast rotations, but in the end Tiff took the W. Nice work everyone!

Last couple of weeks has been a complete blur, trying to see everyone before I leave Minneapolis and made my move back to St. Cloud for another school year. This year's transition has been kind of difficult, I wasn't ready to leave Minneapolis and had so much fun there. Unfortunately at SCSU they have the program I want(Hydrology) and tuition's relatively cheap, makes perfect sense since I'm paying for my own tuition, and I'm working on my 2nd bachelors...for reals.

Had another great summer at the lab, learned how to do tracer injections, and take stream velocity measurements among other things. On two separate occasions I took two visiting researchers out for their first Premos at Tuggs(of course), I even let them order it like an idiot, "Can I get a Grain Belt Premium, please?". I don't know if I'm going back next summer. I could end up in Seattle, or Belgium where I can finally marry Tom Boonen, it's exciting to think about, to do research somewhere completely new. It's a long way off.

Last Saturday I went to the StateFair with my cousin Marcus and a couple of his friends. I rode my bike there and it took me 20min on my 3speed Raleigh Ranger that's a size too small for me. StateFair, always an interesting people-watching place. I know I'm weird, too, the temperature dropped and I had to stuff a newspaper in between my two t-shirts for the chilly ride home. What a cycling weirdo. Wouldn't mind going again since I didn't get to see everything, perhaps if there's time.

Riding down the transitway on my way to the StateFair .

Just before I go down the big slide, I screamed the whole way.

Testing out the toilet, hope I win it!

Check out all the people!

Stearns Cty can't wait for me and visits me at the State Fair. It's not Arctic Cat cladded couple, but Castle X...close enough to scare me.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Under the Bridge Downtown

Up to no good as usual. I was out late last Friday the night before the BigMarine RR. Katie and I rode our bikes around stopping for a beer here and there. Having the race start at 2pm was nice though. I slept in and took my time getting breakfast and loading up the car for the day.

A guy on rollerblades showing off for me and Katie:

Under 35W bridge, egad:

The Big Marine RR went pretty good. A bunch of girls showed up, the course was interesting, and it didnt' rain! I went to the Square Lake Festival after the race. I camped out with Andrea. It was really cool, about half their tickets they sold cheap for people who chose to ride their bikes out there. Good crowd, good music, and good food. We got rained out later in the evening but it didn't seem to dampen anyone's spirits.

This weekend it's racing in Stearns County for the Albany/Avon RR. Maybe the Hooters Recruiters bus will be in Albany like before. It was sitting in a yard as soon as you turn onto 238. Kyia put a photo of it before on her blog. When Terra and I were in staying in St. Cloud for the ToGC we were getting breakfast one morning, planning on hitting up the food co-op, well, the co-op was closed at 8:22am but the liquor store next door was open--figures. So then we head on over to Caribou then there's this image welcoming me, the full-blooded indian, gee thanks, you know I had my immacuately skinned beaver hides in the car. Living in Stearns Cty for most of the year last few years isn't all that bad, there's really awesome bike people that live there and other people to keep my sanity, plus a great Hydrology program that for some reason keeps me coming back to St. Cloud. It's just that sometimes I have to hold back the dry heaves when I see couples in matching Arctic Cat coats.
At any rate, looking forward to the Avon RR, I love the course! I'm bringing my swimsuit and rinsing off in Middle Spunk Lake after the race. See you there!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

MC SpandX

Get your laugh on, and don't you just love white boy rappers? I do. This is from bikeportland.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Raleigh Ranger

I obtained a temporary replacement for my commuter bike. It's a Raleigh Ranger, with 3 speed internal hub, made in England. It's a little small for me and my Mom became infatuated with it. It's hers as soon as I find one a little faster and my size.

Went fishing with a couple of my nephews last weekend. Here's Jarrod holding one of the fish we caught. He's a great fisherman. I hope we can get out again on the river this weekend. More about last weekend, it was the last weekend for the Hells Angels being in town. They were stationed at a dance hall/bar, Lost Isle, about 12 miles from my Mom's place. I'm glad they're gone, then I can get back to speeding in my usual stretches of backroads since there was either a state trooper, sheriff, po-po or conservation officer located every 5,10 miles within the vicinity of Lost Isle. Now people can get back to talking about normal Duluth things like fishing, Red Plan, Lakewalk and Portland Malt Shop, and downtown I-35 traffic construction. Every conversation was about Hells Angels, everyone knew the same information about them, and it was regurgitated over and over. These poor guys couldn't get a break, any time there were more than 5 of them cruising around, there was a sheriff or someone with them. At one point I saw 30 of them together and they had no less than 15 police escorts alongside.

I had a poster presentation at the lab yesterday. It was only people from the lab that showed up, with the exception of Katie's parents. I still got lots of work to do before end of the summer. Wish me luck.

Monday, July 27, 2009

No Auto Parts Available

The Capitol crit officially sucked for me. I felt hot and my legs felt heavy. Luckily Terra and I were able to ride together after sadly (sigh) we both got dropped. I was excited for this race since I like the course a lot, oh well, already looking forward to next year.
I rode my bike to the race and on the way home I had to stop at NAPA to pick up a serpentine belt. I knew there was one at 2400 block of E Hennepin, No Auto Parts Available lives up to its name as NAPA was no longer there and it had turned into a golf store. I stop at another car mechanic place asking for new NAPA directions, turns out NAPA moved over to Kasota Ave/280. It was well worth the ride, the new NAPA is huge and they have my belt. I'm in my kit and one of the guys asked if I was at the Aquatennial ride or something, I took off my race number before the ride home because I didn't want to look as much of a freak, I told him about the race and he mentioned that there might be a race at the Aquatennial next year...hmm. At home I'm trying to get this belt on and after a 45min of trying on my own I call for backup. Terra comes over and we get that bastard on in 5min. Nice job.
Elbow high in grease and utilizing pedal wrench:

It's been a nutty last week. Between my commuter bike getting stolen (walking to work sucks, all 5 blocks of it), almost dying in a thunderstorm and getting up the next day to almost die again, I don't know how I do it sometimes. I really must love outside research, if I make it to 45yrs old I would consider myself lucky, cavemen would have longer lifespans than me. In the middle of the thunderstorm as I'm moving a $20K aluminum velocity instrument thigh high in water I remember screaming, "I'm not dying for someone else's research!" dying for my own research would be any better.

Waiting to die for research, surveying with the total station on an aluminum base:

Looks like a couple of weekends off from racing, I'll be at the beach, but first, this week I'll be at an Ojibwe Treaty Rights Symposium, should be good chance to meet people I want to work with in the future. Can't wait!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tour of Granite Country

ToGC last weekend, went pretty well, racing is fun, bowling in Albany is fun.
I got 5th overall but I had to endure a TT to finish it. I hate TTs, I only do them when I have to, like in this race. I don't even own a pair of aero bars. Whoever invented the TT is a real genius. It's up there with Michael Buble and Billy Mays (wait, that was mean...oh well) in my list of dislikes. I shouldn't complain so much, it's only ~22min of my life. I'm always a fan of the RR course in Richmond, I like hills even though I didn't have the best climbing legs that day. I got last in the circuit race. I tried to set up Terra for the finish in circuit race, she still got an exciting 4th so I was happy with that.

Me and Terra feeling surly and on our way to hell:

Last weekend in Duluth was the Lincoln Park MTB Race and Challenge. My nieces, Emily the 11 year old, and Riley the 7 year old, went 1-2 in the Kids category.
Emily is already a better bike racer than I am, she wins more money than I do in bike racing, too. $35 payout for winning the Kids category is a great day! She'll probably spend it all on candy. Goofy kid. Nothing could make me prouder! Please Please I hope they don't end up like me, an old cat 4 racer who likes beer and doesn't give a shit about TTs.
Riley spinning the legs:

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Apparently pvc is bad. I'm around pvc all day and I work with it constantly. What else is new? I went to Home Depot yesterday, and I wasn't even there for work, which felt weird. I go there about every week for work supplies. My bathroom sink has been draining slow so I picked up some stuff my landlord recommended. It's supposed to be safe for pvc pipes. Seemed to have worked its magic, the bottle warning was kind of scary though, it kept mentioning lye eruptions.

One of my project designs calls for pvc welding. I recently tried pvc welding with a hot air welder and black pvc rods on white pvc, since all I had was the black pvc sticks. Either it doesn't work since my weld didn't hold, or I simply suck at pvc welding, since it was my first time--or both. I need to order white pvc welding rods. Must try all possibilities, I love doing research.
The welder:

Trial #1, I just ended up burning the plastic, effing great:

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

enjoying summer

I was in Duluth last weekend. I got in a couple of bike rides, went to the beach, and worked at the bike shop. My favorite customer of the day was some 13yr old kid from the neighborhood with an oversized tshirt with grease marks and no shoes who needed his chain shortened. He came back 3 times just to get it right.
Former TPC employee, BIG MIKE, making an appearance.

Saw this movie at Bicycle Film Festival last week with Katie, inspiring!