Saturday, June 30, 2007

Blogging has slipped again ...

As if anyone cares.

I rode to work yesterday -- only the second time this year, but I'm doing better than last year, so I suppose I shouldn't complain. Today, I volunteered to basically repeat the ride; Kristi had three books being held for her at the Westcott branch of Dakota County library, right down the street from Thomson-West, and one of them was coming off its hold at the end of the day today. So I got back on the bike and trundled off across two rivers again.

It was a nice ride, about 22 miles round trip. Much of it was on my regular commute route. But while I normally have the bridges and trails by the river to myself on my morning commute (and nearly to myself in the afternoon), on a Saturday morning there are all kinds of people about. Not just bicyclists, either -- lots of inline skaters to share the path with. Inline skaters, in my experience, aren't really good about this; they shoot back and forth across the entire width of a 7- or 8-foot-wide bike path, and appear downright resentful when they have to coast for a moment to let a bicycle past. Imagine the nerve! A bicyclist, on the bicycle path! Nor did the bicyclists themselves come off particularly well. Word: I don't care how much in love you are, you don't ride next to each other on a narrow bike path, especially when there's another cyclist riding right at you less than 50 feet away. Sheesh. For once, the drivers came off much more polite and aware than did the riders.

The ride itself felt great; surprisingly, I felt stronger than I had during the Friday commute. I'm hoping to bike-commute again on Monday


Tuesday, June 19, 2007



Riding the Highway 13 bike path below Acacia Park cemetery this morning at about 5:20 -- looking through the trees, caught site of a mylar balloon slowly skipping across the lawn, and suffered a serious flashback to The Prisoner.

At work -- a maintenance cart with a single computer on it -- no monitor, no keyboard, no power cord or mouse. Taped to the computer, a very prominent sign: "Do Not Disconnect This Computer!"

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Outa Shape, Part 2

Rode to work today. The ride in, which (when I'm in shape) takes an hour, I clocked in 1:04. Pretty good, really, considering.

The ride home? 22 mile-an-hour winds gusting to 31, out of the northwest. My ride is into the northwest. Took 1:16 and nearly everything I had. Every now and then I'd hear that Danny Glover voice in the back of my head saying, "I'm too old for this shit," but I stayed on the bike the whole way -- even up the hill on Edgcumbe where I was certain I was going to give up.


Sunday, June 17, 2007

Father's Day

Yesterday my next-door neighbor, Steve, recommended that I try out the Midtown Greenway in Minneapolis. Never having ridden it, I thought that sounded like a fine idea, so this morning I headed on over.

The greenway runs east-west through the heart of Minneapolis, all the way from the Mississippi River Parkway to Lake Calhoun and Lake of the Isles. Oddly enough, as I transitioned from the River Parkway to the greenway, I saw yet another two-door purple RAV. They're suddenly everywhere I'm bicycling, but when I'm out driving mine, I never see another one. Weird.

The greenway makes good use of existing and former railway rights-of-way to carve a path across town with a minimum of cross-traffic. Much of the route is below-grade, between 29th and 28th streets, with "onramps/offramps" every half-mile or so to get you back into traffic if you're so inclined. (Here's an example of one looping off of the greenway and up to 18th Avenue, and here's a picture of one from on the greenway itself.) Dotting the path are community gardens and other things to look at, including a restaurant patio at the back of the old Sears building (now upscale condos, hotel, shopping and dining). When you get to Uptown and close to the lakes, people's front yards come right down to the path, and you can admire the landscaping and (inwardly) thank them for the scenery.

The whole ride this morning was about 17 or 18 miles. Sitting at the lakes, I considered riding south past Calhoun and Harriet and catching the Minnehaha Creek trail back east, but I figured that would've taken too long. So I simply retraced.

When I got home, Emma had a Father's Day present waiting for me. I'm wearing it now: a blue t-shirt with "Dad: The Man, The Myth, The Legend" embroidered on it. (Very tastefully.)

After a (prolonged) call to Kristi's dad, we walked down to the Saint Clair Broiler, where Emma has bought me breakfast the last two Father's Days. With Kristi no longer working weekends, this was the first time we'd all eaten there together. Food: fine. Company: great. Booths: in serious need of repair.

Then a relaxing rest-of-the-morning around the house, followed by Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End in Oakdale. I was thoroughly satisfied; despite what I'd heard, I had no trouble whatsoever sorting out the various plots and double-crosses. Topped off everything with dinner at Sawatdee, another Father's Day tradition.

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Nun Soup

Over at Worth, TheNightfly pointed out the resemblance between the star of Pixar's 2008 release, "Wall-E", and Johnny 5.

I've long been (mildly) critical of "Lilo and Stitch" for what I perceived as a blatant recycling of the plot of "Iron Giant". However, this mention of "Short Circuit" reminds me that it was, in fact, an earlier example of the "incredibly destructive war machine develops a conscience and makes friends" plotline.

Was it the first? Anyone got an earlier example? I'm guessing there were earlier sci-fi books or short stories, maybe a Twilight Zone episode, but I can't think of anything offhand. And it's important that I know. I'd hate to think that something starring Steve Guttenberg was actually original.


Friday, June 15, 2007

Outa Shape

I took Thursday and today off -- we'd planned to go camping, so Kristi is off too (Emma's last day of school was Tuesday), but those plans changed. Anyway, this morning I took a bike ride.


Haven't been on the bike much at all this year so far, and it shows. I did an 11.5-mile loop to Dakota County, across the 35E bridge and back across the Mendota bridge. And I'm feeling it.

I did, however, notice some things. The cool quasi-historical markers on the bike trail coming off Lilydale Road (never ridden that path before). The birds flying out of "nests" that are holes in the sandstone (?) bluffs above the path. The purple two-door RAV, just like mine (you hardly ever see 'em), parked just off Hamline above Montreal. The impression of bicycle shoe cleats in the concrete steps leading down from Fort Snelling to the Mississippi bridge along Highway 5 (how did I never notice those before, and how did that guy ever get the cement out of his cleats?).

Yesterday Kristi, Emma and I had an adventure afternoon. Around noon, Kristi took us to REI to climb the pinnacles. Emma has tried before and barely made it her own height off the ground; this time she did somewhat better. Kristi made it more than halfway up the adult beginner's route. And I made it all the way up. (I was very disappointed to find out there was neither a bell to ring nor $20 to grab. What a ripoff.) After that we dropped our car at the megamall and took the Hiawatha light-rail line to downtown Minneapolis. The plan was to go to the viewing deck in the IDS building; Kristi had called the Wells Fargo building and asked if they had one, and they said no, but IDS does. So we go to IDS, and yes, there's a viewing deck, but it's closed. For the last 28 years. Sigh. We had a nice lunch at Panera and came home.

Anyway, between the 50-foot climb yesterday and the ride today, plus lots of hand-planing of the new porch screens to fit their openings and cutting/hanging of trim in Emma's playhouse, I feel a little like somebody's been kicking me in the ribs and shoulders. Repeatedly. And hard.


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Friday, June 08, 2007

To Be Fair to Mr. Bush ...

The bottle in this picture is a Buckler, which is a low-alcohol beer brewed by Heineken.

However, you should know that "low alcohol" ain't alcohol-free. And you should know that there's no guarantee that what Bush was drinking came out of that bottle.

However, let's suppose it was. Let's suppose that Bush went to a G-8 diplomatic summit hosted by Germany and ordered a low-alcohol beer. A Dutch low-alcohol beer. In a country that prides itself on brewing the best beers in the world, Bush ordered an import. (And yes, before you ask, apparently there are plenty of German low-alcohol brews to choose from.)



A Quick Post From Work

Yesterday, Bush was seen drinking something that looks an awful lot like an alcoholic beverage at the G-8:

This morning, Bush missed several hours of G-8 meetings because of a "mild stomach ailment".


UPDATE: Dependable Renegade has the definitive photographic evidence.


Tuesday, June 05, 2007

My Wife Is Very Smart

So why is she completely unable to insert a Netflix movie into its return envelope with the barcode visible before sealing the flap?

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Friday, June 01, 2007

Caterpillar Stampede!

Yesterday afternoon I was almost trampled in a caterpillar stampede. Yes, they're small, and they move slowly, but they have lots and lots of legs. And there were lots and lots of caterpillars -- dozens of them, migrating across our yard and front walk, all heading east. I'm lucky to be alive.

They were black, with spikes, and red feet/legs. Not sure what kind of butterfly or moth they'll turn into Nor do I know why they were all on the lawn, or why they were all going the same direction. There was something vaguely Hitchcockian about it all.

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