Saturday, November 29, 2008


I spent today with my Buddy Joe. I've been seeing Joe once a month since August 2006. At the time I started, it was a way to get me out of my head and try and doing something helpful in the world. Now I do it just because I enjoy it. Joe is a pretty amazing guy, he can remember incredibly specific details of events 40 years ago, but can't figure out how much lunch costs. When we first started doing things together, Joe would pick I topic/thought and repeat it over and over. at first I wasn't sure how do act around him, do I correct him when he makes mistakes? Do I have the moral authority to tell him what to do? How to act? So one of the first things I decided to work on, was his constantly repeating himself. So I explained that once he told me something, he didn't need to tell me over and over. I'm not sure he totally understood, but it stuck in his head that repeating himself was bad. So now, more than two years later, he follows up most statements with "See, I said it one time. No repeating." and then give me the thumbs up. The fact that he will do this 20 times a day, or that the thing he thinks he isn't repeating has already been said five times, doesn't seem to register with him. It's now at the point where it's pretty funny. Some things are the way they are, and there's nothing anyone can do to change them.

Today Joe wanted to look at hats. This happens every several months, and it happened today. Perfect, the busiest shopping weekend of the year, let's go to a frikkin mall.

Hanging out with Joe, while watching a bunch of spoiled, coddled, over-indulged, self-important whiners (i.e. Americans), really puts the world in a great perspective.

It was a beautiful day, sunny, about 70 degrees, and I heard one woman complaining that she was sweating head to toe so therefore she couldn't help the woman she was with (her Mom, I'm guessing). This was in response to the older woman complaining that she needed a cart to carry the bag (yes bag, singular) containing the item she had just purchased. Odd, she was able to carry 100 extra pounds on her ass, but that one little shopping bag was putting her over the edge. All the while Joe is just sitting on a bench, eating his marshmallow square, smiling, happy to be outside doing something. Happy that I took him out for a Saturday. Happy to be alive.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

...trying to hold steady on the righteous path

Some pics of the evenings' spectacle. I'm not sure I could add anything. What an incredible two nights. Every time I see the Truckers it's amazing. The question now is "When are they coming back?"

Monday, November 24, 2008

One down, One to go

Last night was night one of the "Rock and Roll Means Well" Tour. Last night had DBT closing things down. From looking at some of the set lists from the tour, I knew they were dusting off some of the songs I hadn't heard live, which had my expectations pretty high.

I'd seen The Hold Steady once before, but it was at the Mezzanine (aka the worst concert venue in SF). So I was glad at the chance to see them in The Fillmore. It was a really fun show, they played for about an hour- which to me was perfect (I'm not sure I want to see them for 2 hours, but we'll see). Their set was crowned by P Hood and Dave Neff joining them for a cover of "Burnin' for You".

Then came the Truckers, they hit the ground running with "Zip City" and never looked back. Kelley Hogan joined them on stage twice- once for "Angels and Fuselage", I have to admit that I never expected to hear that live. It was probably my favorite set of all the Truckers' shows that I've seen. Then came the encore...

More of a Rock and Roll orgy than anything else. The Hold Steady guys came back onstage and they tore through all kinds of stuff: "Aint talking 'bout Love", "Play it All Night Long", "People Who Died", and obviously "Let There Be Rock".

Some good picks over at AAW.

Since last night, they didn't play anything off of "Pizza Deliverance", my hopes are high for tonight... We'll See.

Friday, November 21, 2008


I'm going to poach off RTMS for this

People are trying to rain on my parade. As I have been documenting, I've really been enjoying my introdution to mountain biking. Culminating in last weeks Soil Saloon informal race. As I was riding it, I had the feeling it was going to draw attention. The sheer turnout was bound to cause notice.

Unfortunately, San Francisco doesn't have much of a bike trail infrastructure. While there are groups like the SF Urban Riders working hard to change this, change is slow (How's the new bike lane plan coming along?)

So meanwhile, there are really nice parks, with some really nice trails, and some lesser than nice trails. Some allow bikes, some don't allow bikes, and some are ambiguous.

It reminds me of an Architecture axiom about building paths where the people are going to go, not where you want them to. Because that's what people will do. The harm done, if any, to the parks from this one day of riding would have to be considered minimal. Most likely a few people got disturbed from their process of not picking up after their unleashed dogs and have enough free time that they decided to start whining.

At the start and finish of the ride were careful to point out to be respectful of the land and the people encountered. In my experience, that's what I saw. People were also encouraged to volunteer for trail restoration. Something that I intend to do on December 6 at Mt Sutro.

Hopefully we can match the haters whining with our logic and we'll still be able to ride without fear of prosecution. (Do we really need more things distracting the SFPD from crime prevention?)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008


I've had 5 or 6 mountain bike rides, so of course it's time to race. I found the Soil Saloon website, and saw they were putting a race together. It didn't look to hard and would introduce me to a bunch of trails in the city. So I showed up.

Now, when I say it didn't look too hard, I was comparing this to road bike riding. The Soil Saloon ride was listed as 30 miles with 4000' of climbing. The Fairfax-Mt Tam loop that I ride on my road bike is about 55 miles with 3500' of climbing, so I wasn't too worried.

I should have been.

I wasn't at all prepared for the amount of times I'd have to jump off and on the bike due to: steepness, obstacles, getting out of peoples way, etc. I had to walk a lot more than I expected, carrying my ridiculously heavy mountain bike way too much.

In the end it was all I could do to finish. My thighs, calves, feet and toes were all cramping by the time I was done.

Next time I'll know better what to expect, and will have more realistic expectations.

Friday, November 14, 2008


A positive aspect of the Bush legacy

Mr Sarkozy, using the familiar tu, tried to reason with him: “Yes but do you want to end up like [President] Bush?”

Mr Putin was briefly lost for words, then said: “Ah -- you have scored a point there.”

Thursday, November 13, 2008

If it sounds too good...

Or, don't the the truth get in the way of a good story.

But the truth was out for all to see long before the big-name take-downs. For months has identified Martin Eisenstadt as a hoax. When Mr. Stein was the victim, he blogged that “there was enough info on the Web that I should have sussed this thing out.”

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Worth A Read

The Politics of Fear failed

On March 13, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), apparently in an attempt to reassure the base,- sat down for an interview with Sean Hannity of Fox News. McCain was not yet aware of the narrative Hannity had been spinning for months, and so Hannity filled him in: Ayers is an unrepentant "terrorist," he explained, "On 9/11, of all days, he had an article where he bragged about bombing our Pentagon, bombing the Capitol and bombing New York City police headquarters. ... He said, 'I regret not doing more.'"

McCain couldn't believe it.

Neither could I.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


So, I like bikes. The first real bike a had was a Softride. When it broke I took the components that could still be salvaged and built up a GT Edge. While this kept me riding, it was an old frame, with old components, and I wanted something shinier. So I shopped around and bought this. The Rocky Mountain is a really nice frame, and I had it about a month before it got stolen. So I was back on the GT. At this point, rather than just replace the Rocky Mountain, I decided I'd research more. I replaced the fork, crankset, and component group on the GT with a mix of SRAM and Campy parts. I learned that I liked 180mm cranks, and that I liked Campagnolo a lot more than I liked Shimano. In fact I've gotten pretty comfortable on the GT. I think I'm going switch out the fork again (went from Aluminum to CroMo, now I'll try Carbon), to see what difference that makes. Even with all this, I still want a new bike- but what? Here's where the choices start. Do I by a complete bike, or a frame? Given that most new bikes all come with Shimano, it seems that building a frame might be better, unless I want a custom one.

Ah custom. See, I went to a demo event hosted by Bespoke Cycles and Seven Cycles. So I really want an Axiom, but I also really like the Cervelo R3 (even though I haven't ridden one yet), and well about 10 other models look good too. Part of me knows I'd be happy with any of them, and part of me wants to get the perfect one (which means I'll never decide).

Then I went Mountain Bike riding...

So maybe I should be happy with the GT and focus on getting a decent Mountain Bike? Something like this maybe? Even this would be really nice. Ah more choices, if only somebody could make a bike that combined the two...

Oh, you mean like this?

A cyclocross bike, of course.

Hmmm, but what's that saying about compromise? Something about being able to do everything, but none of it well?

I've got some choices to make...

Meanwhile, it's less than 2 weeks til the Truckers return

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Marin Headlands

I first got serious about road bike riding when I lived in Santa Rosa. I think I took for granted what a great place that is to ride bikes. Sure a lot of the pavement isn't great, and there are plenty of yokels that think that it's fun to try and intimidate cyclists with their armored vehicles (the worse the driver, the bigger the vehicle), but still it's a great place to ride. Lots of choices for any kind of ride.

So when I moved to the city, I had a bit of an adjustment. It's a lot harder to ride here. You're choices are basically a) drive somewhere else. I've done this quite a bit, but driving is a pain and it seems stupid to drive to a place to ride a bike. b) Take BART to somewhere else, if they had lockers at the stations, this would be a lot more practical. Getting to the train in bike shoes doesn't seem like fun. c) riding over the bridge. Riding over the bridge sucks. Of all the bad weather in The City, the bridge is always twice as bad as anywhere else. Cold, wet, windy... then throw a few hundred tourists/obstacles in the way and it just isn't fun.

Enter mountain biking. The trails in the city aren't great, and they aren't connected. But I can ride to Mt Sutro in 5 minutes and have a great time and a great workout. There are also a few trails in the Presidio and a few more in GGP (but bikes aren't allowed? WTF!).

I've read about all the mtb trails in the Marin Headlands, so today was the day I decided to investigate. I rode across the bridge (death cheated yet again!) and up the Conzelman climb, after the steep part of the climb, I got to the Coastal Trail and the fun began. The first part is all downhill, mostly smooth fire roads, with a few narrow spots and a few ruts from the recent rains. Then onto the pavement to the Miwok Trail. This is a nice hard packed wide trail, lots of bikes, lots of hikers (but not so many to make it stupid- like the bridge) and some fabulous scenery. After a little ways it turns uphill and keeps on climbing for quite a while offering some really great views, so great that I had to stop my climbing just to take some pictures (yes, of course that's why I stopped. Hell No I wasn't tired). See what I mean?

Looking back at where I'd come from, and....

Then looking ahead at where I still had to go.

It was hard, but it was fun. I set a pace that I knew I could maintain and just kept going. I crested the top and started a short downhill before meeting this.

Now I realize pictures are hard to judge when it comes to how steep something is, but this is steep. I saw it, laughed for a minute then went another way (but rest assured, I will be back, and I will conquer this.)

The path taken turned out to be pretty amazing in itself. By far this was the most technical decent I have done ( I had to walk through a couple spots. Yes, I suck). All was good and fun until the bottom of the trail when my spoke broke. So here I am with no spokes (and not even a spoke wrench (did I mention I suck?)) so after uttering some forgetful curses I decided to release the rear brake and start riding in hopes of finding a bike shop. It turns out, I was only a couple miles from Mike's Bikes.

Mikes is awesome, they fixed me up and sent me on my way in no time. From there I just rode back the road through Sausalito to the bridge and back home. But now having experienced these trails, I know I'll be back.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


So it wouldn't have been that long ago when I wouldn't have bothered to get on my bike with any possibility of rain. Today was different. Dave, Elizabeth and I rode to Fairfax and back. And we got wet. Surprisingly, the wet was a lot less annoying than wind, it actually turned out to be a really nice ride. Trying to attack on windy, wet roads is exciting, to put it mildly. Every corner I was sure I was going to go down, but I didn't. I remember watching Lance win the 1993 World Championships, watching him fall all over the course. It was fun to think of that while I'm trying to hold off Dave from getting my wheel.

It's been a memorable week; A mostly good election, some good rides, a newly discovered mtb obsession. Good Times.

Friday, November 7, 2008

What a Week...

From the highs and lows of the election, to the grind of the world, this has been a pretty exhausting week. Hopefully the weather will hold tomorrow so a nice long bike ride can make everything better.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Dirt is Good

I've just discovered mountain biking...
While I've had a mountain bike for just over 3 years, it's mostly been a commuter. That is, when I've ever bothered to ride it. It's mostly been relegated to the third bike status, but about two weeks ago, out of nowhere, I decided I wanted to go ride trails. So I did, and it was damn fun. Even though I keep falling over I'm having the most fun I've had on a bike since I was a little kid. It really makes me wonder about: Should I get a better mountain bike? A 29'er? A single speed? What about cross, that looks like fun? Maybe I need a cross bike?

I'm going to need a bigger apartment...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes we Can.

Thanks people, everything seems a lot better today.

Well done