Not a chill to the winter but a nip to the air

ted | chicago | Thursday, September 28th, 2006

Dipped down into the mid 40s last night, confirming that fall is well on its way in and summer is on its way out. Personally, I’m really looking forward to it. I love chilly weather, riding around aimlessly or driving about with the windows down and the heat full blast in the floorboards.

Fall bonus #1: all those damn kids in my neighborhood won’t be outside as much.

Fall bonus #2: dog poop cools off and hardens quickly, making it easier to pick up.

Fall bonus #3: tannin stains on the sidewalk where leaves fall then get rained on.

In short, I’m ready for another descent into winter. Give me a couple months of it and I’m sure I’ll be ready for warmer weather again. That’s one of the nice things about having four real seasons – by the time you’re sick and tired of the current season, another one is on its way.

It’s sad that my beloved Chicago Bases-ball White Stockings won’t be in the playoffs this year, but I think we’ve all learned our lesson: never send Ozzie Guillen to sensitivity training. If you think him calling a Trib sportswriter a “fag” is bad, you should read his lips when he’s chewing out Doug Eddings at home plate. Hoo boy, now that‘s some good cussin’!

Oh, Canada

ted | travel | Tuesday, September 26th, 2006

Why must you horde all-dressed chips and poutine? May I not have these delicious comestibles in my native country? Surely we have the all-dressing technology for potato chips and poutine sauce manufacturing capability!

The trip was fine, altho a bit busy. The biodiesel at the Truck Town Terminals in Milton (west of Toronto on the 401) was mighty fine stuff indeed – B20 made from Canola oil – and I netted nearly 44 mpg for the entire trip. Not bad, considering the amount of 80mph driving combined with the low-calorie B50 I was using to drive around town (and drive around town I did plenty of). The B50, btw, was from the Stohos station at 1001 Queen St. E in downtown Toronto.

Our one year anniversary was excellent and we had a very nice dinner at the CN Tower, despite it being an antenna.

Visited my buddy Jeremy who spent the long hot summer of 2003 in Auburn, Alabama and lived to tell about it. Got to hang out with him and his lady in the non-industrial-wasteland side of Hamilton, go walking in the rain, eat more poutine and generally have a nice time. My lady got sick, unfortunately, which necessitated a stop at an urgent care clinic in darkest Indiana. One hour, three prescriptions and one very ethusiastic dog walk later, we were back on the road, heading for home.

Canada, I will be back this weekend. Please have a bucket of poutine and some beers ready at the border.

200 channels and nothing but cats

ted | house | Friday, September 22nd, 2006

I know that everybody puts pictures of their cats on the internet, and that is one of the reasons why it sucks. Especially when their cuddly wuddly cutesy wootsey lil snugglemuffin kittykat looks like every other fleabag on some geoshitties site.

But friends, I have something different to offer.

Most people would be worried about their pet’s health if they found Mr. Kittyman eating something not meant for human or feline consumption.

Me? I get my camera.

the best weather reports ever

ted | junk | Friday, September 22nd, 2006

David Lynch used to have a daily weather report narrated by him on his website. It now appears to be a subscriber-only feature, unfortunately.

Fortunately, thanks to the magic of the interweb, you can see a few of them.

I will not be responsible if you have nightmares about LA weather afterwards. Do not question why there is a bear dancing in a mirrored coffin full of chum in the middle of a dog show – this is David Lynch’s weather report. I don’t live in LA, but he’s a hell of a lot more interesting to watch than WGN’s Tom Skilling.

how to get noticed

ted | bike | Tuesday, September 12th, 2006

Blinky lights are awesome – I wish I had more of them. The more annoying, the better they’re doing their job. LEDs last forever, put out huge amounts of light, use tiny amounts of electricity and their narrower beamwidth vs incandescent lights means you can really get them aimed nicely.

But how do you get noticed when somebody isn’t looking at you? Simple – imitate the police. You know that WHOOP WHOOP that cop car sirens usually do right before the wail? You do that as loud as you possibly can. Yes, with your mouth. Just like KRS-1. LOUD. Now go buy me a copy of Return of the Boombap.

Start using that and you’ll get looked at funny, but at least you’ll get looked at by the person brazenly swinging their car door open instead of being looked at by an ER surgeon.

MERRY CHRISTMAS, BURNT HAIR COOKIE

ted | bike | Tuesday, September 12th, 2006

There was a lovely rain on my bike ride home from work today. Back in the heady days of living in Hotlanta and riding 3 miles to the MARTA station, half a mile to work then the 12 miles home, people asked me all sorts of stupid questions, like

“What do you do when it rains?”

Get wet.

The rain is not the part you should fear, in fact, that’s the least of your worries. Think about it – rain is nice fresh clear water falling from the sky. It’s fairly refreshing and quite fun. Give it a shot.

The part that sucks is the oil, grit and rancid BBQ sauce that’s been stewing in the curb gutter for a month of Sundays in the hot, hot sun is now part of a deep quagmire that you gotta ride through. It’s the shit coming up from the road, not the stuff coming down from the sky that’s the worst.

Besides the obvious stuff, like the first half hour of a rainstorm being the most dangerous since the oil hasn’t been washed away yet and street plates/paint stripes are dangerously slick for the duration and that a bicycle without full coverage fenders is worthless, the next worse part is that people in cars – normally blissfully unaware of your existance, much less your status as a legal vehicle – have an even harder time seeing you. Get a bunch of annoying blinky LED lights on your bike. Aim them so they will get in the eyes of people in front, behind and to your sides. If they get annoyed by them, you’ve done your job.

Put all your stuff – keys wallet phone smokes lighter change knife etc – in your bag. I like Timbuk2 bags – they’re bombproof, waterproof and stylish. Never had a bad experience with one, except when the two I used to have got stolen.

All in all, riding home in a pounding-ass rainstorm is pretty nice experience and is usually a whole lot of fun. I sure as shit enjoyed myself on my ride home this evening.

What the hell are you stuffing in your face now?

ted | HAMLOG | Friday, September 8th, 2006

Per Martin’s request on the Fortressblog, I must admit I have not kept up with my HAMLOG as well as I should have. Indeed, I stopped keeping track of my weight and weighing myself every day like I was doing. And I slowly gained back 20 of the 30 pounds I lost.

Down ten pounds ain’t too bad, but up twenty sucks a fat one (get it? fat one?). So I did something about it. I bought a folding bicycle – a Dahon Boardwalk 1 from Brands Cycle. Thanks for the birthday dough, Mom & Dad. My brother sent me a friggin sweet Wald rear rack for Borf, which now looks absolutely splendid with its flat black steel frame and galvanized steel baskets on the front and back.

Anyway, I got this folding bike and figured the best way to put it to use is to ride eastward to the Dan Ryan Expressway and carpool from there to work with my buddy Kevin. I’ve done it for the past five work days and I’m loving it. Yes I have to get up 20 minutes earlier. Yes I get home a bit later. Yes I no longer have the flexibility of running errands at lunch or on the way home.

What have I gained? Let’s look at the numbers.

Mileage saved on my car:      310 miles
Total distance biked:         40 miles
Fuel saved:                   7.2 gallons
Total money saved for me:     ~$9 (after splitting fuel cost w/Kevin)
Total money saved for Kevin:  ~$14 (in fuel)

I’m going to repeat this again:

I’m asking you for your good and for your nation’s security to take no unnecessary trips, to use carpools or public transportation whenever you can, to park your car one extra day per week, to obey the speed limit, and to set your thermostats to save fuel. Every act of energy conservation like this is more than just common sense — I tell you it is an act of patriotism.

- Jimmy Carter, 15 July 1979

Please read that before you put that stupid flag ribbon magnet on your car. Please don’t be surprised when I take that stupid flag ribbon magnet and put it right over the fuel filler door on your car.

Yep. I’m that guy you’re laughing at, the fat guy on a folding bike. Yes I look like a circus bear while I’m riding it. Yes it will take me a long long time to come close to recoup its cost in fuel savings. Yes soon it will be bitterly cold and I’m still going to try to ride my bike.

I feel far far better since I started. It took over 20 minutes to ride the 3.75 miles from home to the Dan Ryan last Friday. I did it this morning in under 18 minutes. I haven’t smoked since Tuesday night. I’m sleeping better at night and waking up easier in the morning. I’m not getting sleepy during the day at work. It’s truly incredible what a little exercise each day will do for you, especially if you make it part of your normal routine instead of having to make a special trip to the gym to work out, making the workout part of getting to yr job.

Finally, big shoutout to my cousin Christie and my buddy Mañuel for reaffirming my position as a defensive driver, not to mention the State of Illinois who condones my actions as part of their defensive driving curriculum.

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