Walking out of work today, I wished I had pants. Fortunately by Diversy, I had forgotten all about it. I don't plan on warming up that fast tomorrow morning though. Fall is in the air my friends, and I think it's time to check out the algebra on wearing something other than shorts to ride in.

Current beer-scale: 4.5-(I'm talking myself out of having a few tonite)


Yeah, good morning to you too.

There are days when I just hate people. "Hate" may be too strong a word but there it is anyway. Days where the adrenaline rush of almost getting run over outweighs the pleasure and enjoyment of a simple bike ride into work. Again, people just don't seem to get the meaning behind a left arm stretched out coming up to an intersection. I can't even begin to imagine what this guy thought it meant today. Maybe he wanted to ask me a question about it b/c he didn't seem to grasp that I wanted to go into the left turn lane, so he should either pass me or let me go. I sped up, he matched. I braked, he seemed to think this was fun. No, it's not a game. I want to turn left fucker, and I can't do it with you staring at me open-mouthed. Move your ass.

I can only imagine how fun this is going to be once the weather turns. Which already has me gritting my teeth, after a horrible effort at finding some cross tires that would fit Frankenbike. After some effort, and much bargain hunting, I seem to have done it, but who knows. The test ride will hopefully be successful later this week.
The main problem:
Not nearly enough room to go from 25 to 32. Whoops! So time to test a smaller tire on both wheel sets. Frankenbike will be single speed eventually, but he might just stay 7-speed since that wheel worked better and is less out of true.
A few tire changes, and success! We have clearance! Well, clearance with some additional "minor" modifications.
The brake, she's gone.
Mission relatively accomplished, it was time to have some more beer and watch the Bears pull one out of the fire against the Eagles. Much better Mondays after both my teams win, so now I'm going to try and forget about the poor asshole in his car driving to his soul-crushing cubicle this morning. Ah, I feel better already. Cheers!

Current beer-scale: 5.7


on the road again

Caution: This post contains highly positive content about the University of Notre Dame.

The ironies of bringing a bike on a two-hour drive to South Bend in the hopes of saving a little time are not lost on me, but man was that a great idea. It gives whole new meaning to the bikes vs cars debate. With the bike, instead of an hour+ walk from a buddies house, it's a few minutes' ride and suddenly I'm at a tailgate. And when the game is (finally) over, hop back on and beat everyone to their cars, beat traffic out of the bend, and cruise home in time to run to Scooters. Awesome.

And it's always fun to play with the panoramic setting on the Kodak. I love this feature, maybe a little more than I should.

A perfect day for late September. I wouldn't really feel that way now if ND had gotten killed, but they didn't so I can reflect postively.
A vertical panoramic of Touchdown Jesus. I'm actually surprised at how well it turned out, seeing how I didn't think about lining up the elements in the mosaic for the two shots until I had already taken the first one and realized how dumb it was to line things up that way. Still, decent look at the library I spent a lot of time in.

The old reliable, the panoramic from the seats as I filed in. I was steady enough to hold the camera, so despite seats that get absolutely no shade until November I knew I'd be alright with enough water.
Unlike one of the guys infront of us, who immediately after coming in and trying to start some shit with the Purdue fans a few seats over, spent most of the game hunched over, hiding from the sun by putting his head in his shirt. At least he didn't puke, and at least we weren't sitting in front of him and worrying about it all day. Notice the class ring on the right hand. Truly, an inspirational example to alumni everywhere.
An action shot of Kyle Rudolph (#9) catching a 5-yard TD from Clausen. Nothing but luck on this shot, but you can see the ball on its way by the 5-yard line. I especially love the guy in the white shirt already giving the "touchdown" sign. I admit to being baffled by this offense. When they're clicking, watch out. When they're not, they make me want to puke. But they seem to go back and forth between the two for no discernable reason. I guess that's why good coaches get paid. Still, I refused to buy the wife a #7 jersey this weekend and opted for Maurice Crum Jr. instead. What the hell, she wasn't there. If I'm surprising her, I get to pick what I'm surprising her with.

All in all a great day, and thank god, b/c I get to do it all over again next Saturday, only an hour earlier thanks to the 1:30 cst start. Tremendous.

Current beer-scale: 8.5 (extremely high due to the nature of Sundays in the office and impending Sunday Night Football Bears action)


A little "meh" after Heroes last night. I have to admit when I came home with the dog with the first episode half-over, my enthusiasm for catching up was pretty low. But why tivo if you're not going to take advantage of not having to schedule things around tv? At least Elle was back in the second hour, even if her brief glance at Weevil did give me a momentary twinge of VM regret. Let's hope Chuck brings it next week.

One month and counting until vacation time. Unbelievably, I feel like I could use a break from the commute just as much as from work. I can't nail down a specific incident, but I've been getting a lot of bad vibes lately. Nasty looks from drivers rolling into traffic, buses who don't seem to care they're pulling over directly in front of a group of bikes, even other bikers who roll along blissfully ignoring calls of "on your left." I guess this is what people mean when they're talking about the lack of biking infrastructure on our roads.

I know it's alright to miss a day every now and then, but with such great weather I can't imagine not biking. Missing a day like today would be worse than having a crappy ride, and I would feel like an idiot stuck in traffic with the windows down. But the rides just have not been fun lately.

I'm still excited to take a bike tour in San Francisco, so I don't think it's the actual biking getting me down. The change of scenery will probably do me good. At least I hope so.

Current beer-scale: 7.6


Whew! Temps in the 80's the day before it's officially fall? Yes, please. Yes it gives seasonal bikers a bigger window to clog up bike lanes, but who really cares when it's this nice this late? I'll put up with having to slam on the brakes every once in a while if I can breeze home in a t-shirt. Give me as much time as possible to complete this cluster-fuck of a winter bike and keep things warm until vacation time next month.

I might feel differently if I was baking away in Soldier Field yesterday watching the Bears gag away a fourth quarter lead. Nevermind about that specific loss but that senario is one of the worst experiences I've ever had. Red from the sun, watching a football team flail away while the clock can't tick down fast enough. Add overtime to the mix and it's not something I'd want to put anyone through. A win makes it bearable, a loss makes it miserable.

My wife always gives me a hard time about this. Football isn't the only thing to look forward to in the fall, but for me it's what dictates the tone of the season. A good ND team, a good Bears team, and fall is a great time of year. Good football makes lousy weather a lot easier to deal with. I don't even want to think about bad football. The nicest apple donuts in the world can't make up for colder weather if your football teams are losing.

Current beer-scale: 6.5


"You're the man, Z!"

When you look in your rearview and see Carlos Zambrano behind you at a light, sometimes things just make sense. Long morning after a late night? There's Big Z behind you. Getting unreasonably pissed at this biker who you can't believe is still alive the way he's riding? Give Carlos a shout-out. That really made my morning. One of those things that happens if you manage to observe your surroundings rather than just pass through them.

On top of which, I got to feed a sting ray yesterday. Wasn't on my to-do list when I got up but it wasn't something I was going to pass up either. That was worth missing a great 9th inning comeback, or at least I'm telling myself that.

Current beer-scale: 4.3


Here's a tip sideburns; if you're trying a rolling semi-trackstand through a red light that other people have stopped at, you can't really get mad if someone's able to start up and pass you right off the bat. Especially if you're getting honked at and/or nearly run over as the light changes. It's a free country and all, but your right to be a douche ends where my right to ride home following the rules of the road and not get shit from idiots begins.

But rides like that are still better than driving. Each trip I take in a car convinces me I need to use my bike more. If I could have figured out a way to carry soup to go in a messenger bag, I wouldn't have bothered with the car but no go. Just add a rack to the project list. Awesome.

Current beer-scale: 7.6 & peaking during cubs/brewers


**grunting inaudibly**

Whoever thought up the idea for an all-day bachelor party was either a genius or a masochist. Probabaly both. Yes if I any sense I would have made today a sick day but I don't so here I am typing away at work, where even the sound of keys clacking is making little sparks go off behind my eyes. At least I smell like a drowned rat after riding in the rain and having my bag spring a leak right over the clothes I brought to change into. Awesome.

I can't complain though, b/c I brought this on myself and had a tivo'd ND game to watch as I tried not to pass out too early. Even if it wasn't at a tailgate, any day I've got an excuse to be drinking out of a flask at 9 AM is a good one.

Current beer-scale: 1.1 (all-time historic low)


Where the hell are my tights?

Now I know how Batman feels. At least I wasn't looking for hockey pants.

Seriously, it's not a good sign 50 degrees felt that cold, but at least I found pants to wear. Screw looking forward to the change in seasons. I'm such a totall wuss about this kind of thing. Fall and winter are inevitable. It's going to get cold eventually, and the only thing that helps is coming to grips with that and preparing adequately. The first time I saw arm sleeves I laughed at the thought of needing them. That was until this morning when I wished I had them.

Having said that, the later these changes come the better. I can laugh at biking in the cold when it's still novel. After a few rides that's worn off. I'd like the novelty to last until at least November.

Current beer-scale: 4.2 (the coronitas are keeping it in check nicely)


I need to learn how to pack.

Suitcase packing, piece of cake. Grocery shopping in a backpack, I'm a little rusty. I could not believe how packed my bag got with just a few items.

Three stops, only picking stuff up at two, and there's no room for any else. Embarassing.

See? Nothing too exciting, except for the tubes and new tire levers. And that, along with my travel pump, was all I could carry. Jeez.

The tubes and levers were for putting cross-tires on Frankenbike. No photos from that, but it went swimmingly. I think this project might actually work out. We'll see, once I can get my hands on another chain tool. Damn this "project on a budget" mentality.

Current beer-scale: 7.3


My enthusiasm for rain today decreases when I realize it's post-Labor Day and the dog beach will soon be an impossibility again. The first time you've had to pull your dog out of the frozen foam that forms at the snow drifts along the shore will be the last time. And as much as I'm curious to see what winter biking will actually lead to, I'd still much rather have some days of choppy beach weather to enjoy. Oh well. In a few hours I'll be having beers as pro football fires up, and not much beats that. Here's to fall.

Current beer-scale: 7.6


What I learned over Labor Day weekend.

1. If I'm flying alone, I'm forever destined to sit next to the fattest person on the same flight.

2. If not the fattest, then certainly the gassiest (which I admit, I more than made up for on the return flight, due to #8).

3. Olympia, WA is crazy bike-friendly, but I couldn't last more than a week there. Why? Because...

4. No more than one car can make a left turn at a light due to the "mellow" atmoshpere permiating the town.

5. Evidently Starbucks is "the man" and getting a coffee there in the morning "encourages oppression." Thanks for the knowledge, bearded-guy.

6. Few things in life are funnier than the words "Our celebration is ENDED" as said by a Nairobi priest after the quietest church wedding you've ever been to.

7. And few things in life are scarier than an airport men's room before a morning flight out of Seattle. Why? Because...

8. There's a limit to the quantity of Starbucks and micro-brew beer a human body was designed to process and still function properly.

9. The only way to find that limit is to exceed it; repeatedly if necessary.

10. That as much as city life in Chicago might piss the hell out of me sometimes, I'm out of my element anywhere else and should appreciate things as they are more often.

But seriously, I would encourage politeness as a common courtesy but there is a tipping point people. When you've got a walk sign, it's not okay to wait and let a car turn in front of you. And don't stand there giving the stink-eye to people who actually do walk when they get a sign. But the flip side of that is, if you're in a car and turning left it's alright to roll a little into the intersection before the light turns yellow. And even if you don't it's alright to turn on a yellow as long as there aren't pedestrians around. Yeah, it's great that you can be so laid-back but for fuck's sake people, does no one have somewhere they're supposed to be? How about some get-up-and-go for Christ' sake.

There were a lot of positives in that trip though. Good coffee, decent beers, a little pre-wedding fun and even some post. It's good to be back though.

Current beer-scale: 2.1