more of this=long week

I don't know if I have the energy to watch back to back Stanley Cup games, let alone how someone would be able to play them. While I appreciate the no-wait instant gratification of getting another game tonite, I'd rather see the team I'm rooting for with everyone in their mid-30's get a day or two to rest, especially after the previous series.

It's the same kind of head-down "let's get this started" that I approached my commute home today with, but at least now I have beer. I knew it would be rough, but after spending the entire day watching the sun shine off the lake I had to take the path home just to be out there for a while. I should learn to ignore my instincts better.

A picture perfect afternoon of sun on the lake...

Yeah, it was great out. I can't complain about everyone else being out there either, b/c what can you expect in Chicago on a great day. Expecting it doesn't mean anyone slows the fuck down and isn't a total douchebag though. And that includes me, after passing enough groups biking or skating 3 across and getting cut off by someone who couldn't figure out how to downshift when he couldn't make it up the hill in front of us. All the spandex in the world might help you look like you know what you're doing, but if you can't actually figure it out on the road get out of the damn way.

I think I'm just anti-spandex. Unless it's one with a brewer logo on it. That's about it. Anti-spandex, unless it's pro-beer. Speaking of which, it's time for some hockey (maybe I should approach the next commute like a skate and just start checking people).

More amber ale. Always more amber ale.

Current beer-scale: 5.7


a little on the nose, you think?

I was out running some errands today and made a critical error.

Curiosity getting the best of me, I ventured into Performance Bike on Halsted to check things out. Like ever other snob out there, I'm dubious of a bike I can buy online and have shipped for a couple hundred bucks, but what the hell. If nothing else, they seemed to have some decent prices on tubes and other accessories if I need anything else this summer.

It was pretty crowded for the middle of an afternoon, and I was able to browse without anyone checking on me until I stopped in front of the single speeds for a while. That's when I learned about the "hipster" line being on sale for the time being.

Ah, the hipster line. Granted, in my cut off pants and nutcase helmet, I could pass for hipster in most places. I was also sporting a Captain America t-shirt, but without a trace of irony. Cap kicks ass. At least last night I trimmed most of my hockey beard off. But I'm still uncomfortable purposely buying a bike marketed by a chain specifically to an alt crowd.

Whatever. If I end up buying another POS for winter-use something out of the "hipster" line would fit the bill pretty well I think. All in all it was a more pleasant diversion than I expected it to be when I decided to stop by.

The only real errand I ended up getting done was picking up more beer. It took more than one stop too, b/c for whatever reason Binny's left me strangely unsatisfied. Again, it's not like I had anything else to do. Which is why the beer comes in handy.

Current beer-scale: 8.1


Wow; that was way more fun than I expected

I don't know if it's the 3 cups of coffee I've already had this morning or the sneaking onto Bike the Drive before work, but I am in a fabulous mood for 10 AM Sunday morning. Let's peep some pics, shall we (sounds like that's the coffee talking)?
I managed to get up before the alarm actually went off so I didn't wake the wife while I snuck out way too early to get in a sizable ride before work.
Although I do feel mildly guilty for not fully registering this year, that did add an element of feeling like I was getting away with something which only made things that much more fun. The cop blocking the Belmont ramp gave me a nice wave when I went by.
Getting on at an unofficial starting point was odd; I felt like I was merging just like a car would. I ended up doing this twice b/c after I made it to the turn-around point and back to Fullerton, it was way too early to go to the office so I went back up to Belmont for an extra couple of minutes.
Conditions were perfect; sunny but windy enough to feel like you were really working at points. Especially over the Grand/Illinois bridge. People were really struggling back up the north-bound portion. Even against the wind, back down was a blast. I stopped to take a self-indulgent picture of my bike in the sun.I also took a shot of my new bike pants. $8 steve & barry pants cut way short and had hemmed to just below the knee. Perfect for the temperature in the mid-50's and very comfortable. Outstanding.
All in all a great day. Of course, as soon as I got on the first time a roadie went flying by advising me my seat was set too low. Thanks guy. I'm only out here year-round, I never would have thought to put the seat in a position less comfortable than I've already got it in. Oh well. If you're surrounded by bikers, odds are there's going to be someone giving you advice whether you want it or not. The sun was out, I put in an extra ten miles or so before work, and now I'm off for more coffee and whatever beer the wife picks up while I'm at work today. Fantastic. Happy Memorial Day!
Current beer-scale: 3.9 (mellow, but I could crack one)


no need to yell dude

Yeah, it gets crowded this time of year. For some reason, people like to get outside when it's nice. And when that happens, everyone has to at least try to get along. After complaining about the elements all winter, I'm not going to complain about people heading outside when it's finally nice out. And yeah, yesterday was fucking great.

That doesn't mean you should get your Florida State jersey in a bunch when there are people out with you on the lakefront path. You don't need to yell out "Lefts" and shake your head at everyone who dares to be out at the same time you are. If anything, pick a different time to go for a ride other than rush hour, and still try not to be a douche when you do.

This guy needs to chill out

I'm not entirely comfortable calling someone out on their behavior, in part b/c I know I'm an asshole too. I have little patience for someone kitted out going well slower than I want to go and acting like he's riding in the tour de fucking france. I sneer at having to wait to pass him b/c I don't want to be as big a jerk but blast by him the first chance I get, shaking my head the entire time.

Who cares. Anyone with half a brain realizes it's going to be a typically crowded day when temperatures are in the 90's. If it bothers you that much to have to pass people on foot, don't go out at all. Try to relax and have some fun, and maybe next time try and do it going a little faster when you have the space.

I'm trying to relax too. This weather will be gone before you know it.

Current beer-scale: 6.6


I'm disappointed in myself. I've been trying to use "fuck you" less, and replace it with "good for youuuuuuuuu" a la Christian Bale. I don't mind cursing, I just think the quote is hilarious and the thought of randomly yelling at someone makes me laugh. Well, when someone takes a u-turn in front of you from a parking spot in front of the Clarks on Belmont (I'd mention what he was driving but all I noticed was how my tires were skidding as I slammed on the brakes) it's hard to remember to try something new. Instead, it was just "HEY! Watch the fuck out!" Like I said, I'm disappointed.

New pedals helped though, even though I was terrified at the prospect of actually working the old ones off. With the hockey game about to start, I moved everything into the bedroom with a second tv (the wife tivo's Idol) with a big beer and settled in to get to work.

Unbelievably, I had the old pedals off before the game was even on. Usually I'd have to question that but the game was about to start so it was down to buisness.
I went with plain steel & aluminum MKS platforms, along with toe clips. I wanted something solid, and these seem to fit the bill. But again, budget trumps everything else and these fit that bill as well.
So with a little grease on they went. I needed something solid b/c I am not a little man, and as usual the sheer beefiness of my hands got slightly in the way when it came to getting the clips on. "Beefiness" is good for a lot of things, and while that would be a postive dealing with some components, when it comes to the hands working on the components it's not always a good thing.
Everything's on though, and amazingly with no hockey missed. So I can finish my beer now and trust to my mechanical skills when it comes to getting to work tomorrow (fingers crossed).
Current beer-scale: 4.3


Ah, a rainy day to get restless on. I'm still drying out after a quick ride through the northcenter and lincoln square neighborhoods and a stop to pick up the hardest-to-find dogfood in the entire city.

The day started well enough, the usual dog beach trip despite the slight drizzle.
Eventually, the usual "I have a whole day to myself and what the hell am I going to do" set in. Thankfully, last night in my zeal to drink as much Half Acre as possible while watching both hockey games and savoring the fact my week was over, I realized there was a brewery one neighborhood over to go check out. Unfortunately they're not quite set for tours yet, but once they are I think my Fridays' just booked up. Fantastic. And finally, and probably least interestingly, the Jewel across the street had a stock of one of the most difficult dogfoods in history to find. This was the fourth store in two days I had tried to find the dog's breakfast at, and finally found a pocket of them left. Always a good sign.
Current beer-scale: 4.1


Few things in life taste as good as that first beer after a long work week. And I do mean first, b/c the rest of that six of Half Acre is shaking in its boots right now. Here's to beer, and to that rollerblader I "tapped" on the way home.

Current beer-scale: 7.5 & dropping.


It's wet today. Wet enough to slow me down for a leisurely ride through the rain. Which is nice, b/c that way I appreciate nearly getting run over that much more. It also helps convince me to calm down when I'm waiting for a light and someone feels the need to trackstand in front of me. Instead of kicking them, I patiently wait for the light to change.

Someone emailed me the Dictionary of Roadie slang last night, thinking I might get a kick out of it since I'm the weirdo in the group that doesn't drive to work. And it was funny, until I got to the part about "targets," specifically the parts on "target practice." It lost some of its charm after that and I couldn't quite bring myself to finish.

Which is too bad, b/c the rest of the entries were pretty funny. If anything, I'm jealous of someone creative enough to get all that down. I'd write one for commuters, but eventually it would just devolve into stringing curses together to tag SUV's, busses, hipsters, etc with. Nothing too creative about that, but it is usually how I spend my rides home.

Current beer-scale: 8.1


Not having the best bike luck lately, I was a bit hesitant stepping off the curb this morning with the long-awaited rubino pro's on. Honestly, Sheldon Brown himself (may he rest in peace) could have put them on and I still would have been leeery about hitting the road. I'm an old hand at tire changes by now, but really didn't want to have to switch a tube again any time in the near future. So I started off slow. Went gentle over some of the potholes just outside. That lasted about a block, b/c by then I felt good enough to forget about being nervous and speed things up a little.
Unfortunately, the turd lived up to her nickname this morning and kept me out too long on our walk. So it was only the direct route in this morning. I'll have to stretch things tonite and see how the bike feels over a bunch of rough lakefront path. Fantastic.

Current beer-scale: 4.8


I have presents today!Okay, there is occasionally something to be said for checking work email from home. Very occasionally. But when your new tires arrive and you're at home instead of putting them on and going for a ride, that fits as an occasion. Whatever. I'd rather miss out on something with my head buried in the metaphorical sand for 48 hours than check in and get pissed at yet another inane email I feel compelled to read. It's bad enough when I'm sitting in the office--I don't want to read that shit at home.

So imagine my surprise when I had an email about the package waiting for me when I got in this morning. After the first tire shipment getting lost and having them re-sent, I wasn't hopeful about getting them any time soon. But my request for expedited shipping seems to have been granted, and I'm plus two tires tonite on the way home.
Judging by the shape the box that actually made it here was in, I'm surprised it made it here at all. I thought they were folded, but they came as two expanded 700x23's. Whatever. I'm just glad they're here. Like I wasn't already looking forward enough to calling it a day.

Current beer-scale: 6.1


I love racing home a rain storm.
There's a charge in the air when before a big storm rolls in, and that only gets better as you're trying to beat that storm home. It's one of my favorite times to ride. So much so I was taking one-handed phone pics on the way (so I guess I wasn't trying very hard to beat the rain).I still went long and turned around, but was bummed to see the sun try to peak out as I was turning around. I thought it might not actually rain, but as soon as I was home with the dog it opened up. An all-together great ride.One thing bugged me though; the human salmon I almost ran over. Bike salmon are one thing--they're dumb enough to be on the wrong side of the path but fast enough to move when they have to. Human salmon are not, which makes sense b/c they're basically the bottom of the evolutionary barrel. Their eyes just get wider as they freeze in place on the wrong side of the path at the sight of someone where they're actually supposed to be barreling towards them. I'm doing the next one a favor and obliterating him.

Current beer-scale: 7.1 (it's my Friday!)


Yeah, we're all jerks

I'm not a mind-reader. I don't know anyone's intentions out there, and I'm not naive enough to assume they're all good. The same can be said about everyone else out there with me everyday. No one knows where my head's at.

So all anyone can do is try to play nice with everyone else and hope that no one gets hurt. It's not always possible though, and I'm not always sure whether that's b/c everyone's a jerk, or just an idiot.

When someone is dumb enough to slow down on a bike when they don't have a stop, they shouldn't be upset if a car takes this as a sign they should go ahead and go through the intersection. Getting upset as the car pulls into the opening you just made only makes you look like an idiot.

You also look like an idiot on the sidewalk, especially if you're running people over to get there. If you really feel the need to ride up there and have an opening to do so, you better damn well make sure there's no one up there on foot. And if there is, slow the fuck down. Or better yet, stay on the street.

Again, I'm not a mind reader. I can't assign malicious intent to any of these instances or the mulitudes of others I'll see this summer with the usual increase in bike crowds. It doesn't really make me feel any better to just chalk it up to idiocy though either.

Current beer-scale: 7.8


Not an ideal day for a ball game, but always fun to head to wrigley for an afternoon.

Of course I was getting krausened all day. Unfortunately it was at $6.50 a pop. Still tastes terrible, but I wasn't going to let a little thing like that stop me.

For a while it looked like we might have some extra drinking time too, but Wayne came out in the rain to sing the anthem and away we went.

Some day I'm going to try for the epic "9 beers 9 dogs 9 innings," but Friday wasn't that day. I was hitting a wall by beer 4. By that time, Harden was done, the cubs were down, and Zambrano was digging in to pinch hit. Even though he left two on base, it's always fun to see Carlos at the plate.

With the cubs still down, Lou came out to argue a call at second. Anticipation rippled through the crowd...would we be lucky enough to see a blow-up? Had the cubs been playing lousy enough to get Lou pissed this early? Unfortunately, things seemed pretty calm and Lou ambled back to the dugout.

Theriot hit a grand slam to put the cubs up 1 in the sixth and they added some insurance runs in the seventh. Stopped a skid, and hopefully they start to turn things around for May. Proof-positive it's never a good idea to live and die with every game of a 162 game season. It's a marathon, not a sprint.

Current beer-scale: 2.0 (very low after a few more pints late last night)