Saturday, December 23, 2006

A Christmas Story

'Twas the night before the night before Christmas
When all through the office
Not a creature was stirring
Except for the rat
Who was busy gnawing and chewing
And leaving some scat

When I discovered this lovely surprise
I rubbed my eyes in hopes that they told lies
But there in the back there was the rat scat
And a little cozy nest made from the door mat

And so I cleaned and I screamed then carted it away
In hopes that the creature(s) would not return today
I patched all the holes with big chunks of wood
And found more and more scat, and thought, "Oh good"

So we all go to sleep with only a little to dread
While visions of virulent poops dance in our heads

Bear needs a blackberry

No not the one that grows on a prickly bush, the other kind.

Excerpt from a story on

... has discovered that bears hibernating under homes were not really hibernating the way they should anymore. They were continuing to wake up and eat -- on the weekly garbage day. Using tracking collars, he mapped lethargic bears moving from home to home following the garbage pickup schedules.

Monday, December 11, 2006

binary boy

As of yesterday, Max has barely walked a step without holding onto something.

As of today, Max is walking laps around our house. Go MAX!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Sunday, November 26, 2006

ahhh mud

Friday, November 17, 2006

The most disturbing thing I've seen lately

With Amy away, I settled in to watch a totally awesome guy movie with lots of explosions and machine gun battles... yeah, you know... the stuff I *always* watch.

So in the documentary "The Future of Food" it goes into the dynamics of GMO foods and the pervasive nature of Monsanto and how it, in no uncertain terms, owns the US politicians who make decisions that increase their profits. And it also depicts, again in no uncertain terms, totally f**k the consumer, the environment, and the livilihood of the farmer. It's truly nothing short of evil.

The story is best told by them versus me writing some synopsis of it. Go Netflix this movie and grab a tasty bag of corn chips and enjoy!

The only thing that keeps me from being frightened to my core by this movie is how our family eats nearly 100% organic. While we've been able to pay our way out of this problem, not everyone can throw down the extra 20%-100% cost difference to go this route.


Monday, October 23, 2006

biking isn't dangerous...'s *reading* about biking that's the risky part. I was innocently walking over to sit on the couch where I nearly landed on my head when I slipped on a copy of Velonews sitting on the carpet.

Totally sketch.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


I deleted a previous post because it was lame.

I am replacing it with something my boy said in the bathtub after passing a bit of gas. True story

"I just gassed. Did it sound like a flute?" - Ben

I don't know where he gets it. We've never discussed the potential musicality of gas.

Monday, September 25, 2006

*MORE* boredom

I thought, in continuation of a theme, I'd list out the top gross things in our trash can right now:

Cat poo
Dirty Diapers (Ben and Max Poo)
Festering ziplock of uncooked eggs
unidentified ziplock of brown liquid
... and the winner
A dead mouse - crisp, hardened and nearly weightless

What? No comments? Can't really believe it.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

the engine part II

to add to the boredom, I've introduced this addendum:

In the previous post I exaggerated slightly on the temp range to highlight a point; that there's a huge gap between the heat generation along with low cooling during a climb versus the low heat generation and intense cooling during the descent [on the bike.] And it's pretty amazing that such a huge difference exists. I tell the story in the first place because those that don't ride or those that don't venture out when the weather turns sour perhaps cannot easily imagine this stuff. I just think it's cool.

The addendum is simply this... When outfitted in the proper gear, riding in any conditions can be comfortable. It's easy to be not too warm & not too cold, including toes & fingers. The current crop of technical layers is truly remarkable. I've bombed down some hills in cold rain and something well under 5mm from skin to outer shell completely cozy. The thin layer is a wall that cuts through what would otherwise leave you shivering and really unhappy. Armed with a wind breaking cap under the helmet and some full coverage glasses and you begin to create an inside and outside. I'd like to use an "inside a car" analogy but that depresses the message. You've rolled out in the misty fog, drizzle or pouring rain to experience it, not be completely isolated from it. The isolation that keeps the core warm, however, is a very good thing.

When intentionally setting out in the cold and rain, it is rare that a rider gets cold. It's the seemingly nice day that turns pear shaped and you're without the aforementioned technology does one suffer. Those days are remembered with a shudder & a shake. I've walked into a bike shop after a day like that and loaded up with piles of winter protection like a hungry shopper at the grocery store.

The addendum to the boring post has gone on well past due. Carry on.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

the engine

prepare yourself for a mind-numbingly, and over punctuated, boring post...


Here it comes...

So it's cold, dark and usually raining when I roll out for my 10 mile /35 ish minute two wheeled commute. I start out layered in cozy & waterproof clothes. At exact points along the ride I drop layers.
I unzip jackets at 7th & Failing St
At Interstate & Alberta I lose the fleece hat
At Delta Park I swap fuzzy gloves for skinny ones
Then I'm dialed for the rest of the ride.
[anyone still reading???]

It's just {marginally} interesting how the human machine works and how the flow of cold wind & rain keeps the engine cool. Stopping at stoplights and the system overheats, even just the 30 seconds the equilibrium is broken and I roast. Then, with wind & rain back on, it all comes back down. Outside of the commute on recreational rides, the difference between climbing and descending is epic, all on the same day. If it's 47 and rainy, 10 minutes into a long climb and you could pretty much ride naked and be too hot. Then point the bike downhill and you're doing 35-40mph and exerting 30% of the output. The rain feels like ice pellets and your 5 layers with the final being a waterproof membrane isn't enough if the downhill is sustained for more than a few minutes.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


A toast from one steaming thing to another. It's a great hike/scramble and I *highly* recommend it to anyone who has baseline fitness and owns a thermos.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Soba 1999 - 2006

This was, as far as cats go, a really cool cat. Ultra social and friendly. *It* thought it was a human, or so it appeared from its persona.

It went from healthy to tonight's vet visit inside of 36 hours. The annoying thing about cats is that they "mask" or hide their ailments so as to not show weakness in the wild. The vet thinks something heart &/or lung related probably linked to cancer.

Max and Ben really lit up and would chase/torture Soba. The cat put up with this quite well and actually enjoyed it assuming cats don't stick around if they're not having a good time. There's little funnier than Ben awkwardly carrying Soba around. Soba rallied for all of the Hunter/Wicker moves: Oakland>Berkeley>Boulder>Portland. Unlike Miso, this cat was into it.

The cheeky thing wrecked more than one night's sleep and covered the furniture with so much of its fur that one could fashion a whole 'nother cat from the pile. But all those small things aside, we will miss you Soba. You set the bar.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

train wreck

is the best way to describe my foray into coffee roasting. Impatient at 9:40 pm I decide I *must* try out my new coffee roaster. This is a modified hand cranked popcorn popper. All the components arrived in a brown truck today. Making a long story short I got it so hot that I melted the plastic window and the beans nearly caught fire when I first tossed them in. So I have beans that are burnt beyond recognition, damaged equipment, and nothing really positive to say except...


I'm roasting coffee! I learned over a dozen things in this alpha adventure. I won't list them but I will say that the numbers on the thermometer are false as evidenced by bubbling plastic. Oh, and a high output camp stove is *not* the right means to deliver controlled heat. I thought that I would use distance from the stove as my heat control. This might have worked if I didn't start at what has to have been 700+ degrees.

For the record, I did take mental note the location of the fire extinguisher.

Tomorrow I bring the operation indoors where I seal off the kitchen and run the 600 CFM blower. *Then* I will have the power to tune the heat in an exacting way.

If anyone has ideas on how I can get a stick thermometer to read more accurately please chime in. Otherwise answer this: Why would a grown man take an old tyme popcorn popper and try to roast coffee in it when he has access to the finest roasted beans on earth?

Saturday, August 26, 2006

love for the marine layer

oh how I love thee. I anxiously await your return.


Saturday, August 19, 2006

sick & sad

Check this out

The last sentence is the sad part. "As an alternative to antibiotics"... like it is essential that the food industry use antibiotics. *Somehow* and how they can perform such miracles is just so amazing... somehow organic farmers have managed to produce meat without either antibiotics or this fancy benevolent critter-eating-malevolent critter. It's good versus evil yet again.

If I eat meat, I want it to be sprayed with these friendly critters and then coated with nitrates.... mmmm mmm goood.

Whenever I read something along this general topic of food technology, I'm always happy that I live a nearly pure organic and meat free existance.

There was a great [npr] story where the author focused on the traditional preparation of food, the way it has been done up until mid 20th century. The interesting spin was that he considered the convenience factor of foods lately to be, "taking away" from a fundamental joy of making your food from scratch. While we, as a society, have generally accepted the notion that we're too busy for that sort of thing, it's really not true. We simply choose the lazy option (myself included these past few months) much of the time. I've been peeling that one back, especially with the summer fruit & veg season in full swing. I've recently switched to bread found in the refrigerated section. These live breads are really amazing. They offer a complete protein and have an extremly low glycemic index...basically the total opposite to white bread or pizza dough. And it's beyond tasty... it's awesome. This doesn't add preparation time (which is good) but I lose the "joy of cooking" which is bad or good depending upon opinion. I'm happy to be eating real food with minimal processing. The ideal breakfast is two of these delicous refrigerated flour free english muffins + butter +marmite & a cappucino from *the machine* and I'm pretty much in heaven. Just don't spray any viruses on it... I'll take my chances.

Monday, August 14, 2006

still life

There's a chain link fence. Attached to the chain link fence is a placard depicting what will be built on the currently barren space. It's something modern, something tallish, something decidedly upscale. There's graffiti on the placard but the building can still be seen through the spray.

Sunday, August 13, 2006


The more I live, the more I am disconnected with all that is crap in this country:
  • I am disconnected from fast food & factory farms
  • I am disconnected from malls
  • I am disconnected from a car commute & requisite concern for gas prices. In fact I'd *love* to see them hit $9/gallon. Not right away, not in such a way that really screws over those just getting by but in an easily seen trend, say up a dollar every year. This would radically alter the economy in an ecologically positive way. & ... I'm quite sure of this one, our aggegate GDP would rise faster as a result.

The more I live, the more I am connected to all that is good in this country:
  • I am connected with indy and local sources of food & coffee... & super fresh eggs!
  • I am connected with the mountains, bike racing scene, & PDX culture
  • I am connected to my job via a ten mile bike commute
These are all the top of my head sort of changes. I'm not putting this out there to say, "Hey look how swell I am" because I'm quite sure that I impress few with my actions. I do this stuff for me, because I seriously feel ill whan I do otherwise. Speaking of feeling ill, I'm *out* of coffee beans and that's a serious problem which will be rectified at exactly 7am tomorrow. Fishew!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Buying a house?

Or selling one? This is a shameless plug for a friend. Zach Newman found us our home and did more work, and this is no exaggeration, than our previous 3 realtors combined. If you ever say to yourself that they don't deserve the % they get it's because they don't work like Zach does. So I'm sending this shout out to generate business for my man Zaaaaaach. He rules. If you find yourself in the buy/sell situation you really need to work with him.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Standin' in the shower thinkin' - pf

So as I was trying to cool off in the shower because the heat in PDX and particularly in our upstairs is triple digit fun, I turned the know towards cool but couldn't bring myself to go full cold. In fact, I'm guessing it was rather lukewarmish.

Suppose you came across a waterfall where the water was briskly cold and it was super hot outside. You'd find a way to get under it. At first it would be exhilarating in a too-cold sort of way but then you'd get tough and adjust. Beyond that you'd grow comfortable in the cool cool water.

Meanwhile, in the shower, it's nearly impossible to drag the knob all the way to cool unless dared by a spouse.

Which brings me to my pointa-obscura.

Single speeds are the chilly waterfall. You can go way cooler than you otherwise will because there's no control knob allowing you to meter your pain. The result is that you push through and become stronger & faster. Either that or you don't go in the water at all.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


ok, so blog has had such little new data so here:
-I got sick, recovered in 24 hours
-Amy did the same
-It's going to be super hot here in PDX
-Our friends just had a baby whose name is MAX... nice choice.
-I'm looking for a bicycle tire that's simultaneously light and punctureproof. Any thoughts?

Friday, June 30, 2006

blunt trauma

Finally back on the bike after a much-too-long 2 day hiatus. Perhaps two days isn't huge but we inside of a week from the Pacific NW's summer solstice and it's time to *be* outside. Rolling past the accident scene I immediately worked out how the crash went down. It's wierd how I reacted when it occurred with a sense of urgency to get back on the bike. It's as if jumping on the bike quickly lessens the perceived significance of the crash. It must be, if I *can* get on the bike then it can't be too bad... right? The odd takaway from that is that *I* am your guy for any sort of outback adventure as I'll push through whatever crazy injuries and process them later.... but I digress.

It went down like this... cresting into the steep and soft sandy section, the front wheel gets stuck in the sand and I land squarely on the ragged prickly stump. I originally thought the stump was the obstacle and I was thusly confused why I didn't fly *over* it. So there it is then.

So here I sit and my arm is still inflated with blood from serious blunt trauma. The leg suffered seemingly similar damage but it's normal save a few scratches. What that tells me is there's some serious carnage going on under the skin. I'm so surpised by the severity of this mayhem. I suppose I hit pretty hard directly on that stump which, as I think about it, is really ugly {laugh}

It's the venue that's confusing. This is my *commute* so what am I doing incurring a mountain bike injury. The real backstory to all of this is not what happened here but what *didn't* happen during every other crash. I've blazed off trail. I've had my front tire disappear at speed along wide open velocity sections and I lost skin but nothing that actually hurt post bandage. There are a million stories like that. I can look at the various scars and recall their history. The one crash that I always think about when I think about the luck which pervades goes like this:

The classic Downieville CA downhill route. Riding the 3rd divide which is not the technical route but the "holy crahp I'm going super fast" route on wide-as-your-hand singletrack. So there I was at said velocity when a stick meets and arrests my front wheel's rotation. Generally front wheels don't skid, they more or less can't. Locking the front wheel = over the bars without hesitation. In this instance where my body position was loose and aft the front wheel skidded something like 10 feet before I was catapulted through the air. By the time I made contact with earth, I had made a 270 degree rotation, missing my front, head, and finally landing right on my back. Instead of the 1mm of protection I have on my front, my back sports a padded backpack full of fluffy clothes and a flexible bag of water that unintentionally protects the spine. So that was my landing mechanism. I was inches from a huge tree to my left and there I was in this softish spot taking inventory and testing each body component like a pilot's pre flight check. Even with this miracle of a landing I had a crazy yet painless internal bruise that started on my back and proceeded to leech forward through my abdomen before the greenish blue color faded. There was no better way to dissapate such energy and force better than exactly how it went down. LUCK

So while I'm certainly not beaming with joy as I nurse my throbbing arm, I am grateful that I've been so lucky for so long.

fancy fone

retain for your records>>>


and then 927 587 don't forget the 1

I avoided the email blast on the this and am going for the pull approach of the blog. I have no idea whether there are some blog spiders that find telephone numbers and send IM message spam (yes I understand the redundancy there...dtt dtt) & I don't want to learn. Hence the innane text intertwined with my #

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Customer service

This is why you buy stuff from Nordstroms. They rock. I'm never buying anywhere else.
Excerpt from their customer service LiveChat follows:

Tim H: Hello and welcome to Nordstrom, Charlie!
Tim H: I see your question: I have 2 shirts & pants that are over a year old but are in near new condition with the minor exception of having been ruined due to laundering them with some wax lip balm. Can I exchange these?
Tim H: Were these items ordered through, or in the store?
Charlie: In a store
Tim H: Charlie, do you still have record of the purchase?
Charlie: I'm guessing no..:^(
Charlie: It is nordstrom brand stuff if that's important
Tim H: One moment and I'll look into your question.
Tim H: Charlie, you will not have any problem exchanging your items at any Nordstom store. I would suggest giving one of our Personal Shoppers a call at 1.888.282.6060. We could then try and find record of your purchase. I ask that you call due to the fact that this forum is not secure and for your protection, I can't ask for specific personal information.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

red meat

For all of you avid readers out there who have been disappointed by the lack of images here at the cafe... well, you're in luck. This tasty looking arm meat looked much more knarly covered in dripping blood and dirt. This is the cleaned up, medicated version. {yawn} I know.

So there I was JRA on my bike commute. You see, there's this little piece of skinny trail that bypasses a gentle arc of a turn on the paved section and instead goes in a straight line, effectively cutting out two sides of a loosely defined triangle. It peels to the right of another turn so it's a natural route, i.e. the bike *wants* to go on it. The trail begs, "ride my dirt!"

It's totally flat and then rolls down the face of a berm. Upon first dropping into the steep downhill bermy bit, there's a soft loose bit of sand and... as I recently discovered, a partially buried stump. I've successfully navigated this section 75% of the time ( i.e. wiped out once scratch free, made it twice) until now. I'm down to 50/50 :^(

The crash was spec[tacular], complete with puff of smoke/cloud of dust and a captive audience of car commuters waiting for the metering lights to go green. I quickly remounted and rolled a few feet until ...

... it hurt.

I kept going but realized that real output from my right leg = pain. That's the interesting thing about bike commuting. It's not riding-as-entertainment although I certainly entertained a few people today. It's treating the body as machine, as engine. If there's a green light, lay it down (i.e. "floor it") and be on your way. So when the motor is damaged but still at say 60%, it's still time to keep creeping along. I'm commuting. I'm going home. I have a list of things I want to do, first of which is get a coffee from the Albina Press.

Not realizing that I was covered in dirt, the barista queries the reason. I thought that I had cleverly positioned my undamaged side to the counter. {embarrassing}

So here I sit, battered and limping after pulling two significant pieces of wood from the nastiest scratch and getting everything clean and medicated. Overall the ride was pretty good: I was out in the sun & hell, I had a delicious espresso. I'm thinking that i'll take the gently arcing paved bit from now on.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Hell yeah

For all the time, all the money, all the sleep deprivation, all the bikeless weekends*... It's still really [expletive] cool to be a dad. When little Max gives over one of his goofy grins or bounces around in giddy unplacable [sic] enthusiasm it's just awesome.

& When Ben decides to snuggle in with daddy or insists that I hold him while making a cappucino because, "I want to see." it's marvelous although the cappucino is difficult to execute.

So I hope all you dads out there are enjoying today. Crack open a beer for a job well done. But don't have too many because there are only a few precious hours before you'll be back at it again.

** OK OK so they're not really bikeless but dragging the trailer with the kiddies to the farmer's market or going for an early morning road ride in lieu of a 7 hour epic singletrack ride through aspens and around alpine lakes just isn't the same. It's crazy to think that our lives used to consist of such riding more weekends than not during the summer.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

we win

I wrote a long rambling blog entry and then deleted it. In its place, I will pose a multiple choice question.

Supposing you're throwing a wedding reception on the beach and there is another wedding party nearby. You have a sound system that handily outclasses your "competitor" by about 500%. For this example, assume that there's no chance for any of your "competitor's" music to spill into your soundscape. Would you:

a) Point your speakers in the opposite direction or somehow tune your setup to minimize musical overlap?

b) Drop your volume from ear searing to just really [expletive] loud as a compromise?

c) Crash their party because they look to have cool live music?

d) Use all of your 20,000 watts and declare victory with a celebratory scream, "WoooHooo!"?

Going Coastal

This is something I already knew but often forget. And that is the conditions found in most towns & cities across this country.

It's bleak

I visited mecca, otherwise known as the "Great Mall of America" in Minneapolis, MN. Why I did this I'll never know. I avoid malls with a frequency of visits averaging less than once per year. The GMA is huge and there is a roller coaster and a log flume which is, of course, pretty sweet.

In other news, when at corporate HQ I asked where a "Whole Foods" might be. They were unfamiliar with the genre of retail. I instead visited a "Cub" grocery. While the mall was an exercise in excess, it was actually a civilized experience as far as malls go. If I could knock it down I probably wouldn't. (( Unless of course it would be turned into a giant urban greenspace.)) Meanwhile at the Cub, things were different. I did find the tiny organic section where they separate out the food and triple the price. The rest of the place was downright scary. Slabs of fading meat, lots of brightly colored "food", puffy breads and pastries. There wasn't a single loaf of anything that wouldn't digest at the speed of pure refined sugar outside of the cubicle sized organic section. Business was bustling. I added to the commerce with a handful of Luna bars and some amazingly unsweetened and untainted green tea. Miracles indeed.

Do I sound like a snob? Good, I intend to. I *am* offended by the crap that people are selling and am offended that people are buying it. One might argue that it's cheaper than Whole Foods and I completely agree. WF has highway robbery prices and I buy stuff there on occasion because I can. My point of contention is that organic and healthy foods are expensive here in middle America SOLELY because it's an oddity from their point of view. It's way more expensive to grow/process/modify/refine/market/package/& ship versus grow and deliver a short distance. And I know that pockets of enlightenment do exist so the coastal metaphor isn't exactly fair.

This brings me to Monterrey Market in Berkeley California. Armed with a $20, it is difficult *NOT* to fill two bags full of fresh, organic, and bountiful groceries. We're talking about amazing fresh and delicious stuff... man do I miss that place. There's nothing preventing such a store's existence right where I'm sitting (ouch) except that the people here don't seem to demand it.

Alas I will kiss the coastal ground upon my return to the sunny Pacific NW where it rains leafy goodness.

Sunday, June 04, 2006


Next week begins my first real week of work. Last week started with one day at work followed by the rest of the week taking sick leave. Yes I've set a new record for burning up sick time but this bug was not negotiating. I head off on a plane in 10 minutes to show up bright and early for class in Minneapolis. So X your fingers that nobody's got the Dengue Fever on the plane.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

checked out

I'm luxuriating in my unplanned vacation until next week. The computer is the last thing I want to play with. The blog will see its usual frequent updates after that time. Meanwhile, you'll find me somewhere in the Cascade Mountains or the Oregon coast.

Friday, May 05, 2006

max can't stack blocks

How could a Dad be so negative? Oh the horror. So the thing is this, he understands the concept of stacking but cannot execute on the task. If I place a block on the carpet and hand him a block, he'll try to put it on top. If I repeat this while holding the previous two blocks for stability, he tries to put on a third. So he's *got* the concept of stacking which seems pretty cool.

In other news, I'm now employed at
Seems the era of telecommuting has ended. And it's a good thing as I was quietly going insane. Already enjoying the impromptu vacation. Start date is June 1.

And in other other news, my oldest brother John is getting married in Cancun Mexico and we're joining him this week. The beach is not my sort of vacation but I'll find a way to suffer through the azure skies and clear clear water.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


So I'm at a cafe and here's a little snapshot of a patron of the shop. It goes down like this...

A big newish GMC truck pulls up. I typically don't pay that much attention to truck models but in this case I do. A crusty dude in his 50's exits the truck with a big fat cigar in his mouth. He's blonde, has white hair and a weather beaten face. He comes in and orders something to go. He know's the barista and she knows him and they make small talk. Only the smell of coffee and pastries fill the air inside the shop without a hint of tobacco. I then realize that the crusty guy has jammed his cigar into the letter C in the grill of his GMC truck before entering.

Interpret that as you will.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


Listening to NPR right now about the future of this country as it relates to Oil. The common idea is to reduce demand by driving smaller cars, hybrid cars, and eventually non-petrol based vehicles.

To that I respond, "Sure, great... that'll help" but it misses the bigger picture. Step back and ask the question,

"How can we reduce the need for travel/movement in the first place?"

Answer that question and you're getting somewhere. There are really good answers to that question that not only solve that problem but dozens more.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


I usually blog on such interesting and titillating topics that I thought that I'd mix it up a bit with something really boring.

I had an english muffin, toasted, with butter & marmite this AM. It was *so* *good* that I had another. After that, I wanted another but thought better of it and stopped at two.

That's it. I hope this entry lived up to everyone's expectation. Carry on.

Friday, April 14, 2006


The expression, "Chickens always come home to roost" is a universal truth. They always go back into their coop so all I need to do is close the door after they're in. I worked late last evening and heard the chickens in a panic. I ran out to notice that a little possum had taken up residence in the coop. Not good... I am a bad farmer.

Long story short, I got the chickens to a safe place and extricated the critter with a shovel and a garden hose. They're actually slow and seemingly tame. I got very close to the little bugger and it did *not* want to exit the coop. After much negotiating, it practically got onto the shovel blade where I air-lifted it slowly and gently out of the coop. It scurried off.

"C'mon chickens, all clear" I say and they needed to be lifted up and placed in the coop. I think they were pretty shaken up by the ordeal. I was lucky that the critter was a harmless young possum. If it had been a raccoon, the ending would have been different.

I'll be sure to close up the coop at sunset.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


For those that don't appreciate espresso, here's a translation of this blog entry: Blah blah blah tasty blah blah blah amazing blah blah blah sublime blah blah blah nobody knows how to make it this good except me blah blah blah.

Those who have a slight inkling about the joys of caffeine, read on.
Lately I have been putting together some truly sublime drinks. While my expertise plays a role, it's the espresso roast from Blue Gardenia that's the reason behind this leap in quality. The stuff is truly amazing and my first successful foray into single origin espresso. Like a good year in wine, these beans (& I'm only on bag #3) may not last. Next season's crop will undoubtedly be different and I hope, just as good. To expect better would be extremely optimistic. I may look back at spring/summer 06 as a special time.

Coffee as wine. It should be considered with a similar lense. Particular grapes/beans, particular years, particular regions, specific estate growers. This is the buzz on the street about coffee. There's a higher level of quality being developed through partnerships to bring coffee away from treating it as a commodity.

I'm just enjoying the lingering flavor from my just finished macchiato. This stuff is divine.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

sick and ugly

Not only am I *still* working to recover from an ugly flu bug that wiped out my weekend I also have an embarrassing gouge on the bridge of my nose... sexy. Double sexy when I'm coughing or shivering under the covers with a big fleece had on simultaneously hot and cold.

On a brighter note, Mrs. Amy rallied on her first mountain bike race since producing two lovely boys. The conditions were sub-optimal to say the least with mud so thick that she had to stop about half a dozen times to expunge the grunge so the wheels would turn. You bikers out there know what I mean, those that don't have ... seriously... no idea. It's ugly, the bike triples its weight and becomes a useless anchor.

All in all she survived the day and has begun the slow emergence back into one of her strongest loves: biking in the forest on singletrack. Well done Amy.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

as requested

Word on the street is that *someone* didn't like the restaurant-menu style of the blog. So here's a different one. Enjoy.

How about those boys in the trailer... seriously... is there anything cooler? While Ben's stepping up trying to pick fights with Mom and Dad, he loves to entertain Max both in and out of the trailer. Now if we can only get him to actually do what he's told, we'd be in fab shape. {sigh}


First journey for MAX. Dig it.

Just like my boys

Friday, March 17, 2006


I *just* ate the greatest triple chocolate cake thing and I wasn't even hungry. Holy crap was it good. It's truly a rare event where something is so tasty, so decadent, so delicioso that I'll go beyond the caloric requirements into the pure pleasure eating. This was one of those moments.


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Nimble shopping

On occasion, shopping carts get left along our street. I often return them the local grocer a mere block away. Recently TWO grocery cartS appear from a Trader Joe's grocer, over twenty blocks away.

This is the last straw.

Armed with an idea, I take them into the workshop. I flip one upside down and grease the bearings. Not only do I grease the wheel bearings but the rotation ones as well. I also clean the tires and sand off any irregularities. I then steal two more of the rotational wheels and replace the back wheels with these. This gives us four wheel steering.

I clean the cage and make a few other modifications. I zip tie the seat so there's no more of that familiar cart rattle. I take my staplegun with some padding and cloth and upholster the seat for ben. I even make a back pad and 3 point harness with some leftover webbing and clips. I take cycling bar tape and wrap the handle. The masterpiece is ready.

Now, when we go shopping, we bring our own high performance cart. We *OWN* the isles and we see the jealousy in people's eyes when they get the crappy cart with the wobbly or stuck wheel. No more... we're all done with that nonsense. It's quite the conversation starter.

Hoo Ray!

Monday, March 13, 2006

Where should I go?

So my news consumption consists of hitting the following sites: < the real news

Wondering if anyone has found a better news portal. Share your sources!!!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

mystery wetness

so many ways to go with that title...

So there's this section of road that's nearly always wet. It's not in shade nor is there some errant fire hydrant depositing the dampness. It must be an odd microclimate and I can't work out why it is what it is. So ponder that one.

Friday, February 24, 2006

rolling along

So my parents have said on more than one occasion,
"When are you going to stop this biking of yours?"

The answer, of course, is never.

So a few days ago I was in what can only be described as an attitude downward spiral due primarily to stress at work. I jumped on the bike for 90ish minutes and attacked a few hills on the West side. The surliness and frustration exited my body as sweat. At the end of it, my attitude was completely changed. I was a new man. Without the bike, I would have been doomed. There are no reasonable substitutes to the two-wheeled medication. Something like a 90 minute skate-ski suffer fest would have a similar effect but it would be wrapped in an hour drive each way. Going for a little run or hike has some theraputic effect but it's not a powerful enough med to get the job done.

Beyond this mental/physical maintenance that the bike enables, there's the functional bike-as-vehicle part of my riding. Most people have developed a tolerance for and an acceptance of being in a vehicle all the time. It's just part of life. In our house, this tolerance is near zero. We've cleared the cultural head trash on this and we reach for the car keys only when biking is not practical or safe. In our outlook, it's a hardship to take the car versus rolling on two wheels. This concept is hard to grasp when the tolerance and numbness to the car is well established. Supposing cars ran not on petrol but instead ran on grass clippings or random bits of garbage (i.e. an ecologically free choice) I'd still opt for the bike 99% of the time.

And then finally, there's riding as recreation, sport and adventure. All of our elective vacations are bike-centric. Whether it's exploring a country or enjoying a beautiful piece of a mountain trail, two wheels is really the only way to do it. Again, it comes full circle to the bicycle over car preference. If someone were to say, "Yeah, we're visiting [country or place x] and plan on driving here and there and over there." most people accept that as just the way things are done without question. Sure it's probably the easiest but rarely is it the best.

Then there's biking as a competitive sport. This season, I'll be involved in most of these: road stage racing, mountain bike racing, mountain epic racing, road crit, road TT, velodrome track racing, and the perfect winter pastime: cyclocross. Five years ago I raced only mountain bike racing and epic mountain bike racing.

There's more to be said on this topic but I need to go to a coffee shop... where are my car keys?

Monday, February 20, 2006

to the dark side

The UPS package that arrived two weeks ago has been put to good use. Yesterday I entered my first real road race atop my new scandium & carbon fiber road bike. The frame weighs in at 2.9lbs...freaky light although it's possible to break the 2lb barrier if extremely well funded. The sub 2 bikes should only be raced for a season or two which compounds the total cost. Nothing I need to get into, not until I get fast anyway.

I got killed in a Cat4 race. I hung with the peloton until the final climb where the group blew apart. I was in a second chase group in sight of the peloton but unable to bridge the gap. So our group worked together, sort of, in a feeble effort to get back into the mix. Was more interesting than fun. I learned plenty. The most important lesson is to put more miles in on the bike. It is pretty wild to be rolling along at 28mph or so without putting in much effort which is what happens when in a group of 100 riders. Being handlebar to handlebar at such speeds is complete lunacy, especially when some riders are squirrelly. I kept my distance from them and the potential carnage of the sloppy riders.

I like the bike. I'm thinking that the race venues that will interest me the most will have lots of climbing and suffering. First I need to suffer in training so I can make others suffer on the race course. Ahhh... it's all about the suffering.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Friday, February 03, 2006


PORTLAND, OR, US 02/03/2006 11:56 A.M. ARRIVAL SCAN

02/03/2006 7:06 A.M. ARRIVAL SCAN

Thursday, February 02, 2006

raindrops keep falling ...

Amy says we're in a 25 year record for amount of rain, something like 300% of normal. This is a comforting fact because it's perhaps getting a tiny bit old. BUT... as it turns out, the end is near. The following is an excerpt of the geeky tech explanation of weather patterns from I like the story format as it's a real picture versus an icon of a cloud and a percentage chance of precip. The words, "nice respite" are key. Here it is:

In any event...forecast area should remain dry Monday
through Wednesday. Expect coastal...Coast Range and Cascade foothill areas
to see rather warm daytime temperatures due to the offshore flow.
Coast should also be warm due to limited inversions. Coast Range and
Cascade foothills would be within the subsidence inversions. The Pacific
northwest will likely get a nice respite from the incessant rain...
flooding...slides...etc that dominated the latter part of December
and all of January. Blocking pattern likely to persist through much
of next week.

Friday, January 20, 2006


a few days ago I went to great lengths to explain to Ben what "Capiche" means. "Ben, when you ask someone to understand and agree with what you are saying, you will sometimes say capiche.... Capiche?" And on and on. Fast forward to last night. Amy brings me into where Ben and Max are playing so Ben can tell me something. When I get brought in, it's because he's done something bad and I need to hear it from him and then tell him why it's bad. So Ben had pulled a pillow from underneith Max, causing his head to hit the floor. Ben got swift punishment earlier but now I'm in the room waiting for Ben to tell me the story. He describes what he did. I then said something like, "Ben, so do you understand that you cannot pull the pillow from Max. You shouldn't take anything away from Max. Having his head fall is very very bad. You need to be his big brother and take care of him." and so on... "Do you understand?
"I want to run around" - Ben
"Ben, I don't think you're listening..." and I describe it again... "Do you understand?"
"Yes." - Ben
"Yes what?" - Dad
"Yes I shouldn't pull the pillow from Max."
I was still in the serious parent mode when Ben then said...


At which point both mommy and daddy busted out laughing. "OK, Ben. We're all done discussing this. I think you understand."

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

holy water

amen. So we have a sump pump that has been quite busy this rainy season. The saturated earth is only getting hit with more rain. The circuit breaker on this essential piece of equipment flipped so I went to the fuse box to reset the breaker. When I flipped the switch, a drop of water squeezed out from between the breaker modules.


The basement walls are dry and there's no visible way that the water could get in. Taking off the cover wearing thick rubber shoes I see that there's a 4mm puddle at the bottom of the steel box with submerged wires. I drill a few holes in the metal box so the water can drain and leave the cover off. As it turns out, the water is traveling from *inside* the main cable that enters the house. It's hard to work out how the water has done this but it has. The wire properly goes lower than the entry point on the house like a big J shape to thwart water from traveling along the outside. This tells me that the inside is full, like a straw.

I'm up for most home repair challenges but this cable is all business and I'm not touching it. Time to hire a pro. Given where this is happening, this might be a task for the power company as the water must be starting from the power meter.


Thursday, January 12, 2006

frothing foes find friend in frenzy

Do you care? No... doubtful

But hell, read anyway. So I hear the sweet BRAAHHHHHHHHP sound of the UPS truck pulling up. Within the cardboard walls of the delivery are some nice big latte cups. While I typically prefer a small cappucino or macchiato I needed to try out the new cups. Dangerously low on milk I tried to get a huge amount of volume by really frothing aggressively. The goal was to stretch, as it is called, the milk with lots of air commingled. Sometimes this works, other times... like this time I created lots of big ugly bubbles versus the beautiful and coveted "microfoam."

I take a sip of this drink and WOW does it taste bad.

The point of this random rant is to point out how much a nice velvety foam has an effect on flavoUr, not just aesthetic. It's night and day. Having the ugly "dishsoap" foam tastes horrible. On the flipside, getting served (or typical for me: making) a nice morning cap with invisible bubbles that somehow come out glossy is heaven.... sweet, creamy, delicious.

For the coffee obsessed, read on, for the rest, you are dismissed.

When you ask for and actually receive a "dry cappucino" there is a thing that happen which may surprise you. Most of the milk is poured down the drain. In the construction of the velvety foam, it takes a certain volume of milk to generate the lighter fluffy foam apart from the milk. So you start with 10-12 ish ounces and add 4-6 ounces of foam to the cup once you're done. If you were to wait for the foam to break back down so the bubbles are gone, you're probably looking at 1-2 ounces of liquid, maybe less. So most of it is along for the ride but never makes it into the cup. Do you feel enlightened? Informed? Well sorry, how exciting is coffee? I mean really... get a life.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Daddy, "Dash with me"

Ben likes to run around our house circuit while singing "Jingle Bells" or "The Twelve Days of Christmas" ... it's really funny as he giggles and sings while running as fast as he can. I love my boy.


If you use netflix, email me right now. There's a friends link thing that allows me to see movies you've rated and thus pick good movies to watch. If you have really bad taste then you are excluded from this request. You know who you are.

Happy 06

Please post your 06 resolutions here.

I'll start with mine:
-no more mister nice guy
-teach Max to walk
-teach Ben to catch big air (when Mom's not monitoring)
-ride more *with* my wife
-ride more
-hit at least one big {bicycling} race/epic ride this season
-nail the perfect rosetta at will
-finish all home improvement projects...ha!