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Aug. 15th, 2010

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My Bicycling Adventure

So I decided to bike from Fort Collins to Cheyenne today. This is a trip of about 50 miles which Google assured me had a perfectly passable route that mostly followed I-25. If you can't trust Google (net neutrality aside) who can you trust?

The answer is nobody. You can't trust Google so you can't trust anybody.

The first 30 miles or so went beautifully. Fort Collins is a ridiculously great city for biking around in, and this extends reasonably far outside its boundaries. For the first chunk of the ride there's these great frontage roads that parallel the Interstate with more bikes than cars. Then they disappear and you're faced with gravel frontage roads.

Not nice, solid dirt roads that are like pavement but dusty. No, much of these were soft dirt with loose, golf ball-sized gravel that made riding interesting, to say the least. Ten miles of this in Colorado. It was around mile 30 that I also realized I'd forgotten these states are at something like 50,000 feet elevation with humidity that requires scientific notation to express how low it is. So I ran out of water around mile 30, in the middle of absolutely fuck-all. No gas stations, no fast food, nothing but isolated farms.

I've been planning to ditch my mountain bike, the same one I've had for the past 15 years, and get a nice city bike. Slicks, rigid front fork, just the frame and slightly thicker tires to make it clear I'm still too tough for road bikes. Even visited a couple bike shops in Fort Collins yesterday to see what they had. Slicks would have made me cry on these roads, I'm sure.

Finally, around mile 40, I made it into Wyoming. Cheyenne and home were still 10 miles away, but I was nearly there. There's a big trailer park/ranch thing at the border where I got to fill up on water and we even switched back to a paved frontage road. For a mile or two.

This is where Google and I really began to disagree. It sent me onto another dirt road, which also happened to be private property. I agreed, if only because the only other route that didn't add five miles to my trip was the Interstate itself. I was supposed to spend another five or six miles on this private dirt road, but after two I noticed a nice stretch of fresh blacktop just off my path. Fresh blacktop which Google doesn't even show. Fresh blacktop that ended in a construction zone 100 yards behind where I got on it.

I took this road for a good three miles, enjoying gentle hills (mostly down), great blacktop, and not a single other person on it. Because it was also closed off at the other end. At least it's Sunday and nobody was there to notice. From there I just had a couple more miles to the hotel, which I safely made as I decided never to ever ride that route again.

Jan. 20th, 2010

guinness

Music

So, as a hypothetical, how silly of an idea would it be for a nearly thirty (but not yet!) year-old guy with no musical talent or history to decide to suddenly begin playing a difficult, uncommon, and expensive instrument? For the purposes of this purely hypothetical exercise, we'll assume the instrument is the uilleann pipes, a smaller variety of bagpipes you pump a bellows to inflate instead of blowing.

You know, on a scale of 1 to Why the Hell Do You Want to Spend Several Hundred Bucks on Something You Know You're Just Gonna Get Lazy About and Stop Trying After a Month?

Just asking. No reason.

Jan. 7th, 2010

guinness

A Picture

This is how I feel today:

Jan. 2nd, 2010

tick

The Internet

Sometimes the internet strikes me as a little bit absurd. Sometimes much more than a little bit.

Out in the middle of nowhere in Arizona is a place called Meteor Crater. It is, as the name suggests, a large and relatively recent impact crater. There's a little visitor's center up at the rim but not a whole lot. It's privately owned, not a park or anything, and there's not really much nearby.

The courtyard of this visitor's center has a large brick wall, and in that brick wall is a big window. Just a large open window that looks out over a big flat expanse of nothing with some mountains in the distance.

On Flickr, where I stick some of my photos (along with a photo of this window), I have just learned that there is a group specifically for photos of this window. This one hole in a brick wall standing in the middle of nowhere in Arizona. They've got more than fifty different photos from nearly as many people of this window. And from what I can tell, they just started the group today.

The internet is a strange, strange place.


Also, I just got around to watching The Last King of Scotland. I think Forest Whitaker wants to kill me. Me, personally. And it's because he loves me. Damn, he's fucking scary in that role.

Jan. 1st, 2010

tick

Twenty Ten, even

Happy New Year's and all that entails. 2009 was mediocre, so let's hope for a good year. At least I'm starting it off right by sticking to my couple-weeks-ago resolution to drink in moderation. Party on.

Dec. 14th, 2009

guinness

Paradise

I've now been to one of the greatest places on the planet. I'd have to say it's a close tie between this and Disney World, and I'm not sure how to pick one over the other.

Today I went to the Samuel Adams Brewery.

First, a very attractive tour guide shows you around. You get to see them actually making beer. And by "them," I mean one of the guys that's actually in the commercials. Then you get to taste several of the different barleys they use and get a good sniff of their hops. And then, then the heavens open up and a chorus of angels begins to sing.

You get free beer. The entire tour is free, and they actually give you beer. You get a nice little 7 oz sampling glass (which you get to keep) that you use for three (or in our case, since it was a small tour group, four) different beers, and you actually have the chance to top off a little betwixt beers, so I put away somewhere between two and three regular pours. For free. While a cute blonde told me all about it.

And while I didn't get a chance to taste any, I did get to smell an empty bottle of Utopias. If you know what Utopias is, you'll know how awesome just smelling it should be. It smells very strongly of maple syrup, for the record.

My only regret is that I didn't actually buy any beer to take with me. This brewery is so small, they only brew three different small-batch varieties that you can't usually find elsewhere, in addition to the Utopias, experimental brews, and regular brews slated for special contests or events. So they offer this nice set of the three in big beautiful bottles, but since I'm going to be crossing the border in the next couple of days, I wasn't sure how that'd work out.

It just means I'll have to go back.

Oh, and tomorrow? I'm going to be hitting the Ben & Jerry's factory in Vermont.

May. 15th, 2009

tick

Randomly Neat

Every so often I'm just vaguely fascinated by something. Today it's Google's autocomplete. You've seen it. You're typing in a search and it fills in possible suggestions. Sometimes it's a little bit boggling how it's actually aware of certain phrases. In this case, it was a snippet from an old fairy tale that had been running through my head lately (be bold, be bold, but not too bold,) and I just couldn't remember where the heck it was from. But Google knew before I'd finished asking.

Are we sure Google's not in my head?

May. 2nd, 2009

tick

Polos

I'm in Charlottesville now. Staying in a co-worker's empty apartment (well, full of my crap now), which I may or may not end up taking over completely depending on what they're gonna do with me. I'll find that part out on Monday.

That's not what I'm here to talk about, though. I'm here to talk about polos. The shirts. And how much I dislike them.

I dislike them rather a lot. I have for a long time. I don't think there's anything too specific behind this, just that I think they're silly. If you're not going to wear a t-shirt, man up and get something with a whole suite of buttons. Commit already. I own exactly one polo, and it's the one with the company logo they gave me when I started. I hardly ever wear it.

Mostly I rock the Hawaiian shirts. Depending on the print they can be pretty darn classy. My new favorite shirt is one I got a few weeks ago. Just a plain white collarless shirt, but it's all linen. Got some fan-fucking-tastic linen slacks, too. If you saw me on the street, you'd be all, "Well, he's a little bit homely but damn he's got style and damn if he doesn't look like the most comfortable man alive." Because I am.

Screw polos. I win at style.

Apr. 19th, 2009

dragon

Things I've Made

It's been a while since I've posted about anything I've made, so here's the latest two:

First we have a display stand for the WWII-era bayonet I found buried at work. The thing's in terrible condition, but I still wanted to show it off, so I built this little rack complete with my first (moderately successful) attempt at a dovetail.





Now that I'm serious about shaving with good tools, I needed a place to put those tools. I put this together with some bits of oak and brass rod that I bent into shape myself. It's stubborn, even at just 1/8", and snapped a couple times when I tried to make tight bends. It looks damn fine in the bathroom, though.

Apr. 17th, 2009

tick

Life is Good

So tonight I decided to treat myself to dinner. There's a new(ish) restaurant I'd been meaning to try, that specializes in local and fresh fare. I'm glad I did.

The nice surprise came after I'd been waiting for my food sometime. I apparently ordered just after a large group, but I was in no hurry, and I had a seat at a counter watching the open kitchen. The chef/owner came over to apologize and offer me another drink on the house. Now, every damn bar in Alabama has a big sign saying every drink is 1 1/4 oz booze. I had a glass of Glenmorangie they asked $8 for, and I happily payed. When my freebie arrived, it was easily a triple. The only thing better than fine whisky is free fine whisky.

Then the food came. Pecan crusted grouper. Various sides. The best meal I've had in weeks, if not months. I am such a sucker for good fish. Good fish plus free whisky and I'm set.

And now I'm about to see Crank 2 to round out the night. Maybe even the regular bar afterwards. Not bad at all.

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