Gone Fishin'

HEY!

I'm not actively blogging here anymore. But if you got here because you were searching for something about bikes, you might want to check out my latest project, Vermont Goldsprints. In summer of 2014, I bought a used goldsprints racing setup and have made it a mission to get more bikes in more people's faces by putting on fun races in unexpected places. Come join me!

12.25.2006

Christmas 2006






Kate and I weren't going to get a tree this year, but there they were yesterday, free trees at a local garden center- They must have cleared out the day before, leaving only a sign that stated "any tree, free" and a saw in the greenhouse for trimming. So into the skirack it went. This is me rigging up a stand, Ishmael testing the tree water for impurities, our Christmas cards, the finished treee with presents underneath, and Kate's prize for putting up with me and Montana for a whole year, a down jacket to keep her warm. This year was largely a Christmas by mail and phone affair, and we both miss our families and friends greatly. Tickets in and out of Missoula were prohibitive, and time off in a retail world this time of year is tough. Next year, though, Christmas on the OTHER side of the divide!

12.18.2006

Here's to you, Mr. Self-Righteous Cyclist

Dear Mr. Self-Righteous Cyclist:

I saw you today at about 5:10pm at the intersection of Broadway and Ryman. You were pointed east, waiting to make the left onto Ryman, and performing an admirable trackstand behind the car in front of you, also waiting to go left. After that car found a gap and went, you continued your trackstand, while sporadically signaling that you intended to make a left turn eventually, when the lane was clear. You blocked traffic and the guy behind you yelled at you to get out of the way.

It was dark, you had no lights and no reflectors, and no reflective clothing to speak of, you were neither an amateur cyclist (as evidenced by the trackstand) nor were you homeless (as evidenced by the helmet, nice clothes and expensive-looking messenger bag. I will forgive members of those two groups their failure to use lights and act responsibly in traffic: amateurs don't know any better and homeless guys on bikes in the dark of a Missoula winter already have it tough enough. Further, members of both groups are recognizable as such to motorists and their behavior (no lights, riding on the sidewalk, wrong side of the road, etc.) is less likely to reflect badly on those who use a bike to get around and generally look like we know what we are doing.

But you, you could have put a foot down and thus been able to take a hand off the bars to keep your turn signal (left hand outstretched to the left) clear and understandable to the motorists behind you. You could have had a set of lights on your bike, or at least you could have had some reflectors, better than nothing. You could have considered how you were making the rest of us look. Finally, had you not had a car with operable and visible tail lights stopped behind you, you would have been invisible to oncoming traffic and could have gotten plowed over by a car trying to make the stale green light you were waiting at.

Look, I'm all for cycling, I'm all for riding with traffic, and I'm all for trackstands- they're fun and they take some effort to learn. I feel proud every time I do one at a stoplight, too. And yeah, I have a brakeless fixie with no lights or reflectors on it in the garage too (10 point bonus if you can guess when I DON'T ride it- that's right, at NIGHT!) But come on, man. Your little balance demonstration held up traffic, confused the guy who was stuck behind you, and furthered the negative image many Missoula drivers have of those of us who use bikes for transportation. A lot of people are working really hard in this town to make cycling a viable, safe alternative to burning fossil fuels, and what you did today was counter-productive. And you could have been killed.

12.17.2006

On Taking My Own Advice

It has been a fairly productive couple of days. On Friday, I found myself out of hours to work for the week (look for a future post titled; "on being union.") and so only popped by work for our "holiday open house." Of course, I also had promised cookies for the event and so found myself Friday morning juggling trips to the Green Hanger to swap Laundry loads with trips to the Orange street Food farm to buy butter and food coloring with trips home to make, color, flavor, load extrude and bake dough. The spritz cookies were, by all accounts a hit and the party was really nice. Kate and Ben came along and Ben was able to get a tour of my office for the first time.

On Saturday, I worked a full day at REI, which was fairly mellow and enjoyable as usual. I used my lunch break to tune and clean my bike. I came home and turned some recently-obtained ground elk to do meatballs along with spaghetti and garlic bread. The meatballs were a success and we had sauce around that I made from Kate's Mom's old family recipe, substituting bison meat for beef in the sauce. So we basically had elk in bison sauce with a bit of pasta and cheese for dinner, with lots of leftovers to carry us through the week.

Today, we had a holiday brunch to attend for Kate's work, held at her bosses' house. It was really nice, as they fired up a waffle iron for the occasion. I brought fresh mozzarella smeared with creme fraiche we cultured ourselves by combining sour and whipping cream and letting it stand overnight. On top of the creme fraiche was olive oil, salt and pepper, marjoram, and a scattering of paper-thin slices of chili pepper. Nice on fresh breads from Le Petit, it was.

Later, we went to see Ben's new appliances, which our shared property-management company installed this week, replacing a couple of harvest-gold dinosaurs that were unsafe and certainly weren't doing his electric bill any favors. We also worked on Christmas cards and such.

This evening, another visit to Ben's place spawned a conversation between us about hi attempts to get his photography business to grow some legs here in Missoula. We talked a lot about getting a job to pay the bills, getting his name and his stuff out, getting him networked with other businesspeople, and how to balance it all, and I got talking a lot about the whole GTD concept. I talked about putting tasks into an excel spreadsheet along with timelines and budgeted amounts of times, sequences, sub-tasks, etc. We talked about whiteboards and workflow and time management and all that stuff.

It made me realize that I need to run down that same wagon and climb back on. Time for another Braindump, I guess, and time to do something more with my tasks than just write them down, though its a start.

12.12.2006

New Stuff

Well, I signed on with the new blogger template, which of course led me to change a few things around. The main thing I realized is how badly I need to calibrate my monitor, as my "black" is pretty gray.

12.10.2006

Miasma

There's been a bit of an inversion in town this week. The fog was pretty thick in the valley this morning and there is a nearly palpable smell. Diesel, woodsmoke, car exhaust, steam, all of it trapped under a layer of cold air up higher and squatting on the valley. Montana is a dumping ground for old clunker vehicles. There's no inspection required out here to register a vehicle (nor do you have to prove you have insurance in order to register). So Missoula is full of old cars belching exhaust that hasn't been seen since the 80's in most states. Old U.S. Forest Service LUV trucks, 1970 Lincoln Continentals, K-cars, Subarus death-rattling their way across town. They have it all here. No traffic initiative, no street reconfiguration is ever going to fix the pollution in this place. And forget about it if you ever get hit by one of these un-inspected, uninsured behemoths. I'm not sure why its like this, but I have a feeling it has something to do with the whole independent, psuedo-cowboy, crappy house and a huge plasma TV from BestBuy in the back of the pickup while the kids go to a substandard school and dream of leaving, attitude that so many in this place have. The desire to remain crappy, because somehow the freedom to be crappy, to be second-rate, is more important to people than breathing.

12.03.2006

Weekend Update

It was a weekend of errands, cleaning and general catch-up. I didn't have to work at REI, so I started Saturday with rearranging the garage and putting back all the bike tools. I have the bike all set up for winter riding, photos to follow as soon as I take some. Kate overhauled her closet and the bathroom, and we both did a fair bit in the kitchen. Cleaning out the garage also gave us occasion to find and put up the Christmas decorations, which we did. Again, photos to follow sometime soon.

The weather's been good here, bitter cold at the beginning of the week and snowy and warmer by the end. The sky was gray all weekend and there was no wind or anything, so Kate and I were able to get out on our bikes a little bit today as well. The weekend was capped off by an REI store meeting for me tonight and dinner alone for Kate. We're back home now and ready for bed, and that was our weekend.

11.25.2006

Bring the Noise

Kate and Ben and I got out a bit tonight to do some night photography. I'll have to wait for the slides, while we were able to "chimp" the viewscreen on Ben's camera to see what he was getting right away. I also brought our little pocket camera along and took some shots for reference. The camera will actually just keep the shutter open until it thinks it has enough light for an exposure, so even in the absence of manual controls I was able to get a few (noisy) shots. Posted by Picasa
The Boone & Crockett Club building also houses the Center for the Rocky Mountain West and is a former train station. The Kim Williams Trail runs along this side of the river along the old railroad grade. Someday, this could all be a part of the Hiawatha Trail, which currently runs through much of northern Idaho, traversing lots of trestles and going through enough tunnels that you have to have a light on your bike to ride it. Leaving Missoula and the Kim Williams Trail, the proposed route would take off up along the Blackfoot River, where another abandoned railroad bed awaits conversion.  Posted by Picasa
The bear was lit with white floods, as opposed the the dominant orange light in Missoula. It was snowing lightly as well, so there was lots of diffused light bouncing around.  Posted by Picasa

11.24.2006

11.23.2006




Thanksgiving started this year with crab dip, french bread, and pumpkin bread with cream cheese frosting...

...Followed by barbeque spare ribs, garlic mashed potatoes, and acorn squash with butter and maple syrup. Then, we went hiking up in Pattee Canyon. It was a less elaborate affair than last year, but it was followed by filet mignon with hollandaise, my first sucessful and first ever hollandaise sauce. I don't have pictures of that yet, Ben took those.



Posted by Picasa

11.19.2006

Sunday Hike


Ben, Kate and I took a six-mile walk in the Rattlesnake today as shown on the map. We started out at the end of Duncan Drive and crossed the new bridge over Rattlesnake Creek, then followed the trail up a bit. It was pretty nice.

Missoula is the only place I have ever been passed by a hunter on a mountain bike with full blaze orange and a rifle on their back. You can ride up in about 15 miles to the wilderness boundary, then get off and hike the backcountry. If you get a deer or elk, though, I have no idea how you get it out. Perhaps you get one of the many people on horseback to help. Posted by Picasa

The Wildlife- Urban interface


This was the scene in front of our garage yesterday morning. Kate got the shot with her cell phone camera. Posted by Picasa

10.29.2006

Mount Jumbo Muni- photos from this afternoon:

We got out for a good ride today- about 8 miles in various places, but the best photos came from the Mount Jumb Saddle area:





10.20.2006

Dinner at the Round Table

I've been browsing the King Arthur Flour website for recipes recently, and we had their Mulligatawny Stew recipe a few weeks ago when some people came over for dinner- excellent. Tonight I'm trying this recipe for upside-down gingerbread.

10.18.2006

Fender Time


Well, I guess I waited too long to winterize my bike. A cold rain descended on Missoula this afternoon and my pants as you see above were a result. Posted by Picasa

10.15.2006

Life Hacks- ITunes Filter

I'm a fan of Lifehacker, another blog I haven't added to my sidebar yet- they recently posted this link to iTunes Filter- if you use iTunes and have a fairly big library with diverse stuff (I do, since all of my and Kate's discs are on there) this is a must-have.

You download the program, run it, and it compares your music to its database from all Filter users. then, in iTunes, select a couple of songs you'd like to build a mix around. Hit the black button on Filter, and it builds a playlist around the songs you selected. You can tell Filter how big of a playlist you want. It also pays attention to your listening habits- skip a song in a Filter-generated playlist and it logs that action and bases future playlists on your song-skipping.

The only con I have noticed is that it can slow things down on older machines, especially with the latest iteration of iTunes running with album art. My newer laptop is fine with this, but my 3-year old Vaio with 256 RAM doesn't always play nice with Filter.

Hit Refresh

If you've been accessing this blog regularly from the same machine, you might need to hit the refresh button in your browser so you can see the changes I've made over the last week or so. I've widened up the template, since just about everybody runs 1024X768 or bigger now anyway. I renamed some of the stuff in the sidebar and added a few more blogs to my links. And yes, I know that gizmodo, engadget, jalopnik etc, are all pretty commercial blogs and that thinkGeek is just downright retail, but I like 'em. And I like to be able to link right through to them rather than go all the way into my bookmarks folder. Anyway, I'm working on editing pictures in new posts so they fill a little more space as well and display better, and eventually I want all my links to pop to new tabs in Firefox, but that's a ways off for now.

10.09.2006

Pattee Canyon


Kate had to work this afternoon, but I got in a nice Uni ride up into Pattee Canyon. To top it off, tonight I figured out that GPS visualizer also lets you export a .kml file to Google Earth, hence the image above. This was not the longest but certainly one of the toughest rides I have taken on, about 2.9 miles up and the same distance back. I was on and off the uni A LOT on the way up, mostly my heart rate would go through the roof, I'd lose my spin, and just then the trail would get steep or rocky enough to throw me. On the way down I only came off once, and that was more from daydreaming than any obstacle. I got pretty close to the final approach to Mount Sentinel, but had to turn back in time to pick Kate up. It's just as well because I'm pretty exhausted now. Posted by Picasa

10.05.2006

(fiber) Glass Menagerie


I got behind this rig on the highway yesterday. Had to take a picture. Posted by Picasa

10.02.2006

Rattlesnake and Sawmill Gulch


Kate and I did about 7.5 miles in the Rattlesnake last night, she on her bike and me on the uni. I bailed hard once and got some pretty good gashes on my leg, and Kate's tire went dead flat about a quarter mile from the parking lot on the way back to the car, but other than that, we had a total blast. We found a little bit of smooth downhill single track to play on (the upper part of the loop you can see on the map). Back to work today, and now we are home and on our way out the door for a quick run. Posted by Picasa

9.30.2006

Back in Action


It really has been several weeks, hasn't it? Fall has been happening with a vengeance here in Missoula, and since we came back from Glacier, we have both been incredibly busy. Kate now has two part-time jobs, both in town, one in the mornings and one for afternoons. We are able to see each other for lunch every day and bike commute together as well. The summer smoke has finally been rained out of the valley and we are having great fall weather. I had the good fortune to pick up a Garmin Forerunner at REI a while back, and it has enhanced our hikes and runs greatly. By using some visualization software available out on the web, yoiu can convert the export files from the unit into maps that overlay aerials, topos, etc. Posted above is a picture of a little 4-mile hike Kate and I took around the saddle of Mount Jumbo today. Posted by Picasa

9.04.2006

GNP



Kate and I took a trip up to Glacier National Park over the weekend. I took a few pictures with the digital camera and burned through two rolls of slide film- which I'll develop later this week. I put the digital camera case right on a belt loop of the larger film camera bag, which reminded me to snap a few easily email-able shots along with the better slide shots. The above picture is of Saint Mary Lake. The forest in the background burned for much of the summer and was still smoking today as we drove by.




Home sweet dome. We haven't gotten much use out of Kate's smaller tent, but since my big six-man finally bit the dust, this is our only option. For a small backpacking tent, there is a surprising amount of room inside. We stayed at the Avalanche Campground, sixteen miles into the park from the West Glacier gate. The system is wondefully simple. Pull into a campsite, go to a pay station, fill out an envelope with your site number and info, insert money, insert envelope into steel pipe, camp. No rear-view window hangers , gate houses, or crabby old couples running the place. Fifteen bucks a night.


Right when you come into the park from West Glacier, you pass Apgar, at the west end of Lake MacDonald. There are nice views into the park here and we went back at about sunset on the night we stayed in the park to skip rocks and watch the mountains change colors. I edited this photo to look more like I remembered it.



Logan Pass. About 10 twisty, steep breathtaking miles and a couple thousand vertical feet above our campground. You drive up, and on a crowded day, circle the parking lot at the visitor center for about half an hour, then park. Walking up the pass gets you this and many other great views, well worth the wait for the parking spot. The trail to the top of the pass from the visitor center is almost all timber boardwalk, and probably the only hike many visitors to the park ever do.



Kate at the end of the more developed portion of the trail on Logan Pass. Hidden Lake below.


Other Logan Pass residents. Also seen that day but not photographed were ptarmigans, a bighorn sheep, a brown bear, and numerous cute furry rodents. Posted by Picasa

8.21.2006

Braindump II

Just thought I'd update the braindump. Bold items are completed, italics for comments. No new additions to the list just yet.

braindump:

pack for seattle
anniversary stuff
firewire card for laptop
install movie edit pro on laptop
==> or think about adobe premiere elements
list/sell stuff in ebay pile
list fixie on craigslist
fax phone info to verizon for county emp discount
find massage school gift certificate and use
burn photo cd for dad
==> send magazine and cd to parents media mail
create yard sale box in garage and fill
check if peugot bike is still abandoned and evaluate for fixie convert
Well, I took it home and mostly apart, not much worth saving beyond the brakes and bars.

seatpost clamp for unicycle
film and developing chemistry, tank for holga (120)
usb hub for laptop
menu for week 8/19-8/26 and shop
phone for replacement at rei 8/16 5:30-9:30
Funny thing about how that went. I screwed up the shift swap form and eneded up getting coverage for the wrong shift and missing the shift anyway. All that stress to do the perfectly wrong thing. Ugh.

paypal $ transfer to bank account
==> use to pay visa bill
get calendar/journal for next year
research plane tickets home for xmas
==> status of rei time off xmas request?
Make list for commuter bike upgrades for winter
Started going through that. A co-worker at REI wanted to know why I just didn’t order in the bike I really wanted before dumping money into the old gray mare. I don’t know why either, but upgrading the trek is a way to keep a great bike relevant, I guess.

==> qbp order ==> install upgrades
winter bike clothes==> full zip pants long gloves etc
consolidate camping & backpacking gear
clean bikes
overdue wedding gifts/cards for friends
locking system for bikes in garage
skis into attic
call home
make hair appointment late september
xmas gift list generate and shop
pull up bar feasibility in upstairs doorframe (36" span)
congrats card to nicole and hans
bring in framed pics to office & hardware & hammer
frames for vermont poem and mass open space logo
clean laptop screen
print weights lifting regime and do
take optical off county insurance

Movie Night

Just saw Rushmore. I'm a fan of Wes Anderson stuff anyway, but this one slipped by, probably when I was abroad in Denmark. (Release date 1998) Anyway, if you haven't, rent it and see it. I loved it.

8.20.2006




Just a couple of photos from today. I spent the better part of the morning up the Rattlesnake with Kate, on the uni. I rode about 8 miles total, all off road. Posted by Picasa

8.09.2006

Braindump I

I've been reading a little bit or productivity stuff lately, mostly about the concept of Getting Things Done (GTD). GTD is an organizational system I don't know much about yet but I have a loose understanding that part of the idea is to get "open loops," that is, stuff that you need to get done but haven't gotten done yet, out of your system to help you focus on the task at hand. One way to get started is to write out a list of tasks.

I wrote out a bunch of stuff I've been meaning to get done and I did actually feel better just by getting it written down somewhere. All the energy I was using recycling all of these action items in my head can now be reduced to the brain power necessary to know that all that stuff is on a list I can get to and act on. I hope to continue this process, possibly posting a strikeout version as it grows and as tasks are completed. We'll see.

braindump:

pack for seattle
anniversary stuff
firewire card for laptop
install movie edit pro on laptop
==> or think about adobe premiere elements
list/sell stuff in ebay pile
list fixie on craigslist
fax phone info to verizon for county emp discount
find massage school gift certificate and use
burn photo cd for dad
==> send magazine and cd to parents media mail
create yard sale box in garage and fill
check if peugot bike is still abandoned and evaluate for fixie convert
seatpost clamp for unicycle
film and developing chemistry, tank for holga (120)
usb hub for laptop
menu for week 8/19-8/26 and shop
phone for replacement at rei 8/16 5:30-9:30
paypal $ transfer to bank account
==> use to pay visa bill
get calendar/journal for next year
research plane tickets home for xmas
==> status of rei time off xmas request?
Make list for commuter bike upgrades for winter
==> qbp order ==> install upgrades
winter bike clothes==> full zip pants long gloves etc
consolidate camping & backpacking gear
clean bikes
overdue wedding gifts/cards for friends
locking system for bikes in garage
skis into attic
call home
make hair appointment late september
xmas gift list generate and shop
pull up bar feasibility in upstairs doorframe (36" span)
congrats card to nicole and hans
bring in framed pics to office & hardware & hammer
frames for vermont poem and mass open space logo
clean laptop screen
print weights lifting regime and do
take optical off county insurance

8.07.2006

Weekend Update II

I worked at REI all day Saturday, but Kate and I got a nice bike ride in tonight up in the Rattlesnake area. We rode along the river on an old ranch road that is really popular with folks out riding and strolling. It also provides access to the Rattlesnake Wilderness, whose boundary is 15.4 miles up the river from the trail there. People sometimes ride their bikes there, backpacks in tow, then hike in further for a weekend of backpacking that might easily involve getting more than 20 miles in from the trailhead (and involves a 15.4 mile, mostly downhill cruise on a bike at the end).

The light was waning by the time we got to the Franklin Bridge, our destination for the evening, but I took a few pictures:

Kate at the waters just below the Franklin Bridge, 8.5 miles from the Trailhead.














Me. Self timer and propping the camera at pavement level on the bridge makes for a slightly creepy self-portrait.


Looking up the creek.



Also, in unrelated news, Ishmael has discovered my underwear bin in my closet.

... Posted by Picasa