Monday, September 29, 2008

snowball fight preparations

I got duped last night. The six year old neighbor who recently challenged me to a snowball fight stopped by. He said he was selling x-mas wreaths for his cub scout troop.

But that's pure BS. The kid was doing recon.

I gotta say, I'm impressed. He was even wearing a little cub scout uniform. I need to do some background... find out if there really is a troop 120 in Minneapolis. I doubt it. I don't yet know what intel he was after. I'm guessing he was looking for evidence of my basement snowball practice range.

Good thing I had the electrician come in the middle of the night to wire a 240 volt connection for my new industrial shaved ice maker. The jig would have been up if the kid caught wind of that.

I noticed him "pet the cats" before he left. Nice try, junior. I know you were really checking that pair of gloves by the door to see if they were wet from packing practice snowballs.

Like I'd leave my snowball gloves by the front door. Amateur.

It's so freakin' on this winter.

Friday, September 26, 2008

weirdest dream ever

I've had some strange dreams in my life. I'm dreamed in foreign languages, in black & white, with subtitles, and I once had a dream with credits at the end. But the dream I had last night blew all of that away.

In this dream, I was at my parents' house in Illinois, and most of my extended family was there. For some reason, I was talking about selling our car & buying Surly Big Dummy. I postulated that I could run all the errands I currently do in the station wagon with the Dummy since it has tons of cargo capacity. Given the chance, I'd loose a car in favor of a cargo bike.

This is where things stop making sense.

My uncle Steve says something to the effect of "Well that will never work. You can't carry cargo on a bike, and you'll probably get hit by a car!"

At this point in the dream, my uncle Steve has morphed in to John McCain. Seriously. He's wearing the standard-issue Republican outfit; Navy suit, white shirt, red tie & American flag pin. I think all of the McCain TV ads are getting to me. I'm more than a little freaked out by this.

Anyway, I tell McCain, "A Big Dummy can totally take the place of a car. I'll show you." And we proceed to walk down to Nokomis Cycles. This the bike shop closest to my house in Minneapolis, so the dream has shifted there. I know it's weird, but just go with it.

So we walk in to the shop & I say to Dwight, the owner, "Hey Dwight. I need to take a Dummy for a spin." Dwight says, "OK, but you need to wear a helmet." So he grabs a couple of helmets off the shelf & hands them to McCain & I. Dwight is a great guy. He's even looking out for me in my unconscious state.

McCain & I hop on the bike & head out. I'm pedaling, he's riding on the snap deck. If the mental image of that doesn't make you laugh your ass off, you may be dead.

I decide to go to the Home Depot off hwy 77 & 66th street to prove the awesomeness that is Surly bikes. Surlys truly are fantastic. I really want to get a Conundrum next, but Marney said she won't be seen with me if I'm on a unicycle. I even named one of our cats Surly. Surly the cat likes cheese, bacon, and he farts a lot. He's also terribly uncoordinated and falls off the coffee table on a weekly basis. I love that fuzzy little stink bomb.

Back to the dream - McCain is impressed by how many people yell out "sweet bike!" as we cruise down Cedar Ave. He's starting to warm to the idea of bikes as cargo carriers.

Once at Home Depot (I wish we would have gone to my local store Hudson's ACE - but what are you going to do?) we lock up the Big Dummy, grab a cart & do some shopping. We bought like, 5 gallons of paint, a six foot ladder & some 2x4s. At the check-out, McCain said "Oh, let me get this." and put the purchase on his AmEx.

Once all of our booty was stashed safely in the Xtracycle bags we headed for home. Upon arrival, McCain said, "Well you proved me wrong. I guess you really can get by with a bike instead of a car."

Then we went inside, where McCain helped my wife & I paint our living room. After painting for a half hour or so, Surly the cat jumped on my back and I woke up.

Wow. The WTF-ness of this dream is just staggering. Even though I'm a cynical bastard when it comes to politics, it's nice to know that the part of me that believes there's good in all of us hasn't died. It's just been relegated to my dreams where it converts warmongers to bike fans.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

get pissed

I F'n hate celebrity gossip shows, especially TMZ. The bastards decided to pick on Mathew McConnaughey by using PC athlete (and world championship qualifier)JP Theberge.

USAT PC Committee Co-chair J. Beeson has asked PC athletes to politely let TMZ know they're a bunch of wankers. I'll be letting them know... but there will be nothing polite in my message.

Monday, September 22, 2008

this motor neuron disease is trippy

You know what's really nutty about monomelic amyotrophy? You can see it.

Granted, you can't see it in the literal, microscopic, holy-crap-there-goes-another-neuron sense, but you still get to watch it in action.

Hypothetically... say you have cancer. You know it's in an internal organ. You know it hurts. It's beneath your skin (assuming it's not skin cancer) and you don't have to look at it.

As I sit here, my tricep is going crazy. It's twitching around like you wouldn't believe. It's twitching because the motor neuron that tells that muscle either "FIRE!" or "chill, baby" is dying. As a result, my tricep gets pieces of info that cause it to spasm uncontrollably.

Remember the movie Crimson Tide where the nuclear sub gets part of a transmission about firing it's ICBMs? Gene Hackman & Denzel Washington go nuts about whether or not to launch the nukes? They totally freak out & try to arrest each other as they inch closer to all out armageddon. One of them wants to launch, one wants to wait for confirmation. Well, that's what's goin' down in my tricep.

Except my tricep isn't as devastatingly handsome as Denzel, as ferocious of an actor as Hackman, and - to my knowledge - not as radioactive as a nuclear sub.

Anyway - here's to hoping (raises a beverage of some sort) you never have to watch a disease lay waste to an appendage. I don't know for sure, but I have a feeling that out-of-sight truly is out-of-mind when it comes to an ailment whomping on your person.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

if its war they want, its war they'll get

A funny thing happened after a run earlier this week. A 6 year old challenged me to a snowball fight. Seriously.

I was stretching in front of the house after an hour long run. It was 80 degrees. The kid across the street said "Hi Colin." and then layed this on me;

"This winter we're going to have a snowball fight, and its going to be my house against your house. So you better get ready."

Then his three year old sister pipes up with "We're having a snowball fight and you better be ready."

Damn right I'll get ready. Those little punks are going down!

The three year old has a twin brother, so they easily out number me. I'm guessing Marney won't assist me in crushing the neighbor kids - so I'm on my own. Six small hands can prepare ammo faster than my hand & a half. Ever try making a snowball one-handed? It ain't easy.

What I lack in numbers, I can make up for in range. Six year olds can't chuck a snowball more than 20 feet, and there's at least 25 feet of road between us. I have the additional advantage of controlling the high ground. Our front yard is a good 3 or 4 vertical feet above the neighbors. My plan is to prepare a bunch of snowballs in advance, then lob them at the kids artillery style.

I'll need to take the six year old out first, he's the tactician. The twins don't have much snowball fight experience. The kid's main weakness is his eyesight. He wears glasses, so a few direct hits to the face will knock off his specs, or at least make them difficult to see through. With their commander unable to give orders, the twins will be easy targets.

You may think pelting children with snowballs is mean. Well they started it. I'll do my best to only knock out their baby teeth.

I'm going to set up some sort of snowball range in the basement. I need to work on my accuracy. Three year old kids have tiny heads which are hard to peg from a distance. I might even hire a pitching coach.

Those kids won't know what hit 'em.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

i know some pretty amazing people, but this takes the cake

Many of my friends from college have reached amazing career highs in less than ten years. I know MBAs, attorneys, business owners & more than one person with the prefix "Dr."

I'm happy to say a fellow Art major from Luther is currently the one blowing my mind. If you were to go to Barak Obama's website, and visit his online store, you'd find this T-shirt for sale.

The shirt is part of a celebrity-designed collection for Obama. While the design is attributed to Beyoncé Knowles' label, House of Deron, anyone who was at Luther College in 1999 will immediately recognize it as the work of Scott Nylund.

Scott is the Design Director for all three of Beyoncé's fashion lines. Design Director. I've never met an art director who was younger than 40, and Scott is directing 3 labels less than 10 years after graduating. Groove on that.

The reason anyone who was at Luther in '99 will recognize his work is due to his senior show posters. His illustrated models still strike the same poses they did in college. His senior runway fashion show will never be topped.

The two of us worked together on a T-shirt design for a big frat party (Trout Fry '99, for those of you who went to Luther). I will now forever be bragging about that shirt. "Oh you saw Tom Hanks at the airport? Well I once collaborated with Beyoncé's design director. Bow down, bitch."

Bow down indeed. Fine work, Mr. Nylund.

more Paralympic news

There's a good article in the Strib today by Jim Souhan. It's about shot & discus paralympian Scott Winkler.

Winkler tried out all sorts of sports at the USOC sports camp. I gotta find out if there is one of those for non-military athletes!

Monday, September 15, 2008

time to start stopping

Yesterday I performed minor surgery to my Karate Monkey's rear brake lever.

I straightened it out a bit using a bench vice & a bar clamp for leverage. I mainly use the vice for opening jars of salsa, so it was nice to once again have a legitimate use for the thing.

The dual lever setup worked well in early backyard tests. I'll take it out on the trails after the Twin Cities Marathon & see how it works. I can ride most of the stuff around here with just a front brake. The real test will be biking Decorah. They have some of the most sadistic trails in the mid west down there.

A suspension fork might be necessary before I try riding Decorah again. Last year, Dead Pet (awesome name for a trail, no?) chewed me up & spit me out. I think it kept one of my collar bones.

Friday, September 12, 2008

new toy

I learned recently that there's a 40% chance that monomelic amyotrophy will affect (is it affect or effect? I never can remember how to use those) the opposite limb to a lesser degree. Turns out I'm part of that 40%. My thumb web muscle has started to atrophy over the last few weeks. My right hand grip strength has decreased to 70 pounds of force. Last year it was in the 90-95lb range.

I don't often (ever) try to lift anything over 70lbs, so I don't really notice it. My chopstick form has gone to hell, but that's the only detriment thus far.

In an attempt to limit my losses, I bought a new toy. I'm hoping the Grip Saver Plus by Metolius will do as it's name implies and save my grip.

I've played with it twice now, and it doe a nice job of working all of the forearm muscles. Hopefully it will help me retain my legendary kung fu grip.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

hit & run

from the Strib: Bicyclist killed in hit and run near Lake Calhoun.

Find the person responsible. Do not call the police. Call me. I'm coming over with a pair of pliers and a blowtorch.