Tuesday, December 22, 2009

done

This might just be the best web site I've created: Save Johanna's Brain

The Neuron Shooter game from my site got a hilarious face lift for Johanna's site.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

irons in the fire

I'll be busy this week with a little altruistic side project, so I won't have much to post for a bit. Just for fun, here's a quiz...what do you think is occupying my time?

a) Tiger Woods damage control
b) "Reading" the Tara Reid Playboy issue
c) Building a website for a friend in need
d) Assassinating the Arch-Duke
e) Round-the-clock beer bongs

Here's some music to help you think.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

what did I tell you?

In my last post, I postulated that the best way to get famous fast (and then raise money for rare motor neuron disease research) was to release a sex tape.

However, I forgot about twist on the tape - a good old-fashioned affair. Tiger Woods has been in the news non stop for nearly two weeks since it was revealed he was stepping out on his wife.

Rather than going through the effort of forging a sex tape, I'm going to take the Tiger route. Here's a list of people I've had affairs with;*

• Lindsay Lohan
• Kate Gosselin
• Kim Deal
• The flute chick from American Pie
• Neil Patrick Harris
• Taylor Swift
• Anne Hathaway's second cousin Jenny
• That girl who works at the Quizznos near work
• Melissa Stark

I'd like to apologize to my family, blah, blah, blah, I was weak, yadda yadda yadda... and that's it.

Once the media picks up on this post I'll be known as the latest Hollywood lothario. Then I'll go on Larry King and tell the world that, in addition to being a total man-whore, I want to raise the public's awareness of rare, crippling motor neuron diseases. Donations will start flooding in and maybe I'll help some people out.

This plan is just genius.

* Not really

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

the next big thing

Lance Armstrong recently announced his team roster for the 2010 season. It includes Mid-West badass Bjorn Selander. A few years ago, he was a local high school kid who kicked the crap out me & everyone else at cyclocross races. Pretty cool to see him at the top of the sport at such a young age.

The team's title sponsors are RadioShack and Lance's LiveStrong Cancer foundation. LiveStrong has raised over $180 million for cancer research.

Which got me thinking - where is the rare motor neuron disease big gun? You've got the Jerry Lewis telethon, Micheal J. Fox's Parkinsons thing, and... well, that's it.

Where's the big celebrity fundraiser for weird/rare/undiagnosed motor neuron diseases? I'll tell you where.

Right here.

I'm gonna be the next big thing in disease-related awareness generation and fund raising. Hell, our ALS Assassination Squad raised $9,150 in like, six weeks. The only problem with my plan is I'm not a huge celebrity. Yet. If there's one thing I've learned from TV & the internet, it's how to get headlines. There's a sure-fire way to the top.

I need to release a sex tape.

I know, without asking, that my wife will not be on board. It's a shame really, since I already have a pretty good lighting setup at home. I'm sure she'd turn me down based on this conversation we had the last time a celeb sex tape surfaced;

me: "I wonder when they're going to stop calling them sex tapes."
Marney: "What?"
me: "Its all digital now. No one shoots tape anymore."
Marney: "You are such a dork."
me: "I guess 'sex file' or 'sex mp4' doesn't have the same ring as sex tape. If I had one, it would be a streaming sex FLV."
Marney: "Gross."

The way I see it, there is a simple solution. I need someone else to send me their sex tape, and I'll superimpose my head on the dude's body. I'll film my head in similar lighting and camera angles, key out the background, plop it on top of the original sex tape and motion keyframe the hell out if it. Then I just re-dub any dialog, render, export and biggity-bam! Fame, here I come.

Hell, I could do it frame by frame in Photoshop if I had to. The hard part (insert your own 'hard part' pun here) will be getting my hands on a sex tape featuring a guy of similar build. Additionally, my tape will get more attention if my female co-star is famous. So, I need a six foot tall, fair-haired famous guy who regularly beds famous women to film the act and then send me an uncompressed MOV file.

Matthew McConaughey, I'm looking in your direction.

Once my sex tape gets "leaked" to TMZ, our celebrity-crazed media will clamor find out who I am and how I scored such a famous babe. Hopefully Matthew McConaughey doesn't have any easily identifiable tattoos or birthmarks. That could blow the whole thing. Tell you what, Matt, just shoot it in that eerie green night-vision mode. That'll make you a bit harder to see. Thanks, big guy.

Anyhoo, the gossip sites will track me down eventually. I'll tell them I'm a fundraiser for those with weird/rare/undiagnosed motor neuron diseases. With any luck it will become the cause du jour! Before you know it Bill Gates will be hosting a black tie fundraiser for ALS research and regular folks will be paying $10 to download my sex tape... with all the proceeds going to research, of course.

This plan can't fail!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

top shelf

I've noticed a problem developing over the last couple of months. I'm experiencing increasing difficulty with reaching objects higher than shoulder height. I can just barely raise my hands above my head these days. If you need to high five me for any reason, get your ass to Minneapolis and do it quick. At home, my hand raising (or lack thereof) isn't much of an issue. I simply don't put away any item that belongs on a high shelf. I told Marney that my behavior is consistent with that of all men and should be embraced and celebrated.

She did not buy it.

Unfortunately, shopping is a bit trickier. Shopkeepers don't consult me when stocking shelves. Wankers. The lot of them.

The problem is almost all the products I like are on the top shelf. It doesn't matter which store I go in to. For example;

Grocery store: The Kashi cereal I like? Top shelf. Half & half? Top shelf. Tonic water? It ain't on the bottom shelf.

Clothing stores: The shirt I like? Top rack. Jeans in my size? Top shelf. Sweet shoes? Opposite of the bottom shelf. That stupid skinny white belt? Within reach.

...And the worst shopping experience of all, the liquor store.

There are two problems at the adult beverage emporium. First, all the stuff I like is literally top shelf booze. I dare you to find a store where Tanqueray 10, Bushmills & Makers Mark are located at waist level. The fun continues in the beer cooler, where Surly, Sierra Nevada, Bells and other forms of deliciousness reside just out of reach.

Problem number two is weight. Glass is heavy. Water-based beverages are heavy. Combine the two and you've got a recipe for uhh... non-liftability.

Obviously, I need a solution to my top shelf woes. Here are my options:

The Billy Mays Gopher

Who doesn't need this product?! Bless you Billy, you cacophonous, coked-up sage.

Scissor Lift

I would change the hell out of every lightbulb in Minnesota if I had one of these.

Jet Pack, a la James Bond

Q tested, Moneypenny approved.

Super Stilts
These must have been built on a dare.

A Compliant Giant

I couldn't find a clip of my favorite quote of his, "Be careful. Men in masks are not to be trusted."

P.S. This is beautiful. We're all on the brute squad.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

the epic battle between man and bear

This is pretty self explanatory:
(click for larger view)

Actual explanation here.

This is what happens when I have the day off and 2 hours to kill before dinner.

Friday, November 6, 2009

test time

A while ago, a co-worker asked me to critique pictures of a couple dozen laptop bag designs. His wife's marketing firm was looking for feedback before moving from designs on paper to prototypes. Incidentally, all it takes to be a design authority is hip glasses, a T-shirt that says "helvetica" and using "Photoshop" as a verb.

I spent the last few days playing around with three prototypes. I found the features I like now wouldn't have been on my radar 2 years ago. Magnetic and velcro closures are much easier for me to use than buttons, zippers or snaps.

In fact, most of my purchasing decisions are now made based on function over style. Don't get me wrong, I'm still dapper as hell. I just pay closer attention to things like how the lid to my coffee cup opens or the zipper on a jacket.

As such, I will now offer my services as a gimpy product tester to all industrial designers. I'm sure this will become a full time job. My blog is insanely popular amongst the Auto-CAD set. Priority will be given to those designing ergonomic beer bottles, coffee cups, cutlery, sports car transmissions and large-screen TVs.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

tattoo idea

My sister thought of a good tattoo for me. She quickly sketched it on a post-it note, scanned it, and emailed it to me.I gotta say, it's pretty badass.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

YESSSS!!!!!!

Our favorite band has a new studio record. RAWK!
This one looks heavy.

Friday, October 23, 2009

long time, no post

First off, the turnout for the ALS walk was so huge that we used up all of our extra shirts, plus the ones we ordered for out of towners. So, a new order is being placed and everyone who ordered a shirt will have one soon.

Second, a friend of a friend knows a music prof from Xavier. He will be teaching Heavy Metal class next year. Awe. Some.

Here's the description from the class catalog;
"Now over 40 years old, Heavy Metal continues to reflect the hopes and fears of its audience - especially its fears - and has sparked more controversy and heated debate than any other genre. We will examine the music itself along with its cultural context; issues such as the impact of music on its listeners, censorship and freedom of expression, the role of women (as fans, artists, and objects of misogyny), sexual liberation, fear of nuclear holocaust, and witchcraft/Satanism will figure prominently. We will examine Metal’s emergence around 1970 in bands such as Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple, then study styles and issues from the 70s to the present. Bands covered include Judas Priest, Scorpions, Kiss, Iron Maiden, Venom, Mötley Crüe, Anthrax, Cannibal Corpse and Cradle of Filth."

I can't imagine anything cooler than listening to grindcore for homework.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

walkabout

Well, I'm finally getting around to posting about the ALS walk last saturday. We had a huge turnout, big thanks to everyone who walked. There were friends, neighbors, co-workers, former co-workers, runners, college roommates, parents and cousins in attendance.

Before the walk began, we all noshed on baked goods & coffee (thanks, Julie & Jidana!) and handed out T-shirts to the squad. There was discussion about bringing bloody marrys, mimosas and Irish coffee to the walk. Those plans were abandoned when we realized how many kids would be there. Also, the 3 mile walk would have turned in to a hell of a difficult schlep after an Irish coffee.

I like my Irish coffee IRISH. Most folks call Bailey's and coffee "Irish coffee". My recipe involves generous measures of both Jameson and Baileys. I look at coffee beans while I drink it. If your Irish coffee were a person, it would be Patrick Flanagan from Boston. My Irish coffee would be Liam Shannon McInerney O'Shaunacy from Cork, Ireland, who simultaneously chugs Guinness whilst beating the British with his hurling stick.

Anyway, we had a snack, made some introductions, and then this happened;






Of additional note is my buddy Ben.

We were freshman roommates at Luther. he worked until midnight the day before the walk, slept a few hours, left Decorah, IA at 5:30 am, walked, then drove home to be back at work by 3:00. Yes, he's crazy. And that's why I love the guy.

The Assassination Squad raised well over $8,000, and donations are still coming in. It pays to have generous friends. Big thank-yous to everyone who donated to the ALS Assassination Squad. I love you all bunches.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

and... we rocked it

Full writeup this week.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

more posts as events warrant

T-shirts are in. They look fantastic. The walk is in 2 day and we already beat our goal. Rawk.

I'll post a full recap of the walk with photos and video next week.

Friday, September 4, 2009

ready to wear

Looks like shirt design C from the previous post is the big winner. If you aren't walking with the Assassination squad, but would like a shirt, send me your name & size by Monday, September 7. I don't have a price yet, but they should be quite affordable.

I thought of another logo idea this morning:
but this one really isn't funny unless you know HTML.

The Assassination Squad is still rocking the fundraising. If you'd like to help, but can't make it to MPLS, you can always join as a virtual walker. You still get to hit up your friends for cash, but you don't need to stroll around a lake.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

new plan

Thank you to the 20 people that voted for their favorite shirt logo. There were 2 clear favorites emerging, so I'm moving along to round two. This is sort of like instant runoff voting, without the potential recount nightmares.

I'm pretty sure I want to do the shirts in black with white ink. Here are the two front runners as they would appear on a black shirt. Option C is another idea - 2 color printing on a grey shirt. Yes, I spell it 'grey' and not 'gray'. No, I don't know why I do it.

Option A

Option B

Option C


Vote in the poll on the sidebar.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

and here are the rest

Here are my last 2 designs for our team's ALS Walk t-shirt. The voting poll should be up on the right side bar shortly.

design 3

design 4

Saturday, August 29, 2009

art time

Two of the four t-shirt artwork ideas for ALS walk are mocked up. I'll get the other two up this weekend & have my readers vote for their favorites. It will be democracy in action.

design 1

design 2

Ou walk team is really kicking ass at the moment. We have 11 members and are currently the top fundraiser. The second place team has over 40 members.

I've received donations from people I don't even know. I'm guessing those folks are readers of this blog. Major "thank yous" go out to everyone who is supporting the ALS Assassination squad!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

look who is on Facebook

I had no idea. Click the pic for larger view.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

join us

Turn on. Tune in. Join up.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

creative writing

Lately a lot of people have been telling me that I should write a book. Apparently, I'm entertaining... or at least tolerable. I've also heard from more than a couple sources that my writing has a "cinematic" quality. The logical thing to do is combine 'book' & 'cinematic' and write a screenplay. Here are a few ideas I'm knocking around...

Meth Lab! The Musical
It's a magical adventure through middle America - fueled by speed, Mt. Dew, and a bitchin' 70s inspired score.

"We're going to start a meth lab, here comes some cash,
If the coppers show up, away we'll dash!
We'll stay up for days cooking Sudafed
When we're done, we're not going to bed!
Our buddy Dave just stole anhydrous ammonia,
If the lab blows up, t'was nice to know ya!"

...aaaaaand - Jazz Hands!

Time Traveling Vampire Zombies
This one is pretty self explanatory.

Teen Sex Comedy Iteration #213
It's the last day of senior year, and these guys are ready for love! (fast pans/jump cuts of hot teen guys) Too bad they're students at (sound of record scratching) an all boys military school! (cue song "What I Like About You"). Now - they're going to find out that 'don't tell' (cutaway to mousy-looking dude leaning about Astroglide® from studly guy) doesn't mean you can't ask! Starring Disney's cutest teen actors and Tim Curry as some sort of pseudo-father figure who is also a total queen.

Vacation For Satan
Even the Prince of Darkness needs a break! Join Mephistopheles as he tours the desert South West by motorcycle. He befriends wayward souls and travelers, imparting upon them his unique world view. Watch as he mentors a young runaway through some tough family times. Eventually, everyone realizes that Satan has it all figured out... hanging out with your friends, gambling, drinking, doing drugs, and dressing fashionably are waaaaay cooler than being good enough to get in to heaven. I mean, no booze? F that. Oh, the film's score will be composed by Slayer.

Hotdish Riot
Mocumentary about the annual County Fair Casserole cook-off in a small Minnesota town. Who will win the grand prize? Cast of characters includes a cute little grandma who swears like a sailor, the Lutheran pastor's wife - a closet drunk who longs for the old days as a Las Vegas stripper, a Vietnam vet who cooks casserole as a form of PTSD therapy and takes pot-shots at the mailman daily and a plucky high school senior who might poison her competitors in pursuit of the blue ribbon.

ALS Walk

The Minnesota ALS Walk is coming up in a little over a month. Most of the team names are all cutesy like "Carl's Crew" or "Bettie's Buddies" or "Steve's Striders". My team name is not cutesy.

If you are Metal enough (if you read this blog regularly, you are) I invite you to join the ALS Assassination squad. I'm working on a logo. It will rock enough to melt your face.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

new web site

My updated website is up over here. It rules. Crank your computer volume to eleven if you play the neuron shooter game.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

neuron sing-along

My love/hate relationship with my motor neurons is well documented on this blog. They love to hate me, and I'm OK with that.

However, sometimes your neurons can team up and do some pretty neat stuff — like know the next note in a song you've never heard before. Bobby McFerrin breaks it down;


I love how this is simultaneously über-geeky and pretty... kinda like a math teacher I once dated.

Monday, August 3, 2009

what's all this then?

Can anyone identify this thing?

The good folks at the ALS Association of Minnesota (the same people who introduced me to the Rocker Knife) sent this doodad my way. It consists of a leather shoelace, a hard plastic loop thingy, six brass washers, a 1.5 inch eye loop bolt and a wing-nut holding it all together.

This hodgepodge is like, a MacGyver wet dream or something.

Last week at the doctor (diagnosis is still Probable ALS, F.Y.I.) I mentioned I had trouble holding my arms up when I run. I thought perhaps it was an arm-holding thing. There's no way this thing could hold up my arms... or anything else for that matter.

The wing-nut implies I should loosen it up, but to what end? There isn't even a brand name on this sucker to offer a clue to it's pedigree!

First person to identify this device wins a beer or five bucks or a freakin' Nobel prize.

UPDATE!

It's a key assist device. It's supposed to make turning a key, like when starting the car, easier. It doesn't work great, but it's the thought that counts.

Monday, July 27, 2009

quiz answers

Here are the answers to yesterday's test for heavy metal:

1) Bassist Cliff Burton
2) C
3) Hellfest
4) A
5) F,E,A,C,B,D
6) Motörhead
7) All of them are horrible, but A is the best answer as evidenced by this atrocity.
8) The Umlaut
9) Judas Priest & Dokken
10) None more black

rock.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

guess what I get to do today


No, that isn't a gas can you're looking at. It's the receptacle I get to pee in for the next 24 hours.

My doctor ordered a 24 hour urine collection to test for heavy metals. Lovely. I don't know why I can't just pee on a magnet and then bring it to the doctor. Last night I hung out with the guys, so I'm guessing my pee will test high for bratwurst and hops.

I think the doctors are going about this the wrong way. So, I've designed my own test. If you score over 50%, you test positive for heavy metal.

1) Which member of Metallica was killed in a tour bus accident?

2) Which of the following is not a Black Metal band?
a. Venom
b. Mütiilation
c. Rocker Knife
d. Bloodthorn

3) What Metal music festival takes place in Clisson, France?

4) Identify the proper phonetic spelling of the first guitar solo in Judas Priest's Painkiller?
a. MeedelyMeedelyMeedelyMeedelyMeedelyBWAAAAaauuu
b. MeedelyMeedelyMeedelyMeedelyMeedelyGRRRRRAaaaaa
c. BeedlyBeedlyBeedlyBeedlyBeedlyWWAAAAUUUuuuuuuuu
d. BeedadeMeedlyBeedadeMeedlyBeedadeBBRRRAAAAaaaa

5) Rank the following in ascending order of importance according to Metal's cosmic hierarchy.
a. Swords
b. Fire
c. Dragons
d. Satan
e. Skulls
f. Lightning

6) What Speed Metal band wanted to be the "dirtiest band in the world?"

7) What is the lamest incarnation of Metal?
a. Nu Metal
b. Screamo
c. Hair Metal
d. Christian Metal

8) What is the most overused diacritic mark in Metal?

9) What band was playing in the documentary Heavy Metal Parking Lot?
*Extra Credit; Who was the opening act?

10) How much more black could the Smell the Glove album cover be?

That's the end of the test for Heavy Metal. Did you pass?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The EMG Test

There are two basic components of an EMG, the nerve function and muscle function tests. The former involves getting shocked a bunch, the latter involves getting a two inch needle jabbed in to various muscles while you flex. Fun!

My very first EMG went like this; I started but putting on one of those sexy open-in-the-back hospital gowns and immersing my feet & arms in a pair of sinks. They didn't tell me about the soaking part before my appointment. Well, they sort of did.

Nurse: "Oh good, you're here early. They love it when they can get you soaking."
Me: ...(uncomfortable pause).."Um, soaking?"
Nurse: "Yeah, you soak the part their testing in water. Didn't they tell you that?"
Me: "Must have slipped their minds."
----moments later-----
Nurse 2: "Come on back Colin, we'll get your arms and legs soaking."
Me: "And legs? It's just my left hand."
Nurse 2: "It says here the doctor wants to check all of your extermities."
Me: "Hmmm." (Internally: "SHIT!")

Apparently your skin zaps easier if it's wet. Who knew. The neurologists at the U of MN don't make you soak... they use a needle microphone that goes in your skin instead of on it. Ow.

Once I was sufficiently soggy, the doctor took me into another room & started taped little electrodes to my hand. He then took a medical-grade tazer and started zapping my arm. It hurt a bit, but it was cool to watch my hand flopping around. I asked how many volts the thing put out. He said "Oh, it goes up 150, but the current is only on for 1-2 milliseconds, so there isn't enough amperage to do any damage." Oh good! I thought running household current through my extremities would be dangerous.

After zapping came the Muscle test. He put away the tazer and took out what I can only describe as an electric stethoscope and a large needle that was hooked up to some sort of jumper cable. The electric stethoscope was taped to my forearm, and the needle was inserted into several of my muscles. He'd get the needle in, graph some sort of baseline, then have me flex my muscle with the needle still in it.

All of my subsequent tests have played out pretty much the same. Occasionally one of my muscles, usually a calf, will cramp up with the needle still inside. The feeling of individual muscle fibers sticking to a needle as it's extracted is one of the most stomach turning sensations ever. By the end of the test, you end up feeling like you fell off a cliff while being stung by bees.

But, it's not all bad. Here are some comic highlights from my EMG this morning.

Dr 1 to Dr 2: "I didn't get a strong F wave that time. Don't you hate that?"
Me: "Don't even get me started! F waves these days"

Dr 3 to Dr 2: "I need another alcohol." (referring to an alcohol wipe)
Me: "I'll take an alcohol too. Dry with 2 olives please."

A collection of things the doctors said that totally sounded pervy;

• Put more goo on your probe.
• Now just stick it in.
• Try to straddle his muscle.
• Push it in at a 45 degree angle.
• You might need to get it wet again.
• Yeah, that looks like a good 20 centimeters.
• You've got a nice long humerus.
• This is going to be a big one.
• Now pull it out.

EMG

I'm having another EMG test this friday. This will be my 8th or 9th. I think EMG stands for Electrocution Motherf*cking Grandiose.

I'll work on a write-up of what this test entails. Spoiler alert! It falls between waterboarding and getting your finger stuck between the prongs of a plug in an outlet.

I should have known it was bad when, before my first EMG, I told my mom the brochure said I might experience some discomfort. She told me the child birth brochure the hospital gave her warned she "might experience some discomfort." Go find a woman who had a kid sans painkillers. Ask her what "some discomfort" feels like. (warning - not for the squeamish)

Tune in later this week and I shall regale you with tales of needles, tazers, more needles and puncture wounds. I may even share my patented post-EMG pain cure. (Spoiler alert! BOOZE!)

Friday, July 10, 2009

what to do

Calling all crackpots; I need to figure out what to do with my web site. It's all about me being a triathlete. However, my arms are too weak to do much more than tread water (though I can tread the shit outta whatever water you got. I don't want to brag, I'm just sayin' that if I tread your water, it's going to stay tread.) so I'm not much of a triathlete anymore.

I read somewhere that, internet-wide, religious web sites just barely outnumber porn sites. That makes my web decision easy. I can either;

a) Start a religion
- or -
b) Become a porn star

There's pros and cons of each. I don't think my personality is magnetic enough to be anyone's messiah (this blog only has 2 followers after all). Also, I can't walk on water. (but when it comes to treading water, oh wait - we already covered that) However, I could shoot some video of me walking on a green screen and comp it on to some water video in Final Cut Pro. That would make for some pretty convincing home page footage. The religion itself will be about peace, love and all that crap. Oh, and you have to bike to work on Fridays.

As for becoming a porn star... lets say I don't have the "talent" necessary to break in to the biz. On the other hand, Photoshop to the rescue! Just a bit of work with the magnetic lasso, some free transform, and maybe a quick application of the 'bulge' filter and my calling card photo is ready. All I'll need is a cool stage name like "Brock Rockwell" or "Rod Boulders" or "Saul Shaftstein". I'm a Flash video pro, so getting my vids online would be easy.

P. Nisishuge. Peter Upman.

What say you, internet minions? Should colinfarbotko.com serve a higher power or a lowly vice?

P.S. I could also redirect it to this blog, but that option is a distant third.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

its been a while since i did a top 5...

So, here's my top 5 favorite songs to play the drums to/with... in no particular order...

Interpol - No I In Threesome
Interpol is the kind of band that makes you feel cool just for knowing about them. Also, I love how this seemingly sweet song goes off the rails at the end (the title kinda gives it away).

The Black Crowes - Sometimes Salvation
Sometimes the ride cymbal needs a workout. This tune is happy to oblige. Also, the studio version is one of the most technically perfect recordings I've heard. Each note is spot on.


Guns n Roses - Welcome to the Jungle
There's a special place in my heart for dirty-ass, straight up rock. Also - there's cowbell in the chorus!


Jeff Buckley - Last Goodbye
This is one of the, if not THE prettiest, breakup song of all time. I've always maintained the best songs were about breakups or heroin, so that's saying something.
Side note: I would kill to see Ben Folds cover this song. That would be epic.

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Give It Away
It's just one long-ass innuendo, and playing it as loud as you can only helps. Chad Smith has the best job.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

the rocker knife in action

A surprising number of people have asked me about how well the rocker knife works. I figured it would be easiest to just show you the thing in action:

Monday, June 8, 2009

druggie

Now that I've got probable ALS, my neurologist put me on a little something called Rilutek®. That's the brand name for a drug called Riluzole - the only thing proven to help people with ALS. It's a glutamine blocker, whatever that is. I would have named it Glutanon, or Blockamine, or Glutanot, or Blockoglutatrol - but they didn't ask me.

I take two 50mg pills per day. Each pill is the size of a TicTac. A one month supply costs over $1000 dollars. That's right, 60 pills costs more than the last bike I bought. Thankfully, my insurance picks up most of that. I asked my doctor why it costs so much. She said, "Because it can." Hey Sanofi-Aventis - screw you.

I asked the nurse how I'd know if it was working. She said "You won't." Wow. For a grand it should at the very least get me high as a kite. Also, the pills should be the size of hockey pucks, shoot rainbows and summon unicorns. I'm just saying, if I buy $1,000 worth of drugs I better be trippin' balls for days. Or be able to sell said drugs to hippies.

Here's were things get funny; the side effects.

I love, LOVE, when drug commercial narrators rattle off the possible side effects. "Try AllergyNo! Side effects may include dry mouth, constipation, explosive diarrhea, blindness, spontaneous combustion, double explosive diarrhea, cough and loss of toes. Ask your doctor about AllergyNo! today."

The Rilutek side effects are (this is verbatim from their web site); "weakness, nausea, lung function decrease, a mild liver disorder that is typically temporary, runny nose and headache."

The first side effect is ''weakness". Weakness. If you have ALS, you're already weak! You've been weak for over a year! The treatment may make you weaker! Wow! Fun! Wow!

I can verify, weakness is the number one side effect. After the first time I took Rilutek, I felt weak. By felt weak, I mean I struggled to lift a 6-pack of beer on to the counter at the liquor store. When I got home, I struggled to walk from the garage to the house. The weakness wore off after an hour or two - much like Han Solo's strength returned after being freed from carbonite.

I don't know what to think when the treatment exacerbates the symptoms. My gut reaction is, drug researchers are idiots.

What have they done for me? I mean, they didn't even get me high.

I should give the Rilutek crew a break since they don't make an E.D. drug. You can't turn on the TV without seeing an ad for Viagra, Levitra or Cialis. Boner pills are readily available, but the one thing that can extend the lifespan of someone with the only disease that is 100% fatal 100% of the time isn't advertised and costs one grand per month.

So, makers of Viagra, Levitra or Cialis - here's your next focus group study. I'm literally doing your jobs for you.

Assemble a bunch of guys with ALS. Ask them if they'd rather;
1) Live.
2) Die with a boner.

Plan your next R&D/Marketing cycle accordingly.

I'm not positive, but I'm guessing guys with ALS would rather see those companies spend their cash on saving lives than doling out stiffies. People are dying.

Where are your prorities? No one ever died from not having a hard-on.

Friday, May 22, 2009

snaps

I was just watching this:

When it dawned on me;

I really miss snapping my fingers.

Weird.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Rocker Knife is Back

You couldn't stay away from Rocker Knife. You knew it.

Thank your lucky stars your face hasn't melted yet.

And the track list:

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Behold the Foltis

Here it is, Swobo Otis components on a Folsom frame. Dubbed the "Foltis" by Gene and Brauer at One on One.

You may be asking yourself, "How much more black could that bike be?". The answer is none. None more black. It's like a pastel black - its easy on the eyes.

I'm really digging the 3 speed hub. I've only used first gear twice. It feels almost identical to the 34x18 on my Karate Monkey. Third gear is pretty close to the 43x16 on my Cross Check (maybe a 42x16 or 17) and second gear is right in the middle.

Swobo was kind enough to stamp the bike's serial number on the head badge for easy viewing. It was there I learned my frame was assembled by Satan.

Yes, it ends in 666. The Foltis is destined to rock your ass straight to hell and back.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Possibly the coolest, and easily the most Metal utensil ever

Right. Long story short, my diagnosis of Monomelic Amyotrophy has been changed to Probable ALS. That means my symptoms don't match MMA anymore, but they don't yet match ALS. The good news is that the fine folks at the Minnesota ALS Association are here to help. They provided me with a sweet shirt button hook buttoner thingy, some rocking jar-opening sticky stuff, and this:

That bad mo-fo is called a "rocker knife". Honestly. These should be in every store. See it demolishing that New York strip? I just lay my hand on the object to be cut, rock my hand back and forth, and cut the holy hell out of that thing. I can't believe these aren't available to the general population at Target!

I thought "Rocker Knife" sounded like a good title to an album for a metal band. So, here it is:
(click for larger view)

And...I'd be remiss if I didn't make a tracklist for such a heavy CD.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

well that worked out

Yesterday I called up One on One and asked if they had a 20" Swobo Otis in stock. They did not. They did, however, have a 16.5" bike and a 20 inch frame in stock & said it would take a day to swap over the parts.

Game on.

Turns out it wasn't a 20" Otis frame they had. It was a Folsom. The most overbuilt, badass, jet black frame I've ever seen. I now have what amounts to a three speed, coaster brake equipped, gigantic bmx bike.

I sit upright enough to not fatigue my arms, and I now have a rear brake I can actually use. There's also a front disc brake I plan on using to facilitate rad endos. There's even a built-in bottle opener under the seat. Bitchin'.

Oh, my first trip on thing was a ride over to 48th and Chicago for a beer. Pictures coming soon.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

brake update

Turns out that coaster brake hub was spaced for 120mm dropouts with a 150mm axel. My Surlys are 135mm. That's pretty funny if you understand dropout spacing. If you don't, here's a joke.

Two guys walk in to a bar. The third one ducked.

I am the alpha and the omega of comedy. All SRAM coaster brake hubs in the US are sold out through summer, so I'm eying one of these fellas. Next week is bike to work week!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Spring brake - or - the circle of bike

When I first learned how to ride a bike, it was on a steel-framed, single speed bike with a coaster brake. You know, the kind of brake kid's bikes have that engages when you pedal backwards.

I soon moved to a bmx bike with a coaster brake and hand brakes. Then it was a 10 speed roadie with a freewheel and hand brakes. Over the next twenty-odd years, I progressed through 12 speeds, 27 speeds, front suspension, full suspension, aluminum, carbon fiber and all sorts of other fancy crap only to arrive back at this:

That is a Shimano coaster brake hub that I'll be using on my steel-framed, single speed bike. Ahh... the circle of life.

It came with a 20 tooth cog, so I'll need to up my chainring size and add some links before I can use it. I'm very much looking forward to stopping in a timely manner.

But mostly, I'm looking forward to locking my rear wheel up and laying down some rad skids.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

at last...

After breaking a rib, goofing up my back and spraining an ankle in rapid succession, I am finally back in action. I ran 3 miles pathetically slow last night, but that's three miles more than I've run in the last 4 weeks. Hopefully I'll get my fitness back quickly.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

spring break... well, fracture technically

My St. Patty's day got off to an eventful start. I fractured a rib this morning! Luck of the (one quarter) Irish indeed.

I crashed my bike, and I didn't even make it off my block. My toe kicked my fender, which snagged a stud on my ice tire (which is bigger than a standard tire and has carbide studs sticking out of it) which locked the front wheel and sent me tumbling. I tried to tuck and roll, but I sort of tucked and went splat. I even knocked the wind out of myself for good measure.

So, I dusted myself off, drove to work, and by 10:00 it was clear I wasn't going to just walk this one off. Off to urgent care I went, where they took 3 x-rays. Tonight I'm sporting a new back brace from Target (the hospital version costs $70!) hiked up to my arm pits. It functions somewhat like a push-up bra. My ribs may hurt like hell, but I got a sexy rack to show for it.

I wish I could have at least cracked a rib in a cool way. Being run down by jewel thieves in a Audi S8 on the run from the cops would have been killer. Instead I was sabotaged by my own big feet. Lame

Friday, February 27, 2009

swell time

Long story short - yesterday it snowed while I was running, so I couldn't see the patches of ice on the path, so I fell. Hard.

I jacked up my left wrist pretty good. There is some nice purple coloration coming in. But the really weird thing is, it didn't swell up.

Normally when you get injured, all of your tissue & stuff swells up to immobilize and protect the injured area. Everything in my wrist has atrophied down to nothing, so nothing swelled up.

Its freakin' weird, man.

UPDATE!!

My GPS thingy knows exactly where I fell. Check it out.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

snowball fight - with video!

It finally went down between me and the little neighbor kid. He really wasn't thinking clearly when he challenged me to a snowball fight last September. He had no idea what kind of merciless beatdown was heading his way. None.

Challenging me to a snowball fight is like opening the gates of hell and calling Satan a fairy. Its like stepping between a mother grizzly bear and her cub - only the mother bear has a bazooka that fires snowballs and the baby bear is actually another mother bear that is pissed off and hungry.

Here's video Marney shot of the snowball fight. You'll want to make some popcorn and dim the lights before viewing - 'cause this is epic.



Boom! I bring the pain in a snowball fight.

I removed the sound so you didn't have to listen to the wind screams of the child as he begged for mercy. Most people wouldn't pelt a kid while he tried to crawl to safety. Fortunately, I'm not most people. I'm a stone cold snowball warrior.

Did you notice a snowball hit me in the ass at the 11 second mark? That was thrown by the kid's mom. Sorry, junior, but your mom can't help you win.

I may have won the battle, but not the war. There's another month of winter ahead of us. I'm sure he'll start another snowball fight.

And I'll be ready to rain down icy doom.

Friday, February 20, 2009

i'm still alive

Pretty much swamped right now with the 9-5 and 3 freelance gigs going on simultaneously. Actually, 2 freelance projects and a volunteer thing (vote Doron) but at some point I'll get back to spewing my usual drivel about neurons and triathlons and what not. I do like to keep things fresh for all of my readers.

You two are great.

Friday, February 6, 2009

train(ing) tracks

This Saturday is the Spin for ALS, presented by the GW Tri Club, at SCS Multisport. Its a spin as long as you want thing that raises money for the ALS association. My motor neuron disease is basically a stones throw from ALS, so I'll be attending and donating to the cause. I'll also be wearing my Luther bike jersey in memory of Nick.

I'm guessing they'll have a Spinervals dvd or some tunes on during the spin. In an attempt to make your Friday rock a little harder (or possibly scare the hell out of you) here are my top 5 favorite songs to blast when I'm on the bike trainer.

Mastodon - "Where Strides the Behemoth"
The last 30 seconds of this song are so heavy, you can't not sprint. *Bonus! On the video below, they go straight in to "Mother Puncher" which is in my top 10 training tunes.


Mastodon - "Crystal Skull"
This song kinda scares me, which is great when I'm trying to ride faster.


The Hives - "Hate to Say I Told You So"
Swedes in suits rocking out. What's not to like?


Electric Six - "Gay Bar"
This tune is fast as hell and always makes me crack a smile.


Mastodon - "The Wolf is Loose"
The first time I heard this song, it made me want to outrun something. That's a good feeling to have when riding a stationary bike in a basement.


And just you don't think I'm crazy, here's what I listen to at work or in the car.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Best. Crowd surf. Ever.

Two things are evident in this photo:

1) The crowd at this show kicks ass.

2) The guy in the wheel chair kicks as much ass as the sum of the crowd below him.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

live blogging an MRI - theoretically

I had a MRI of my neck done the other day. Just a follow-up because thats what my doctor likes to do. Which, of course, means my insurance covers it.

I thought it would be cool to liveblog the MRI (blog about it as it happens). Unfortunately metal and high powered electromagnets, like the ones in MRI machines, don't play nice. So I tried to commit the experience to memory and then expunge it in theoretical liveblog format. Enjoy.

6:26 PM - I can't believe they are open this late.

6:28 PM - I hate these dumb forms. Ooh - I get to choose an XM radio station to listen to in the MRI tube. The all hair-metal station is tempting, but... 24/7 Led Zeppelin station, here I come.

6:29 PM - I am going to rock the hell out in that MRI machine. I hope they play Kashmir.

6:30 PM - There's a box I need to check if I have a penile implant. What the hell is a penile implant made of? Also, what is a penile implant? Note to self - work on penile implant punchlines before next MRI.

6:32 PM - This nurse is the hottest nurse I have ever seen. (editor's note; Seriously. Wow. Picture Penelope Cruz as the hot doctor in Sahara, glasses and all, only hotter and with darker hair. Seriously.)

6:35 PM - Remove all metal objects. Check.

6:36 PM - Laying on a slab. About to go in a magnet tube. MRI tech guy informs me the 24/7 Zep station is seasonal. That's right, seasonal. The christmas station is on all year, Zep is November 1 to December 31. I'm going with 60s and 70s classic rock instead.

6:37 PM - Tech dude puts a weird cage thing over my neck. It's all white & sorta looks like what would happen if Apple designed the lower portion of Darth Vader's helmet.

6:38 PM - I'm in the MRI machine tube. Here come the tunes... wait for it... Grand Funk Railroad! We're an American band indeed.

6:39 PM - What the hell is that klaxon alarm!?!? Oh yeah, it's the MRI doing it's thing. Soothing.

6:45 PM - Wait, is this... I think it is...

6:46 PM - It is! "Won't Get Fooled Again" by The Who!

6:49 PM - BAdaDAAAAAAA BA BA! BAdaDAAAAAAA BA BA! YYEEEEEEEAAAAAHHHHHH!

6:50 PM - Keith Moon was the shit.

6:53 PM - I hope the next song rocks. Kick Out the Jams would be perfect.

6:54 PM - Your kidding me. It's "All You Need is Love" by The Beatles. These guys need to work on their playlists. Helter Skelter would have worked.

6:56 PM - Leaving the tube. Time for a contrast injection.

6:57 PM - I ask the MRI tech if he'll be able to hear me in the tube if I sing along with The Who. He tells me not to because I'll move too much. This guy has no sense of humor.

6:58 PM - I bet that hot nurse would have laughed.

6:58 PM - I wonder who they practice on when learning how to inject someone. It seems tricky, but then again, heroin junkies do it.

7:00 PM - Back in the tube for scan number two.

7:01 PM - Hey, it's a Doobie Brothers tune. That'll work.

7:03 PM - Without LOOOOOOOooooooOOOOVE!

7:05 PM - I wonder what they do if a really fat guy needs an MRI. It's not exactly spacious in here.

7:06 PM - Thank god I didn't go to Chipotle for dinner. Farting in this thing would suck.

7:08 PM - I could go for a Hopslam and some nachos.

7:09 PM - Hey, I'm done!

7:10 PM - Again, this nurse is the hottest nurse I have ever seen.

Monday, January 19, 2009

i didn't break a pole, but thanks for asking

Each of the last 3 times I've cross country skied at Hiawatha golf course, I've been asked the same 2 questions;

"Did you break a pole?" and "So... what's wrong with your arm?" (I love the way Minnesotans start random questions or statements with "so". It's our favorite segue.)

The 'did you break a pole' inquiry has been asked of me while skiing by another skier. It plays out like this;

Guy: Dude, did you break a pole?
Me: No, I got a bad hand so I use one pole.
Guy: Oh, sorry man.
Me: No problem Have a good ski!

The three guys who have asked looked like they genuinely felt bad about asking if I broke a pole. I'm not sure why, I think that's a perfectly logical question to ask. I'd make the same assumption if I saw a 2-armed man using one ski pole.

The second question I get plays out in the parking lot when I'm putting my skis in the car. Each time it's been asked by a guy I passed, so they had ample time to watch my left arm flop around.

Guy: So, what's wrong with your hand/arm?
Me: I've got this rare motor neuron thing that makes my arm weak, so I just use one pole.
Guy: Man, that sucks. Sorry.
Me: It's not that bad, but going uphill is kinda hard.
Guy: Will it get better eventually?
Me: Nope.
Guy: Man, that sucks. Sorry.

Oddly enough, in two years not a single triathlete or runner has asked what's up with my arm. In the span of a week, six skiers inquired about it.

Maybe it has something to do with runners or triathletes generally being in a pack & skiers being spaced out single file. Maybe skiers are looking around & enjoying the scenery while runners are busy checking heart rate monitors and triathletes are staring at cadence or wattage meters.

However, my guess is that skiers stand out against the snow and are easy to see. Runners aren't looking at people's arms, they are looking for a port-a-potty. And triathletes are ogling each others bikes the way most guys ogle boobs.

Friday, January 16, 2009

nemesis

Over the last 2 years & change I've adapted pretty well to life with one working hand. I'm even getting pretty good at making it through my day with 50% function in my good thumb.

But every now & then life serves up a curve ball. Hell, thy name is 'buffet'. I went through a wedding sample tasting buffet line this week and it sucked out loud.

Getting food at a buffet (like one you might find at a wedding or corporate event) used to be easy. Hold plate left handed, serve food right handed. Sometimes I'd switch it up for fun. I think ambidexterity is the product of being raised by a left handed dad & right handed mom.

Nowadays (is nowadays even a word? whatever.) I can barely hold a plate left handed, and it shakes all over the place. Not a stable platform for piling one's dinner. I ultimately place my plate on the table, which garners some strange looks from other buffet-goers. I then transfer food from the steam tray down to my plate.

This is where things get tricky. Remember that 50% function in my good thumb? It now has to make the long trek from tray to plate, tongs in hand, without dropping any food. This is way harder than it sounds. I get nervous that I'm about to send au gratin potatoes or whatever splattering across the floor - which makes me shaky & panicky - which weakens my grip and makes me more likely to drop something. It's a vicious circle, man.

Getting back to my table can bring another challenge. If I was dumb enough to grab something tough, roast beef for example, I'll need help cutting it. Being 30 years old and having my wife or mom cut my food is just plain weird. No one wants to see that, especially me.

Public service announcement time: If you have a friend with monomelic amyotrophy, do not take them to a function with a buffet line. It's like serving yourself a garden salad of terror and herb-roasted fear with a side of sautéed sadness on a plate of despair. OK, maybe it's not that bad.

Substitute poached trepidation and a dinner roll for the salad.

Friday, January 9, 2009

something to shoot for

I've seen the future of my drumming. It's 8-bit.

Yowza.

Try as I might, I don't think that level of playing is in my future. On the plus side, I can almost play "Gay Bar" by Electric Six.

Rawk.