Saturday, December 03, 2005

Coach Said Not To

Not to long ago, I checked out Coach Said Not To's first EP from the library, and was instantly hooked. They've been playing a handful of shows around town recently, but tonights show at the Turf Club was the first I was able to attend.

I had ridden my mtn bike out to St Paul, and when the bartender noticed me packing my helmet and jacket into my mess bag, he was like "hey, are you a winter rider? You can toss your bag back here if you like." Cool.

Invited a few friends, and figured I'd be lucky if I'd get one or two to show up. I was pleasantly surprised that Doug, Landon, Bjorn and his wife all showed, and we all had a great time.

Coach Said Not To ("Coach Told Me Not To" as Doug would say) played a solid set, although not quite what I expected. They had some great harmonies, and quirky stage presence, but just weren't quite as "rocking" as hoped for. They were constantly perched on the cusp of rocking out, but never quite going over the edge. Such teases.

Second band was Belles of Skin City. They played an extremely tight set, and their frontman's lyrical delivery needs to be seen to be appreciated. They also mixed things up a bit by swapping instruments between members from song to song.

Third band doesn't warrant mention, and we took off after about 2 songs from them. Landon rode back with me to uptown, despite it being a few miles out of his way. He was practicing fishtail-like rear-wheel fixie skids in the snow on the way, and I'm sure if I tried that on my fix I'd be on my ass in a blink. I need to get some skillz.

Back home, I smelled like a disgusting ashtray. Ugh. Really hope that St Paul's new mayor gets moving on a stronger smoking ban - it really can't come too soon.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Obey your noodly master

OK, this post is a little past due.

When I made this costume I was so embarassed at how it turned out that I almost didn't wear it for halloween. But in the end I said "what the hell, I put time into this thing, who cares if nobody knows what is?" At first I couldn't get it to stay on my head, so I just took two of His noodly appendages and tied them under my chin - worked out great.

So I wore it on the ride (which was a total blast! - best halloween ride I've ever been on) and thankfully numerous people knew exactly what the costume was about, so it all worked out (except for the sore neck - hadn't planned on that!)

Flying Spaghetti Monster fsm_group
Photo credits go to fixeapolis.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

"At least he tried?"

I'm one of the many who still use hotmail as my primary personal email account (I know, I know, I have a gmail account too, but haven't yet switched over to it.)

Every day, hotmail has links to a handful of feature articles in the upper-left-hand corner. To my surprise, one of today's featured articles was "Bicycle diaries: Living in America without a car".

Cool, I thought. The millions and millions of people using hotmail every day will have an opportunity to get exposed to the idea of the bicycle as transportation, rather than just thinking of the bike as a toy or as exercise equipment.

I had high hopes. I was disappointed.

Because the author lives in a suburban area, his experiences are undoubtedly a little different (probably more challenging) than my urban experience. And, in the interest of full disclosure, I too have a car and do use it occasionally for bigger errands or when the weather is rough.

To his credit, he does mention many of the advantages of riding - good exercise, hot dates, etc. But all too often he then negates those advantages with a chilling underlying message. If I were your everyday American cager, considering my options to reduce my automobile dependence, this article would likely steer me right back into my car.

  • He enjoyed commuting into his previous office job, until his publisher (who hates bike messengers) saw him with his bike, and his job with that company ended shortly thereafter.

    Message: Biking will get you fired.

  • Succeeded in hauling a 15lb bag of dogfood on his road bike, but only after almost getting blown into the guardrail.

    Message: Biking will get you killed.

  • Enjoyed a beautiful, moonlit ride through the wooded trail on an unseasonably warm night, and crawled into bed with a mild head cold.

    Message: Biking makes you sick.

  • Found the bike to be quite viable for many errands and local trips, however, store clerks, soccer moms, and general passersby treated him as if he were somehow not right in the head.

    Message: Ride your bike, and people will treat you like a leper.

The overarching theme of the article? "At least he tried." Personally, I'd rather the article feature someone who tried, succeeded, and enjoyed it.

What annoys me is not that he mentions some of the problems encountered when using a bike for transportation, but that he doesn't explain any of the options available to make those problems managable.

OK, he mentions wearing normal shorts over his bike shorts so people are less likely to realize that he's a biker. But that's about it. No mention that he could have used panniers or a backpack to safely transport the dogfood. No mention that most employers wouldn't fire you for riding a bike, in fact many employers go out of their way to encourage fitness (often including bike commuting). No mention that excellent clothing options are available to keep you warm while biking in cold weather.

And should you really care if a store clerk or soccer mom avoids eye contact with you? In my experience, people find you more of a curiousity than anything else, and I've had no problem with that.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


Sorry about the lack of posts coming from my direction lately ... a result of me being both fairly busy, as well as a little distracted. My bro commented a while back that I was the suckiest blogger in the family, and lately he's right.

The busy-ness comes from the fact that I'm seriously considering selling my condo very early in 2006, and I've been chipping away at my list of repairs and sprucing up that needs to be completed before I can list the unit.

So before the snow fell and the ground froze, I had some landscaping to complete, and our flower garden in back of the building needed a new thick layer of wood chips too. Thankfully I got all that taken care of just in time. I still have a long list of interior projects to take care of - the woodwork around several of my windows needs repainting, some walls and ceilings need some touching up, I need to install a light fixture in my living room, reverse the polarity of my bathroom outlet, pack up a bunch of stuff to donate to Goodwill (or some other charity), clean out my storage room in the basement (not to mention cleaning my office too!) etc.

The distraction comes from a crazy (as in crazy good) situation in my dating life that I'll detail in a subsequent post, provided the whole thing doesn't implode (how's that for a teaser?!)