Monthly Archives: September 2005

Common misconceptions about kayaks

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  1. Kayaks weigh less than canoes
  2. Kayaks are easier to get on top of an Xterra than canoes
  3. There are many places from which to grab onto a kayak when lifting one onto an Xterra
  4. Kayaks do not catch the wind when held up over your head
  5. They are made of a special resin that glides through the water yet is easy to hold onto when lifting.
  6. Kayaks are highly visible and known to be aggressive, so pilots of seaplanes give them wide berth and would never consider taking off or landing in their midst.

River Street

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Troy lofts 1

I’ve been putting much more effort into my photos than my writing lately. But you knew that.

Had to fill up my tank tonight, the first time since Labor Day. Riding my bike to work, even though it’s only a few miles, has made a huge difference. Plus, we’re not just shooting out to the malls or anything like that. I don’t even shoot out to the Stewart’s unless it’s absolutely necessary. But we’re going away this weekend, and I thought it might be wise to gas up before the prices start getting jacked up tomorrow because of Lovely Rita Meter Maid.

Biking to work is not without excitement. The initial part of the ride is easy, a couple quick uphills and then a long downhill sweep to the river. I go a little bit out of my way to take advantage of some extremely sweet new pavement, then swing around the train station to catch a left so I don’t have to cross traffic to get onto the Dunn Memorial Bridge. Dodge some glass on the way across (DOT does a great job cleaning it, but man do people break a lot of bottles on that thing), slide on down the other side, and then things get interesting. I have to either bounce in on Broadway, rough pavement and lumbering buses, or I go up the bike path and swing back around on Water Street, with some very rough patches and no one expecting to find a bicycle. Good for the heart rate. The ride back home is particularly challenging, because there’s a lot of traffic getting out of the city, and there just is no right way to get to the bridge — no matter what I do, I have to hang out in a left-turning traffic lane, which pisses drivers off no end. But it’s either that or get cut off forever and never be able to get across. Pick your poison. Then, all uphill, all the way home. I arrive quite sweaty. But it has just been a beautiful September for this, and, as I mentioned, I ain’t bought no gasoline in quite a spell.

No telling what caused that slip into dialect. I can only try to prevent its recurrence.

Yesterday morning’s ride was more exciting than usual, unfortunately, as I flatted out just 2km from the house. It was the rear wheel, and there were some sizeable cuts in the tire, and I was on a bit of a deadline, so rather than fight with a tube I might or might not be able to repair on the fly, I called for the sag wagon. And called, and called. My cell was acting flaky in the extreme, and no one was picking up when it would work. But I finally got through and got rescued. Had to come home, change, get in the truck and race to work. When I got there, I had two crises going on at once and some passive-aggressive crap from my staff that didn’t sit too well as I tried to get things aligned for a critical meeting that I had to race up the Northway to get to. I actually exploded, which doesn’t happen too often. Good to put the fear of leadership in people every now and then, anyway. But the whole day went that way. Today was much improved (and I fixed the flat no problem), but I was listening to some Weakerthans tonight and heard the opening line from “Leash””Had one of those daysWhen you wanna try heroin,Drunk driving, Some form of soft suicideSitting in silence andStaring at ceilings Or peeling the paint off Of things to confide” And thought, that was so yesterday.

Bike porn

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My new Eggbeater pedals. Insanely great. Why did I wait all this time? The clip-in is still a little stiff, but if you miss, the pedal doesn’t roll and you can still push down . . . key when pulling away in traffic. Plus, I mean: look at them. Pure bike porn.Bike porn

Stupid web tricks

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Every now and then, you’ve gotta run Rob’s Amazing Poem Generator:

My bike does seemlike to these albums over and mybuttons! BlogsI pickedup Blondie? She was quite up to every word.playing some Disney moviemusic and wasbetterspent vacationing, and itjust asthe Clash and my musicalthoughts turn to theHelderberg escarpment both times tried thisfamily with a foundon their firsta matched set. Whatseemed like a fair. Although the GrumpiestGirl in Chatham on a timeshe is the number of one,Flexible Tetragrammaton The annoying birds thatyet.

Musical thoughts

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  • There was a time when I thought Pablo Cruise could do no wrong. Even at the time (1978), I couldn’t understand that feeling.
  • It seems odd to hear Squirrel Nut Zippers’ “Hell” blaring from inside a shoe repair shop: “In the afterlife, you could be headed for the serious strife.” Now the D and the A and the M and the N and the A and the T and the I-O-N.
  • It is autumn (okay, it will be autumn . . . it was 90 degrees here today), and in the autumn, without fail, my musical thoughts turn to The Left Banke (yes, the “Walk Away Renee” guys) and The Zombies (“A Rose for Emily” and “Time of the Season”). Since about 1980, I have always listened to these albums over and over again in the fall. (In fact, they have occupied the same cassette tape, and I always give them to other people as a matched set.) The other weird thing that comes to me in the fall? A craving for toast. There is no other season during which I think, “Hey, think I’ll make myself up a piece of toast.” Harpsichord pop music and toast.
  • My 12-year-old’s interest in popular music is growing exponentially. It’s the same age I was when I became captivated by music, but I always thought it was just coincident with finally having a real radio of my own (as opposed to a tiny transistor with an earpiece, the extremely uncool predecessor of the earbud) (sounds great in mono!). Perhaps it’s the age. In any event, she is absorbing our music and picking up her own, and I suspect she’s figured out there are stations that aren’t Radio Disney, but we’re probably not supposed to know that yet. We were listening to a disc the other night and she popped up, “Blondie?” She was close, too. And we were watching Aimee Mann’s great DVD from St. Ann’s Warehouse, and to my amazement (because I didn’t think she was really paying that much attention there in the back seat of the car all this time), she sang along to every word.
  • She’s playing some Disney movie music on her violin, and wanted to have some of the original songs so she could hear how they sounded. iTunes to the rescue. But now I’m listening to these songs, and my god are they awful . . . this is Aladdin and Little Mermaid stuff, hideous Poseidon Adventure style ballads that never said no to a big cymbal. Zoiks. Gotta go clean my ears out with some Sex Pistols.

What can brown do for you?

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As we left on vacation, spouse had something that she had to UPS before we left. All well and good, but neither of the UPS stores near us had a drop box, and it was a Sunday morning. So we thought about driving around downtown in hopes of finding a drop box somewhere, but I frankly couldn’t think of one, and ultimately we decided the time was better spent vacationing, and that whatever she had to ship could be mailed out at the Old Forge Post Office the next day (though, as we expected, Priority Mail was a little bit mistifying and perhaps even scary for the staff there.) But since then, I’ve been spotting the little drop boxes everywhere . . . buildings where I’d expect it, buildings where I never would, just about everywhere. And every time I see one, I hear the voice of Hannah, who as we were thinking about it that morning chimed in, “What can brown do for you?”

Louisiana 1927

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I guess it’s no surprise that a semi-obscure Randy Newman song keeps forcing itself to the top of my thoughts this past week — “Louisiana 1927”:What has happened down here is the winds have changedClouds roll in from the north and it started to rainRained real hard and rained for a real long timeSix feet of water in the streets of EvangelineThe river rose all dayThe river rose all nightSome people got lost in the floodSome people got away alrightThe river have busted through clear down to PlaqueminesSix feet of water in the streets of EvangelineLouisiana, LouisianaThey’re tryin’ to wash us awayThey’re tryin’ to wash us awayLouisiana, LouisianaThey’re tryin’ to wash us awayThey’re tryin’ to wash us awayPresident Coolidge came down in a railroad trainWith a little fat man with a note-pad in his handThe President say, “Little fat man isn’t it a shame what the river has doneTo this poor cracker’s land.”Louisiana, LouisianaThey’re tryin’ to wash us awayThey’re tryin’ to wash us awayLouisiana, LouisianaThey’re tryin’ to wash us awayThey’re tryin’ to wash us away(I just read that Aaron Neville covered this at some relief concert already, so maybe the obscurity is diminishing. Please, Randy, Aaron, anybody save us from whatever hideous tribute song is to come from Michael Jackson.)

Images from the Fair

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Went to the Columbia County Fair in Chatham on Sunday, and had a great afternoon. Think of the New York State Fair divided by about 700 — but the 4H projects and the craftsmen (blacksmiths, woodworkers, etc.) were just on a completely different, simpler, scale. It was quite charming, and the fairgrounds were very nice.

The first: a post-it found on a ticket booth at the midway. Hey, at least he spelled “Dad” right:The Colerful One.

Second, a bee ride. Somehow, at this size, the whole thing just kinda creeped me out.Buzz Buzz 3

Last: the Fun Slide. A completely different experience from the Slide of Death.Fun


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September arrived this morning — it’s 54 degrees, but you can feel the heat leaving the earth. The annoying birds that don’t let me sleep seem particularly agitated this morning. I’ll need to wear a jacket to bike to work. (But will still have sweated it up enough to need a shower when I get there. Bike commuting is endlessly complicated.) Then it’ll pop up into the 80s later on — those thirty-degree swings of the shoulder months.

Tomorrow is the first day of school. We’re desperate for it to arrive.