Thursday, December 31, 2009

Back In The Saddle / Christmas

Well my loyal tens of readers, I'm back to training. Last night after Cale got back from work, we went to the gym and 'threw some weight around'. I tried to go for a short run (20 min) on the track, but I got a sharp pain under my kneecap, so I cut it short at about eight minutes. I think it's my shoes- I remember not liking them last year- so I'll trade Cale for his New Balances next time. I recall liking them much better.

It's hard to say where I am as opposed to last year. I kind of remember what weight I was doing on what machines, but not with any certainty. Too, I was taking it easy last night so as not to be walking around like the living dead (very stiff) today and tonight, at parties. I know I've fallen in fitness running and doing situps, but I think my legs have held fairly steady in the weights department. That's nice.

Now, if you please, prepare yourself for tales of Christmas. Cale and I went up north to Tomahawk to spend time with my family. My aunt and uncle live up there, and we met my parents, cousin and the Cohn family from North Carolina. When all assembled, we had twelve people.

We did a good amount of lounging around and reading. I finished Cold Mountain, which I enjoyed, and spent some time outside shoveling snow (it's novel now because I never have to) and snow biking. I helped Cale cook one night, too. Cale's an excellent cook; His family gatherings are centered around cooking (and excellent cooking, at that) while my family usually focuses on activities and art. Unfortunately, that means he's used to wonderful meals and we're used to heating up leftovers and making sandwiches. Luckily, I am very clever and thought of the perfect solution. Cale cooks dinner for all of us, he's satisfied and we're awed. Voila!

Chef Cale

So it was a typical Christmas but for one activity. Karaoke. The day after Christmas (it was Sat) most of the family went to the closest bar, the Clover Club, to play pool and darts, and- lucky us!- it was karaoke night. When we walked in, an eight year old was butchering Man on the Moon by REM. It was ... mouth puckeringly bad. The bar tender offered the kid a quarter not to sing again. The bar tender was actually quite good with old country songs, and there was another woman who wasn't half bad. Of course, it was only a matter of beers before we started singing.

My cousin Shannon sang a bunch and roped me into some duets. I found the White Stripes' Fell in Love With a Girl and decided to sing that one solo. I'd never sung karaoke and figured I owed it to myself. Plus, this particular song I knew to be less than two minutes long, so if it was unbearable, it would at least be over quickly. It probably felt like more than two minutes to the rest of the bar :) but I had fun.

On to the photo journal!

On the family land's trails.


On Silver Lake Rd.

Cale on Silver Lake Rd

On Silver Lake (we were careful to stay along the edge to avoid any chance of thin ice).

Cale on Silver Lake

Back from our ride. I've got a forehead comb over going on.

In from our ride.

Shannon making bread. She's an excellent bread maker. Breadisan?

Making Bread

Uncle Paul got a denim blazer from my dad.

Paul and his new blazer.

Dad and the dog, Carmel, in typical fashion.

Dad and Carmel

The best seats in the house! The tall chairs overlooking the meadow.

Steve and Tater

On Sunday, when we left, the sun was just starting to come out. This was my parting shot.

Sunny Morning

Monday, December 14, 2009

Santa Rampage '09

What can I say about the Santa Rampage? First to explain for those who don't know, it's a bar crawl done on bikes. Oh, and everyone is dressed up like Santa (or an elf, or someone who didn't have a costume and instead paired lots of red and green items of clothing together). This is the second year I've done it, and I really looked forward to it. It's so much fun, and I get to see so many friends from the cycling community. I was totally tired out but still disappointed it was over when we headed home for the night. It felt like Christmas was over or something- but then I remembered we're just getting started!

Here are a few of my favorite costumes from the ride (OK, there are more than a few):
Wearing a tree skirt, which was surprisingly appropriate because of the tree ziptied to his helmet. (Which was decorated with the pretzels from this stop.)

No, no, no. Great Lakes Distillery

Reindeer: one pair of antlers, plus any brown clothes.

Aris / Reindeer

This costume had lights wound all over, with an extension cord handy to bring out at each stop.

Plugged In. Great Lakes Distillery

My favorite holiday turtleneck costume. I think there was more to the costume, but while we were inside a lot of people took off layers. We are left with this. (Creepy!)


Another reindeer.

Dancing Reindeer

A naughty nurse costume from Halloween converted to holiday garb. Clever!

Naughty Nurse to Holiday Costume

There was some tough competition, but I think this was my favorite because it makes me laugh every time I see it. This is supposed to be something like a redheaded elf, but it looks so much like Teen Wolf... there we are, I'm giggling to myself.

Teen Wolf Santa!

Second favorite holiday turtleneck costume. For all I know, he wears this sort of thing every day.

One of my favorite outfits.

We'll end it with my favorite photo of the day, Mike getting groped by several people at once. Cross dressing, always a win.

Groping Mike Eitel

Friday, December 11, 2009

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays, you scurvy scum!

holiday wallpaper

To read about the project and download the 1600x1200 computer wallpaper, go to the Pegasus website.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Day the Truck Saved My Bacon

Let me start out this titillating tale by describing how the truck behaves in winter. In a word, reluctant. Yesterday when I got up for work it was 2 degrees outside (after being so warm the day before that none of the snow stuck around). I had to hip check the door because it had frozen shut, and when I went to scroll through the radio, even the display was sluggish.

When I let my foot off of the brake, nothing really happened. It just kind of idled in place instead of starting to roll. When I did give it some gas, it was very much like a kid going to school on Monday. Dragging. Getting on the highway, I have to merge and get over four lanes within a quarter mile or so, so I have to get up a little speed. Yesterday I had to floor it just to get with the traffic.

This is all a little annoying, but I can relate to the truck. Is a cyclist not slower when their muscles are cold? So I take it easy on the old beast and hope that by coaxing it along, it'll keep moving for a while still.

Now that we've got the back story, on to the good stuff:

Over lunch, my coworker Jon and I decided to go to the grocery store, and I offered to drive. We were at a red light, waiting to turn left. Directly to the left there was a big municipal truck and a guy was doing maintenenace on an electrical pole or something. When the light turned green, I took my foot off the brake and eased on the gas. The truck started nosing out into the intersection, and then, from the left, an SUV goes FLYING past in front of us. The speed limit's 45mph and I'm betting they were going more than that. Jon swears at least 80. Whatever the speed, they just totally ran the red light, and I didn't see them coming because of the maintenance truck. We were a foot or so from getting t-boned or at least clipped at a very high speed, and if Jon were driving (faster driver, faster car) we definitely would have gotten hit.

Thus, the truck saved my bacon. No bodily injuries, truck repairs/replacements or legal battles for me.

Jon and I both swore and I stared at where the thing had torn past. I was too shocked to think about going after their license plate or anything, so I just turned as planned and drove on as my heartbeat returned to normal. Maybe it wouldn't have been as shocking to someone else, but I've never had such a close call. I was glad to have such a cranky, slow moving vehicle.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Sad(dle) Story

Alas! First my rear derailleur, now my most expensive saddle, a Fizik Vitesse (which isn't that expensive, but still). It all started with a night ride, last Thursday.

The lineup:



Nick (his first night ride, I think- he did well)


We rode the West side and then started on the East side (I think I'm getting that right). We came to the bowl, and though it was a little slippery, I decided to man up and ride it. All the guys were on the other side, so I yelled 'coming through' and dropped in. Well, halfway up the other side, I'm looking up to find the lip and yelling "Look away!!" because I had a couple of lights shining at me and I couldn't really see.

Heh. Of course, saying anything when you're zipping along and your cheeks are frozen, giving your speech a little slur, will get you puzzled stares. From all three of your riding companions. So I could see the dirt a few yards in front of me and then the most brilliant light coming from the top of the bowl. It probably wouldn't have been that bad- I was mostly just distracted and didn't pedal enough to get over the lip, so I kind of fell over sideways and then slid down a few yards.

I had one hand on my bike while I was skating along on my bum, and apparently the saddle was hung up on a root or something. It held for a second and then came sliding past me. Once I had stopped, I brushed myself off, hiked up the other side and tried it again. This time, success. Once on the other side I checked out the saddle a little more. Rideable but decidedly broken.

Breakin' shit left and right.

Breakin' shit left and right.

So anyway, now I'm going to try a few test saddles and keep an eye out at the swap meets for a replacement. Miraculously, I found an older leather Vitesse at the swap meet for $5! It might go on one of my about-town bikes instead of the mountain bike. I also picked up this white one to try out. It looks pretty decent, and I don't have any other white saddles. Also $5, so who could resist?

Women's saddles, $5 apiece.

I'm terrible at resisting. Nowadays, I come home from each swap with several saddles to try out. Oh well, they're good to keep around for just such an occurrence, I guess.

Milwaukee Swap Meet

Swap meet report! This year there were almost exactly twice as many tables, and a good variety of things. There were some decent deals to be had, and it was well run. There was an announcer that wandered around the tables and advertised the best deals he found over the loudspeaker. It was helpful for dealseekers and the vendors, but it was also kind of a pain to talk over when you were trying to ask or answer questions.

The deal of the day: I got these guys at the swap for $60 apiece. Nothing wrong that I can see but a few dings. We're going to have them painted and keep them on hand for loaner frames for the team, in case anyone's frame suffers an untimely demise.


I got a pair of look-pretty-new-to-me Sidis for $45. The guy wouldn't take a check so I had to go around to a few friends and weasel some cash out of them. (So much for 'If I only bring my checkbook, I'm bound to buy less!') I have a pair of road shoes already, but these are better, and they're exactly my size. I'll probably sell off the old Garneaus.

SIDI Road Shoes

I also got this for free, which someone gave to me, saying "Someone on pegasus will wear this, right?" With pleasure!

Free and Rad

I know the Madison swap is king, but this meet is looking up. It may not be the biggest and best yet, but it's one to watch. In fact, I like that it's smaller and not as many people bother with it. More deals for me!


Sometimes, when I'm chatting with people, they'll mention they read this blog. By far the most mentioned topic? Not cycling, but Citizen Snips. Well, I'm all for giving the people what they want, and they are banging down the door for a certain tubby tuxedo cat. (Although, he's been slimming down recently.)

This photo was snapped a few nights ago. I was working on Christmas gifts and watching a movie (in the background you can get a sense of how messy I've become in Cale's absence) and the cat was napping and doing his thing. You can make your own cute caption, but what usually runs through my mind is Rod Stewart's Do You Think I'm Sexy or Blondie's I Touch Myself.

Funny Caption Here

Funny Caption Here

If you'd like to inspire your animial to do a similar photo shoot, you should come up with a style board to really communicate to them your artistic vision. Some suggestions:

Friday, December 4, 2009

Only the Lonely

Since Jingle Cross, Cale's been gone on a business trip. And I'll be honest, the title of this post, Only the Lonely, came to mind because I'm the Only at home, and when I was a kid I owned a Roy Orbison cassette tape. (I liked 'Pretty Woman') Point being, I'm actually not lonely... yet. Another week to go.

So what have I been doing with my time? Mostly sitting at home, staying up late, working on Christmas presents and watching movies that Cale would hate. That's the best part about him being gone. I've watched Pride & Prejudice twice. Twice! Oh ho, while the cat's away the mouse will play, and how! Talk about gettin' wild. It reminds me of when I was freelancing for Hayes. I had so much alone time during my day. I miss that.

Speaking of the cat, when I got home, the cat was really, really clingy for days. Since we'd been gone for four days, he climbed into my lap every chance he got and followed me around the apartment.

This is the first weekend where there's hardly anything bike related going on. I like this time of year, where biking tapers off for the year and there are still a lot of events and gatherings. Later on in the winter, I swear there's nothing to do some weekends but mope and try to stay warm. But not now!

This weekend I'm going to get my makeup done for a Pegasus wallpaper project. It sucks, last year we had the calendar and we called it the calendar. This year I'm planning a ...thing where we'll release wallpapers throughout the year. You know, computer desktop images. Photomagraphs. So what do I call it? Do I really have to explain that every time? I fear it may be.

Anyway, makeup. But I have to get it done in the morning, before the bike swap meet at UWM, because the makeup artist isn't available later. I'm just grateful she's making time for me at all, but I will be wandering around the swap with gorgeous makeup, which I'm not used to. Maybe I'll just go all out, wear a short dress and heels and pretend I stayed up all night at some fabulous party. That I just decided to 'swing by the swap' on my way home. Hm. Tempting.

That night is the first of a string of parties, too, which are always fun. I like dressing up. Who doesn't? Next weekend is the Santa Rampage, which will rock pretty hard. My poor Santa's Mistress costume, though. It's seen some mud and road salt/grit in its day. I would wash it but it would probably unravel. Or bleed out. Or both. I'll try to spot clean it before year two of the rampage arrives.

Anyway, now it is sufficiently late and I can go to bed feeling like a rebel.