Saturday, June 27, 2009


So, this Berne and Barb's Fat Camp I've been attending...
OK, it's not a fat camp, but Berne and Barb should TOTALLY run a fat camp.
They've invited me biking the last two Thursdays afterwork.
They each own a catrike :

Berne let me try his last year and that is why I bought a trike this year.
So, we're old people on trikes. Sad. Yet fun.

ANYWAY. The first ride was 16 miles on flattish ground. Well, the second ride was about 16 miles...8 uphill and 8 downhill. OW. I could walk the next day, but my outer thighs hurt. There must be muscle under the fat. They'd be OK until I tried to get out of a chair. Then OK until I tried to walk. Then OK until I tried stairs. I think I went a bit beyond my capabilities.
Still, going downhill for 8miles was great! My trike has something Berne called "roll resistance" (something my midsection does not have). So, even downhill I had to peddle a bit. Something about the mountain bike type tires and blah blah blah.
AND the first mile or two uphill seemed awfully difficult until I figured out that I'd left the parking brake on. OOPS! The rear brake can be set to keep the trike from rolling around while parked. It creates quite a bit of drag while biking.

I'm pretending it's a new workout technique. Biking with brakes on for more resistence.

Still, I'm pretty impressed at how far I can go for being in such crap shape. Definitely need to get the yoga activity back to keep these new muscles long.

Speaking of biking. This guy:
is staying at my trailer tonight. He's biking across the country and needed somewhere between Spokane and Moscow. That would my trailer.
He says he was not a distance biker until now. I guess he will be now. Probably helps to have been in the military and in generally excellent shape.

I haven't read his book because I suck...but I'll get to it. He'll be on the radio show tomorrow so tune in.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

OK, Enough Ranting Today

I finally got some wifi. I'm at a motel in Missoula. I give a lecture at the university tomorrow and the motel has wifi.
I always learn something at a motel. Right now I'm learning that I do NOT miss having TV in the house (ok...trailer). I've been looking for a show for an hour. It's all CRAP. It's on reruns of MASH now which is fine, but not necessary or enlightening.

Anyway. I wanted to post this super cool picture of me taking Gramma Wagner's arm for a ride around the lake on my super new trike:

How Gramma's arm got attached to my shoulder, I will never know. Oh well. At least I didn't get her cankles. Pam got those.

From the "No Sh-- Sherlock" Files...

Here's an article on the AP wire today:

Vt. farmers cut cows' emissions by altering diets

By LISA RATHKE, Associated Press Writer Lisa Rathke, Associated Press Writer – 2 hrs 48 mins ago

COVENTRY, Vt. – Vermont dairy farmers Tim Maikshilo and Kristen Dellert, mindful of shrinking their carbon footprint, have changed their cows' diet to reduce the amount of gas the animals burp — dairy cows' contribution to global warming.

Coventry Valley Farm is one of 15 Vermont farms working with Stonyfield Farm Inc., whose yogurt is made with their organic milk, to reduce the cows' intestinal methane by feeding them flaxseed, alfalfa, and grasses high in Omega 3 fatty acids. The gas cows belch is the dairy industry's biggest greenhouse gas contributor, research shows, most of it emitted from the front and not the back end of the cow.

"I just figured a cow was a cow and they were going to do whatever they were going to do in terms of cow things for gas," said Dellert. "It was pretty shocking to me that just being organic wasn't enough, actually. I really thought that here we're organic, we're doing what we need to do for the planet, we're doing the stuff for the soil and I really thought that was enough."

She learned it wasn't. The dairy industry contributes about 2 percent to the country's total greenhouse gas production, said Rick Naczi, a vice president at Dairy Management Inc., which funds research and promotes dairy products. Most of it comes from the cow, the rest from growing feed crops for the cattle to processing and transporting the milk.

To satisfy consumers' demands for sustainable production, the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy in Rosemont, Ill., is looking at everything from growing feed crops to trucking milk to reduce the industry's greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020. That would be the equivalent of removing about 1.25 million cars from U.S. roads every year, said Naczi, who manages the program.

One way is by feeding cows alfalfa, flax and grasses, all high in Omega 3s, instead of corn or soy, said Nancy Hirschberg, head of Stonyfield's Greener Cow Project. The feed rebalances the cows' rumen, the first stomach of ruminants, and cuts down on gas, she said. Another way is to change the bacteria in a cow's rumen, Naczi said.

When Stonyfield first analyzed its contribution to global warming in the late 1990s, the company thought its factory in Londonderry, N.H., produced the most greenhouse gases.

"And when we got the report and our number one impact on climate change was the milk production, we were completely stunned," she said.

A study showed that the single biggest source was the cow's enteric emissions: gas.

The company funded energy audits on farms and research on small manure digesters so farmers could produce energy from methane gas.

But Hirschberg said she had no idea what to do about enteric emissions. Then she learned what Group Danone of France, majority owner of Stonyfield and best known in the U.S. for its Dannon products, was doing about its methane.

By feeding their cows alfalfa, flax and grasses, they were cutting down on the gas passed.

The milk is tested at a lab at the University of Vermont to determine its fat content, a process patented by French nutrition company Valorex SAS, through which the enteric emissions are calculated.

Since January, Coventry Valley Farm has reduced its cows' belches by 13 percent. At another farm, they've gone down 18 percent.

Maikshilo and Dellert have also noticed a difference in Hester, Rosebud, Pristine and their other cows. The coats of the black and white Holsteins and brown Jerseys are shinier and they've had fewer foot problems and no stomach ailments, they say.

So far, it hasn't cost them any more for their custom-made grain, which the cows only get in the winter. Now they're out grazing on grass in the pasture, getting as many Omega 3s. And the farm's vet bills have gone down.

It's a win-win for farmers, said Naczi.

"It's just the right thing to do," he said.


Really???? Feeding cows grass, flax and WHAT THEY EVOLVED TO EAT makes them healthier and they burp and fart less?
No sh--??! Who KNEW?

EVERYONE! That's who.
Lordy. Soy is BEANS. Cows did not evolved eating BEANS. Corn is not digestible by much of anything. And corn is not present on the continent where cows evolved so obviously they can't eat it. If a human actually wants to digest corn and get nutrition out of it, it has to be processed with lye. MMMM. You just eat corn as a meter to know when things have passed through the system as in "I don't remember eating corn."

Next they'll tell us that feeding our kids a steady diet of corn sweetener, soy extenders, and super processed food makes them fat and malnourished.
There is NO WAY we can see that coming. None.
I bet if you fed kids a diet made of FOOD rather than artificially created lab byproducts (Butterfingers, Doritos, Pringles, chicken nuggets, sugary-mcfried-crap), they would burp and fart less too.
In fact, I've been running a bit of an experiment on this for the last year and a half and it works reasonably well.

In the words of the inimitable Harvey Pikar:
Why is everyone so stupid?

Monday, June 15, 2009


That's the name of my bike. It was injured today, but it's fixed now for cheap so no harm no foul. It was nice that someone else did it so it didn't have to be me. Apparently the trike is indestructible except for ONE THING...don't shift it while stationary and then start peddling. Tears the derailleur clean off. And bends it. And puts a twist in the chain.

The fix it guy was not too upset. He took a derailleur off another bike and put it on. The chain needed shortened anyway so he took the twisted bit out.
The brakes now work properly. Just needed adjusting.
And, I had the boom shortened (that's what HE said...heh heh). I think it's too short now. Shortening it is a delicate operation. You sit in the bike and the fix it guy kicks it until it's right (that's what SHE said...heh heh).
But, now if I decide I want it lengthened again, he'll have to put more links in the chain. This is not a big deal.

He didn't charge me yet. He said it will be about 20$ but I'll pay when he gets the bar end shifters in. I don't like the twisty shifters. Just don't like them. Can't tell what I'm doing.

So, that was part of the day.

The rest was catching up at work. That is not nearly as fun as going to Loretta or putatively bad community theatre that turns out to be good but there are creepy fondlers in the audience.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I'm Back...

We had a very groovy time in Denver.

On Friday, we crammed many activities in after 2pm when Jonny got off work.
We stopped at "Hot Baked Buns" for lunch. This woman with amazing blond hair (big, bleached, and boufant) makes something between a pasty and a calzone. I got one with Italian sausage, onions and peppers. Came with marinara sauce on the side for dipping. Jonny got burger, cabbage and onions in his. He said it was also delicious.

Then on to Dinosaur Ridge.
Did I blog about Dinosaur Ridge yet? I think not.
It's pretty sweet! I REALLY wished I had my awesome Trike (aka "Rosebud"). It's a ridge full of dinosaur bones and tracks, hence the name "Dinosaur Ridge", just outside Denver. I have no idea which direction, but it's towards Golden.
For 3$, because we were there at 3pm and didn't have that long to spend, we took a bus up the ridge with very informative commentary by the driver, Dan.
150 million year old bones and tracks and stuff. Very cool. Well worth a couple of hours.

After that, it was Friday night and we were up for some cheezy good fun. SO, Jonny had found what he promised would be AWFUL community theatre in Golden Colorado.
So we book it over there. About 20 minutes in the car. Turns out, it was their 150year anniversary parade. Very amusing.
I especially enjoyed the ladies drill corps. I say ladies because if there was one under 30 years old, I'd be surprised. There also appeared to be a minimum weight for participants. Yikes~! But amusing. Very much the small town parade, but with some wealthy people thrown in.

Then, we had run out of time for a snack and headed right to the theatre, the Miners Alley Playhouse, to see "Over the River and Through the Woods." The grandson of a big Italian family is the last kid/grandkid to be in NY with the family. He has an offer in Seattle...what will ensue???? Hijinks of course. I was promised CRAP theatre. This was actually very good. As Angela pointed out (HI Ange!), Jonny and I are the only people she knows who would be disappointed to go to a play and have it be good. But really, I can't mock it. It was good.

The audience however....holy inappropriate touching, Batman. There was an older lame (literally...he had a bum leg) flabby guy and his honey....a plain jane thin chick. Both were looking at the rearend of 40...and they had to look pretty far back to catch a glimpse. And yet he was groping her THE ENTIRE TIME. Gross boob grabs, sticking his hand on her thigh and sliding it up (thank god she was wearing jeans). Kissing her neck while she pretended to fall asleep. They were repellent and staring at them made me miss a significant portion of the play. It was like watching an accident. I couldn't figure out why the people in the adjacent seats didn't get up and LEAVE since she kept bumping into the guy in the seat on her other side while she squirmed around to rub up on the big guy. THEN I saw that the adjacent couple were chatting with her when she wasn't being groped extremely obviously. PUKE. It's bad enough when it's teenagers but old people in a theatre! Get some dignity people. And while you're at it, get a room. No one wants to see that.

There appeared to be a foreign student who happened upon the place. How do I know/think that? Well, Jonny and I were some of the more heavily pigmented people in the room and our midwest dialects could have passed for foreign in that crowd. Whitey McWhitenheimer City. Except for one person apparently of Asian ancestry. He arrived alone and sat in the front row to the side of the stage. There were a maximum of 5 rows of seats on 3 sides of the stage. This person enjoyed the show immensely (as did the rest of us) though he had to crane his neck around a post sometimes.

There was an Italian buffet after the show as it was opening night, and Italian food featured in the play (at least references to it). We skipped because Jonny cried like a little girl through the whole thing and was all puffy. Maybe his undies were riding up. They said that the after show buffet is a tradition on opening night.

Instead of the cheese-fest (I'm low dairy) we went out for Italian a bar/restaurant up the street. It was pretty good!

We ate like pigs the whole trip. I think I'm fatter now than when I left. time we visit, let's have some fruit or something.

He fed me BEANS at every meal! Sometimes two kinds. All delicious, but that much bean does not travel well.

For our final day, Saturday, we got up late and had breakfast at some little hole in the wall joint in his neighborhood. It was fabulous. The woman running it had a voice like pure gravel (remember when Aunt Billie was still smoking? Like that). She saw my Loretta Lynn t-shirt and asked about the show. Then told us tales of seeing "The Boss" in 1976 or something. Springsteen is getting a bit long in the tooth if he's been touring that long.
The special was some skillet thing that sounded good except for the cheese and eggs (I like my eggs in cake, not as a main ingredient). I wanted that but without the eggs and cheese. She let me add peppers and tomato. It was lovely. I think I had chorizo, home fries, peppers and onions fried together. The tomato ended up on the side and was lovely. IT also came with a variety of side dishes. I want to go back.

After that we walked through some festival at the park, and on to the Tattered Cover bookstore which was lovely. I got the latest Erdrich novel for the flight and something for El Kid's trip to Japan. Jonny got an assortment of things.
After an exhausting hour at the bookstore, we were hungry again.

There is a place called "Ethiopian Restaurant". Right to the point. It's DELICIOUS and profoundly simple. I had some sort of spicy lentil stew. Jonny got some other sort of spicy lentil stew. The owner brought out a platter ....about 2.5 feet across.... covered with the traditional bread. I think it's called injira but I'm not sure. And a side plate with a few more injira on it. These are about a foot across and like a thick, sourdough crepe. Then soup bowls of the stew and some vegetables (cabbage?). We had a red stew, green stew, yellow stew, and cabbage stew. He put it right on the injira covered platter and we used the other injira in bits to scoop up and eat. No utensils. When you run out of side injira, you use what the stew was piled on. It was delicious. But much of the deliciousity is the bread and I have no idea how to make that! I don't have a skillet big enough to cook it on. But I will try.

On the way out (we were STUFFED), I read a review of the place on a paper clipping under the glass on the counter. It said that you'll do well as long as you don't lick your fingers (apparently a faux pas in Ethiopia) and don't ask for a fork. We didn't do either of those so we are probably welcome back. And lordy it was GOOD.

OK, I think that's most of it. From there it was off to the airport and out of there.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Ladies and Gentleman....Miss Loretta Lynn


So, Wednesday I got here after riding on the airplane with a nice, but stupid, father-son pair who had won tickets to Bonaroo (spelling?) in Nashville. The father, despite being ALIVE and having full use of his eyes and ears, was still stunned that they had taken his GIANT thing of shaving cream, shampoo, and etc. There are SIGNS everywhere and the boarding passes we print out AT HOME have the info about liquid restrictions on them. Yes, the restrictions are stupid and part of the "security theatre" that our government is playing, but why be surprised that they took that gallon of shampoo? Also, he mentioned that he specifically put it in his carryon, not his checked bag because last time it broke open in the checked bag. Um...does the word "ziplock" or "wrapped in a towel then in a plastic bag" mean anything to you??? Guess not. But they were nice and will probably enjoy their trip.

Once off of the plane, I met up with a co-worker's daughter who happened to be on the same flight. I had thought I recognized her so checked. She was home for a visit before shipping out to Afghanistan. Wow. She was not bitching about shampoo. Probably had bigger issues on her mind. She's a refueler.
Sam/Gary/Nancy/RandomHawbaker: What is Steph's boy doing and is he still overseas?

OK, on to MISS LORETTA LYNN! She is a riot. It's like if your mom or gramma was a famous country singer. And she still has all of her voice.
She wore an aqua dress that was made entirely of sparklies with extra sparklies from the bosom to the toot areas. It was surprisingly slimming from the front....but from the side you can see that she has a fuller figure. Some very funny moments were when she went to toss her hair while telling a story about 45 minutes into the concert and said "well, hair's all down in my dress" and proceeded to sort that out while continuing to tell her story.
The Colorado governor came out and inducted her into the Colorado county music hall of fame. He choked up a bit. Something about being the 6th of 12 kids and how her music moved them...blah blah blah. Then asked to hear "one's on the way".
She sang it right away.

She sat through most of the concert. Didn't mention her back but one assumes. Also, her nose was running and she said the dry air was bugging here. There seemed to be no question of her doing any encores. And she didn't.
Opening acts: Patsy Lynn (Peggy didn't come...Patsy said "Peggy couldn't make it" Loretta said "She COULD, she just DIDN'T")
Ernest Ray Lynn. Drunk. Both did a couple of songs and Patsy hawked wares that were for sale (I got a t-shirt for each of us who went)
She sang many big hits, a few that I was less familiar with but nothing from the Jack White album which disappointed me a bit, but I'm not holding it against a woman who is pushing 80. She can do what she wants. She called her granddaughter (forget the name) out to sing. It would have been great if the girl were a singer. Jonny's friend Bernadette like that the grandkid had the most energy. I could pass on the voice though. Loretta was behind her jerking the shorty short dress down over her butt while she sang which was super funny even if it was staged.
The CREEPY part was when Loretta and Ernie (her SON) sang an old duet that Loretta and Conway Twitty used to do. I saw people filming. Let me see if it is on the moment please...

Here is Loretta singing the song with Conway back in the 1970s

Really, singing this with your son is ICKY ICKY ICKY.

The show in general is good. You can tell she's been touring for 50 years and is pretty much just going to do her show and get on with her life. I liked it. Bit of attitude. Her nose ran the entire show and she just got on with it.

Unfortunately the venue was only 1/2 full! What's up with that? She's LORETTA LYNN

Also, I think she should sing with Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones. They've all been around for a million years and I think her dresses would look FABULOUS with the semi-dead Rolling Stones around her for contrast.

AND...these were the free seats I won from texting at the "An Evening with Michael McKean, Harry Shearer and Christopher Guest" to the jumbotron and they were VIP seats! VIP was mostly empty. But what the hell. We had seat service of booze and snacks. We had already gotten beverages on the way in but I made someone get me M&Ms from the waitress since I may never have seat service again. And, we had access to a private restroom (which I didn't use because the regular restroom was empty and I didn't want to make the cleaning staff clean another restroom for just me). AND there were little clear plastic decorative walls, about 2 1/2 feet high, between the "VIP" section (front balcony center) and the rest of the rows of seats in the balcony making me pose the ever relevant and pithy question "do the walls keep them out or us in?" No one seemed to give a crap and I eventually got tired of asking it.

And that, is the Loretta Lynn report. It was great.

Last night we amused ourselves with thrift shopping and a trip to "Casa Bonita"...a CHEEZY restaurant where you go through a line and pick up your meal as it comes out of a "food hole" in a wall. A staff member makes sure it is yours by saying "what did you order?" and handing you one of the 8 or 9 prefab meals that are available. I had a taco salad, chicken, with NO DAIRY. This was "special" so had to be specially made and brought to me at the table (along with Jonny's margarita) arrived with a BIG DOLLOP of sour cream on it. I just put that on the chips. At least the cheese shreds had been eliminated. The "chicken" (or "beef" if that's the type you ordered) is beside the basic "salad" in a little cafeteria dish. The kind and size that holds cling peaches at the old folks home. I've had worse food. But not at that price. The meal also comes with stale chips and sopapillas and honey. The sopapillas were the oiliest I've ever had, but I had 1 and a half anyway. They came with much needed handy-wipes to swab down with. I managed to get honey on my shirt. Nice.

Anyway, none of that is the charm of Casa Bonita, though it adds to it. There is a SHOW while you eat. There is a 2 story tall fake waterfall and fake stone thing that people perform on. We saw a woman and a guy in a gorilla suit do some crap. A mariachi band (there weren't bad) who also travelled around the restaurant and performed in various locales (it is an enormous place made to look like there are various levels of a mexican town with shops and porticoes and terraces all covered with tables and swarming with waitstaff...not surprisingly they are ALWAYS hiring...who could work in that for long?). AND we saw the two big attractions. A "wild west show" with a sheriff and outlaw or something (the acting was not stellar) where the finale is the outlaw falling off the fake stone cliff into the pool at the bottom of the waterfall. We saw the entire show except the finale because a clump of waitstaff decided to gather directly in our line of sight for 30 seconds and block this. Oh well. The "outlaw" reappeared a few minutes later in wearing only swim trunks (I must say this young man was not slender...he had pronounced man-boobs and really needed a tan) and proceeded to do some very nice dives off the fake rocks into the pretty small pool at the bottom. One dive was designed to splash people on the lowest level which was funny. Nothing makes really crap food better like the addition of skunk water from the pool.

Apparently this establishment is part of Denver history and was every bit as amusing as any creepy clown museum.

The restaurant has an arcade, gift shop, caricature artist, haunted tunnel/cave, an much much more behind and below the waterfall and show area. Even a puppet show for the kids which we missed. We got some crap at the gift shop. And went through the haunted tunnel where a kid jumped out at me and scared the poop out of me. I'd already reached out to touch a plastic skull which promptly lit up and let out an airhorn blast. Just as I turned a corner this little boy jumped out in front of me and screamed at me and a hand threw itself at a plastic window in the wall. The kid had great timing. I screamed almost as loud as Jonny.

Let me see if I can find a picture online that expresses the wonder of Casa Bonita

Here is the entrance. I can't find a picture that shows it's in a STRIP MALL with like a Petsmart and other chain stores.

And here is a good shot of one of their cliff divers doing his stuff:

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I WAY heart my new trike

I WAY heart my new trike. I never had a big wheel when I was a kid. We were too poor. Also, the big wheel hadn’t been invented yet. I had a red trike and I’m pretty sure I was not the first (nor last) owner of said trike. Still, it was cool and big enough a (having, if not being, a big wheel) that someone could stand on that little platform between the back wheels and ride around as though on a chariot while the person in the seat peddled as fast as our legs would carry us. Though I remember the chariot rider person mostly being a cowboy …which didn’t make sense. But now I live in Plummer Idaho and saw an actual fat cowgirl riding a chariot through town one day so maybe I tdid make sense and we just didn’t know it yet. Anyway, I also remember this trike being so big when I got it (maybe it was new…hmmm) that my legs were too short to reach the peddles at the far end of their circuit. I had to push with whichever foot could touch a peddle at that moment. It was not the most efficient mode of transportation, but not bad and seems to allow me the very great freedom to ride to the end of the property (we only had sidewalk on one side of our corner lot…in front of the house and over to near the street on the other end. Wow. After a while, and after my feet could touch the peddles the whole time (I grew at what seemed an alarming rate at a few points in my childhood—once outstripping my older brother (and thusly beating him soundly when I noticed it as we met in a door way one fateful day when I was bigger since I knew this was a temporary advantage and I didn’t want to pass up the chance) and becoming the tallest kid in 2nd grade and again in 5th grade when I reached my full height and tragically almost my full bosom…5’5” and packing C-cups are not great things to be in mixed-gender gym class in 5th grade…or ever in gym class…and quickly outgrew the trike)). I loved that trike.
When I was about 5 I got a sparkly green bike with banana seat (also sparkly green) and a sissy bar. It was the coolest bike one could have in 1971. I got it because my brother had gotten a bike the month before on his 6th birthday (good family planning there Fred-n-Sher! Two kids in 13 months. Nothing like a little “down time”…ewww). I was apparently insufferable and got a bike for my birthday which must have been galling for the older brother, Stan. There was no Pam yet to steal my thunder as the youngest and favorite child. The only down side of the bike was it was a girl’s bike with the slightly weaker frame design of lowered top bar. I did not know of this perfectly reasonable objection to a girl’s model bike and was only offended that it was labeled “girl”…a label I had already rejected as limiting. By this point I had sworn off dresses losing the battle only for Grampa Wagners funeral (see “insufferable” above” and my kindergarten picture day. You can see the fury in my eyes and the subtle sneering pout (re: “insufferable”). I did not need a “girl’s” model bike as there was no chance I’d be wearing a dress or skirt on that thing. My Sears (or was it Penney’s?) tough-skins , which became “husky” after I got my tonsils out and could eat, jeans would not benefit from the lower bar.
Nevertheless, it was sparkly green and had a banana seat and sissy bar and those cool handle bars that made a rally big V and could be raised or lowered according to the day’s fashion and my mood (lower was sometimes cooler but limited the turning radius of the bike which was a disadvantage when jumping or doing sliding sideways skids through the dry run (a waterway that was sometimes dry, sometimes full of rain run off, and as we would later learn to our chagrin and our mother’s horror….sometimes full of raw sewage). All in all a very cool bike.
It got EVEN COOLER (like cool to 11) when someone gave me a package containing DOZENS of sparkly yellow stickers with my name on them…in capital letters. Awesome. I plastered my bike and many other things, possibly a door, with these stickers. I saw it years later at the farm (Hi Billie and Keith!) with the stickers still on it. Probably made of lead or some other durable toxic substance. I wonder if that bike still exists.

Anyway, my next bike wasn’t until I got back from France or possibly right before I left. It was a silver-gray 10speed in about 1984. II had it for years but we never bonded like I did with the trike or the green sparkly one. It wasn’t as cool, though pretty cool for the time and it had a boy-frame which I by then knew to argue for due to superior frame strength rather than the inherent negative connotations of feminine forms of anything in this culture (not that chicks are bad…just that feminine terms are generally used as diminutive or derogatory in this culture, e.g. “bitch” and “women and children” being constantly linked with the implication of weakness masked as value…wow, I need to let it go already). I had that bike for years. Clear into graduate school having gotten it the year I graduated high school (yes, I’m 43 now…you do the math). I never liked the little seat wedging it’s way where nothing should be, or the hard handles with so much weight pressing on my hands, or the hunched posture. Just wasn’t a 10-speed type of person.
I’ve avoided bikes since then due to the discomfort of the little seats and the weight on my arms, one of which now has an apparently permanent tendon problem exacerbated by gripping and putting weight on it (as well as by typing and being tense, knitting, writing…anything where you use your hand).
Then, I think it was last summer or fall, Berne (a dude) at work had this weird contraption on top of his Subaru. It had 3 wheels and looked like a big wheel for grownups. I asked him about it and he let me try it out. It was well fun. It’s a different brand than mine, but quite similar in style. The term is “tadpole trike”. His is a “Catrike” brand which is a pretty high end brand. He and his wife each got one, used, and have been enjoying them ever since. People claim speeds of 35mph on them. I believe it. You’re sitting in a recumbent seat that supports your back (unlike the annoying pulling on the lower back I experienced when peddling a 10speed) while you peddle. They are “recumbent” so you’re lying back pretty far. I think the seat on mine is set at about 35degrees up from horizontal. Berne’s has a mesh seat. Mind is a hard frame bucket but I like it so far (we’ll see after I ride on a bumpy surface for a long distance or sweat a lot on a hot day and get bad swamp ass). It has a nice lumbar curve built in and is narrow and short enough on the back that it doesn’t touch my shoulder blades or force my shoulders forward which happened with one low-end tadpole I tried out. Didn’t like it.
I paid 1200$ for it and it’s one year old. Sparkly blue, 27 speed (which I will be months in figuring out) (3 in front, 9 in back…I don’t know the gear ratio…it’s a KMX Viper….look it up), with panier racks (wire thingies to hold bags on the back wheel area), one bag for the aforementioned panier rack, a little baggie of tools and a paper manual that I haven’t looked at yet).
It has a brake on the back wheel (all are disk brakes) run by the left hand and brakes on the front wheels run by the right hand. I should probably have those swapped since my left arm is the “good” one and I should use it more. Most tadpole trikes only have front brakes because using the back brake lessens your ability to steer. This one, the KMX trikes in general in fact, have the back brake BECAUSE it decreases steering ability and makes you go into a semi-controlled skid (probably more controlled once I learn how to ride the bastard). So, the parking lot at work, gravel, is now heavily marked with brodies that me and others made while riding fast and then slamming on the back brakes. It was awesome and stupid so more awesome.
I do seriously need a cool helmet. If any readers have suggestions, feel free to post them. If there are local Plummer readers, feel free to call me for a test drive! It’s much funner than you think and you only look a little bit stupid.
Here is a really BOGUS phone photo of my trike. Please note the mess all around it. It is in the living room / potting shed / bike garage of the trailer. I am SUCH A SLOB! Oh well. I have fun.

On other topics, I'm in Denver. I won tickets at the Spinal Tap concert and this is the time to use them. Loretta will be on stage tonight and I plan on being there. Jonny picked me up at the airport and is letting me use an empty desk at his work (Trevor's) and use their wi-fi (so I have to keep it clean...PAM! that means you). He DID make me change my shirt before I could come up here and he said, "well, you'll be sitting behind a desk so no one will see your pants." ... nice! ... NOT! Of course I had just said that someone he was talking about sounded like such a mess that I was surprised Jonny wasn't dating them, so I totally deserved it. And I put on a better shirt than the torn sweat shirt I had been wearing. I wouldn't want to make his place of work look like a sinking ship... ...

And now, I'm going to maybe watch a movie online and fall asleep in the comfy office chair and snore and drool. But at least I look good.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

My New Used Trike

I bought it....1200$. Probably worth more than my car. which makes me want to get some padlocks for the doors of my car when it's going to be in there.

It is a KMX Viper.
Check the webpage:

And here is ME riding it:

It goes pretty fast, but I swear that is me.

I let the guys at work try it out and they thought it was awesome.
They are all jealous of my sweet ride.

Now I need a helmet.
I'm thinking this one because it is AWESOME:

or, one of those shiny german ones with a spike on top. That would be cool.

Anyway, I need to get the shifters changed, some break pads, and the chain adjusted a bit and then I'm good to go.
I can ride it now, but the boom is a tiny bit long.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Test Driving a Trike

So I want to buy a tadpole sport trike. This is NOT the one that old ladies ride around with groceries in the back. It's more of a reverse "big-wheel" type affair. Just google "Catrike" and "KMX tadpole" and you'll see some pictures.
This guy is selling his KMX Viper model because he has no $$. Sad for him. Potentially nice for me. BUT it's still 1500$. That's much cheaper than new but I don't know. I was test driving it for about 20minutes today and my thighs started to burn. It takes some muscle when you don't know which gear is which...and I don't. It was all twisty and whatnot (the gear shifters were just twisties on the handlebars).
Two people commented that it was very cool just in those 15 minutes. One commenter was a little girl on a pink bike with training wheels. She said it was pretty and strange. I told her her bike was pretty too, but not strange. Another was a woman about my age walking a dog. She said "that looks like fun." It is fun.
The Viper is designed for off and on road, mud, etc. Very sporty.
I don't know. I'll have to test a few more.
I'd put up a picture but I'm on dial-up again and I don't have all freaking day.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Tiny Garden has PLANTS!!!

I'm going to try to upload a couple of photos here. The wifi isn't very good so here's hoping. Here's a word picture while we wait to see if the photos will upload:
There are 16 squares, all planted now. I do have one pepper and one tomato to put in tomorrow. Then it will be totally totally full...for now.

The beans are partly up and looking good. The kale is off to a running start. sign yet. I thought one had sprouted before but no sign of it this morning.

I had had some old window plastic over the whole thing, but the 3 tomatoes and 1 pepper I put in were getting too tall and I had to build structures. The plastic was off for a very hot windy day and things dried out a bit.

I stopped at Home Depot yesterday and got welded wire fencing to make tiny 1-foot-cubic shelters for the squares that will need them. It went well, but some came out 8inches tall and some a foot tall due to my excellent grasp of spacial relationships. Oh well. I made 4 short ones and 4 tall ones so I can do a whole row evenly of each. These are across the north and south ends of the garden and plastic is stretched across. The plastic is dying. I don't want to buy more but can't come up with a better solution for the short term. We'll see. The wind is destroying the thin plastic. It would be cool to have 1-foot-cubic glass huts, but I don't have those yet. I don't drink anything out of gallon plastic jugs or those could get me by for a while. Hmmm....ideas?

The photos uploaded.
Here is the basic garden:

Pam says it will be a catbox very soon. She is a cranky old woman. It's up against the clothesline on the north side so I don't have to build a trellis for the tomatoes and whatnot. I'll just run strings in a net pattern to support them. And I did pick up the bags and stuff, but apparently didn't take a photo after that.

Here it is mostly planted. Just waiting for another pepper and one more tomato. Note the anal retentive strings marking out one foot squares.

And finally, with the first plastic on it.

Note the frugal use of scrap lumber to hold reused window plastic in place. That's Romney in the background. A dog I was babysitting for a week. He's sweet. And kind of dumb. Anyway, the dirt is about 4inches below the edge of the garden box and the strings held it up high enough for the first week. Now the tomatoes and peppers and even a few onions are pressing on it so I had to make the cages to hold it higher. Eventually there will be mini-greenhouses for each square.