Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Sweetest Thing

One thing that's happened in my absence here is that I became an uncle. Here's a photo of my niece Julia in her 8th month.

This was taken while shooting some photos for her & her parent's christmas card.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


If you haven't seen this yet, here it is. This guy is my new idol.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Good news is....

Good News: EK and I have spent 3 fun weekends in a row out of town, Much of it time for just the two of us.

Good News: My grandfather is feeling well and gaining weight after a few rounds of radiation treatments

Good News: My car is at 165000 miles and working great.

Good News: I just ran 18 miles on a relatively hot, humid day. Despite hitting a hard wall, I finished. Finishing 26.2 feels within reach.

Good News: I continue to discover great people around me.

Good News: I got to see my parents and niece yesterday. My niece is growing so fast.

Good News: 6 months for EK and I passed on Friday. We had homemade Pizza and super good chocolate.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


So there have been some emails flying around amongst my extended family in the run-up to the the family reunion, and some very interesting information about ancient lineage was shared, courtesy of the genealogists.

In fact, 4 different Norwegian lineages were shared, but my direct bloodline was dated back 13 generations.

That's right. I now know the name of my

1. Great
2. Great
3. Great
4. Great
5. Great
6. Great
7. Great
8. Great
9. Great
10. Great Grandfather.

Ready? Drumroll........

Ole Olsson Skjåstad, born in 1585. Yeah, not quite so glamourous that he's literally Ole, Ole's son.
and Skjåstad is literally his address. It was later changed when my Great Great Grandfather, Ole Ivar, moved to a more auspicious location down the fjord ;)

Perhaps even more interesting is the conversations my uncle had (some time ago) with some Norwegian relatives who seem to think/have some shaky research that we are descended from some early Viking chieftains from Denmark, and quite possibly,

Haraldr Blátönn.

You've probably never heard of him, but he's a pretty significant historic figure for a few reasons:

1) Harald is regarded as having united (if temporarily) Denmark, Norway, and Sweden under a single king
2) He's responsible for the Jelling Stones, claiming to have brought christianity to Denmark, and is mentioned in the Icelandic Saga Heimskringla, which I suppose is now going to go on the reading list.
3) Bluetooth technology is named after him.

Its pretty cool to have that reminder right on my desktop.

Now. Given my family's dental history, I'm going to go brush my teeth.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Up Nort at da Laake.

I had a great weekend in Northern MN at a cabin owned by my Grandfather's cousin's family. My grandfather and his cousin(who just passed last fall) were close, so my father, aunts & uncles, and their cousins spent many summers at this same place. I had been here before, but only as a toddler.

A reunion brought about 40 people together in this small cabin, although today, there are 4 other cabins owned by relatives on the same lake. It felt very strange to see adults who I have vague memories as a child show up as Grandparents, other kids instantly grown up -- and meeting their families and children.

One unfortunate thing is that this was only a weekend for EK and I, and most of the conversations ended up feeling like speed dating rather than wholesome conversations with people whom you share a great deal of DNA. I also, in this melee, missed talking with a few couple people I really have some great adoration for. Fortunately, they live fairly close. (Strange how that can still be a world away)

Anyways, dinner was served on Saturday evening by my Grandfather's cousin's wife -- who managed to cook for the group and still have energy to have lively conversation (one of the few wholesome conversations had) and play with the young (great-grand) kids. Not bad for 94 years old. It's something I genuinely hope for my life.

After everyone retired to their respective cabins, EK and I had the treat of sleeping in THE cabin. Small & spartan, but with 60 years of memories & tradition.

But before that, we walked out to the dock, laid down, made funny faces at each other, curled up, and watched the stars come out.

This is what is important.

This morning was another fantastic meal: mind blowing caramel rolls, quiche, egg bake, fresh fruit, and of course, coffee.

And then we drove home.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Long Lost Brothers?

I can't decide who might be of closer relation to Alberto.....

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Tour

My TV watching peaks big time in July. The tour de France is on, and let me tell you: this year's race has been incredible.

The race is stacked with talent, Lance is back, there is drama going on in the Astana team, there is drama for the Green Jersey, Hincapie almost got the Yellow for a stage, Levi L. is out.

Stages you've missed and should probably go back and watch:

3: The entire Columbia team busts off the front of the pack, Mark Cavendish talks some serious smack.
7: Contador asserts diominance over the peleton on the first high mountain stage.
12: Rookie Heinrich Haussler wins an emotional stage. Not a dry eye in the house.
13: Hincapie breaks away early ad goes for Yellow in a nail-biter
15: Contador's acceleration makes a mockery of the best cyclists on the planet. I didn't see a drop of sweat on him.
16: The separation of the men & boys begins. Lance proves that he's still got it.
17: A monster of a day. I'll say no more.

The last few stages are going in with an absurd amount of drama. Tomorrow is an every-man-for-himself Time Trial (and a long one with a stage 3 climb at that) and Saturday ends with a climb up Mont Ventoux -- one of the most relentless mountains in all of France.

Strap in. it will be good.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


-Watching every minute of the tour
-Marathon training: ~30 miles/week
-Trip to ND/ Badlands w/ EK
-Only triathlon of the season tomorrow

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The real effect of income tax cuts.

How will a decrease in income tax affect your financial standing?

Let's say you, like a large majority of Americans, are not self-employed.

For the sake of round numbers, let's assume

-your salary at ABC corp. is a cool $100,000
-the federal tax rate is 50% (again, for the sake of round numbers, we're going to assume Federal tax is the only tax, but really, it could be ANY tax)
-After tax, you take home $50,000/year.

This feels terrible, because you all that money you're earning is going to the government. After all, it's your money!

So you call your state representative, he agrees, and authors a 50% tax cut bill which passes the house, senate, and white house, bringing the tax rate to 25%.

You now take home $75,000/year, a whopping 50% take home increase! The world is good; Rainbows and unicorns are everywhere.


Meanwhile, your employer knew that yesterday, you agreed to work for a salary that brought home $50,000/year.

Now, next week, John Doe is hired with an identical job function to yours at ABC corp. Assuming all things equal, will John be given a $100,000/year salary? Not if your company is in the business of making a profit! His salary will be $66,666.67/year. After the 25% tax, he'll take home $50,000 assuming he's still in the same tax bracket, if he's not, they'll calculate a salary to yield the $50,000 take home. HR and management have just saved the company $33,333.33 for every employee they hire from now on!

Who really benefits here? The business owners, executive management, and "the investor class."


In the modern world, people, not materials & equipment, are considered the greatest monetary burden. Companies would much rather have machines do the work that humans do. They don't show up late, take vacation, use facebook during the workday, they're way easier to maintain(i.e they don't get sick), and they don't ask for raises.

Soon enough, your identical co-worker is providing the same amount & quality of work, yet he's costing the company less. Will your company pressure you to work more? Should they? Why not? You're costing them more. Are you sure you won't be "pressured" to leave? You can save the company $$ if you do. As an example, Target corporation is known for getting employees out of the organization by giving them a workload so large that they will fail. That way, they can say it is "performance related." There are no laws to my knowledge against management changing your job function, or its scope.


Stepping back to the big picture, the grocer, your landlord, and the gas station know that you're making more money. AND YOU CAN AFFORD TO PAY MORE. What business wouldn't charge more if they knew their employees could afford to pay more? (The kind that don't last very long)

The dollar inflates and the cost of goods go up that year.

Obviously, youll argue that 25% tax cut is unworldly, and that governments hike or deflate taxes incrementally over time to prevent the economic shock to the labor market and cost of goods to spike. touche. Lets go back and run the numbers if it was something more realistic like 5%. Is 5% savings something that would really impact your life? Probably, but not a huge effect. Is 5% of your salary important to your company? 5% times the payroll is a BIG number in many instances.

But then I have a question for you. WHAT IS THE POINT OF THE TAX CUT IN THE FIRST PLACE? Is it not to decrease burdon? How much should income tax be cut?


Here's the rub. It doesn't matter what the income tax rate is. Your take home dollars will always reflect your worth to the company and the economy as a whole(whether your compensation is appropriate or not). Not your pre-tax salary. None of this applies if you are the type of person that can get away with naming your own salary. The company will obviously pay what it takes to get your talent. You are also quite rare.

This goes for everything. People see tax breaks as a shortcut to get ahead. But when everyone gets ahead at the same rate....guess what. Its a zero sum for everyone except the government, who won't be able to afford filling potholes and paying police & educators. The less money that is available to the government is essentially the same as less power.

This is essentially an ingredient in a recipe to create an oligarchy and dynastic families. Money is siphoned away from the government (i.e. the people) and given to a few.


In the end, a tax cut is not going to make you more money. If you want to make more money, move around in your career, learn new skills, gain and edge on the competition, and step up the competition with your co-workers. Remember, It's a jungle out there....

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Tribute to Shane McConkey

Shane McConkey was a big hero to me. Whenever I've dreamed of skiing, whether it be mid-summer, bad or no snow in the Midwest, or on my indoor bike trainer, I'd be watching ski flicks....and Shane was in all of them.

One of the world's top "extreme" skiiers, he was always pushing the limits of skiing, and is considered the inventor of the fat ski, which has made big mountain skiing accessible to a huge slice of people who don't have skills like he did. He also invented Ski-BASE -- where you ski off a monster cliff, and pull a parachute, making just about any slope with snow skiable.

Shane died in March in a ski accident. Not just any ski accident. He was in Italy, doing a Ski - Wingsuit - BASE jump when a binding failed.

I've really enjoyed watching him over the years, and I'll share a little with you here.

Shane McConkey in Claim from Phil Herbert on Vimeo.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Skeiðarársandur sunrise

(for whatever reason, blogger is clipping my photo. click on it for full frame)

This is Skeiðarársandur and a small piece of Vatnajökull above.

Skeiðarársandur is a vast sand plain (sandur) in southeast Iceland that has been flattened over the ages by jökulhlaup and high winds. This area is the sight of the most difficult to build roadway in all of Iceland's ring road because of jökulhlaups -- the last bridge over the glacial runoff was smashed in the mid-90's like toothpicks. The wind & sand combination has been known to strip the paint off cars and knock bicyclists flat over.

We spent the evening before in a country hostel, and were up nice and early heading east. This was one of the best views of the trip. To the left of where I was standing was also much more of Vatnajökull. Svínafellsjökull is seen at the very left.

War Stories from a medical device career.

As if seeing people with bad odds on operating tables wasn't enough to encourage a person to stay healthy,

I attended an industry conference a couple months ago, and heard a very distinguished gentleman named Mark Kroll speak. Mark holds the record for patents among Minnesotans and the medical device industry as a whole, with approximately 290 patents to date. Many of his career efforts have been in the Pacemaker realm. His lunchtime lecture was called "War Stories from a Medical Device Career." A fair amount of it was humorous and light hearted, but it was also informational and did take a few very serious turns.

One of those topics was disease diagnosis. He started by mentioning a fact that all Americans should be aware of. "The first symptom of Coronary Artery Disease in about 50% of the population...is death."

Read that again.

That is bad news for us, but good news for health insurance companies. Because if you die, all that money you contributed to health insurance is theirs to keep! So his point was that "Your Death is the Cheapest Therapy" If you die suddenly, you will never live to an old age and have 8 different prescription drugs to take a day, and get cancer. But let's say you get a Calcium CT scan (HIS suggestion for the best preventative diagnosis today) and your heart is full of calcified blockages? Then you can get blood thinner medication, coronary artery bypasses, and drug coated stents! All that stuff is expensive though, and health insurance gets to help pay. Simple.

So according to Mark, the best thing to date that can diagnose deadly heart disease is something that health insurance companies DO NOT WANT TO PAY FOR.

Life insurance companies will....that is, if you have a big enough policy.

Another example Mark gave: Pacemakers used to only have a few years of life because they used Mercury batteries. When Lithium Ion batteries showed up, the battery life jumped up to 7 years, and there was a belief that improvements could yield a battery with a life of 25 years or more. But who didn't want pacemakers that last 30 years? DOCTORS. They make money from implanting pacemakers, and physicians want repeat customers. Expect today's newest pacemaker to last 10 years. Planned obsolescence---it's not only the automotive & electronics industry.

Today in America, 60% of all bankruptcies are not filed by spendthrifts, but by people who get sick or injured, and put themselves into major debt after being dropped by their insurance.

Heath Insurance companies, medical device manufacturers, pharmaceutical & biotech companies, and Hospitals. They're (actually we're) all after your savings. The wealth you're saving over a lifetime in hopes of passing on to your children to live a better standard of life? We want that. Keep eating fatty/excess food, keep smoking, keep heavily drinking, doing what everyone else is doing..... and we'll get it. The people working at those big medical device companies, pharmaceutical companies....are they really committed to your health and your cure? No. the people making the decisions are focused on developing things that will MAKE MONEY. That's how you run and sustain a business. Simple.

In closing, the best cure for disease........is not blockbuster drugs or new medical device breakthroughs. It's PREVENTION. A healthy lifestyle. Regular checkups. Simple.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Macbook Serial # W8845DR1B0 is STOLEN!

And there is a $600 reward for its safe return

Ethernet ID: 002332DC3A3A
Airport ID: 00236C8808ED

The police report is filed with the Everett, WA police department, case DD09-6191. It was stolen from outside Sporty's

It is an Aluminum Case, 2.0mhz, 2GB ram, 160GB hdd. The thief only got the charger and a red BuiltNY case to go with it. (and my Nikon D40 camera and my backpack)

This is just a last ditch effort to get it back.

If you've purchased it, I'm sure you hate it because you don't have the firmware password. contact me and we can make a deal.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Why would you go to Iceland?

So I spent a week with EK in Iceland.

I've been asked more than a few times why I would go to Iceland. Here's just a couple reasons.

I took about 1000 photos, these are just a couple. We were planning on rain, wind, and gloom, and we got sunny days.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

I am Scared.

I was brought to tears last weekend. (and really every time I think about this)

I was visiting my home and my Grandparents. My namesake grandfather was diagnosed with metastasized melanoma in February, and has 3 tumors.

He refused anti-cancer medication. At the time, he felt fine, he had a good quality of life, he enjoys eating, and medication would surely change that. He's 89, and for most people, I guess that's what most people would expect. He's had a very full life, has lived his life on his own accord, has 10 grandchildren.

What just tears me apart is that he and my grandmother (age 94) are otherwise very healthy, independant, and very in love with each other. They just became Great-Grandparents.

They are my heroes above all others.

I've felt for some time that I identify with my grandfather more than anyone in my entire family. I grew up a stone's throw away from his house, and he is just as much of a father to me as my own father is. I recall spending many nights with him getting help on my schoolwork when I was a child, and in doing so passed on to me a love for science and mathematics.

He also has held his core values dear. He was recruited to IBM in Chicago as a young engineer --he was truely one of the original whiz kids there-- but when they wanted him to learn how to play golf and dress up, he sold his tuxedo and returned to the farm. He never looked back after choosing freedom over fortune.

I've had deaths in my family, but this is different. Never has anyone been this close to me. Last week was the second time I saw tears come from my fathers eyes.

I am scared.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


I've been really busy. I took a darling girl out on valentine's day and she's all I can think about. For the purpose of pseudo anonymity, she'll be known as EK.

This weekend has been full, and a slice of what I've been up to.

Friday afternoon, we met up with her mother and saw a Swedish film called Ciao Bella, an indy romantic comedy about a nerdy teenage Iranian-Swede who gets a transformation when hooking up with an Italian soccer team in town.
Afterwards, we hit Spoon River and had a killer meal. I had steak and EK had an incredible vegetarian meal. She had the better meal. We had great conversation. I learned more about her, and found increasing similarity on life philosophy.

I ran 7 miles in the morning(while EK ran her Saturday morning ritual 13 miles with her sis-in-law), cleaned up & had a nap, hooked up with J-Mo, and went up to my sister's to see my new niece, Julia Faith, and parents who were in town. I completely abstained from anything but a glass of Shiraz, anticipating a good meal that evening with EK. (she'd been at a shower all afternoon)
We were able to get a seat a Lucia, and had an incredible seared tuna appetizer complete with delectable microgreens. I had some very OK chicken while she had cod and a "saffron fideos" which was also a 10/10.

We called it a night and woke up smiling at each other. We made plans for the day and made breakfast -- oatmeal (with all kinds of tasty nuts, dates, and maple syrup added), grapefruit, super strong coffee, and some cardamom coffee cake her mom made. We did some trip planning for Iceland (oh yeah... we're going to Iceland next month!)

After that, we followed through on our plans to get fitted for new running shoes, catch up with her sis-in-law at her studio @ the U, and saw Kautekino Rebellion -- an incredible film about an uprising that caused many Norwegians to move to Minnesota. We split back and spent some quality time together before she had book club, so I went to Target, Barnes & Noble, and the grocer before heading home.

I'm exhausted. And I can't wait to see her again.

I'm very happy.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


On 3/22/09, I was on the way back from a day of skiing at Steven's Pass, WA, and was killing time on the way back to my cousin's house, as he was just finishing up entertaining some friends downtown before heading home. I was hungry and stopped in at a sports bar near his house and ordered a burger and a beer.

When I came back to my car, the driver's window was smashed in.

My heart stopped.

I noticed my Nikon D40 SLR camera, which was hidden under my ski jacket, gone.

Peering into the car over broken glass, I noticed that in the back seat, behind smoked glass, my small backpack was missing. The backpack held my new Macbook, my iPod shuffle, my home apartment/car keys and the jumpdrive(full of my writing and training logs) attached, and a letter of recommendation and my scholarship application form.

I was 4 days away from the scholarship deadline, and had all the documents in line to go. One last peak at the drafts and FedExing documents was all I had to do. The loss of the recommendation was huge.

I remembered changing coats before I went into the restaurant, covering my Nikon, realizing the strap was showing, and covering it again. I was being watched, the camera was the thief's target, the backpack was a bonus. A big one.

The police officer on the scene scolded me for leaving valuables in my car. He scolded the bar tender for not having a camera in the parking lot. After all; it was his "what, third time at a break-in in this spot of the parking lot?"

I've been pretty secure with my belongings, especially my laptop and the information kept on it, but why I left them in the car is a mystery to me. I suppose I was bushwacked from a tough 1st day skiing, and a little out of my mind.

When you think something will never happen to you, that's when it usually happens.

Or maybe not.

Here's the strange thing: it's almost like I knew this was going to happen:

1) For no reason at all, on my last day of work before leaving, I scanned copies of that letter of recommendation & application form and emailed them to myself.
2) I knew I would be driving in the mountains, but requested an "intermediate car" because it would be cheaper and have a trunk. The Enterprise agent gave me a "free upgrade" to an SUV when I casually mentioned that I'd be skiing. I was still inclined to just ask for the small car, but didn't.
3) Again, for no reason at all, I backed up all of my photography onto my desktop hard drive.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Can it wait?

I've been bombarded at work the last couple weeks, and I just wanted a few minutes yesterday to relax over lunch, but was interrupted not less than 6 times in 1 hour.

It was over noon hour.
I was reading a book.
I had earbuds in. (they were not plugged into anything)

A co-worker a few cubes over, observing only the inflection in my voice stopped in late and said, "man....you need to chill."

Thanks, Captain Obvious.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


Sorry for the complete lack of material here, but I've been stupidly busy lately.

Last week I was trying to finish "The Stone Raft" by Jose Saramego before book club. I knocked down 110 pages within 24 hours but still didn't finish. Fortunately I got much farther than anyone else in the club. My little brother showed up in town that night too.

I'm always trying to manage Rotaract's community service committee better; we have tons of events coming up, including a service project of our committee's creation. It will be good.

I'm still working on the scholarship application, and the essays are coming together slowly. Seriously -- they have to be $25000 good. I'm trying to tie world peace with Biomedical/Clinical engineering. While talking to a scholarship committee guy, he volunteered me for helping him start up a whole new Rotaract club.

Work has been ridiculous. I've been busy working on a side project within our project mandated by our VP that is completely useless. Incredible how powerful & wealthy stupid people can become. At the end of the task, we will know nothing new except for some calculated numbers.

I really sucked at my ski league this year. It's over, and I"ll do it next year. Hopefully I can get some practice in for the 2010 season.

I've had literally such little time that the only time I've had for working out is before work, and 5:10am does just not agree with me. It really hasn't made much difference that all the XC ski trails are trashed. Fortunately, the bike is on the trainer in my room, and I can watch ski flicks on my laptop. I'm going for a run right now in the snow.

After that, it's out & about with my dad & brother in law.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

3 very random things.

1. I just watched Demetri Martin's new show on comedy central. It is very funny, and you should watch it. The best scene not involving Mr. Martin's characteristic jokes or flip charts was (SPOILER) a scene of a fictional movie set, where Demetri is supposed to be an actor that is trying to perfect a scene where he blows up at his cheating girlfriend. Each time they "roll," he acts very passive, but when the director yells "CUT" he flies off the handle. A classic in the making.

2. After that, I saw a trailer for some movie called "Watchmen." I really didn't pay attention to what the movie is about, but what caught my attention was the music--- a song by The Smashing Pumpkins called "The Beginning is the end is the Beginning." The only place you can find this song is on the Batman + Robin soundtrack (the 4th installment in the first series of Batman movies starring Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy and the Governator as Mr. Freeze) Not only is it wildly ironic that the song has been revived as a theme song for a new (non-Batman movie), but even more ironic is that this song never actually was in the movie.....hold onto your pants.....it was a remix of a song that was a theme song for Batman + Robin, and the song actually used in the movie was called "The End is the Beginning is the End." I knew all of this off the top of my head.

*After proofreading this last passage, I've just realized that I may be channeling Chuck Klosterman.

3. I had book club tonight, and nobody finished the book. I was the person who was able to delve deepest into Jose Saramego's nobel prize winning "the stone raft" which I read approximately 120 pages in a space of 6 hours in the last 24 hours before the club started. We planned to meet at La Bodega, but it was closed for renovation (coincidence?). The book has been a very challenging but rewarding read thus far. It will be finished soon.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


I found this photo at Bikesnobnyc.blogspot;com

Apparently, someone took a perfectly good Cervelo P2C and turned it into a fixie. And not just a believable track bike, they put riser bars on it and made it into some bmx/ urban abomination. Apparently the owner then tried to sell it on craigslist. I hope someone had contacted the authorities and the perpetrator is in a mental institution.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Why Bicyclists wear spandex

So everyone outside the know makes the odd assumption that cyclists wear tight clothes "spandex" because it is aerodynamic.

It's true that wearing "spandex" from neck to knee is somewhat aerodynamic, but there are other major considerations going on here.

In the broad scale, the human body is very much not aerodynamic. Aerodynamics are important when cycling at high speed, above 20mph, but bike races are not won at high speeds. When cyclists are racing at high speeds, there's ususally a large pack of riders who ride in other rider's slipstream. They're usually won on long, steep hills....where even the fastest guy might be riding at 12mph. Not so much for aerodynamic considerations at that speed.

If being aerodyamic was the primary goal of such clothing, we'd also all wearing an aero helmet and be on a time trial bike like Dave Zabriskie here.

So why "spandex" then? A few things:

1. You, the casual observer, aren't able to see huge sweatspots. You should actually be applauding the fact that we aren't subjecting you to huge splotches of wetness emanating from our underams, chest, and crotch. We'd probably get way more crap if we wore cotton.
2. It doesn't chafe. Ever go to the gym wearing streetclothes and work out *hard* for an hour? If you haven't, I'll fill you in. Anywhere your body has been moving, the wet clothes will have abraded away your skin and chafed. It even happens with the best of clothes.
3. It doesn't stay wet. Generally, cyclists are rarely on a ride for less than an hour. On just a warm day, you can sweat off a few liters of fluids in an hour. Wet clothes are unconfortable and unsightly (see #1 & #2)

Same goes for helmets. the sculpted helmets you see cyclists wearing are also not really aerodynamic. They're designed keep your head from overheating on a 95F day when you're not cracking your skull to the pavement after being buzzed by an oblivious soccer mom on her cell phone.

Also, people don't wear cycling clothes to look like Lance Armstrong. If anything, pro cyclists are sponsored by performance clothing companies in the same way Tiger Woods & Kobe Bryant sell sporting apparel. When I see a neighborhood game of b-ball, and see some guys wearing jerseys, I don't think, "what a moron! that guy thinks he's Shaq!"

Perspective: Drivers of horse carriages were constantly annoyed by bicyclists at the turn of the century 20th in New York City; little has changed in over 100 years. And should the day come that we're rationing our dwindling petroleum reserves for strict consumption for international air transport and agricultural equipment, I'm sure whatever you're using to get around, a cyclist will find some way to piss you off.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Instant Runoff Voting

I read a blog just a few minutes ago regarding the Franken/Coleman race, and how underserved we as voters are since a fraction less than 50% of the voters chose the winner.

I felt compelled to write a comment, which I've copied here:


As much as I would love to see instant runoff voting, and the power it would give voters, I don't think we'll see it anytime soon.

How great it would be to support a candidate who believes in your values but doesn't need to pander to the center/swing voters, or romance contributions from wealthy benefactors! Unfortunately, I think it's a dream.

Quite often we hear about people "choosing the lesser evil," because they know the candidate who most closely fits their ideals does not have backing of a major political party, or enough cash. Suddenly, the inherent power of IRV could allow anyone regardless of their fundraising ability to be elected. The media would recognize this, and we could see debates not between 2 candidates, but many. A man who has a meager bank account who shines at a debate could quickly gain momentum rivaling that of a major political party with very little amounts of advertising.

The new rules would have devastating effect to the standing Republican and Democratic parties by strengthening dark horse/unaffiliated candidates, and minor political parties in the US, seriously changing the political landscape. The two major parties in the US stand only to lose power power by instant runoff voting. The stability of their future would be greatly threatened. I would expect the most motivated people in American politics, those employed by the major political parties, to prevent this from getting on any ballot.

Unfortunately, politics is all about power and money in this country. And those who have it want it to stay that way.

Friday, January 23, 2009


In the space between yesterday and last July, I've met 5 Olympians.

4 triathletes
1 rower

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Announcement to the World

For the greater part of what I call my adult life, George W. Bush has been the leader of my country. I have been vehemently vociferous about my distaste for his actions and his policies.

Today that ended. It was a change I contributed to.

I have voiced my opinion to my newly elected representatives, and backed my voice with dollars.

I want a world where kindness is currency, and goodwill towards those with whom you do not identify is a noble act. Where protecting the innocent is just as important as transforming enemies into friends. Perpetuation of violence must be replaced by an expanding circle of forgiveness and brotherhood.

I will oppose incentives rewarding those that squander, destroy, and conspire. Conservation of our limited resources must instead be of primary importance.

I will push for a world that creates a sustainable standard of living for all of its residents, where political, economic, and social stability & and the ability to pursue health, knowledge, and happiness are birthrights for every human child.

I will be very critical of every single leader, republican or democrat, from Michele Bachmann to Barack Obama, who do not support my vision.


No idea created by man has ever been perfect.

But we always have Hope.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

the skier's dilemma

the more I ski
the more comfortable I become
and embrace greater speeds.

the faster I go
the sooner I approach the lift
and must wait to ski

Friday, January 2, 2009


I've always resisted the urges to be "a collector." In college, I had a roommate who collected Coca Cola memorabilia, something I really didn't understand. Like all college freshmen, I collected beer bottle caps. Until I was 21, when I threw them all away.

Now I have 4 bikes, but you could hardly call that a collection. All have their own utility (road,tri/TT,track/fixie, and mountain), and I only need 2 more -- a cyclocross bike and a junker for bar crawls.

As an apartment dweller, I really fight my nesting instinct. I also don't like having shit - when I was in college, I enjoyed being able to put every single one of my belongings into my chevy sedan and go wherever I wanted--the freedom was liberating. I dream of having a loft with minimalist decor -- a couch, a chair, a desk, a bikes, a bookcase, a guitar, photos & art on the wall, and luscious swaths of empty space. When moving into my future dream home, I expect to have one huge ass rummage sale, a week off from work for ebaying, and many subsequent trips to the dumpster.

Tonight I went to REI to find a messenger bag replacement for my leather bookbag. I came home with a backpack and a laptop sleeve.

And I came to terms with the fact that I'm a total slut for backpacks.

They have so much UTILITY! I bought a backpack tonight because I could bring not just my laptop with me, but my laptop, my DSLR, some books, and a snack. Fuck messenger bags--I've got what I need. (except I need to exchange the laptop sleeve, it's too small)

So now, here's my collection thus far, in order of acquisition....

-a drawstring bag from a 1997 state swimmeet. Used frequently as a carry-on at airports, and a very low profile daypack while travelling. It rolls up very compactly into my bigger pack after I pick up my luggage.
-Old yellow Eddie Bauer schoolbag backpack. It's tattered, yet not ready to fall apart. Usually used as a gym bag
- a Wilson Leather messenger style bag. Its falling apart.
-a Camelbak, which is used frequently while mountainbiking, downhill skiing @ altitude, and XC skiing
- an extended trip internal frame REI Mars pack. Used for extended backpacking, and the only luggage I need for air travel.
- a mesh Pigman triathlon half ironman schwag bag. it' mesh, perfect for holding onto swim gear, since it breathes. No moldy swim trunks!
- an Ortovox ski mountaineering pack. I got it to replace the yellow EB pack, and for future backcountry skiing/summitting. It has loops for skis, ice axe, and crampons. Also works well for triathlons--Loops for my helmet and straps for the wetsuit. Suh -weet.
- an amphipod neoprene holster. Just big enough to hold keys, an ID, a few bucks, and clips inside your waistband - perfect for a quick run. Not technically a backpack, but awesome all the same.
- the latest. An Arc'teryx technical daypack. It will fit my laptop, my DSLR, a legal pad and some paperbacks(and probably more). It's extremely light, can hold a water bladder, and will work great for biking my camera & computer around town & probably on very long rides.Perfect.

Why I believe celebrities are generally excellent choices for Political office.

I've been a big Franken supporter/fan since before he announced his intention to run for US Senate. I also liked Jesse ventura as Governer (even though I was only a MN resident for a couple months he was in charge), and I don't think Arnold is a horrible governer either, given his affiliation with the Republican party.

Given a celebrity has a basic understanding of civics, economics, and public policy; I would generally favor them over career politicians. I urge you to see things the same way, no matter your political stance.

What? Are you f*cking nuts?

No. This is all about a matter of motivation.

As a general rule, I will favor just about anyone running for public office over a businessman-turned-politician running for office. Businessmen are motivated by one thing -- their own (and their friends') personal profits. Expect them to make actions that will put money in their own bank accounts and the accounts of those who helped get them into office. Some people might call huge campaign donations "investments." This is described in more succinct terms as "corruption" and "cronyism."

I recall a story about guitar god Tom Morello, who after getting his political science degree, worked for a (I can only assume liberal) politician. He became quite disillusioned with the process, given that this politician spent 80% of his day begging rich people for money. So he could get re-elected.

Conversely, celebrities generally already have their own money. Lots of it! In addition, the sheer "star-factor" of a celebrity can inspire people to donate cash. This is the same reason you see celebrities taking up charities - they can use their influence to raise cash. (If they're not willing to tap into their own bank accounts, as many are) In this case, the tax deductible charity that they are promoting is your political party of choice.

In addition, everyone who even considers running for public office has an ego to feed. However, celebrities are megalomaniacal--they listen to one person. Themselves. Lobbyists will have a very difficult time influencing someone who already has an ego AND retarded amounts of cash. In fact, they'll probably heard, "don't call my fucking phone again" more often than not from Jesse Ventura.

Celebrities by definition are already public figures-just like politicians. However, people seem to act surprised when politicians get wound up in scandals?

Which one of the following statements should you not be surprised by?

a) Governer Spitzer flew a ridiculously expensive hooker to his hotel room in DC.

b) Police broke up a party at Senator Charlie Sheen's house, where they found 2 kilos of cocaine, 16 hookers, and a half ton of whipped cream.

c) Senator Larry Craig tried to solicit sex from a male cop in an airport bathroom.

Answer: You should not be surprised by any of them.

NEWSFLASH: People with tons of money and power, no matter who they are, regularly do things that are far more fucked up than the weirdest porno you've ever seen. My point here----there's no difference. Ironically, it is the non-celebrity politicians who are putting on an act.

So I agree that the Arnolds, the Al Frankens, and even the Charlton Hestons should be running for public office. They have nothing but motivation to advance thier ideas. They will spend most of their time pursuing them during their time in office.