end of an era

Saturday, some Birchwood boyz and I were riding through St Louis Park on our way back to Minneapolis, and some guy at the side of the road hollered "Go Olympics!" Nate pointed out that it's definitely the end of an era when the random guys at the side of the road are no longer yelling "Go Lance!"


this just in: leader of the free world unable to walk and chew gum at same time

George Bush fell off his bike AGAIN. This time he didn't even have tricky terrain as an excuse, as he was riding on a road, and the "tricky" part was trying to wave to some people while simultaneously navigating around some other people. The other people, specifically, were Scottish policemen.

The entire article is found here, and I highly encourage you to read it. It's hilarious. But for your convenience, here are some pertinent sections:

As the President passed the junction at speed he raised his left arm from the handlebars to wave to the police officers present while shouting 'thanks, you guys, for coming'.

As he did this he lost control of the cycle, falling to the ground, causing both himself and his bicycle to strike [the officer] on the lower legs. [The officer] fell to the ground, striking his head. The President continued along the ground for approximately five metres, causing himself a number of abrasions.

This happened a number of months ago, and apparently the poor hapless policeman was injured so badly that he was unable to return to work for 14 weeks. That is over three months. The cause of his injury was officially recorded as "hit by moving/falling object."

Interesting that this was not made public until now. I can see why Cheney waited to disclose his hunting accident until he'd had time to sober up, but seriously, guys, this happened on July 6, and no matter how soused the President was back then, he HAS to have gotten it out of his system in the nearly eight months since then.

Poor prezzie. It must be tough to have so little control over your entire body... legs... mouth... brain....


advertising is weird

Am I the only one here who does not want to make friends with my fast? That thing scares me. I certainly would not bring it into my house where it could stare at me while I was innocently trying to order food. Eff off, fast. I'm not interested.


if you have to spew, spew in this

As of today, I have been at my job exactly one year. For some reason that makes me want to puke.


this just in: gym membership encourages antisocial tendencies

This morning I went to BodyPump class, and I must say I was quite relieved to see that it was back to pre-January attendance. For some reason the resolutioners held out longer there than they did in Spinning classes or on the treadmills. Anyway, they were finally gone, so there was literally twice as much space available as there was a month ago.

This must not have been obvious to everyone.

I set up my bench and went back into the storeroom to get my weights, and when I came back, some lady had set up her bench so that it was actually touching mine, end to end. I figured I could work with this, so I didn't say anything, but then she insisted on doing stuff sideways so that when it was time to do pushups, her FEET were in MY SPACE. Specifically, my FACE's space. Jeez.

When I left there was frozen vomit on the sidewalk outside. Now, I'm all in favor of tough workouts, but if you have to go outside and blow chunks when you're done, you might want to back off. Just sayin'.


pepsi bike update for tim and andy

I moved the Pepsi bike from the living room to the basement, and now I am eating chocolate covered pretzels.


all right already!

Jeez, you'd think you people had nothing better to do than obsessively check my blog eight times a day. I'm sorry it's so upsetting, but haven't you heard of RSS? Gosh.

For those who have not been harassing me, thank you for your patience. We now resume regularly scheduled programming.

Here's a story for you. I don't remember if I blogged about it a couple months ago when I ran over some scissors in the road -- SCISSORS(?!) -- and got a flat tire, then spent a good 20 minutes trying to get my spare out of the trunk because it was frozen down. Note to self: in the future, dry spare very carefully before putting it back in the trunk, at least in the winter.

Then, a week or so ago I hit the world's largest pothole on my way to work. I thought "Whew, good thing cars don't pinch-flat." The fine city of St. Paul was kind enough to fix this pothole a mere day and a half after it appeared, which tells you how big this pothole was. This pothole was like the car-sized version of the one that took Sascha out last spring on Delaware Ave. Anyway, despite all my gloating about cars not pinch-flatting, I discovered that night that my hubcap was missing, so now my car is all ghetto-looking. Stupid pothole.

Anyway, long story short, cars do pinch-flat. It just takes longer. Today I was leaving to go to lunch when a lady from the office building next to ours came running out to tell me that my tire was flat (it's on the passenger side, so I didn't see it). So I had to change my tire in the parking lot, which was fun because whoever changed that tire last put the lug nuts on so damn tight that even jumping up and down on the wrench didn't loosen them until I'd been jumping for a good ten minutes PER NUT, and then once they were all off and the car was jacked up the wheel was -- wait for it -- FROZEN ON, and wouldn't come off. Fucking Minnesota. Pieces of my car should not FREEZE TOGETHER every time I need to change a tire.

So I yanked on it so hard I pulled a muscle in my shoulder. I felt it. It went RRRRRRRRRRRIP!! So now I have a gimpy leg AND a gimpy shoulder, and I am quickly running out of athletic activities to do. I can't run, or ride my bike, or use the stairmaster, and now I can't lift weights either. Lame, lame, lame.

Ultimately it seems the way to un-freeze a tire is to ninja-kick it a few times, so good thing I watched so many Ninja Turtles cartoons when I was a kid. Even though it got me mocked mercilessly because I was "too old" for Ninja Turtles, seeing as how I was in fifth grade and Ninja Turtles were for third graders. Whatever dude, I knew it would come in handy one day. Anyway, I got the tire off, put the donut spare on, and off I went to get it fixed.

But no! Foiled again! Not only did I pinch-flat very slowly, that pothole actually bent my rim, so I left the repair place with the donut STILL on, and I have to go back tomorrow and pay them one meeellion dollars to straighten my rim. Perhaps I should kindly request that the City of St. Paul pay for it, since they're the ones with the three-foot-diameter pothole in the middle of the on-ramp.

On the bright side, at least this time around I know how to change the tire, which wasn't really the case with the truck. I also got two flats in six weeks with the truck, back in 2003, the first time halfway up a jeep trail on Purgatory Mountain in Colorado (I left the giant metal bolt sticking into the tire and hightailed it back down the mountain, praying that the air would leak slowly enough that I could find people before it went totally flat), and the second time at 2:00 AM in the middle of Albuquerque when I hit a clump of barbed wire (in the middle of the highway) and tore a ten-inch gash in the sidewall. That one was even better - I flagged down some random old dude and begged so pathetically that he had no choice but to help, and as he was fixing my tire he told me that he was a Vegas lounge singer doing an old timey cowboy act, and not only that, he had a box full of demo CDs in his car, and when he was done with the tire he gave me one of those demo CDs. I still have it. It was terrible.

I went to WalMart to get the first one repaired, because WalMart is all there is in the middle of rural New Mexico. I handed over the truck, told them it was the right rear wheel, and sat in the waiting room for an hour and a half. Finally I was just fed up, because how long can it really take to fix a flat. I asked about it and the doofus at the desk said "oh, that one's done. It wasn't flat." I said the hell it wasn't, and the guy showed me my perfectly good, not-at-all-flat SPARE. No shit the spare isn't flat. Never go to WalMart, guys.

And those are all my flat tire stories. This is what you get when I have nothing to say but you pester me for blog posts anyway. I refuse to apologize.


and you thought mick jagger's belly shirts were inappropriate

what a maroon!

From Monday's hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee:

GONZALES: I gave in my opening statement, Senator, examples where President Washington, President Lincoln, President Wilson, President Roosevelt have all authorized electronic surveillance of the enemy on a far broader scale -- far broader -- without any kind of probable cause standard, all communications in and out of the country.

The question: has Gonzales lost the ability to make sense because he's been hanging around Bush too long, or did Bush hire him because it makes him feel good to be surrounded by other nincompoops?


woodbury sucks redux

Well, I'm not going to be on TV after all. My super-secret identity is preserved. Here is why: friggin' Woodbury has no coffee shops with free wi-fi, and since the story is about my blog, I do not get to be on TV if my blog cannot also be on TV. And I'm not about to invite any reporters into my office, no offense to Rick. Now, we all know Woodbury is one of the most soulless of the soulless suburbs, where Chili's is the fanciest restaurant and Chipotle is the most ethnic. Within two miles of my office there are two Caribous and three Starbucks. Starbucks charges for wi-fi and won't let us in, and Caribou does not have wi-fi. There are no other coffee shops. So now, as well as sucking my soul from my body, Woodbury has ruined my chances for fame and fortune.

BUT, the show will go on, and there will be other local bloggers featured (Smithers, I see what you're up to, ripping off my idea of prominently displaying Banjo Brothers stuff at the top of your blog), so everybody watch the 6:00 news tonight. And then go buy a Banjo Brothers bag, they rock.


Get that remote ready, folks, because WCCO (that's channel 4 for you call-letter-challenged folks) is doing a story on my favorite bike bag company, the Banjo Brothers. Not only that, they are interviewing lil' ol' me for this story, so assuming I don't get cut for excessive lameness or something, you can tune in to see my shiny happy face as well. But with such a cool extra-credit shill at the top of my page, how could they stand to cut me? Smithers, eat your heart out.

The bad news is that the cat's most definitely out of the bag as soon as this thing airs, so I should probably spend the entire afternoon cleaning up my archives instead of working, because Lord only knows what unauthorized persons are going to be reading this thing. It'll be like when the Washingtonienne got outed, except, uh, not scandalous. Unless Talking Bathroom Lady recognizes herself. Then all hell will break loose. Is there a witness protection program for bloggers?

Anyway, congrats to Banjo Bros for all the publicity, and here's hoping you get a lot of new business from this. Buy local, support small businesses! What's not to love?

And, uh, hi co-workers. Dang it, I knew this was a bad idea.


US lacks clue re: freedom

So I generally prefer to keep my political outrage off this blog, but you know, sometimes you're just crabby. Yesterday I heard that the World Trade Organization, otherwise known as SATAN, has "declared illegal" the European Union's attempt to ban imports of genetically modified foods. Back in 1998, the European Union decided they didn't want to import the stuff, so they stopped importing it. The US immediately filed a complaint with the WTO. Then in 2004 it filed another complaint, this time demanding that the EU hand over 1.8 billion dollars as restitution for "lost sales." Boo freaking hoo.

European people are deeply suspicious of this technology, as they should be. GM crops have not been proven safe, and there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that they are capable of wreaking all sorts of environmental havoc, including (but not limited to) the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria -- like we need any more of those -- and herbicide-resistant weeds. But our country as a whole tends to pooh-pooh science and leap right into unsafe behavior if it happens to be more convenient than the safe, so naturally the US is where most of these frankenfoods come from. And everyone knows that the US produces vastly more food than it consumes. So, naturally, the US is producing tons and tons of supercorn that it needs to get rid of, and the EU has the gall to say they don't want it. Therein lies the rub.

Now, I'm not surprised that the US went sniveling to the WTO when it didn't get its way. Nor am I surprised that the WTO is stuffed firmly into the collective American pocket. What shocks the hell out of me is that they can do this. I don't claim to understand the inner workings of the WTO or what gives it its authority; I don't know if it intends to enforce this ruling or how it would do so. To be honest, I'm not entirely sure what "fair trade" means. But the WTO says on its own website that it is "a system of rules dedicated to open, fair and undistorted competition," and last I checked, competition in the capitalist sense was more or less synonymous with supply and demand. We all remember high school econ, right?

But the new WTO ruling is essentially overruling the law of supply and demand. The EU has said quite clearly, there is no demand for your frankenfoods here. Hence the US (and Canada and Argentina, the other two biggest producers of GM crops) is creating a supply of useless goods, rather like an entire store dedicated to pet rocks. You do that, says capitalism, and you will fail. Go find something people will actually want to buy, and try again. So where does the WTO get off telling the EU that it has no choice in the matter, that it has to accept this potentially dangerous import whether it wants it or not? That's not a free market. I think they call that "rape."

"It seems to send a clear signal that any measures to protect animal, human and plant health have to be based on sound science," said Christian Verschueren, director general of CropLife International, which represents the global plant science industry.

....Trade sources also said the ruling would send a message to other WTO members, including some in Africa, which have been taking or are considering a similar line to that of the EU.

Oh right, sending messages again. Like DON'T MESS WITH TEXAS. See, I don't get how, in a system that purports to be committed to the ideals of capitalism and democracy, the appropriate "message" is that all these countries who do not want America's irresponsible technology wreaking havoc on their populations can't say no. Remember, this stuff has NOT BEEN PROVEN SAFE. The fact that it has not been proven unsafe after a few short years is meaningless. It took 60 years for people to figure out that radiation was dangerous. Given the likelihood of future problems, it's only fair to give other countries the option to reject GM products, but the WTO is now "sending the message" that they do not have that right. It's certainly not the first time the US has foisted its environmental hazards off on unwilling participants -- witness the Kyoto debacle -- but I don't know of any previous instance where an international organization has declared it illegal not to take it up the ass.

The good news is, the ruling won't be finalized for another month, and even then the EU can appeal. The bad news is, appeals are useless. Just ask Tyler Hamilton, still cooling his heels a full month after his 85th hearing. In any case let's hope it doesn't take as long to figure this one out as it's taking to decide whether global warming is real. Meanwhile, I have to get to my doctor's appointment. I'm growing a third ear and I don't know why.


"race report"

Well, today was the ill-fated half marathon. It was 10 degrees when we left the house, probably 15 during the race, and me with this stupid boot that leaves my toes sticking out. I wore a cycling sock, a big wool sock that's supposed to go with work boots, a plastic bag, and one of Nate's regular white socks. And my toes were quite toasty, which cannot really be said for the rest of me.

I, of course, did not do the half marathon. I saw the others off, then waited around for the start of the 5k fifteen minutes later. And while I positioned myself way in the back of the pack, somehow there were a couple hundred people behind me again by the time the gun went off, and I almost got trampled to death.

I ended up in a loose group of about 10-15 people that were walking. I've never done a walking event before. A few of them had a flask of some kind of schnapps that they were passing around. A couple others were head-butting each other in the stomach as they went. These things don't happen when you're actually running the thing, even if you're looking at a 26 or 27 minute time like I usually am. So it was pretty funny.

The thing I didn't think of, of course, was the difference in height between the sole of the Big Black Boot and the sole of my running shoe. I had a huge imbalance in my hips, and I paid for it. My left hip still hurts. I will not be signing up for any more 5Ks until I can take this thing off. But it was worth it to do it once.

The end of the course features a one-block steep hill, followed by a gradual incline up to the finish. At the base of the hill I figured what the hell, I can pretend it's a race for a little bit, so I motored up that hill as fast as I could hobble. Which is pretty fast if I say so myself. I passed several people on the hill, and then several more on the false flat of the last few hundred yards. Three different people said "Man, the girl with the cast is passing us!" I had a distinct advantage, of course, in that the other walkers were walking because they were too out of shape to run, so it wasn't very fair, but I giggled every time I heard it anyway.

Of course they had an announcer at the finish, hollering out names and things, and this was being broadcast throughout the building where all the other participants were drinking coffee and eating bananas. I entered the finishing chute to the sound of "This is amazing, ladies and gentlemen, this is just incredible! She is crossing the finish line and she is wearing a cast!" I waved like a celebrity, and everyone who was standing around the finish line turned to see me.

I don't know what my time was. I think probably 47 minutes. The clock said 1:02 something, which confused me because that would be a pretty leisurely walk, but it turned out the 5k wasn't even being timed and that was the clock for the half marathon. (The first finisher of that race showed up about five minutes after I did.)

I got some free coffee, picked up my mug, and wandered around being accosted by random people who wanted to know if I actually ran with "that thing" on. Around 1:40 I went outside to wait for Nate and Scott to finish, and they showed up right on their target time of 1:45. And then the three of us waited for Sascha to finish, and then we went to some diner on Lyndale and stuffed ourselves with pancakes whether we had run 13 miles or walked 3. In fact, I ate more than either Sascha or Scott, and possibly also more than Nate. I should probably ride the trainer for a couple hours now to atone for that, I guess, but.... nah.

Uh oh, my computer is making strange noises. Better hurry up and post!


Oh, and the groundhog did see his shadow. Whatever that means.

cautionary tale (updated, with pictures!)

Well, to all y'all that told me not to do the half marathon, congratulations. I'm not gonna do it.

Here are some tips from the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons:

Slowly increase any new sports activity. For example, do not immediately start running five miles a day; instead gradually build up your mileage on a weekly basis. Or, y'know, don't try and train for a half marathon in three weeks.

Use the proper equipment. Do not wear old or worn running shoes. Mine are 3 years old and have about as much cushion as Birkenstocks. I bought some new ones last week, but, y'know, too little too late.

Essentially, my last month has been spent following the Recipe For Stress Fractures to the letter. So I got one. Two and a half weeks ago, eight miles into a ten and a half miler, the top of my right foot started hurting a bit, but we were almost done, so I kept going. By the time we finished it felt like someone was stabbing a knife into the top of my foot, and I could barely walk for the rest of the day. (And I got kicked out of the hot tub too, the assholes. But you already know about that.)

But then it got better, and a few days later it didn't hurt at all. The scientist in me refuses to believe in something unless the results can be replicated, so did I stop running? Hell no. And the shorter 6.5 milers didn't hurt at all. However, another 10.5'er on Sunday brought it back, albeit as a dull pain instead of a stabbing one, but I once again found myself limping for the rest of the day and all the next day. And while I'm stubborn as hell, I'm not retarded, so this morning I went to see a carefully selected orthopedic doctor who used to be an elite triathlete, still runs marathons, and specializes in running injuries. She gave me the tough-love treatment and a huge-ass neoprene boot that goes almost to my knee and makes it impossible to go down stairs. She also told me not to ride my bike for three weeks, and while I dutifully lied and said I wouldn't, she saw right through my bullshit and called me on it. I guess that's what I get for picking a doctor who knows athletes. So then she informed me that it was my body and if I wanted to heal slower it was my decision, but I am not to stand on the pedals at all for the next month. Which is going to suck with a front derailleur that doesn't work, but I guess I'll deal.

So Tim was right. Running is bad for your health!

Now, about this half marathon. My original plan was to go ahead and do it, foot be damned, but apparently this has the potential to stick a fork in my cycling season around mid-May when all the little stresses I've been putting on it catch up to me and "bite me in the butt," in the doctor's words. Here I'd been assuming that if it doesn't hurt, it's okay, and that it was only my running career that was in danger, not cycling. And who really gives a rat's ass about my running career anyway. But, doctor knows best, and as an elite athlete herself I guess I have to believe her. But I'm pre-registered for the race, and dammit, I want my mug, if only so I have something to drink out of at the Drink Out Of Your Mug party that night. So you know what I'm going to do? I'm going to walk the 5k. In my neoprene boot. Wool socks, here I come!

Oh, and I'm going to go to Target and pick up some neon colored paint pens, so if anybody wants to drop by and sign my boot tonight or tomorrow, let me know! I'll be stylin' for sure.


more stickin' it to the man

This kid kicks ass. Way to go, kid.

Male Student Wins Fight to Wear Skirt

January 25,2006 | HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, N.J. -- A male high school student can wear a skirt to school after the American Civil Liberties Union reached an agreement with school officials.

The ACLU announced the deal Tuesday. It will allow a Hasbrouck Heights School senior to wear a skirt to protest the school's no-shorts policy.

The district's dress code bans shorts between Oct. 1 and April 15, but allows skirts, a policy 17-year-old Michael Coviello believes is discriminatory.

"I'm happy to be able to wear skirts again to bring attention to the fact that the ban on shorts doesn't make sense," Coviello said in a statement.

The Hasbrouck Heights superintendent, Joseph C. Luongo, did not return telephone messages left Tuesday seeking comment.

Coviello first wore a costume-style dress but high school officials told him to go home and change. The district's superintendent then advised the Coviello to purchase everyday dresses and skirts at a retail store, which Coviello did, the ACLU said.

But after a few days, he was sent home with a note from his principal saying if he wore a dress, kilt or skirt, he could no longer attend school.