Wednesday, January 31, 2007

el Timbre

I walked out on the porch this a.m. to get the paper, and decided at that exact moment to just not do it. It was cold and I dreaded riding in it. Why dread it so? Instead, I actually meditated for 15min to start the day and went from there. There's a forecast for light snow tonight and tomorrow, so we'll see how that goes.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Cold Commute

Date: Jan 30 Tues
Mileage: 12 (LHT)
January mileage: 273
Year to date: 273

My commute entries are getting sort of boring. Fact is, it's sort of cold, sort of dark, and I'm mostly going A-->B and back, with nary a long loop or adventure to find. Today was fun in that it was 33 or so in the a.m., and by the p.m. the clipper had arrived making it 25F with a nasty easterly (westerly, blowing from the west?) wind making the wind chill at or below 0F. I was well dressed, as follows:

top- thin smartwool, thick smartwool, performance gore-tex jacket. excellent job there.
bottom- smart wool tight, cotton sweatpants, base layer pad-less lycra short. no probs
feet- thick wool, plastic bag, thick wool, sandals. yes, the sandals @ 25F worked fine.
hands- wool gloves, goretex mittens from days gone past
head- Descente skull cap. i couldn't find my thin balaclava, so I went with this. i would say this was the weak link, in the i felt some cold stuff on my neck

I came home asap, as the legs didn't want to do 20m this p.m. in the cold. Doug is very demure and humble, but there is NO way I could pull off 50m in this cold, much less 135m. Tomorrow is supposedly reasonable, and they're finally calling for some snow Thursday, or it could change to rain. BLAH! (I tried to make that as "barf" a color as possible. We all want snow at this point after at least 1 winter without real snow).

If there is stuff on the ground, I'll probably go with the SS Monocog, as its knobbies could be beneficial. And the RBW order comes then too.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Podcrack

You know you're old when you spend more time downloading and subscribing to NPR and Buddhist podcasts then you do ripping and uploading "cool" music. I've been using my ipod more for listening to UrbanDharma or to This American Life then to the new Shins disc.

(my mouse just went spastic...)

Coldish Commute

Date: Jan 29 Mon
Mileage: 17.5 (LHT)
January mileage: 261.5
Year to date: 261.5

After a lost weekend of Ick and Sloth, I got out for a coldish commute today. I had been wanting to start my day with some morning meditation or walking meditation, so I set the clock for 5.00. Funnily enough, the body woke up at 4.59 and away I went. I didn't get around to the meditation, but I did get ready in plenty of time for early start, taking the Cherokee route in to school. As ever, I like to give a state-of-being on golf course hill. Today: tired. I actually got off and walked on the flat part at the top of the hill. The morning temps were 15F with some breeze- but no real wind- and I was just needing to warm up. I got to work and for a change got some things done. The afternoon was warmer, with some sun and temps around 30F, with a heavier breeze from the SW. It made for speed down Logan St. at around 15mph. After crawling my way around in the a.m. at 10-12mph, any extra speed feels like a Tour time-trial. Crossing Broadway I saw a biker dude waiting at the light going east. He had a regular road bike as best as I could tell, with a messenger bag slung over. I know he would like panniers better, but maybe he's not so damn slow as I am. I took Mellwood to the Beargrass Trail, headed through Cherokee again up to Alta Vista with its fine homes, and then threaded my way home from there. It's too bad I couldn't get 20m in, but I'll live. I'm relatively close to last January's mileage, and I think it's an admirable goal to supersede each of last year's months' mileage (is that permissible grammar?). I need a solid couple rides left to do that. I'm tempted to switch to another bike for a longer ride, but now that I'm settled with the Serfas, I like the security of monster rubber on the road when it's below 20F in the a.m. Safety is much better than Speed at that point.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

2nd Half

I was cussing the whole first half, to be down on UT @ home without their best player, Loften! They seemed to play a little more intensely 2nd half, and finally made some shots too. I like Meeks. He seems to score at opportune moments and is one of few who can create his own offense, w/out being too offensive (pejoratively that is). A necessary win, but damn that was a frustrating first half. And again Morris disappeared. I know the culprit was foul trouble, but come on!

Sunday

I'm not doing too much. It's 19F outside with a wind-chill approaching 0F, and I'm not finding my inner Doug to go out and ride. Instead, in a flurry of flurries I went out and took a couple pics.

Daniel the Dragon in the back bed, lookin' fierce, you know.


Toad pontificating as to why he's stuck out in the cold.




Switchgrass (Panicum) is the stuff they can turn into fuel, but the corn lobby has a corner on that in the States.

"10-loss Tubby"

I see that the national media are jumping in the fray, especially after this week's fold against Georgia. (BTW, the columnist giving me today's title) He didn't say anything (well, sort of) that I haven't. The Cats are mediocre and are not a top-tier program. If you look at the traditional powers, how does UK stack up as far as ranking, results, tournament results etc? How does UK compare against UK, KU, Duke, UCLA? This year significantly lower. How have we compared in the last 5 years? That is the question clave. One year does not a reputation make. We should not all pile on Tubby for one mediocre or even poor year. Here have been the recent teams:
  • 2005-6: 22-13- lost twice to Florida and Vandy, lost to KU by 27 and UNC by 4, lost to IU but beat UL.
  • 2004-5: 28-6- lost to MSU in Elite Eight, lost twice to #24 Florida, lost to UNC and to KU, beat both IU and UL.
  • 2003-4: 27-5- lost to UAB 2nd round of NCAA, defeated UCLA, MSU, UNC, IU and #9 Miss St. Nice start, Poor Finish.
  • 2002-3: 32-4- lost to Marquette Elite Eight (that was a Marquette team with now-superstar Dwayne Wade. who knew?), defeated #14 UNC, #6 IU, #9 Notre Dame, #21 Gonzaga, lost to UL. Good team all for naught.
  • 2001-2: 20-10- lost in NCAA Sweet 16 to Maryland (eventual champion?), defeated UNC, IU, UL, lost to Duke. Had two future NBA regulars in Tayshaun Prince and Keith Bogans, but still lost 10 games.
Tubby admittedly has had some nice teams; you don't lose 6, 5 and 4 games unless in modern college bball unless you're pretty good. None-the-less, UK didn't have one 10-loss season throughout the 90s, but I predict they will have their third of this decade this year. They haven't been to the Final Four since the championship of '98 (w/Pitino recruits). Tubby will now set the single mark of number of teams between Final Four appearances. Good one Tubby. If we compare our teams to the best programs- and we should- then they've gotten the job done here-n-there and the Cats haven't. They've been to the Final Four recently enough and UK hasn't. They are top-tier programs and UK isn't. We're 2nd-tier, competing with Tennessee and Alabama. Those teams are football schools with good basketball teams. We are not a good football school, and have dominated bball in the area from the 1940s-1990s. That time is over. "10-Loss Tubby Time" is now.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Catarro

I guess I have a little insight into my "rut" from Thursday. Felt like total crap all day Friday. There were 2 different posses heading out from work Friday, but instead I went home and slept for 2.5 hrs and have since laid around like a total vegetable, no, make that compost pile, or just steaming pile. I'm not near death, but I still pretty much feel like shit. Friday p.m. weather was nice, and today's weather up until mid-afternoon was great. I could've sneaked out for a ride in the low 50s before the boys' bball started. But No.

I have a feeling I'll feel chipper enough tomorrow, but of course the cold front moving through will take us from 50F to 25F. That doesn't sound like the best conditions post-virus.

I found a link today on Youtube. Someone posted various segments of old Paris-Roubaix footage from the 80s. It's really quite cool to see Kelly, Lemond, Vanderaerden, and Madiot in action. I have a pretty bitter taste in the old mouth from the EPO era, so at least I can harken back to an age when it was speed and various amphetamines.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Commute

Date: Jan 25 Thurs
Mileage: 14 (LHT)
January mileage: 244
Year to date: 244

I commuted today. 32Fa.m., 34Fp.m. Actually it was quite sunny and nice, but I was tired and came straight home. I'm in a rut. I don't mind doing the 12-16m, but am not really in the mood for longer stuff. That's alright.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

F@#K

up by 17 in the first half, and double digits in the 2nd, and to lose by 9 in overtime to a mediocre Georgia club. and they haven't played Florida (twice), Tennessee (twice) and ranked Alabama and ranked LSU (both of which prob won't be ranked at some point, especially LSU if they lose to Vandy). I can see at least 4 minimum loses out of that group, and probably many more, notwithstanding Georgia again. They prob have no chance against Florida right now, and Tennessee beat them twice last year (if i remember correctly).

Wow, disappointing. Really disappointing. Another potential flop for Orlando. All hope is NOT lost, but the Cards here in town seem to be gelling and the 'Cats at the moment? Nope. "Something's rotten..."

On a different, but non-satisfying note, the Cats appeared in SI On Campus this week. Too bad there weren't more pics of Ashley Judd.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Math

I was almost driven to the brink of insanity by a problem on Z's math page. He had this word problem about Dutch speed skaters skating @ 60k/hour. Then, the sheet gives a "key" (good wife's term; I called it the formula) of 1K=1.6M, which is blatantly wrong. That's obviously the "formula" for 1M=1.6K, but it took me just a second to realize that they damn worksheet was wrong and that I'm not a retarded adult. I'M NOT RETARDED! No, I don't have enormous attention to detail. Yes, I prefer to do match w/ a calculator b/c I'm lazy. BUT I can convert miles and kilos after many years of cycling pinche puta madre. I'm not going to go off on the American educational system, but Joder, put the damn correct "formula" so the students can learn something!!!

OK, I'm calmer. Laura, any thoughts?

Bleriot Commute

Date: Jan 23 Tues
Mileage: 16 (Bleriot)
January mileage: 230
Year to date: 230

With calls for cool-but-not-wet weather, I took the Bleriot out this a.m. for a nice commute, and a nice commute it was. My that bike sure is comfy! Nothing really more to say. Having been called "marshmallowy" in other circles, I think they should compare the nimble ride of the Bleriot as compared to the LHT. The headset (Chris King) seems to have just a smidge of play in it on the Bleriot. This doesn't worry me, but could be considered a minor annoyance. I've fought loosening headsets on the CrossCheck for a long time, but always figured it was the agressive 'cross riding. I'll tighten this one up and attribute it to newness.


I stopped and took a couple pics of the Bleriot at the weekend residence. We keep this one for parties and such.


This is the Bleriot next to the blue ceramic pot I bought while in Cyprus. It was a doozy carrying it home.



The previous two statements are complete bullshit; I hope you understand that.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

My, that was Unsatisfying

Losing to Vandy for the 2nd year in a row. Having numerous chances but failing completely down the stretch. Your go-to guys not going. Pathetic. Vandy has now beaten ranked Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky. Not bad. And the Cats? Not good.

Ice

I finally retrieved the pics that I took from L's new digital camera. While in Detroit Rock City they had just enough ice to make nice pics, but not enough to cause problems aside from scrapping the windows. ( I just realized that I would prefer these pics in reverse order, but I'm way too lazy to fix it).

This is my attempt at artsy icy fotografia. I don't think it worked.


We stayed at this place by the name of The Inn at St. Johns. It's a former Catholic seminary that they've turned into a golf and business conference center. Oh, and it has a meditation center too. The grounds are quite spectacular really, with numerous gardens and this red tile look. Sorry the tower is sort of crooked, but I was taking this through the fence in the ice.

Ice.

Berries.

My fav, an icy berry tree. In hindsight, this is a pretty good pic if you ask me, which you aren't.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Floatsome

Date: Jan 19 Fri
Mileage: 24 (LHT)
January mileage: 214
Year to date: 214

A slightly longer commute today helped my the mildish temps (39F), and more importantly, sunny conditions after work. I meandered down toward the river, along River Rd. and Cox's park, through Indian Hills and home. With an advantageous tailwind along the table-top flat RR, I was able to finally pedal the "Hog" faster than 15mph (well, for a little while). Nothing more special to report, but I finally took a few pics on my own ride. Unlike the more manly northern bloggers, I prefer to not take off all my gloves and crap and take pics in the cold. Yes, I am a pussy.

The river is up. This dude in his overcoat happened to be in the frame. Up above his head in the distance is a condo building up River Rd. In this it might as well be a raft or boat in this pic. Just north of Louisville there is substantial flooding, but fortunately, I live 6-7 miles from the river.

Floatsome. Don't you just love the foam? What IS the foam?


The "Hog" in all its glory. I really like the Nashbar panniers. I like the Brooks B-17, increasingly w/out cycling shorts. I like the 'Stache bars for commuting. I like the SON hub and B&M light. I like riding through crap on the big-ass Serfas. I do NOT like traveling @ 12mph, but that seems to be my winter speed this year. It is what it is.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Commute

Date: Jan 17 Wed
Mileage: 16 (LHT)
January mileage: 190
Year to date: 190

Not much to report really. I commuted on the LHT. It was a brisk 26F in the a.m. For that I wore a wool tight layer with fleece pants, a medium-weight wool top with a polypro top over that and my Bellweather jacket. On the feet thick wool with plastic baggie, another thick wool and newspaper bags over that inside Lake sandals, with Lobster globes and full balaclava. I guess I should've mentioned that on our trip to Detroit Rock City this weekend I picked up smart Smartwool bottoms and a Smartwool zip top. I would load pics, but the Smartwool site won't allow that. I was going to purchase these kinds of things from Rivbikes, but while in Detroit, and with REI card in hand, I did the deed. I really like Smartwool stuff and am glad to have added it to the stable this past fall/winter. Soft and warm. It doesn't seem to help me go any faster, but it's good to be warm while going to slowly.

My That was Satisfying

Hmmm, had just blogged about the 'Cats return to the Top-25. I then watched the UK/South Carolina game and enjoyed the first beatdown in a good while. The fighting GameCocks weren't so game, and hadn't been defeated at home that badly since 1915. I was whisked back to the mid-90's when our Cats beat the crap out of almost everybody. Rarely do Tubby's teams play with such offensive gusto, shooting 62.5% with many of those jumpers. Very Satisfying!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

#25

Cats are finally back in top-25, at the precious spot of #25 in the AP poll (not in the ESPN/USA poll). We'll see. They've amassed a 10-game winning streak, and as stated, have only lost to #3 UCLA, #4 UNC and #17 Memphis, AND they played UCLA and UNC tough. We'll see. I like the lineup including Jasper at the point. And Morris has turned into da Man. 'Cat Fan' has high expectations, and Cats need to meet those. I think I could be satisfied with a Final 8 and a tough game in the regional finals. Anything less would be a loss. Morris will go pro after a solid season, so Orlando needs some results with the present group. There's always the chance that Bradley or Crawford could go pro too, but this team will ride Morris down the road. Cat fan needs a little love. Cat fan loves the fact that a poor, downtrodden state like KY could have the MOST b'ball wins ever, and better long-term record than that of UCLA, which made most of their waves in a very finite time- 1964-75. Yes, it was the most dominant run EVER, and will always be EVER, in college b'ball. That said, Cats have won titles in the '40s, '50s, 70's, and 90's, and made the finals in the 60's and the Final Four in the 80's. Cats Fans need a big showing soon. What else does Cat Fan have? Tobacco is on the wane. Horse Racing is on the wane. Bourbon is popular, but not exactly an income revenue engine. Cat Fan needs more. Tar Heel Fan has the Research Triangle. UCLA Fan has, well, the Beach. Jayhawk Fan maybe is the most like Cat Fan. We need this.

Bags or Man Purses

Today KM mentioned this new Timbuk2 product, an 'old-school' musette bag made from "soft pre-washed cotton". He also mentioned the similarity to canvas army surplus bags that people have been carrying nigh the years.




In fact, I myself have a army surplus bag that I've used for a good while. I bought this German bag after college as a means to carry bike crap w/out having to have racks. It's pretty handy and will hold a U-lock (or cable lock), wallet, glasses, keys, camera, etc. with ease. I bet it's bigger than the abovementioned Timbuk2 bag. It's large enough for a paperback book as well. Of late it holds the astronomy binoculars. I like mine better than the Timbuk2 bag, and it's way cooler too. So cutting edge I'm bleeding.

Commute

Date: Jan 16 Tues
Mileage: 13 (LHT)
January mileage: 174
Year to date: 174

A straightforward commute today, one with some wintry temps involved. Highlights included:
  • Almost rain headfirst into other guy-on-bike on Barrett/Hill. I think I did this one other time, probably to the same guy. It was cold and my head was down a little going slowly into the wind. I look up and "Hello!!". I won't call him a cyclist b/c idiot is going against traffic with nary a light in sight. He's the kind of "cyclist" that the newhounds love to call "cyclist" when reporting accidents of dumbasses causing traffic accidents.
  • It was colder vuelta today than ida- 30F in the a.m. and 26p.m., both with a crisp little breeze of 15mph or so. It was colder in the a.m. de facto with the dark and the headwind.
  • Had a few snow flurries in the p.m. That certainly is a first for me in 2007. Where's the big stuff?
  • After good input from Jim and Doug, I decided to keep Serfas phat tires and shut up about how damn slow I am. I'll just have to ride harder. I also think I need to dress more warmly in the morning, as the legs never really have a chance to do so. Today, in fact, I only had a fleece pant layer on both trips, which prob isn't warm enough for wind chills in the 20s.
  • I didn't ride this weekend b/c we were in Detroit Rock City. I have a couple nice ice pix on my sons' camera, but haven't downloaded them yet. Oh well.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

13 for 13

Date: Jan 13 Sat
Mileage: 13 (9.2.5.)
January mileage: 161
Year to date: 161

a morning fixie ride in the rain, 13 miles on the 13th. we're supposed to get 5" of rain or more over the next 2 days. we're heading to Detroit Rock City at some point today and festivizing with my dad's family tomorrow, and it looks like we'll track through the rain the whole time. Joy! Might take the Monocog to get a ride in tomorrow a.m. we'll see.

Bike Lanes

Found a good post from Atlanta by Bike. It's a healthy dose of the madness of bike lanes. I would post it, but I'm not a YouTube member and don't feel the need at the moment. I know BikeLanes are always on the forefront of discussion of almost any cycling city. Folks scared of riding, and who don't ride, want them in order to be safe. JohnForester cyclists say, Hell no!! I won't go!!" Here in Louisville we have a couple strident JohnForesters, and this video is good food for feeding that position. Me, I like dedicated paths like the Riverwalk or the Bluegrass Creek Trail. (They're the only ones in Dark Green. Everything else is 'selected' on-street routes or new lanes). Otherwise, just give me a reasonable street to ride on.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Strange

Date: Jan 11 thurs
Mileage: 14 (LHT)
January mileage: 148
Year to date: 148

First, I heard clanging this morning. It stopped to find that I had left a pocket of the pannier open. The Nashbar panniers that I now have on the LHT have this top pocket that, if left open, can allow things to fall out via gravity. Not the best design, but I retrieved them, if only b/c the street was so empty at 6.20. Then I noticed my front wheel, the SON wheel, making a really wacky noise. The SON wheels have a notchy sound only for a few revolutions, and then it quits. This a.m. it got noisier and noisier. Eventually I turned off the light, but I was quite worried. I thought maybe the cold had a bit to do w/ it, but once I got to work and googled it, I found no reference to cold affecting noise. The light worked fine, but it sounded like one of those monster, high-rise trucks with huge mud tires. Not right. AND once or twice while climbing I noticed the right brake shoe rubbing. I finally looked at the tire during an work break and LO and BEHOLD, it had worked loose, which is to say the skewer had worked loose and the whole wheel was sort of wobbling there. DUH!!! The extremely nasty-sounding funk came from a loose wheel. Good thing it didn't fall off mid-ride. I read somewhere that SON wheels really must have "lawyer tabs". I now see why.

Coming home was almost as strange. I was moseying along Cherokee Rd. minding my own business when a penny "fell from the sky". Where the @#$@# did that come from. Turns out, some idiot teenagers who sitting on the roof of a porch and apparently had thrown it at me. Great younger people we have. After I slowed down the one on the roof scampered in. I hollered that I was calling the cops, and did. It was the first call I've ever made to the police concerning my cycling. Several years ago I had a much better reason when a car threw a "Big Red" on me. He/They had done it to another person too. I actually had a description and plate ## on that one, but didn't call; I should have. I don't know how this afternoon went down, but I hope Johnny Law made a quick visit. No harm done though.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Buttery Commute

Date: Jan 10 Wed
Mileage: 27 (Bleriot)
January mileage: 134
Year to date: 134

I realized I wasn't going to have much time to ride the Bleriot in the upcoming days, so I decided to commute on the Bleriot. There was no nastiness forcasted, so I wouldn't feel guilty "soiling" the new ride. The a.m. end of it proved to be one of the more pleasant commutes on memory. It was just pleasant. "Like Buttuh". In the p.m. I followed Oak/Virginia/Hale through the West End to Chickasaw, and then Shawnee. It's too bad I didn't have the camera w/ me, because I could've documented the extremely high water on the Riverwalk, which in fact blocked my path. That hadn't happened since 'lance' and I had an adventure a few years ago in much warmer weather. After cutting through the golf course, I got back on track and back onto the Riverwalk, only to be blocked again, this time by a train. I had never seen a train actually blocking the path at that juncture before. Usually they separate the cars, but this time, No. I found myself glad that I'm pretty knowledgeable with directions in that area. For those trying to use the Riverwalk w/out much experience it would be a pretty daunting and defeating experience. Somewhere around 15m or so in I ran out of gas. Don't know if it was the cold (finally more normal winter temps @ 35F), food or what, but I came home pretty casually. A really good day though.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Commute

Date: Jan 8 Mon
Mileage: 24.5 (LHT)
January mileage: 107
Year to date: 107


Nice commute today, w/ a little more-typical weather for this time of year. (42F in the p.m.) The afternoon wasn't all that cold, but a brisk breeze and some coldish toes made for tough going. It seems that of late the cold gets my legs blocked. Maybe my expectations are too high.

I'm caught in an internal struggles well where to go w/ the LHT's tires. Right now the setup is the 2" Serfas w/ no fenders. I also can return to fenders (unknown make) and 1.4" Conti's, which I think flat too easily. At one point I was going to buy new SKS fenders from Hiawatha, perhaps with new tires, but after the holiday splurge I'm wondering if that's not too extravagant and wasteful. I'm only having the debate b/c the Serfas are damn heavy. I accept that my riding isn't too "racy" anymore& I'm no "weight weenie". BUT, they're a couple hundred grams of rolling weight heavier than most of the other options like Paselas or some of the Schwalbe products. I should just be happy w/ what I have, b/c what I have is nice. BUT, it's a fixable issue without that much of an investment.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

On Fixies and such

Just read a quick blog by The Bluebird Bicycle, in which he expounds on the non-mainstreamness of fixies. He states-
"Finally, look at the rider. Is the rider a white guy with dreads? Is the rider somebody you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley? Is the rider somebody you wouldn’t want to date your daughter? Is the rider somebody you’d like to date? If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” then the bike is probably a fixed gear."

The reason I bring the quote up is that yesterday on the LBC club ride I saw numerous fixed-gear riders. Most were middle-ageish kinda guys riding a mixture of Old Puegots, Jamis, Specialized, & old Paramount frames, all rejiggered for fixie riding. And to boot, one was a 70+ gentleman, a well-known club rider, who was on a souped-up Schwinn fixie. It's a great way to travel in the city, especially on not-too-hilly routes. And the notion that you have to be evil-looking and sport dreads if almost passe. No, the world in mass will not convert to fixies, but whether good or bad, it is definitely in the mainstream. That's why I can buy a shiny $400 mass-produced fixie like the 9.2.5., instead of "fixie-ing" a different bike.

It IS fun, though.

Cats

A couple interesting notes about those UK Wildcats (and no Tubbybashing included):
  • An unimpressive win yesterday. Surprise Surprise. Tubby's teams have never been know to blow people out. BUT yesterday-Saturday- was a day that saw numerous top teams go down to upsets: #1 UCLA, #5 Duke, #7 Arizona, & #8 Alabama all take losses, while the Cats take the solid-but-unspectacular win on the road. It sure-as-hell is better than a loss.
  • The RPI index was published the other day, showing the Cats in the top-10 at #7. For those who are unfortunately not blessed with the need to cover college basketball, the RPI is a computerized poll that measures strength of schedule, and is a leading indicator for NCAA tourney spots. The better the record against the tougher the competition, the better the seed. UK has barely, if ever, been found in the top-25 this season. As I stated in a previous entry, they have 3 losses, but 2 of three were against #1 UCLA and #3 UNC, as well as top-10 Memphis. This difficult schedule, as well as defeating long-time rivals like UL and IU, are reflected in the RPI. Their future success will hinge on their performance against good SEC teams this season like Florida, Tennessee, and LSU. The SEC is NOT just a football conference this season (or last with champion Florida and FinalFour LSU).
  • On the topic of RPI, poor UL is listed #111, and for that they're 9-5 with no wins against real teams. Poor Ricky P.
  • Yet again on the topic of the RPI, while the Cats have reasonable losses against top-shelf team, they also have no wins against good teams. The highest-rated RPI team that they've defeated is IU, at #42. They've also "taken down" teams ranked #226 and #245. I thought they were actually D-II teams or something like that.
  • I hope Chris G. reads this, b/c I really don't like his Cards since turncoat started coaching there. The young men don't, but Mr. "Success is a Choice" deserves all the injuries and grief that he gets these days.
  • On the topic of the Cards, I think it's hilarious that the women's program is getting MUCH more press right now than the men's. The Lady Cards are ranked #13, with their only loss coming in 2OT in Providence. I don't care one bit about women's basketball, but isn't it grand that the CJ has to cover it b/c Ricky P.'s troops suck so bad? One of the columnists today, Eric Crawford, even did his column today on the Lady Cards' star. Call me sexist, but who gives a crap? I know no one cares about Floyd Landis, but I'll be damned if I begin to care about Angel McCoughtry.
Pinche, I must be bored. The good wife and Z are gone, so L and I are chillin' out. Now's he affixed to Sponge Bob and I'm writing about UL basketball. Time to meditate or dust some furniture.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Saturday Morning Cycling Club

Date: Jan 6 Sat
Mileage: 37 (Blueridge)
January mileage: 82.5
Year to date: 82.5

Yes, I intentionally tried to steal Sheryl Crow's thunder. Went for the nice Saturday a.m. club ride, the one that takes in Shawnee first and then Iroquois. Like last time, I did the first loop, and part of the 2nd portion. I turned at Kenwood and came home across the Kentucky Fairgrounds and Camp Taylor. Good ride on the Litespeed. It's a casual pace and generally very pleasant. got a crick in my neck from my helmet moving down. Gotta buy a new one. and No, peer pressure led me to not ride the Bleriot. There is really no culture like that in 'Ville, so I'd be a trend-setter. I'm not quite ready to do that in club rides with all the carbon and aluminium Treks around.

Friday, January 05, 2007

What is best in Life....


"To Crush your Enemies
To See them Driven before You
To Hear the Lamentations of the Women"



2006 Miles

The end of the year has brought numerous entries from good blogs delineating their '06 mileage. I can't deny that I like reading this stuff, so I have to do my own, albeit with far fewer miles than from MnBicycleCommuter or from Fixedgear.

My mileage is as follows, with most mileage decreasing to least mileage. I could've also done most trips, but instead included that information in parenthesis to the side. I also include a miles averaged per/ride just for kicks. None of it is important, but, hell, why not?:

Mileage-bike (#trips/miles per average trip)
  • 1,044- Surly Long Haul Trucker (61/17m)
  • 537.5- Litespeed Blueridge (21/25.6m)
  • 273- Redline 9.2.5 fixe (25/11m)
  • 224-Trek 400 Elance (12/18.7m)
  • 188.5- Surly CrossCheck (10/18.8m)
  • 120- Rans Rocket 'bent (6/20m)
  • 69- Bridgestone RB-1 (5/13.8m)
  • 55- Redline Monocog mt.bike (8/6.9m)
  • 38- Rivendell Bleriot (1/38m)
  • 20- Cannondale (2/10m)
The first impression is that I'm embarrassed. I have too many bikes. Most have a certain kind of purpose, but really the many years spent buying these is rather more symbolic of my search for fitness and being comfortable with myself. One of these, ANY of these, could've carried me to enormous numbers of miles and great fitness. Instead, like so many Americans, I choose to try finding this inner peace buying buying shit instead of just facing my inadequacies. Back a ways I should've just ridden more and bought fewer bikes. That said. They all do have different uses.

The LHT has become the commuter bike I always idealized. It is an ideal commuter. And I used it by far the most, respective of # of trips. The Litespeed, a gift from around 1999 or so, was to be the ultimate "do everything" bike. It was to be the potential commuter, century, comfort bike. It hasn't really turned out like that, more due to my actions than by bike design. It is obvious that when I want to go on a longer ride, that's the bike of choice, hence the much-longer average distance. The 9.2.5. is admittedly the "fun"bike. I often don't ride it very far, but it's a great bike for bouncing around the neighborhood. I do commute on it some as well. I will never convert to "full fixie, full time", but I will ride it often.

Now we get into bike that I didn't really ride that often, and of that I'm embarrassed. The Trek became something of a fall project. I think the impetus was from reading and incorporating some of the Rivbike ethos. The now 20 yr-old Trek is a classic steel bike with a comfy ride and gears that work. I can mount a rack and generally beat it up. I didn't ride it that much, but managed to get some decent mileage out of it. It has become something of the "nasty" bike, and I intend on adding legit fenders to it to make it more so. That's why I'm running the old, 30C Panaracer tandem tires that came on the Litespeed. Big tires for mucking about. The most unfortunate result of this list is the pathetic effort as made on the Surly CrossCheck. It's a great bike. In reality, I should probably trick it out for what I now call "mixed" riding instead of just as a 'cross bike. I ride more than I used to, but I don't ride off-road more. I need to face that fact OR ride off-road more. I really like the CrossCheck and will ride it more in '07, even if that means putting road tires back on it, OR riding off-road. The Rans is what it is, a 'bent. They're comfortable. I bought it when my prostate was bothering me. Now that it doesn't bother me, I don't ride the Rans. I just don't naturally gravitate to the 'bent thang. It IS comfortable too, and the Rocket is pretty nimble. Still, I won't necessarily ride it that much more this year than the previous. Maybe I should make it a goal to ride it every other week. That would give me 25 rides, which isn't too bad. Ah, the RB-1, the cherished and honored Bridgestone. It's a classic steel road bike with a racing cluster. The lowest gear is a 40x25. For climbing, that's not very small. I like triples. I like spinning up climbs. Due to this fact, I will never put appreciable miles on the RB-1. I DO use it for indoor spinning and Turbo riding, but increasingly it's warm in winter and I would rather ride in the elements. I think I should sell it, but the good wife says "It's the Bridgestone!", so we'll see. The Monocog was cheap. I used to use it for the neighborhood beataround rides that I now use the fixie on. Again, I don't ride off-road, so it's prob superfluous. BUT I think in a few years the Older will be big enough to ride it, so I'm not getting rid of it anytime soon. The old C'dale is junk. Not, it's not junk but just old. It needs a new drivetrain, shifters, and probably updated or rebuilt wheels. It was the long-term commuter and as it got tired, I began looking for what is now the LHT. I really don't know what the long-term prognosis is for the C'dale, but I would like it to have a home and be used as a commuter. It's good for that.

And finally the Bleriot. The Bleriot will get many miles this year. It will become the distance machine and will carry me to several of my 2007 goals: the ride to Lexington, my first century, and the ride to family camp, to commute as much as possible, and to reduce my carbon footprint by doing as many small trips by bike as possible. I had a pretty good '06 in that respect, and will try to have a better '07.

So, I guess I have two bike-related 2007 Goals: To Ride More and To Better Document my Mileage. My numbers are pretty wiggly, and none seem to match up. That's fine though.

Now if someone would just read all this colorful data!

My School Day

If you want to know one of the perils (my word) teachers face, I encourage you to read the following letter. This student had a B+ at the end of the term. He received a 75%D(high school scale) on his semester final test. Reflecting on the situation as presented in part by the parent response, I think this is the worst possible disservice this parent could ever do to his child. What is the lesson learned? How does this child overcome obstacles or adversity? How does he learn to grow up and face the "real world"? Or maybe there is no real world. Maybe this young man, through force of his over-indulging, over-protective, over-zealous yuppie parent won't face the "real world". Maybe he will not be accepted to whatever college he wants due to his ability or scholarship, but rather based on family connections and the almost-religious zeal as being exemplified here by his parent. This parent, BTW, is in education. I found numerous examples as cited on the web of his expertise. Never mentioned in any of these websites is the fact that he is a teacher-bully, that he is bullying one of his son's teachers into changing a grade undeserved. I changed the grade b/c I would rather play with my sons, help the other 137 students I have, would rather ride my bike, or would rather that this self-inflated jerk just go away. I really want to identify this cabron, but I'm not. I'm just going to allow people to read this and come to his/her own conclusion. If you feel that I am in the wrong, then we disagree on the educational system. That's a whole other topic, and you know what? It's less fun than Bikes, Buddhism, Music, or Fun. Let go. It's all passing.
Thank you Mr. XXX.
I found the information helpful and revealing. I well understand ethical decisions and also the need for professional judgement. We very much appreciate your teaching and dedication to students. However, in your note, you decided to select the lowest performance indicators to the exclusion of other indicators that would have produced a solid A average.
Of the 483 test points, how many students actually earned an A? It seems that over 443 would have been required?

Since the test points represent about 46% of the performance indicators, it seems that the other 54% of the other indicators were in the solid A range, so this 1 % issue (92.09 versus 93) is a substantial when gpas are considered for admission. While weighted, the message is that this is a B who knows....?, a B- student...
I know that regardless, this is a wake up call to the student and we appreciate it. However, I am most concerned about the overall fairness, timeliness and legitimacy of the process for all students. This student would have worked harder had he known earlier how fragile is A was; instead he concentrated of his 4 AP courses where more effort was also needed.

I am quite familiar with assessment and evaluation and also with what happens when the variance is constrained in most of the performance indicators, thus leaving just a few as the ones that actually count in the end. In the final analysis, as you know performance indicators help to assess true competence and ability and have a margin of error. One must make a reasonable and fair assessment based on the data as a professional.

You did not indicate the weight placed on each of the various indicators (if any) that are in the Excell sheet, nor what the class average of the 3 exams with most of the points ..and where most of the variability seems to lie.
As parents, we need to know how our students, who are given feedback on a variety of indicators and a progress report suggesting an A is being maintained during a semester..all of the sudden come to be depicted as average at the end as in your note.

Without knowing the distribution of letter grades (how many obtained A, B, C, D etc per exam, (or course) it is difficult to ascertain the quality and how authentic the assessment is in this case.
I suspect that since you use a strict point system, very few A's, if any, are earned accordingly. Since you are using percentages as the rule, do you also assign A's to the top 7, 8 or 10th percent of the class?
If not, then a course and teaching that is failing to help students learn at this level suggests a number of problems.
I am sure XXXXX could always study harder in this class and that we can all improve on our teaching and evaluations of learning. Given that you have made your decision and that I am NOT asking for any special treatment to a particular student, that I should take my concerns elsewhere. However, this is difficult since I do not want to upset you when we actually empathize and respect your work; nor do I want XXXXXXXX feel bad about his, he is already confronting quite a lot. (I use a similar grading system BTW).

Perhaps if you could help answer some of the above concerns and questions next, we won't have to set a meeting right away.
However, I do want to know what is the appeals procedure in Manual given that the grade issue remains; whether an A or B should be reflected in the record for his ability/performance last semester.
Also with respect to using a point system and percentages in a standard, not norm referenced test, how policy and practices are determined at the school and district level. If the point system is standards based, where can use find them?

Thanks again for your valuable time and consideration.
There are many problems in our educational system. Rarely mentioned is one like this. I'm a solid teacher. I have a good reputation and I feel VERY confident my students are ready for the university level when they leave my class and our school's program. To spend time dithering with an idiot like this just isn't worth it. BUT, this kind of bullying is happening all over the U.S. The parents and students are in control; most control has been taken away from teachers and administrators. That's fine, except parents and students want what is easy and cheap, just like in the marketplace. All A's and no scholarship. All Britney and Justin, and no literature. Consumers don't want good; they want cheap. They don't want quality; they want quantity. The ignorant don't want to be educated. The rich want to be served, just like they're served as their restaurants and at the designer clothing stores. I'm serious. This is how I see it. Now if a students errs at school, it's the teacher's fault or the school's fault. Automatically. I'm going to do everything I can to not ruin my weekend, but this kind of thing makes me hate my job b/c it either asks for me to become a confrontational jerk, or that I break my professional ethics. The kid deserved the grade b/c he performed poorly, or at least at a mediocre level (I couldn't really ensure that "mediocrely" is a word). Instead, he'll get what he wants. It's like a country full of unethical Republicans. End justifies the means. It's not what the Buddha says. It's not what Christ says. It's probably not what Muhammed says.

I'm done.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Urban Dharma Meditative Bike Ride

Date: Jan 4 Th
Mileage: 13.5 (Blertiot)
January mileage: 45.5
Year to date: 45.5

Had a very pleasant short ride this evening in between work and the boys' bball practice. I was supposed to commute to work, but Man, the first week back is wiping me out! After coming home and NOT being laden with grading, I jumped out for a 'quickie'. I had downloaded my first podcasts, this from Urban Dharma, a site from which I get a weekly email. This was my first experience with podcasts, and after some pecking around, I seemed to get some hang of it. Today's was the first of a two-part "intro to Buddhism", as presented by the director of UB, Kusala Bhikshu. This first installment proved to be very interesting, in plain-spoken friendly English. Apparently, it was a speech/conference given at a L.A. Catholic high school. Also apparently, spending lots of time with dichos jovenes has put me at their level, for I very much enjoyed the tone and tenor of the intro. Mr.KB is very active in the L.A. Buddhist community, and has served a variety of roles such as hospital and prison chaplain, probation camp director, and from his C.V., has been one of the most active Buddhist leaders in the western U.S. This blog deals mostly w/ bikes and basketball, but in the past 3-4 yrs my interest in Buddhism has grown. The Evangelical Religious Right's prominence of the past, eh, 25yrs. has brought back so many of the negative connotations that I hold of Christianity, or at least conservative Christianity. I grew up in a Southern Baptist church full of "devil music", "homuSEXuality", and "you're damned to hell", that I can never truly take it seriously. Buddhism seems so encompassing and generous to me, and today's podcast did nothing but reaffirm this. I can't deny the simplicity of a system that says I alone am responsible for easing my suffering, and that my good acts and meditation will help do so. All the major religions in some ways have comparable messages. Thus the Golden Rule, you know. But Buddhism appeals to the logical side of my mind, and on occasion, when I do meditate (especially walking meditation), I very do truly feel better. Today's ride could almost be considered "riding meditation", although there were too many ipod stops and fiddling about to really be considered meditative in the truest sense.

Peaceful talk, though, made for an easy, peaceful ride. I took the Bleriot out while wearing my old, faded, bleached Chuck's. (mine are way funkier and nastier than these new ones) . The only prob seems to be a mystery sound coming from the front of the Bleriot, which I am quite sure relates to the front fender. I'll get on that this weekend. We should have good weather for some more miles after tomorrow's rain.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Better Day

Date: Jan 3 W
Mileage: 20 (LHT)
January mileage: 32
Year to date: 32

A better effort today. This a.m. brought the slightly longer flat route across St.Catherine. This afternoon was nice and sunny, so I stretched the legs down Camp, across to Frankfort, did the Seneca Loop and came home via Seneca Gds. There were numerous cyclists in the park, with several of them even waving. My one "resolution" is to always wave to cyclists, even if they don't respond. What can it hurt? I noticed, too, that the computer on the LHT is registering just a tad long. That makes me feel better now to know that my damn-slow speeds actually aren't quite so slow. I have to decide whether to put a computer on the Bleriot. Often I don't need it, but if I'm doing longer rides this summer, guess it would help.

Eventually I'm going to update pics of the the updated LHT and of the Bleriot. Gotta get grades done first though. Hope everyone is recovered from New Years.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

"Blue Monday"

Date: Jan 2 T
Mileage: 12 (LHT)
January mileage: 12
Year to date: 12

those of you who are of a certain age and certain musical persuasion should automatically have that initial beat or so of the aforementioned song already playing in your head. those not, it's alright, b/c that's what today was a "blue" Monday, a "case of the Mondays".

yes, it was in fact Tuesday but today just never got off the ground. this a.m.'s commute, the first commute ride in 2 weeks, was laborious and slow. i should have some miles in my legs; December was good mileage month and I didn't sit around slug-like all break. None-the-less, I was lethargic. The a.m. worsened ever slightly by a rubbing front brake. It was fine when I rode in Maysville a week ago. In that time since, without having been ridden, the front break decided to rub. I just undid it and went on with a front. Work/slow really blew. Meetings, more meetings, grading, more grading, lack of productivity. You get my drift. Then news came in the middle of the day that some friends of ours had a terrible car crash with one dead and other family members in ICU. These are good people, good souls, and bad shit happened to them. Someone was driving carelessly and crossed the center line and hit them. That's all I really know, and all I care to describe, but it just isn't right. For those of you who are religious, keep the Jacks in your prayers. For those Buddhists out there, show them deep-felt compassion. It's wrong.

Got home in a minimal amt of time to help with childcare. The "real" 2007 has begun, in earnest. Life if short.
Email to mysurly69@yahoo.com