Sunday, January 25, 2009

9.5 pounds of clothing.

So yesterday was a 4:00 - 4:45 death march. We hit three counties. The low was 18, with windchill it was like 7 or something. I finished the ride warm, with warm feet and hands. Here is the listing from the ground up. After the ride, Babik weighed himself dressed and then undressed. The difference for him - 9.5lbs.

- 1 pair cannondale wicking socks
- 1 pair Defeet woolie boolie socks
- 1 pair diadora road shoes
- 1 pair bellweather booties
- 1 pair of potenza booties
(2 socks, 2 booties

- 1 pair salsa fleece lined bib knickers
- 1 pair Pearl Izumi fleece tights (6 years old now)
(tights over knickers with high socks leaves 2 inches or so with only a single layer)

-Patagonia long sleeved base layer
-Standard short sleeve cycling jersey
-Pearl izumi fleece arm warmers
-Old wool cycling jersey long sleeve
-Sleeveless old navigators vest. No mesh backing
-Voler GPOA winter jacket
-Louis Graneau yellow total fred thermal vest (got form a thrift store 3 dollars)
(6 layers. 6 zippers ughh)

-dollar store magic gloves
-wool winter gloves
-Pearl Izumi amphib full finger gloves
(3 pairs of gloves)

-homemade "dickie" where I cut the top off of an old winter had and pull it around my neck. It was double thick so I can pull half of it over my face for descents.
-Winter hat on my head that pulls down super low over my forehead
-of course a helmet.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Port Authortiy.. please close.

Port Authority of Pittsburgh, I cant explain how much I dislike you. Wait, you are thinking... But you are a bike riding non car owning hippie that loves public transport and all that right? True, but I have taken 1 single PAT bus in 7 years.

Why? In the past 10 years PAT has tried killing me, literally attempted to take my life. I remember looking up at a bus driver as I was going straight, and he was turning left. I was a bikemessenger at the time, hardly a human being. Anyway, I was looking up at him, and he was looking down at me as he turned into me. He mouthed "Fu.. You" to me as he steadily turned into me. This wasnt a fast motion crazy happening. I was going maybe 11mph or so. I remember hearing a pedestrian scream as she watched it.
There are tons of stories like this. Weekly stories that have become so ordinary that I stopped paying attention. Remember the time I slipped on oil right after a bus dumped all of its oil in front of me and slid for 100 feet in my fancy spandex? I called them the next day to complain and they had no record of it. No record of a bus breaking down and needing a tow truck? Really?

Anyway. Few people care about people on bikes getting hurt or killed by big giant autos in order for them to save a minute. The Port Authority especially does not care. People do care about a hundred million dollars though.

See, the Port Authority started digging a tunnel under a river in Pittsburgh. They said that the money was granted to them ONLY if they were going to dig a big tunnel. If they wanted to use it for useful things, like driver training, or extending light rail to where people actually live, the money became unavailable. They had to build a tunnel to a non existent casino, which ended up being another debacle.

So they started digging. They were scheduled to have drilled through the thing by a certain time, but they were late. Of course they were late (have you ever waited for a bus so long that you werent sure if it was the one you were waiting for being late or the next one being early?), and the money went over. 130 million dollars over.

So now PAT is asking the federal government for money out of the soon to be federal stimulus. This is money that could be used to repair existing infrastructure. This money could insure people, or heat homes, or buy schoolbooks, or help small businesses. Infrastructure, think of all the pipes you hear about freezing in Pittsburgh all winter because they are so old. Think about the road conditions, the potholes.

Anyway, good job pat. You started a stupid project under the guise that it was free and you had to do it or you would lose the money. You messed it up. Now you are going to take money from things that are actually useful and spend it so people dont have to walk 1/2 of a mile. Literally.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Up here in space.... it's steeler country

Let me be clear with this. I am not a football fan. I am, however, a steeler fan. There is a world of difference. I dont care about other teams. I dont know other players. I dont know the jargon or the lingo. I dont watch sports center.

Pittsburgh is amazing because it is one of the few places (that I know of) that when you are away from, you bond with other people who are also from there. I dont think that there are many other cities that people have as much pride in. There is a lot more to be proud of than football.

A block from my house, there is a sign talking about the railroad strike that occurred in the strip. The strikers had a strike, the management called in the Pinkertons, a private militia, and they killed a bunch of people.

Instead of this having the effect desired by management, it had the opposite. The sign near my house says that one out of three residents in Pittsburgh chased the Pinkertons east, and they sought refuge at the Allegheny Arsenal (one block from my house). The troops at the arsenal said "no way" and the mob literally ran the strike breakers out of town.

The blue collar ethic still stands in Pittsburgh, and Pittsburghers still have more pride than anywhere else I have seen (sans maybe canada?).

Anyway:click this to see a terrible towl in outerspace.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Food. food. food. food. food.

Let me begin this by saying RIP to KML. I am not sure what happened, but the "discount grocery store" has closed. Discount groceries are actually dented and expired groceries. It was cheap though. For the past few weeks they have had paper over their windows. It was the only grocery store where the employees smoked and they sold condoms that seemed to have been returned. Amazing.

One of the best days of my life was when I was putting all of the Clif bars into a giant box to be taken to my house. I was messengering at the time, so I would stop in literally everyday to see if any Clif bars, almond butter, real maple syrup... you know the good stuff, had come in. The woman who seemed to be in charge asked me if I wanted a bunch more. I said sure. I rolled out with 168 clif bars for 20 dollars. Dont know what you got until its gone, as Cinderella said. The band not the Disney character.

January has lots of ride time. 2-3 jars of peanut butter per week.
I have been eating the Trader Joes stuff pretty steadily, assuming that it is the cheapest. THEN IT HIT ME.
Most peanut butter jars are 18oz. TJ's is only 16 for $1.79
Whole foods seems pricey at 4.20 for 36oz

16/1.79 = 8.94 TJ's is 8.94 cents per oz.

36/4.20 = 8.57 Whole Foods 365 brand is 8.57 cents per oz.

.5 cents an oz x 40oz/week = Big freaking deal right?

The point is that Trader Joes prides itself on being the cheap alternative. In this case it is NOT cheaper. Not only that, but in my opinion, the TJ's product in question is not as good as the 365 product. Double win, cheap and good. Never assume that something is cheap because it is at the cheaper store, or healthy because it is at the healthier store.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Somali Holiday Party Part 3

This is the third year that we have thrown a party for the kids. We had 13 total that all live within 2 blocks of our house. I love these kids.

Lots of kids singing.

My buddy giving me a hug. His little brother posing in the corner.

Ramazani loves showing his muscles.


A crazy man dressed as santa!

Fortuna got some clothes.

The teenage boys got clothes.

And Ramazani got a sword that lights up.

Brehemu going wild on the cake! NOTE TURNER IN BACKGROUND.

Possibly the most black people in Brentwood at once. .54% asian. .54% black. .24% Native American!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Things have come full circle.

ACA Zoo Crits 1975.
Far left: Tom Chew
Far right: Matt Eaton

Check out Tom Chew. If you could steal him from this photo and put him at the oval on a Tuesday night, or Friday night (4/5 race or fixed gear Fridays). He would not stand out.

-Shaggy hair? Check
-Cycling Cap? Check
-Cap pulled low in the front? Check
-Wool cycling jersey? Check
-TIGHT pants? Check

Modern retro is so in.