Monday, June 27, 2011

Changing Channels

This morning I dropped my cable box off at Comcast so I'll be cable-free my last week in St. Paul. Next week in Bozeman I've scheduled an internet hookup but decided to see if I can continue to live sans cable TV for awhile. After all, I'm moving to Montana to experience Montana, not to sit on the couch and watch TV just like I do in Minnesota.

I want this move to help spark lifestyle changes so unloading the cable TV will be the first. Being more healthy is also high on the list and I'm hoping it will be easier to eat well when I'm working from home. At the grocery store I'm pretty good about controlling my cravings, so if I have plenty of fresh fruit around for snacking then I'm hoping I won't be tempted like I am now. In my final week working downtown Mpls I will be seduced daily by the endless supply of fast food options within a 10-minute walk and the burger & fries grill in my very own building.

Hockey season is when push will come to shove regarding my television viewing. I'm hoping that and have ways to watch games online, but I haven't looked into it yet. In the era of Netflix I can see pretty much whatever movies and shows I want, anyways, so cable is becoming less necessary. Plus, its ridiculously expensive.

I've never been one to make new year's resolutions, but there's definitely some of that going on with my move to Bozeman -- new surroundings, new potential, new experiences, new habits.

So the test begins now of living without cable TV. Here's to hoping that I'll fill that time in new ways and won't even notice the loss.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Farewell, Old Friends

It's often been said that some purging is easier than other purging.  And they're right. For instance: getting rid of that redundant set of silverware that I hadn't used in the 7 years I've lived in my current abode. That was easy.

But this is harder.

These t-shirts have been very good to me and will carry a little piece of me with them when they go (and I don't just mean underarm sweat stains).

Oh, Supersuckers. I love this silhouette shirt, but haven't worn it in years. I just don't really wear shirts with anything on them (save for a pocket) anymore. Not sure what that says about me, but it definitely says I'm not one of those Ed Hardy guys.

Bought this Nirvana shirt at the First Ave. show in 1991. Good times. Mikko will never let me forget how I didn't fully appreciate the musical genius of opening act Urge Overkill, and he's right. It's cuz they were dressed up and I have a thing against bands in costume. Great band, though, as was Nirvana obviously.

Ahh, Soul Asylum. Another kickass band from the '80s and '90s. I must say I'm more than a little sad to see how indie guitar rock has pretty much disappeared from the scene, only to be replaced by bands with too many computers or not enough bassists.

Got this one during one of my trips down to SXSW in Austin in about 2003, maybe? I dropped by the Broken Spoke just a couple months ago when I was back there for business and was quite disappointed that it was closed for the night when I showed up a hair after 11:00. But I guess that's what makes it a country roadhouse not a rock joint, which is why we love it.

My tribute to local rock scribe Chris Reimenschneider that I wore on stage a few times back in the Gone Out Gone days. I'm certain he never saw it and not sure how many people got the joke, but it pleased me, at least. I can't wear it anymore, though, since I no longer rock. Hopefully someone else will appreciate my homemade iron-on handiwork.

Farewell, old friends. May you warm the heart of another. Literally.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Thumbs Up for Rock & Roll

An argument, I suppose, for having children (Via).

Bicycles Bicycles

From high school through about 5 years ago I barely rode a bike at all. But my decision to do a triathlon was the impetus that sent me to a local bike shop to purchase a road bike. Unfortunately, I knew absolutely nothing about bikes.

Ater I picked myself up from the floor, writhing from the sticker shock, I just bought whatever they had on the lower price end -- a Specialized Allez Sport (and I took enough Francais to know that allez means "go", and that's what I wanted to do). I didn't really know what I wanted, but knew I didn't want one of those sleek, fancy Tour de France time trial style bikes because I could never afford the properly fashioned spandex to accompany it.

Road bike I sold

It was a good bike, but I never really felt any love for it. I took it on some beautiful, scenic road rides in WI and rails to trails rides in MN, but it just didn't have much character.

Around that same time 5 years ago I also dipped my toe into bike commuting to work. The old mountain bike I rode wasn't the most efficient transport, but it got the job done until it was stolen from right behind my place of business 3 years ago. That's when I bought the Gary Fisher Mendota for commuting, but, again, I didn't really know what I was buying.

The trusty steed -- my commuter

This is a terrific bike and has served me well, but has disc brakes, which I didn't really understand at the time. Disc brakes are mostly used on mountain bikes because normal brakes on a mtn bike will get all muddied up from the dirt & muck on the tires. Disc brakes are also renowned for their superior stopping power, which is nice in a brake. The downside of disc brakes is that they require constant maintenance. Every few days I'm adjusting one part of it or tweaking another. There are 4 or 5 different ways to tweak the fit. It's also kind of a beast, what with its oversized frame tubes, but I do like the fact that I've never seen anyone else riding one.

For the past few years I've been doing my own maintenance and getting a bit more into the bike culture, both of which have led to my knowing more about bikes and understanding better what I'm really looking for.  The problem is that I now understand why people own 3 or more bikes. I feel like I need:
  • one mountain bike for exploring the wilds of Montana (definitely, thanks Steve),  
  • one touring bike for loading up with front and back panniers and getting out on multi-day, overnight bike tours (pretty sure...but maybe not quite yet), and
  • one low maintenance simpleton for getting around town (definitely if my only other bike is mtn bike).
Neither the Gary Fisher Mendota nor the Specialized Allez Sport fit any of these needs.

So I sold the Specialized several weeks ago but don't want to unload the Gary Fisher until I have its replacement for tooling around town. Bozeman is really flat in the city limits, so I'm considering a single speed or fixed gear. The friends I have with fixies rave about them, but there's also the hipster factor which I'd need to avoid. It's a delicate balance. Ideally, I'd find a city bike like that that could be adapted for winter riding, too, meaning I could add wider tires and fenders which not every frame can accommodate.

I'm now set with a sweet mountain bike thanks to buddy Steve moving to Chicago and unloading his. Now I need to just keep my eyes out for the next right one to come along. I'm not sure if I'll have better luck finding the right used bike in Mpls (#1 biking city in the nation) or if I can pick something up in Bozeman (pretty good bike culture of its own), but I guess I'll find out.

My new (used) mtn bike

Just another of the major dilemmas in my life.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


It's been feeling really good to purge in preparation for the move to Bozeman. I like to think I act relatively efficiently in a lot of ways, like when carrying lots of stuff from one location to another I'll always choose to carry more and heavier stuff each trip in order to minimize the trips. And I'm a quick-tear-the-band-aid-off guy, too. So ridding myself of lots of extraneous stuff that I don't really need is like delegating responsibility to other people for things at work, lightening the load both literally and figuratively.

The other part I like about cleaning house is that I always donate the used items to Goodwill. This weekend I made two trips and I'm happy to make the dropoff myself because it delays their trip to the landfill and allows others to appreciate them at a bargain price. Goodwill has done a tremendous job of making it easy to drive-thru donate with hours seven days a week that put the public library and neighborhood bank to shame. I always have a Goodwill pile that is slowly accumulating and make regular donations once or twice a year.

Here's a partial list of the things I'll be fine without:
  1. Keyboard, musical (early '90s vintage that I got for free somewhere)
  2. Thin screen computer monitor (maybe 13")
  3. Vintage suitcase
  4. Full set of silverware
  5. Miscellaneous pots & pans
  6. Voice recorder
  7. Throw pillows
  8. Books
  9. CDs & vinyl that Cheapo wouldn't buy
  10. Picture frames
  11. Jarts, the sharp original from the '70s
  12. Christmas tree stand, skirt, lights