Tuesday, May 28, 2013

This house was made by sky.

Lolo Peak, May 19

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Trapper Peak, May 25.

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Como Lake, May 25.

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Trapper Peak, May 26.

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Hey – just how hard is it to be a city councilor anyway?

In case you were unsure, or if you are a former state representative and have trouble understanding big words, I’ll lay out some friendly, helpful, easy-to-follow tips. Due to a previous career I spent a lot of time observing city councils; most of them are pretty good, but I guess we got some gapers and JONGs on board who need a gentle nudge now and again.

1. Show up at the meetings. (They are only once a week, so this one was a gimme.)
2. If the meeting references a previous board meeting, take a few minutes to read the minutes from that meeting. Take note, for example, if a member of another board stands up at that meeting and says, to no one in particular, “I have no idea why we are even discussing this.”
4. Before voting on an issue such as, say, the legality of accessory dwelling units, ask yourself, “Is it a possible conflict-of-interest for me to cast a vote on this issue since I live in an illegal accessory dwelling unit?”
5. During the public comment portion of the meeting, try to listen to at least half of what people say. Don’t listen to all of it, because frankly half of what most people say is bullshit, but if it starts to sound like person after person after person after person is telling you pursing this issue is not a good idea, that might be a clue for how people think.
6. Try and vote in a way that at least pays lip service to the idea of rational representative democracy.
7. Or, you know, do whatever. Nothing really matters anyway, I guess.

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(Missoulian, Sunday May 12, 2013)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

And so begins the lusty month of May.

The lusty month of May!
That lovely month when ev'ryone goes
Blissfully astray.
Tra la! It's here!
That shocking time of year
When tons of wicked little thoughts
Merrily appear!
The lusty month of May!
That darling month when ev'ryone throws
Self-control away.
It's time to do
A wretched thing or two,
And try to make each precious day
One you'll always rue!
It's May! It's May!
The month of "yes you may..."

Little Gash on Saturday (not Gash Point, but Little Gash, Gash Point’s smoking hot younger sister):

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Beautiful road conditions. You can motor to 5700 crossing only one small snow patch (and one long-abandoned snowmobile). Skins on right from the truck, and turns all the way to the road on continuous cover.

Como Point on Sunday:

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Someone (!) has plowed the road to within a half-mile of the summer trailhead, though there is still a half-hour walk to put on skins. I was first up on Sunday and stopped for a Nutella-jelly-peanut butter-fig spread-sandwich at Kidney Lake; I was just finishing when a guy named Peter skinned up. We summitted together and chatting on the way up realized we had about 10 friends in common. (I think it was William Kittredge who said Montana was a small town with very long streets.)

Missoula on Sunday night:

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After a few years of hiatus we are back hosting Cinco de Mayo. This year featured four salsas, a lot of beer, and about 25 guests.

America on Monday morning:

Fairleigh Dickinson released a highly suspicious poll which suggests that one-third of Americans believe that within a few years armed conflict may be necessary to “protect our rights”. Honestly, you people need to get outside and do something .

Missoula this morning: green up!!!

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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Gear review: 1992 Cannondale M1000.

This bike was purchased in mid-1992 using insurance money meant to replace a 1991 Cannondale M1000 stolen from my front yard in Salt Lake City; the original bike was a gift from my parents. The 1992 model was purchased new from Bicycle Center in Salt Lake City for just under $1,000, a figure which included a few add-ons such as a pump kit, a swapped handlebar, and three water bottles and water bottle cage (the third being drilled on to the underside of the down tube).

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(40,000 miles old; I put on the upside down American flag when Newt Gingrich, that bastard, shut down the government.)

I love to ride this bike and that’s due part to its geometry, which fits me well, and its weight – the stock weight of the M1000 was 24.0 pounds, which at the time made it one of the lightest mountain bikes available; to this day it’s hard to find a bike as light, and certainly not for this price.

For Christmas, 1995, Charge got me a speedometer, and as of this morning the mileage (though by now I've gone through four or five speedometers -- with each new one I start the mileage off where the old one ended) reads 31,980; estimating what I biked between buying the Cannondale and hooking up that first speedometer means the bike is now probably very close to 40,000 miles. Napkin math suggests that biking at 15 mph meant I burned 1.7 million calories. I tried to figure how many tons of carbon emissions I saved but can’t find a carbon calculator that works easily. I can, however, estimate that I have ridden this bike for about 2,700 hours – assuming one drives an average of 45 mph, that would be the equivalent of 121,000 car miles.

Some of those miles were actual mountain biking, some were riding for fun, and some were riding for exercise. A lot were biking on big trips – Salt Lake to Jackson return, the coast of Oregon, most of the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. But for the most part most of those miles were simply getting around town – to work, to the store, to the bank, to school.

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(Detail of the original pedals which were just replaced. To illustrate what 40,000 miles of biking does, the top of these pedals used to have grip spikes nearly as sharp and tall as those on bottom of the pedals. Contact with my shoes wore them down.)

As you might expect for an old car, not a whole lot left on this bike is stock. The saddle was replaced a few years ago, I’ve been through several rear derailleurs and chain sets, the rear wheel is about 10 years old, and front wheel was rebuilt in the late 1990s utilizing the original SunTour front hub. While the rear shifter was replaced last summer, the front shifter and derailleur is the original SunTour. The original Force 40 brakes were replaced courtesy of Bicycle Center in 1994 with Force 40 Plus. I used to go through brake pads frequently but that ended several years ago with a set of long-lasting pads; also, semi-frequent replacing of the bottom bracket ended in 2000 with the installation of a sealed bracket.

I’d like to get a new bike, but have the feeling that I’d wind up paying $2,500 for something shinier but no lighter, no faster, and overall no better. Still, after a hard winter of daily biking, the Cannondale now is in need of an extensive overhaul. If I do get another bike, it will most likely be a hard-tail Cannondale.