Friday, October 31, 2008

too cute

I spotted this image on BROL. It was too cute to leave there.

Does your vote count?

I have been hearing a lot about how the chance of a particular vote mattering is small from various people in the blogosphere. In particular this study is referenced a lot. It has some nice charts showing the chance of your vote being the decisive one as 1 in 10 million if you are lucky enough to live in New Mexico for instance. Now they also have a paper on how it is rational to vote even if your vote won't be decisive.

But both of these studies miss a point that seems clear to me or at least don't emphasize it enough. I am voting for Obama and the Democratic party based on the issues. I care about alternate energy, health care, job security and relief for the middle class destroyed by Wall Street greed to name a few. My motivation is not just to get Obama in office with a progressive Democratic Senate and Congress by a squeaker. I want there to be a landslide, a massive turnout with public opinion strongly on display supporting progressive politics. Every single vote counts in this case. EVERY VOTE COUNTS, as Diddy said "Ain't no line too damn long". We all need to vote, we need to sweep out the corrupt conservative Republican's who are working against this country for their own gain. We need a public referendum so that Obama and Biden have the momentum to enact sweeping policy changes.

The Senate and Congress are slow acting by nature. With a big turnout we can speed them up, we can show them that we won't tolerate back room trades of influence for money. We want them accountable to you and me, to the people not the corporations. One of the points Obama made during his 30 minute address to the country was that he wasn't worried about CEOs, insurance companies and oil companies, they can take care of themselves. He is worried about the middle class and the poor. Right now lobbyists have all the influence and they work for the big oil, for the insurance industry, for everyone who can BUY the influence. Voting is how we show our influence. It is hugely important and it is our duty as well as our right.

Who gets the critical Azeroth vote?

A decent production. The WOW machina stuff is pretty cool. Check it out.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ain't no line too damn long

From Diddy Blog
You go to vote and whoa, the line is stretching for blocks so what do you do? Go home?


No line is too long. As Diddy says, imagine what it would look like now in our world if Martin Luther King Jr. had said, "Ooh, my feet hurt, I can't march today."

The Horribles



Check it out
in time for Halloween!

(h/t Carolyn - this is my sister's work)

coding project

I have a Garmin Edge 305, which is a great tool. I love it. It has excellent reception and I have yet to have an issue with losing signal in 2 weeks of every day usage. Considering that with my old GPS I ran into signal issues on every ride, this is a major improvement.

The garmin is also great for generating data on each ride for training purposes. I push my data from my garmin into and the garmin SW every day. Great stuff but I want more reports, I want to see my miles grow over time, I want to see how my heartrate averages are doing, etc. I also want to link into bikejournal without having to do everything by hand.

So I am considering using published API's and tools to access the garmin directly and generate my own reports. I can also then make a one button push to publish to bikejournal which would be very nice for me.

Tools to look at for this:
  • Pygarmin - Python garmin library for accessing all sorts of garmin GPSs
  • This blog post talks about linux and the garmin edge.
  • GPSBabel is a great site for linux and GPSs

I will probably use a local DB to store the data and a python/TK front end. I want linux support to be a big part of this as I use linux at work and home though I still have a Windows PC around.

2009 Cycling Goals

While reading the Bacchetta forums I found a thread about 2008 accomplishments. This got me thinking about my 2009 goals and I realized I hadn't written them down. I am going through a period of introspection and refocusing my activities and desires to meet my goals. I do this periodically. In 1998/1999 I did something similar where I changed career tracks and focused on quality of life vs the NYC rat race.

I get obsessive about certain things, so I find it useful for me to focus my obsession on healthy activities rather than self-destructive habits. Recently I gave up MMOs because my obsession was not good for my health, my relationships and my work. To replace that I decided that it would be better to focus on cycling, cycle maintenance and politics. All of these activities are ones I have had a lifelong interest in so they are natural fits. I am giving up my old hobby of rock climbing as it is harder to get into shape and keep climbing without a regular partner you trust. Plus cycling works well with cycle commuting as training.

So without too much ado, here are my 2009 goals.
  • Hill training, must ride more hills
  • Cycle commute 200 days in 2009
  • add morning training rides to my commute three times a week (20+ miles, and major hills combined)
  • 2500 miles (I hope to beat this but this works out to an average of 208 miles/month, 48 miles/week)
  • 2009 STP (202 miles over two days)
  • Training century ride before STP, probably Flying Wheels Summer Century
  • Attending any nearby recumbent rallies or get togethers
  • Lose approximately 40 lbs (50 lbs from my high)
  • Crack 100 miles per week averaged over 1 month.

When the Plumber stands you up

Obama on the daily show

Nice to see a real interview.

More Corsa excitement

I will be leaving work early to drop off my q-rings for the Corsa today. I should be able to see it mostly built up as well. Dale at Angle Lake has been treating me very well.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Obama's primetime 30 minutes

Very impressive piece. I know that I felt better after watching it. It is a tale of American stories and American solutions. I continue to be amazed at Obama's presence and skill at story telling.

Watch it if you missed it.
UPDATE: edited to fix video link

quite funny

I love the Air Quote line.

Ordered the new Bike today

I ordered my new Corsa today. This picture is equipped similarly to the one I ordered. Schmidt Dynohub, and Edelux on a one arm bandit mount (below) are part of the order. Fenders, mirror, short cranks, q-rings all made the cut as well.

I am extremely excited. I will be selling the trike after the new Corsa is ready and broken in. I am considering selling the Vivo as well. Pickup is scheduled for Saturday Morning. I think I will take it on a ride first thing.

I need help naming her. I was thinking about Sarah or Fiona but Kristin doesn't like either names. But this is my dream ride and needs a name. Any suggestions?

Cutest interview yet!

Damon Weaver is great in this interview. I loved it.

nice motivational video

New Obama Ad

Looks to me that Obama has decided that the undecided need a bit of reminding about Republican's and Economics. This ad uses McCain's words against him and ends with a shot of Palin. Brutal.


This is a very powerful video featuring Charles an Obama Volunteer. His opening statement is great "I lived through the great depression, I have been a Democrat all my life, because I saw what Roosevelt did when he first come into office. My mother would have lost her farm, we would have lost everything we had if it hadn't been for President Roosevelt."

It is an amazing piece.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Offered without comment

Training Ride Oct 26

View Larger Map

I did a 26 mile ride today on the West Samammish River Trail connecting to the Burke Gilman and the back. The ride was great, I fought a light headwind to start (6.5mph) but warmed up after 6 miles or so and the ride went smoothly. My heartrate was happily in Zone 3 for the entire ride so I feel very good about that. If I keep these rides up on the weekends I will be in shape for the STP without any issues.

Time: 1:50:54
Distance:26.22 miles
Avg Speed:4.2 mph
Avg HR:138 bpm
Ascent:589 ft.

Test Ride notes

I made it down to Angle Lake Cyclery on Friday to test ride some Bacchetta recumbents. My goals were to test ride the Giro 20TT, the Corsa-24 and the regular Corsa. When I got there Dale told me he sold the Giro 20TT on Thursday to a Canadian who really needed it right now! No worries, he had a Corsa-24 built up and ready for a go.

The first thing I noticed about the Corsa-24 is that my feet were flat on the ground. The bike seemed a little small to me in that regard but the pedal position was perfect. I took it out for a ride, Kristin captured the test rides in the slideshow above. The aero bars on the Corsa-24 were a bit tight. My legs are beefy and wide, the bar hit my legs when turning even small angles. Dale added a few spacers and moved the bar up and also changed the angle. It worked but I was definitely considering a different bar.

The ride was great, stable at low speeds, solid power transfer, light, responsive, a great bike. I rode it up and down the street enjoying every second. I headed back thinking that if the Corsa-24 was this easy, what about the regular Corsa in a medium frame. So I asked Dale about the Corsa with the 650c rims. He had a Corsa S/S there in medium so I took it out next. At this point, Dale had more people in the shop so it wasn't adjusted as much for me, it also had a recurve seat on it, which wasn't what I wanted. I gave it a spin though and really loved it.

After I came back Dale and I chatted a bit about options and what modifications he could do and what would be a good idea. I asked about the a Dynohub for lighting and he said it would be no problem and he has the Schmidt Hub in stock. He also said that he has a really nice fender solution for the Corsa. That excited me as I thought I was going to have to use SKS race blades for fenders, the opportunity for real fenders sounds great for someone in the Pac NW. We also chatted about Q-Rings. I told Dale I needed to chat with Kristin and work out the finances but I would be giving him a call. I think I found my STP and randoneuring bike. This will be my dream bike. I will be selling the trike and keeping the Vivo as a backup ride and guest ride.

My Corsa build plans:
  1. 2008 Corsa, Black, Medium frame
  2. 155mm Cranks (possibly 153mm, I may have to get Ultegra cranks cut down)
  3. Q-Rings (53,40,30)
  4. Euromesh Seat (standard)
  5. Rans B-38 Bar (recommended by Dale, good idea for my beefy self)
  6. Mirror (left)
  7. Schmidt Dynohub
  8. Schmidt E6 or LED Light
  9. wired Tail Light
  10. One Arm Bandit light mount
  11. Fenders (Dale's magic solution)
  12. Lowrider Panniers (yellow, fasten to the seat)
  13. Seat Bag
  14. 2 water bottle holders attached to seat
  15. Time ATAC XS pedals and cleats
  16. Bontrager Hardcase tires
  17. 2 spare tires (folding bead)
  18. 4 spare tubes
  19. Helmet Light probably Cateye EL410
  20. Visor for my helmet (homemade most likely, possibly using plastic from a flower pot)


ilyka makes some excellent points about Conservatism. I find it interesting how racism and the hatred of any social programs isn't new to conservatives, instead it is the birthplace of conservatism. It is interesting how as a movement I can't think of a group as misnamed as them except the National Socialist German Workers' Party.

Conservatives are about conservation, they aren't about fiscal responsibility. They are about preserving aristocracy, racism, greed and theft. They aren't conservative, they are reactionary.

This is their heritage.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


This is so funny that I had tears in my eyes. It is also Amy Poehler's last skit on SNL, she just gave birth and reports say she won't be returning to SNL. It is an incredible skit, make sure to watch it.

Eight is Enough!

About the McCain campaigns promotion of the Todd Hoax

Josh Marshall at TPM media talks about it here

Banks misusing bailout money, shocker

Apparently the banks are taking bailout money and NOT LENDING it, but instead using it to buy other banks for pennies on the dollar. Shocking, the greedy bastards are being ... greedy. Follow the link and see Ian's remedies. Hopefully someone will follow this guide or do something because otherwise we are just making the rich richer but not fixing our economy. Did I mention I really don't like investment bankers? As someone who worked in NYC, I have seen what bastards these guys are first hand. grr.

Girding for battle with the Villagers

David Sirota makes the point that the elite media villagers are freaking out. They are trying to put pressure on Obama to dump progressives post election and capitulate to the Center-Right. They want to make sure change doesn't come.

We need to be ready to put pressure on our Congressmen, on our Senators, on Obama post election. We need to be ready to mobilize, to organize calls, letters and petitions, to organize pressure to show that the US is supportive of progressive change. That the conservative right wing agenda is not something to bow down to. I am ready, are you?




Daily Show: Who the F@#% is that guy?

Jon Stewart takes a look at the pundits on the 24hr news networks, who the f@#% they are and what qualifications they have.
With a little creativity or a whole lot of batsh@t insanity, that f@#%ing guy could be you!

New One Hour record - unfaired recumbent

Dutch rider Gert Jan Wijers has set a new one hour record at 50.389km set by Sean Costin last year.

He set a blistering pace while covering 50.389km in the allotted time. That is 31.317 mph for one hour. He broke the record set by Sean Costin last year. Sean's record was 29.76 miles. The UCI unfaired TT diamond frame bike record is 56.375 km set by Chris Boardman in 1996. Recumbents will break this record eventually. M5 and the crowd were very happy when Gert Jan Wijers broke the record. Congrats to Gert and M5 team on the new record.

Sean's old record run is here.
I removed the embedded video as it autoplayed and I was unable to disable the autoplay

Trisled - Avatar Velomobile

Wow, this Velomobile looks amazing. Made by Trisled an Aussie company, the Avatar Velomobile. To quote their site:
New for 2008, Tri-Sled's Avatar velomobile is designed for speed. Based on the simple principle that going fast improves practicality, the Avatar velomobile makes very few compromises. With it's small frontal area and completely enclosed wheels and rider, Avatar is arguably the most streamlined and aerodynamically-pure velomobile available today.

Drawing on our HPV and speed bike racing experience, Avatar represents the best of both worlds. Twelve years of research and development has maximised the aerodynamic performance of Tri-Sled's street-legal human powered vehicles. But it's not just Avatar's performance that stands out. This model's 'car-like' body and smooth symmetrical curves are achieved through computer-assisted design and mold manufacture.

Each vehicle is individually manufactured at our factory and features a lightweight and strong vacuum-infused kevlar/composite body. Weighing approximately 28 kilograms, velomobile performance doesn't get better than this!

The Avatar velomobile has internal front wheel covers for full weather protection. Ventilation is achieved through a rear-wheel vacuum which is designed to operate at average speeds. Avatar comes fitted with fully-adjustable mirrors and features front and side removable and replaceable windows. This model has an 8.5 meter turning circle which is similar to a small car or motorcycle and is designed to clear spoon drains and speed humps.

This looks really cool. I am not in the market for anything like this but it sure does catch the eye. Quite practical for commuting/local travel as well. A trike can climb anything and velomobiles are FAST on the flats as well as being quite stable. Lights, hydration and luggage are all options for this vehicle. Pretty amazing.

McCain supporters getting even more disturbing

Outright racism and now even direct McCarthyism as McCain supporters transition from calling Obama socialist to communist. Really the McCain supporters disgust me.

How did the finance crisis happen?

Watch it.

BTW - check out how transparent our bailout process isn't. Not surprising with these crooks in office but horrible for our country.

Great SNL

Tina Fey and Will Farrell are great in this opening bit of SNL.

The Todd Hoax on Larry King Live

This clip is 11 minutes of Larry King Live, covering two issues. First, the hoax of Ashley Todd who carved a backwards B on her face and claimed to be attacked by a black man is getting a lot of coverage now. This segment leads off with it. I have avoided the issue but I am glad to see it was a hoax, the entire backwards B thing just screamed hoax. Luckily the evidence just didn't add up and the authorities connected the dots.

At about six and a half minutes in, Larry interviews Scott McClellan who just endorsed Obama. It is pretty obvious that Scott is done with Republicans. The Republican cries of traitor and the circular firing squads have pushed him away from Republicans. I don't think McClellan is unique and after this fiasco of a presidency and a fiasco of a campaign we will see more Republicans abandon the party.

I did find the second segment on Larry King Live quite interesting. Larry had all Republicans on the panel, yet it was still split between Obama and McCain. The bias is a bit obvious but still interesting to see lifelong Republicans endorse Obama.

Poll Porn - TPM TV version (video)

I always like Josh Marshall's way of speaking and video presence. Watch the short video for your latest in Poll results and analysis. Good stuff.

Friday, October 24, 2008

I am Joe ... Joe McCain's sense of entitlement

Joe McCain, John McCain's brother.

We have the tape of a 911 call made by John McCain's brother earlier this week.He called the police emergency line because he was angry he was stuck in traffic.The 911 call came into the City of Alexandria on Oct. 21st That's creating some buzz because it appears to come from Joe McCain, John McCain's brother.
Operator: 911 state your emergency
Caller: It's not an emergency but do you know why on one side at the damn drawbridge of 95 traffic is stopped for 15 minutes and yet traffic's coming the other way?
Operator: Sir, are you calling 911 to complain about traffic? (pause)
Caller: "(Expletive) you." (caller hangs up)

Are you kidding me? This family has a huge sense of entitlement. I find the "I am Joe" campaign funnier now.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Awesome music

While reading about tactics used by a number of teams in Ultra-cycling events there was some mention of WAR music. Strong beat, bagpipes, sonic energy for the rider. I was intrigued as I love bagpipes as befits my Scottish heritage (like you didn't guess from the name Duncan).

So I checked out some of this music. WOW, these guys rock, Albannach is amazing. I will have to order the CD. Damn, now I need an iPod and start managing my music the old fashioned way. I got too used to Pandora, but as I don't think they will be around much longer I need alternatives anyway. One of the ways my life has improved lately has been listening to music again.

Piling on

Scott McClellan piles on McCain by endorsing Obama. Can you feel the wince from here? If that doesn't make you smile then check this out. Joe McCain, John's brother, called 911 because he was stuck in traffic. Classy stuff.

McCain says NY, DC, Northern VA all part of Fake America

In last nights interview with ABC, McCain and Palin had a joint interview with Brian Williams. I suppose they don't trust each other now. McCain was nice enough to identify the elite anti-American forces that live among us. They live in NYC, in Washington DC, in Georgetown. The metro DC and metro NYC areas are all now part of fake America. At least according to McCain.

I am having a hard time writing this. I keep wanting to type McCain's name as McSame, or McThug, maybe McAnythingToWinThePresidency, or McMeFirst. Really the hypocrisy is getting so thick that it is hard to breathe. McCain is the elite, McCain is the one spending his 70th Birthday on Yachts in Monaco with con men and hollywood starlets. McCain is the one who has had a pampered life of privilege. He is sitting next to a woman who spent $150k on clothes, not all of which can be accounted for?

McCain and Palin have both been convicted of ethics violations. This is insane! We know they are corrupt, they have both been found guilty of ethics violations, and their campaign is rife with lies and negativity. Why would we believe anything they say?

still think the bailout was due to poor people?

If you think poor people or greedy homeowners who wanted a house they couldn't afford are to blame for the subprime mortgage mess you should watch this video.

Dennis Kucinich is great on this but the real fun is when Rep Mark Souder speaks. He tears the entire business model up and rips into the execs, he specifically calls out how the issue was not the giving of mortgages to people but the demand for those mortgages from the industry to fuel their derivative market.
Here is a quote from Sounder:

Some of the answers just appall me, I mean, it is clear that greed lead to see no evil, hear no evil but report no evil. It is clear that there was fraud here but there's also to me, incredible gross incompetence, it is an embarrassment to the business profession...

Really the BS talking point that this is all the fault of poor people or minorities, or greedy people is done. Place the blame where it belongs, on the greedy scum on Wall Street. Pay particular attention to the talk of the role of the rating agencies. Pretty nasty stuff, these guys could teach the mafia how to run rackets.

Great Video

This is a four minute piece featuring lifelong conservatives who are voting for Obama. Check it out.

The parable of the wardrobe and the haircut.

The Jed Report put this very nice video together. It shows the hypocrisy of Fox News and their coverage of the $150K of RNC money spent on Palin vs the $400 that Edwards spent on his haircut.

An interesting point is that the reason it was RNC money spent on Palin is that it would have been illegal for the McCain campaign to pay for it directly. The $150K value comes to $2400 a day for Ms. Palin (measuring from purchase to election). Michelle Obama's dress that she wore on the View cost $148. The dress nearly sold out nationwide after Michelle's appearance on the View. I suppose we can say it looked good in that case.

The rank hypocrisy from many Republicans on this topic is amusing, especially as they turn on each other since even many Republicans can't stomach this kind of chiseling.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

cool video

This is an Ad from Pearl Izumi but you wouldn't know it, quite subtle. Watch it, it is very cool. They do ignore the higher speeds and performance of recumbents but hey, you can't get perfection.

Chris Matthews on Palin's defination of the VP job.

Chris Matthews is on fire here. This video is worth more than one viewing, it is riveting. He asks Nancy Pfotenhauer what the role of the Vice President is. She tries to come up something close to Sarah Palin's line, as a way of moving Ms Palin's comments closer to reality. Matthews didn't take any of it, "That's not the role of the Vice President, you got it wrong. I gave you a shot, Nancy, try again." Instant classic, this is one of my favorite pieces of the election coverage.

Watch the video a few times, it is great.

Here is a longer and high res version from MSNBC


Wow, watch the longer version. Chris Matthews set up Nancy Photenhauer well. He started the segment with Palin's expenditure of $150k on clothes, asking who approved it. After dancing around, Nancy says she would rather talk about issues of more substance, policy matters, etc. Chris then springs the Palin doesn't know what the Vice President's job is. That she doesn't know the US Constitution and limits it places on the VP's job. Really well done.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Obama Ad

I haven't been as good at putting Obama ads up as I was earlier. I found this one pretty effective. It hits McCain where it hurts, the truth. He is erratic, confused and compromised, he isn't on YOUR side.

Jon Stewart - still better than the news

Monday's Daily Show was amazing. These clips are some of the highlights.

First, a nice lead in of the pro vs anti American geography issue.

Second, a view of real America (the pro-American part) in Wasilla, AK

Finally, a nice test so you can discover whether you are in Real or Fake America.

Classic stuff, and unfortunately better coverage of the latest news than the mainstream press.

Rep Bachmann tries to walk backward

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) came to fame with this interview on Hardball, where she called for a McCarthyistic purge of Anti-American members of Congress and calling Obama, Biden and Liberal members of Congress Anti-American. Now she is trying to walk backwards with this interview at Politico. My favorite quote:

Despite the way the blogs and the Democratic Party are spinning it, I never called all liberals anti-American, I never questioned Barack Obama’s patriotism, and I never asked for some House Un-American Activities Committee witch hunt into my colleagues in Congress.

Unfortunately Rep Bachmann forgets that youtube has immortalized her words. Chris Matthews even gave here a chance to back off from her original statements. She managed to really wedge her foot deep. I don't think she will be able to break free of her incredible stupidity.

I can't remember the source but I find it very heartening that accusing Obama of being anti-American has such a huge backlash. Her opponent has raised $640k since the comments. That is 3/4 of the total amount he has raised throughout his entire campaign. This woman is now running scared.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

More McCain/Palin supporters bile

Apparently on the line waiting to get into McCain thump speeches is worse than inside. This is disgusting stuff.

More on Colin Powell

Colin Powell's comments after his appearance are arguably more interesting than his comments on Meet the Press. He really criticizes the Republican party and their BS talking points. He particularly addresses the lines about taxes being Socialism and the dividing up of people into pro-American and other.

It is devastating to the Republican party and will affect more than just the Presidential ticket.

My favorite quote of the piece is this part regarding taxes
And now I guess the message this week is we're going to call him a socialist. Mr. Obama is now a socialist, because he dares to suggest that maybe we ought to look at the tax structure that we have. Taxes are always a redistribution of money. Most of the taxes that are redistributed go back to those who pay them, in roads and airports and hospitals and schools. And taxes are necessary for the common good. And there's nothing wrong with examining what our tax structure is or who should be paying more or who should be paying less, and for us to say that makes you a socialist is an unfortunate characterization that isn't accurate.

McCain Campaign divides Virgina up one more time

Nancy Pfotenhauer speaking for the McCain campaign sticks her foot deeply in her mouth. Unfortunately for the McCain campaign it doesn't prevent her from talking. Apparently his campaign is so delusional that it is now campaigning for non-existent states electoral votes. See this map.

As you can see Real Virginia is the southern part of what we reality based readers call Virginia. Unfortunately for the McCain campaign it has no Electoral Votes.

As some of my old gamer friends would say EPIC FAIL. When did it become the smart move to insult more than half of a state that you need to win to become President? This is yet another sign of the end for John McCain's campaign. More divisive garbage, but not even powerful, evocative divisiveness. This is just flailing around, exposure of the internal rationalizations of what went wrong in the Campaign's inner mind. What is happening here is going to drag down the Republican ticket as a whole. This garbage makes all Republicans look bad. That is why Dino Rossi is running as "prefers GOP" party. That a corrupt Republican is afraid that the associations generated by the party name will drag him down speaks volumes. The Republicans are destined for a stern beating come November and it can't be happening to a more deserving party.

Colin Powell endorses Obama

This couldn't have come at a worse time for McCain. Additionally you can see how Colin Powell directly criticizes the McCain campaign for its divisive negative ads and smears. This is strong stuff and will dominate the news cycle for a few days, maybe a week. Those are days McCain can't afford.

Colin Powell's endorsement directly attacks the Ayers assault that McCain is playing. It says that a 4 star general, who is a lifelong republican is endorsing Obama, that Obama is a patriot and the best man for the job as President of the US.

McCain is now feeling the gut punch. I don't think he will recover from this, he was already way behind.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Target HR

One thing I was pretty happy with was that I managed to keep my target HR pretty much the entire ride today. That middle dark band was my zone and I kept it up for 90 some minutes. I really like the Vivo.
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Divided we fail, United we presevere

This is a youtube video the Obama Campaign posted a year ago. It is prescient.

Training Ride

So with my goal to ride the STP in July I need to bump up the miles. Additionally I want to get a new bike in February, that means I need to be more confident and fit on the recumbent. So I took out the Rans Vivo for a spin.
From Garmin305

My goal was 30 miles. I did 22.4 miles since I had a mechanical problem at 11ish miles. Here was my route (It is an out and back):

View Larger Map
I rode 22.53 miles in 1h 46min, according to the heart rate monitor, I averaged 138.5 bpm. I was in "zone 3 - aerobic zone" the entire ride, apparently I burned 1777 calories according to its computation.

I view the ride a massive success. I felt great and could have gone 30 miles instead of 22.5, but I was worried about the bent hanger on my front derailleur, my chain popped off during aggressive shifting and got wedged. A few minor repairs and I was off again. I will get the derailleur fixed this week. The Rans Vivo is definitely faster then the trike. I don't think I could have averaged 14.5 mph on the trike. All in all a great test ride for the Vivo and the Edge 305.

UPDATE: I managed to repair the derailleur and replaced the broken mirror. The Vivo is raring to go. I hope to do some testing on my climbing ability with the Vivo.

Transit and Energy independance

I am a big believer in mass transit, particularly trains, light rail and street cars. Small town America was created due to our growing rail system. To quote Lance Mannion
The first suburbs sprang up at the end of the 19th Century and were built not off of highways but along rail lines. They were small towns that in growing grew into one another but did not lose their individual identities or economies and many of those not only still exist but still thrive as distinct towns with prospering main streets.
So when we think about the need for energy independence we need to think about transit. Reducing cars and eliminating huge parking lots will go a long way to making the places we live much more beautiful and livable. I was reading this excellent article how if the next administration develops transit, the work can be used to create jobs and improve the economy. It is well worth the read. Investing in our infrastructure is exactly the kind of long term thinking we need in Government. US enterprise is all short term thinking, where are my profits next quarter style thinking. We need to take a longer view.

Biden addresses Palin in New Mexico

As you may or may not know Sarah Palin told donors in North Carolina on Wednesday night that she enjoys visiting "pro-America" parts of the country. Giving the strong implication that North Carolina is "pro-American" and other parts of the country are ..., in other words more divisive garbage from the McCain/Palin ticket. I swear they want to tear this country apart after they lose. It is very frustrating for me to hear this.

So it was very good to hear Joe Biden respond to Palin's comments while campaigning in New Mexico.
"It's disappointing, and I hope it was just a slip on her part and she doesn't really mean it," Biden told supporters. "But she said, it was reported she said, that she likes to visit "pro-American" parts of the country. Ladies and gentlemen, I, like your senator and governor, have been all over this great land. I've never been to a state, I've never been to a state that hasn't sent its sons and daughters to serve and die for this country.... One of the reasons why Barack and I are running is that we know how damaging the politics of division [is] that continues to be practiced by the McCain campaign, how damaging this policy of division has been for Americans over the last decade. It's time to put this behind us."

McCain endorsement - Satire

See more Hayden Panettiere videos at Funny or Die

Strong Language, NSFW (all at the end), but quite funny.

I found this funny, it brings up a few things that people have avoided talking about like all good political humor.

The Right Wing unmasks

From Crooks and Liars. Here we see Rep. Michelle Bachmann channel the right's inner voice. Scary stuff, follow the link, I don't think I could right this up better than David Neiwert did.

It really is nuts how dark and insane it gets in some of the Right Wing minds. Remember this is no foot soldier, this is a congresswoman.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Howl A Ween - Doggy dress up

Kristin took Casey and Lucy to Howl a Ween, a doggy costume event in Kirkland.

New Toy - Garmin Edge 305

I recently got my Garmin Edge 305. This is a cycle computer + GPS combo designed for training. It has a heart rate monitor, cadence sensor, altimeter and all the trimmings including a virtual trainer. You can race yourself on courses you have done before. It only lacks a base map and mapping software. But the mapping stuff is in the 705 and was $400 more. I went with the cheaper option but very nice.

I mounted it on my Rans Vivo and my Terratrike Tour. I love it, it is easy to use on the Trike and the Vivo. I get wonderful trip reports and data out of the Edge and on the motionbased web site. I will be able to improve my pedal stroke, and my fitness level quite nicely with my new toy. Since I don't have even a basic cycle computer on any of my rides right now this is extremely welcome. One of the fun things is being able to view the ride in Google Earth. Tomorrow I will take the Vivo out and ride on the trails by Marymoor. I hope to log twenty or thirty miles tomorrow, but it depends on how much I have left in my legs.

Tire Swinging, a guide

TPM put together this excellent summary. Check it out

For the doubters

I have a number of friends and family who are really nervous about this election. They have gotten so used to feeling robbed that they think this is a close race. This is not a close race, McCain is deeply in the hole as far as electoral votes goes.

Nate Silver's site FiveThirtyEight has a nice state map showing the current predictions:

Take a look at the state by state charts on Nate's site, it is too long to quote here but a few highlights.
FL Obama +4.5
OH Obama +3
ME Obama +13 (13!)
VA Obama +7
PA Obama +11
WV Mccain +0.1 (WV is close?!?)

As you can see, if McCain won via election stealing, it would be horrifically obvious. Obvious fraud will cause revolt in the US, so I wouldn't worry about it this cycle. McCain's crew is already trying to prepare a soft landing by claiming ACORN is committing voter fraud in Obama's favor.

This isn't Kerry vs Bush, this is Obama vs Bush's third term. Obama has handled his campaign 1000% better than Kerry did. He projects this cool competence that will be the envy of politicians for the next 20 years.

No Shame

From TPM:
Did you think you'd ever heard a major party senate candidate caught begging, just before the start of a debate, that it wasn't fair that he wouldn't be allowed to bring in notes? Even though both campaigns had agreed already that that wouldn't be allowed.

It's Colorado senate candidate Bob Schaffer (R-CO), sweatshop supporter and Abramoff water-carrier, leaving all his self-respect on the field ...

Pretty pitiful. I respect his opponent Mark Udall who seems very professional and prepared.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Focus on goals

I am a firm believer in goal posts placed firmly down the road. When I get focused I like to imagine where I am going to go with my plans. What will I do with this energy I am focusing on a given task.

Now that I am into cycling again, what will be my focus? Well, I know I am not fast, I am not a racer, I would like to ride fast but I don't have that killer instinct in the corner that a racer needs. So I was thinking, what do I do well while riding. The answer is long distance riding. I have ridden unsupported 100km and 100mile rides on my old mountain bike and my old fuji. I am planning on the STP in July 2009 and a few charity Centuries to get ready for the STP. Those are a good start. But there is a sport that is all about long distance riding, ultra-cycling and randonneuring.

Randonneuring is all about long distance riding. To quote from the Seattle International Randonneurs:
The most common type of event is a brevet (pronounced breh-VAY), referring to the certificate (brevet) the participant receives signifying completion of a particular distance. Randonneur events are 200 km (125mi), 300 km (190mi), 400 km (250mi), 600 km (375mi), 1000 km (625mi), and 1200 km (750mi). The longer events are held over multiple days. Along the course, you check in at various places to show that you completed the entire course. During longer events, sleep breaks are planned at intermediate points. In the end, you get a medal if you complete the course within the generous time limit. If you like going fast, there usually is a group who try to see how quickly they can complete the course. But the results are listed alphabetically, and everybody gets the same medal, so it is not a race. Our long rides are challenging for anybody, but every finisher is a winner.

One of the most famous of these longer events is the 1200 km Paris-Brest-Paris, first held in 1891 and now held every four years.

This is right up my alley, I can do this with proper training. Additionally a recumbent seems perfect for this kind of event. I may not be able to do a 1000km + brevet but with the options to improve on over time, I can sure work my way up and try. With that said, I put up this picture of a Randonneur on a recumbent. (I stole this pic from Vik)

FYI - not me, this is Vik


I found this one quite funny

Disturbing Video

Al Jazeera takes a disturbing trip to one of the McCain rallies in Ohio.

The out right racism in this video disturbs me, as well as the implication that leaders need to be chosen by God (big g).

My Favorite debate line

This was my favorite point in the debate. McCain was so completely flummoxed when Obama spoke. He obviously didn't study Obama's health plan and relied on others to give him a talking point that attacked a strong point, not a weak point.

Obama: I'm happy to talk to you, Joe, too, if you're out there. Here is your fine: Zero.

McCain interrupts: Zero??

Obama: Zero. You won't pay a fine because as I said in our last debate, and I'll repeat John, I exempt small businesses from the requirement for large businesses that can afford to provide health care to their employees who are not doing it. I exempt small businesses from having to pay into a kitty...

Post Debate Obama ad

An interesting image, that shows how uncomfortable McCain was during the last debate.

Obama's organization is just top notch. His team moves fast and decisively when it is time. Check out the ad.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Commuting update

Yesterday marked three weeks of commuting by bike. Feels a bit weak since my previous record was 5 years of commuting but it sure is better than not riding. I am enjoying the ride quite a bit. My new route is simple, safe and nearly traffic free. It is also quite scenic.

I love riding though communities where there is a ton of greenery. Trees that are older than the houses is very common. I hate modern development with its tear down the whole lot to dirt then build methodology. Such a waste. All the trees and green make my ride very nice, everything smells good and it is so quiet. Even though I cross the I405, I can't hear it just 1 block away.

Here is a slideshow to illustrate my commute. This is a bit of a mashup of October commutes. As you can see in pictures, it has gotten significantly darker on my ride in. I now leave in the pre-dawn light.

Relief from the Debate

Fighting BMX style Kung-fu?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Invisible Hand of Idiocy

This article is excellent. Besides linking to it I will quote it:

Democrats fight for reasoned regulation of the markets using a consistent, fair framework. Republicans chaff at any restraint, sure that the market can be "self regulating." So how much data do you need to see which side is right?

Since 1929, Republicans and Democrats have each controlled the presidency for nearly 40 years. ... As of Friday, a $10,000 investment in the S.& P. stock market index would have grown to $11,733 if invested under Republican presidents only ... Invested under Democratic presidents only, $10,000 would have grown to $300,671 at a compound rate of 8.9 percent over nearly 40 years.
$1700 in growth under Republicans, $290,000 under Democrats. Even if you exclude the failure of the markets under Hoover, Democrats still come out with six times the results of the GOP.

Of seven Republican presidents, three turned in negative results and the average rate of return was only 0.4%. Every Democratic president since 1929 has turned in a positive performance, with Bill Clinton setting the record at a 15.2% rate of growth.

So the next time someone suggests to you that the market averages 6%, or 7%, or 8% growth over the long term, remember this caveat: only when Democrats are in charge.

McCain and the problems with guilt by association

McCain/Palin have embraced guilt by association. But as always they forget their own culpability in this area. And so we end up with the utterly stupid issue we see here. John McCain has named a lobbyist, William Timmons, to head his presidential transition team. Nothing much new right? McCain wishes to continue business as usual while claiming to try to "clean up Washington", why talk about that?

Well it seems that McCain did a poorer than usual job of checking his lobbyist for questionable connections. You see, William Timmons aided an influence effort on behalf of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to ease international sanctions against his regime. Really, this takes the freakin' cake, McCain is the one who was so gunho on taking out Saddam, he is the one saying Saddam contributed to 9/11, even though there was no evidence of that and still isn't. He is the one with a pro-Saddam connection. His team has a pro-Saddam lobbyist. WTF?!?!

Really, how morally bankrupt do you have to be to be a Republican Presidential Candidate? Is McCain trying to set a new bar? What do you think?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Personal Goals

Recently I became frustrated with my past lifestyle. I went more than 1 year without riding, I put on 40 lbs, I was spending too much time on the computer and avoiding outdoor activities. To address this I made a number of changes.

  1. I stopped all computer games and MMOs.
  2. I went on a simple diet, just cutting out soda, healthy snacks instead of garbage, smaller meals. I also added breakfast.
  3. I started commuting by bike (or trike) again.
  4. I added weekend rides to my routine.
  5. I cleaned out the garage to make into a bike workshop, so I can do my own maintenance and upgrades.
  6. I started a blog.

At this point I am 3 weeks into my commuting and planning a new bike for the spring. I have lost about 7 lbs and plan on training all winter.

I have set some performance goals.
  1. I will do the STP in July 2009, the Seattle to Portland ride is 202 miles over two days. After living in the Pacific NW for 8 years I will finally do this incredible ride.
  2. I will work on my riding, specifically on my climbing ability.
  3. I will improve my pedal stroke and my cadence aka spinning.
  4. I will join the Cascade Bicycle Club in the spring for training and comradery.
  5. I will improve my balance and handling on my 2 wheel recumbent.
Assuming I get my cadence up and my stroke improved I should be able to take my Rans Vivo to work this winter. I ride uphill for about 1.5+ miles on my current route, so getting my speed and cadence up for the Vivo to go to work is a big deal. I will have my gps (Edge 305) soon so I can show my route, speed, elevation profile, heartrate and cadence soon. I will work on the trike for more power, and to improve my spinning, the Vivo to prove it out.

If the winter goes well with the Vivo and climbing I will get a new recumbent in January/Febuary. At the moment the Bacchettas are looking really good. In particular the Giro 20TT and the Corsa 24. But the test ride is everything. If the Corsa doesn't work out I may look at lowracers such as the Optima Baron. But given my needs for a bike, the high racers are a better fit. My preference is for the Corsa at this point, but there may be issues of reaching the ground with my short legs (38.5 x-seam). The Giro 20TT is an incredible deal and well equipped. I am going back and forth on the issue. A test ride is needed.

I tried an earlier model of the Giro 20 in 2006, this is a shot of my test ride. I was looking for something different back then and was very new to recumbents so I didn't get it. The Giro 20TT is similar to the one pictured but has disk brakes, better components and an aluminum frame. It should be a good deal and a nice ride to do the STP on. If I get the Giro 20TT or the Corsa 24 I will be selling the trike. I may or may not keep the Vivo. One thing I learned commuting by bike for 8 years is that a backup bike is well worth the investment.

So I have a plan, with a few carrots built into the mix as well. Lets see how well I do.

Racing Cyclist's phrase book

While reading race reports from the Bachetta crew, I found this gem.
Cyclists are the biggest sandbaggers and secret trainers around. They'll say anything to soften you up for the kill. Don't let this happen to you. Study this handy rider's phrasebook to find out what they really mean when they say:

"I'm out of shape"
Translation: I ride 400 miles a week and haven't missed a day since the Ford administration. I replace my 11-tooth cog more often than you wash your shorts. My body fat percentage is lower than your mortgage rate.

"I'm not into competition. I'm just riding to stay in shape"

Translation: I will attack until you collapse in the gutter, babbling and whimpering. I will win the line sprint if I have to force you into oncoming traffic. I will crest this hill first if I have to grab your seat post, and spray energy drink in your eyes.

"I'm on my beater bike"
Translation: I had this baby custom-made in Tuscany using titanium blessed by the Pope. I took it to a wind tunnel and it disappeared. It weighs less than a fart and costs more than a divorce.

"It's not that hilly"
Translation: This climb lasts longer than a presidential campaign. Be careful on the steep sections or you'll fall over -- backward. You have a 39x23 low gear? Here's the name of my knee surgeon.

"You're doing great, honey"
Translation: Yo, lard ass, I'd like to get home before midnight. This is what you get for spending the winter decorating and eating chocolate. I shoulda married that cute Cat 1 racer when I had the chance.

"This is a no-drop ride"
Translation: I'll need an article of your clothing for the search-and-rescue dogs.

"It's not that far"
Translation: Bring your passport

Get Out the Vote

As is typical Republican's are big friends of voter suppression, their favorite brand of voter fraud. Water carrying for them is John Stossel. This is why you see the Acorn hating and typical misinformation drive by Republicans. They can't point to one example of voter fraud in action. They love to talk about potential voter fraud. Then they illegally purge 1000s of voters from the rolls.

A good quote from Open Left:

(1) Registration fraud is not the same as voter fraud. Registration fraud, if not caught, produces phony names on voter roles, nothing more. Voter fraud produces illegal votes. Both are and should be illegal, but they are two entirely diffrent things.

(2) The perpetrators of registration fraud are overwhelmingly--if not exclusively--the employees of organizaitons like ACORN. The primary victims of registration fraud are those same organizations, who are paying for honest work that is not being done.

(3) There is virtually no evidence of any voter fraud in the US in recent years, despite the best efforts of the Bush Administration to dig up such evidence.

This video by the Bus Project is an excellent satirical response to the Stossel piece. In addition to the satire, you also see Stossel's assumptions disputed. A light tone is such a nice tool to use against such heavy handed oppression.

Friday, October 10, 2008


This video is titled "My Dogs greeting me after returning from 14 months in Iraq". I found this on Balloon Juice. Obviously I am not the protagonist.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Viral Video - WTF?!?

I found this on kos, it is hilarious and true, unlike 90% of McCain/Palin's public statements.

Don't Worry I landed on a Taxpayer

Offered without comment

Sometimes Humor helps

I recently found this blog, Sad Guys on the Trading Floor. I have to say, it is pretty funny. Check it out.

How to navigate my blog

Blogspot does a pretty good job here, the user interface is pretty intuitive but I figured it would be smart to document a few of the features I use.

  1. Labels - I use labels to mark all of my posts. If you are interested in just checking out some of the topics I post on more than others use the labels. They are located on the left side of my blog. My current list of lables is Action, Ad, Blogs, comics, commuting, cycling, dogs, Finance, introduction, Politics, RNC, slideshow, transit, Trike, Video. Of these Video and Slideshow are indicators that a video or a photo slideshow are included in the post. Ad also generally means a video is present as I use that to mark Obama and McCain politcal ads. The other labels are all referring to the content. My most common topics today are Politics, Cycling, and Transit. Anything marked Finance today is about the bailout. Introduction is used to mark my first post and self-referential posts such as this one. Documentation and help basically.
  2. Older Posts - at the bottom of the page is a link to older posts that fell off the front page, you can go back a page a time to the beginning of this blog.
  3. Archives - the left panel has a spot for archives, which has a month by month list of titles. You can limit the page to posts from a given month, a given year or a particular post.
  4. Subscribe to Duncan's Brain - at the bottom of the left panel is a link to my two RSS feeds that I provide. One for any comments and the other for my posts. I use Google Reader to read all of my blogs via RSS so I wanted to provide that option for any who read my site.
Hope this helps.

Palin Rally

From SilentPatriot at C&L:
It was reported on Monday that the McCain campaign was restricting the media from talking to Palin supporters at recent events. This video may show why.
It really is like a lynch mob. Truly scary stuff. Great job by Blogger Interrupted on this one. That blonde girl that keeps popping up is hilarious.

Nutcases on display for sure. I found it somewhat hard to watch myself.


Foolish me, I forgot to mention my sisters new webcomic The Horribles. This is a children focused comic. The tag line reads "Some not so true stories of Horrible Monsters. Sylvia the vicious torments Creature the poor, but vile monster who lives under her bed"

Carolyn is in Argentina with her family. You can read their story at her blog Escaping New York to a Greener life.

Various Ramblings

Lots of news in the past week plus, but so much seems redundant. CNBC and the various financial news are freaking out over every rise and fall of the DOW. I don't see the point, we know the market is volatile, take a pill people. On the other hand Paulson seems to have realized his plan was crap and didn't recapitalize banks and so some of the provisions in the modified bailout plan may get exercised. The modified plan has provisions to take equity in return for direct recapitalization. It appears he is moving in that direction. (h/t Henry Blodget@Clusterstock )

Sarah Palin and McCain have gone extreme lately. The direct implications they are making, calling Obama a traitor and terrorist have yielded very dark fruit in their base. It is now common for their rallies to echo with the crys of "Kill him", "Terrorist", and "Traitor". I find this very disturbing, it seems that this is their 2012 plan, get Obama killed by a weak willed Hannity viewer. Insanity, for more on subject check it out here. I have family that are going through JFK flashbacks, this isn't good.

We all saw the debate I am sure. My wife and I went to our neighbors house and we had a debate party. They fixed a very nice dinner and we brought dessert. It is clear to me that Obama "won" the debate. He was much more presidential and had actual plans. The shorter townhall format worked against him as he prefers more substantive answers. McCain managed to fill his bits with two or three lies per answer, he also declined to repeat a number of the attacks to Obama's face. He is definitely intimidated by Obama. I think the "that one" comment was part of his temper issue. McCain looked so unsteady during the debate I thought he might keel over. It would have provided entertaining theater but my dislike of the man is due to his policies, his lies and his bullying nature.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

More Bikes

So looking at various factors I am going to take a trip to Coventry Cycles in Portland. Kristin and I will make it a mini-vacation and visit the cycle shop, ride around town and on the beautiful bike paths in Portland. We will also visit friends and sight-see. Coventry carries a few lines that I am interested in, Bacchetta and Rans in particular. I can test ride a Bacchetta Giro-20 and Rans V-Rex there to get a feel of how they ride.

I won't be ordering any bike until next spring based on how much I ride over the winter but I am drooling a bit. Waiting the winter is good as the real reason I want a faster bike is for group rides. Most group rides are finishing up now and in Spring they start up again. I think the next big ride is the Chilly Hilly on Feb 22, 2009. Cascade Bicycle Club does run a number of training and fun rides all year round though, every week.

So we will see how it goes. I just need to control myself.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Bike Envy

Lately I have been suffering from bike envy. I find myself wanted a faster, lighter ride. The desire is a recumbent that climbs well and moves fast. There are a few recumbents that fall into this category.

First - The Lightning P-38. This bike is a classic, well known for its responsiveness, low speed handling and climbing power. It isn't cheap but as it has been produced for more than a decade, used bikes are available. Weight: roughly 22-26 lbs based on accessories.

Second - The Lightning Phantom. A cheaper version of the P-38, this is less available used and may end up costing more because of it. The components are generally not as good and it will weigh more than the p-38. Roughly 28lbs for this bike.

Third - The Barcroft Dakota. Barcroft is a direct sales only, made to order shop. The SWB (Short Wheel Base) recumbent has been attributed to them. The Dakota is their steel touring/all around recumbent. A great bike, and Barcroft has an excellent service record. Definitely a chance to pick up used.

Fourth - Lightning R-84 Carbon. This is being sold used by a local, dangerous territory for me. The pricing is very nice too, this is a $6k + bike new, especially outfitted the way it is now. The seller wants $3.7k. But as I can't afford this, I must pass. The bike is 19lbs as outfitted in the picture.

With this bike we are firmly in bike envy land, where I want high end machinery. Since we have a carbon, I should now go Titanium and so ...

The Rans Ti-Rex, only available as a frame set from Rans, but there are a number of Bike shops that will build this into a beautiful bike. This looks really nice, and I can test ride a V-Rex which is the heavier steel version. The V-Rex isn't in the running though because it is too heavy and slow. But the Ti-Rex is a dream.

The other titanium ride I was thinking about was the ...

Barcroft Virginia Titanium - checkout this review from BROL. The steel version of this bike isn't made anymore, the Virginia GT, otherwise it would be in this list. But the Ti one is, and it is drool worthy. I don't think I can afford it at all but OMG, it is so sweet.

There are a few more bikes in this category but they haven't yet really caught my eye. I should look at the Volae Century and kin, some of the Rans bikes are nice like the V-Rex (though heavy) but these are the drool bikes. The phantom and a used P-38 are probably the most attainable. Though an used version of any of these would be nice.