I am not a category, I am a free man

Ok, will admit, in the category of silent pcs, the MintBox Mini is really cool and I want one.  I know, I know I don’t actually need one but my inner geek says, “Me wantsme some precious Mint.”

In the category of silly geek questions I present the following. (My answers at the bottom)

Which linux distro does the following people use?

  1. Police officer Alex Murphy (Weller)

2. Morpheus

3. Moses

4. Einstein

5. Sherlock Holmes

6. Philip Kindred Dick

In the category of ridiculous, the weather forecast said rain, thunderstorms, and all the rest. The drive home saw two massive downpours bringing everyone to a slow crawl due to limited visibility. When I got home I didn’t want to risk getting caught in such bad weather so I cancelled my Friday ride. For the rest of the day it was sunny. On Sat there were flood watches so instead of riding to a family birthday party at a park, I played it safe and drove in with the family. It never raided a drop. So when Sunday rolled around and NOAA said it would be improving as the day went on, I grabbed my bike and headed out. Within 4 miles from my house I was finding shelter under a local businesses awning as it down-poured. After around 5 minutes it let up and it looked like I was now behind the storm. I enjoyed the next few miles but I clearly got that part wrong. For the next 7 miles, it rained, then sun, then drizzled, etc, etc, etc. That was until I broke a spoke on my rear wheel. So not only did I have to slow due to wet roads, I also had to go even slower so as not to force the wheel so out of true that I couldn’t ride it. Like I said, ridiculous.

Disconnecting our PS3 from the net and getting a Roku was the best move we done. The Sony network was plagued with issues and once they mandated that you must be logged into their crappy network to watch YOUR PAID FOR NETFLIX and youtube videos it was over.  Because every time the network went down, we couldn’t watch either service.

Speaking of YouTube, the new info coming out of the Formula E series looks promising. Please FIA, don’t screw it up.

Speaking of netflix, we’ve seen 2 or 3 of the new Doctor and I have to admit I’m feeling the same way I did when Colin Baker took over for Davison. After losing my all time favorite Tom Baker, Davison held things together but when C. Baker stepped in, I stepped out.

Speaking again, categorize this post as over.

Highlight right below this sentence for my answers.

  1. RoboLinux, 2. Oracle, 3. Gparted, 4. Scientific, 5. Elementary, 6. Android.




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CBA’s, lions, and lame mice

It’s been pointed out before but I’ll repeat it here, for all to hear.  Do you know how glad the MSM is about that lion being killed? It gives them an excuse to ignore the Planned ButcherShop videos.  I’m guessing they just want it to go away. I’m hoping it doesn’t.

Having not watched the last 5? 6? 7? supperBowls. Having not watched a complete footsieball game for years, as in sit at home, and not just catch some of it while out, the latest round of revels makes me glad I don’t watch. Independent lawyers that are not, big long independent legal documents that are edited by the league before release, news leaks that are proven completely wrong yet the league doesn’t retract them,  and on and on it goes. If ever anyone was even remotely questioning the fairness of the league, you have your answer. Beat your wife, get DUIs, and all the rest and we can look the other way. We can also screw up our own sting operation so the evidence is so thin that a feather dropping on it would break through, but don’t worry we’ll still hand out the harshest penalty ever given.

Oh and don’t write in, I don’t care one way or another whether it was the ideal gas law or the needle in the ball action. The whole process has been a farce from the beginning. As an aside, I always thought Lance was doing something. Come on, he was beating all the big names at the time who were doping. What I thought was happening was his cancer treatment had “revealed” some new “thing”. Meaning something that wasn’t banned yet.

We have now surrounded disney vacation wise. At the time, I thought maybe we just remembered NH wrong and held disney up too high. Nope, this summer’s vacation proved that disney is just an overpriced theme park doing everything in it’s power to remove as much money from your pocket as they can. For less then half the price, a local NH story park provides a clean environment with great rides with lines less then 15 minutes. The NH whale of a water park can’t compete with the size and scope of the one’s in FL, but again, less money, shorter lines, and less stress. For us it’s a no brainer, avoid disney like the plague.

Posted in family, rant | 2 Comments

Summer-time vortex

One would think that being a teacher and all that the summer would be prime blogging time. But no, that’s not the way it works. Instead I have a garden, training, playing with my sons, cooking, cleaning, yard work, house work, and on and on it goes. So to improve my frequency I may stop going for my big entries and instead just brain dump stuff for people to comment on.

1. Reading Foundation trilogy by Asimov. Should have read this years ago. Very well done.

2. Read Ubik by PKD. May just be one of the best sci-fi books I’ve ever read.

3. Landscaping fabric is a rip off. Avoid it if you can. Or better yet, check the price of a roll and toss that amount of money into a fire. The result will be the same. You’ll be out that the same money but have saved the time and effort to install it.

4. Teva’s finally cracked. Picked up Z-treks from Xero shoes. Very thin, nice but have yet to get the strapping to hold me like the teva’s did. Miss that. Don’t miss the big thick sole.

5. As a friend would say, a clean bike is a happy bike. Today my bike is really happy.

6. See if you can figure out the topic the MSM doesn’t want to cover, even though many have called it “beyond disturbing.”


p.s. Oh the timing, while writing this up, go an email from Xero shoes. Ha, too funny.

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…And so the needless bikes vs. autos war rages on

While composing my post on the subject of automobiles I found myself wanting, ok needing to write a prequel as a way to set the stage for future posts. I like the word prequel because it will give the readers of my blog insight into who I am. Some may go so far as to call it a disclaimer but I just call it being honest. So lets begin.

I remember like it was yesterday I was getting ready to go for a quick spin on a very hot day. I was pumping the tires, filling my bottle and everything else when my mother walked up to me and asked why I wasn’t wearing my helmet. I told her I wasn’t going far or fast and it was also beyond hot. Back then I normally rode in the mornings to avoid the heat but for some reason this ride wasn’t going to start until 3pm-ish. With some form of motherly intuition kicking in, she must have asked me at least three more times, “Are you sure you don’t need your helmet?”  Back then the helmets were nothing but heat collecting hunks of plastic and foam so my reply each time was No.

I’m guessing you know where this is going to end up. Yup, about an hour later I was lying on a gurney in the ER with a neck brace on after a nice ride in an ambulance. When I tell the story now it sounds like every other cycling incident out there. A car passed me way to close only to then cut me off at the next right turn. I was fortunate, lots of road rash, a really sore body the next day, a destroyed bike but nothing serious for me. It could have been the other way around. Meaning it could have been a destroyed body, etc, etc. Making things even worse the guy took off. According to witnesses I popped back up and somehow got the licence plate before the adrenaline wore off and I slumped back to the ground. I would later find out the guy had an expired license, the car was not registered,  and the best one of all, the car was UN-insured. Simply put this person had ZERO right to be on the road. Through the grace of God I somehow, after nearly 2 years of court proceedings, received a settlement. It was during that time I also found out that if this same guy had hit my car and took off I would have been entitled to a settlement that would have probably paid my way through college. But for some reason, both insurances just didn’t care about me or my bike. Funny that.

So lets jump right into some of the things I’ve heard “Car Drivers” say in an effort to move the conversation forward.

1. Cyclists don’t follow the rules of the road and should be prevented from using them unless they prove they can do so legally. 

Sadly this is one of the most repeated and probably most incorrect statements used. If the same logic and rules were applied to people driving cars, the streets would probably be empty except for a few elderly and maybe a 1st time driver in a driving school car. Beyond that this idea of following rules is more of an emotional response then anything else.

To begin, go on any highway at any time and try to drive the speed limit. If you do you’ll have a line of freakin out drivers behind you looking to fly by. Not to mention the lack of signalling, tailgating, texting, passing on the right….. and that’s just on the highway. How many people actually drive 20mph down a side street, or worse keep it under 20 for the entire length of a school zone? Let’s be honest, there are good drivers, there are bad drivers and there are some drivers you wonder how they ever got their license. The same thing can be said of cyclists. There are good, bad, and just plain horrible cyclists.

Adding to this topic, and I’ve heard and seen this one a bazillion times; someone has two incidents on their drive in. They are cut off by a really bad driver and they are delayed by a minute at best, while waiting to go around a cyclist that lets say is going around some pot holes. Care to guess what they complain about the most? Taking it one step further, when a complete idiot in a car does something really bad, people are badly injured and in some cases die( see my previous posts on this subject). Why? Because they are driving a 2-3 ton hunk of metal capable of running people and animals over, knocking down trees and fences, crashing through houses and into stores, etc etc. Yet according to every source I have looked at, a cyclist has yet to kill anyone driving a car. So as far as I am concerned, drivers need to get their own house in order before being able to use this excuse.

2. Cyclists are unfairly using the roads without paying for them/Cycling infrastructure is expensive.

Both of these arguments are once again not based upon facts but rather lies which have been perpetuated. Both of these topics have been professionally covered by writers far more connected then I. But what I will do is apply good old fashion logic to these topics and you’ll quickly see them fail. The first one is probably the easiest, cyclist don’t pay taxes. The last time I saw MASSDOT numbers, over 95% of all cyclist owned cars. Which means the odds are pretty good that the next cyclist you see on the road are in fact paying the same amount of taxes you the driver are paying.

The next statement has two layers of illogical thinking. The first covers surface area which I will keep very straight forward. For any company to “install” a road we will assume the following. The road will be two car lanes wide, with curbs on both sides.  For a bike lane done properly, meaning separated, we will assume one car lane width with curbs on each side. With those parameters established, bike infrastructure is approximately half the cost to install. Those against such spending will quickly cry, “but no one will use it thus turning out to be a waste of money.” Every report, story and article I have read has stated the same thing over and over. When properly done, bike lanes have seen tremendous growth. For example, have a look at what NY city, known for it’s horrible congestion, has done.

But lets take it one step further, lets assume (incorrectly) that putting a bike lane in costs just as much as an auto road. Maintenance costs for roads used by cars will always require more up keep then bike paths. Problem 2 to 4 ton vehicles inflict far more wear and tear then an equal amount of bikes. That’s just fact based upon the science. In my area we have bike paths which haven’t needed maintenance in many, many yrs. Simply put, if done properly, it is far cheaper for the long run to put in a bike lane then for a car lane.

To end I would like to present an opinion shared by two local construction managers. While not statistically significant, their views are interesting food for thought. When asked about some of the construction in my area both wanted no part of separated bike infrastructure especially if it included traffic calming methods. Meaning narrowing the lanes to decrease speed to improve safety. Both described it as the fastest way to put yourself out of business.  They both welcomed infrastructure that included wide lanes that included painting bike lines and sharrows on new construction.

3. Cyclists are just car haters and want all cars off the road. 

This last one is usually the one topic I refuse to discuss since those who use it seldom do so without alot of emotion involved. Referring back to #2, most cyclists own a car but if you want to go there, many people living in Boston and NY city don’t own cars either because parking is such a disaster. They just use public transportation. Does that make them haters? No it means they have chosen the best means of transportation for their needs. So by continuing on, if someone in NY wants to supplement their bus use with a bike why is this so wrong? It’s not but there are those who feel using a bike somehow drags us back to ancients times. I hate to say this but when I go mtb-ing I use my car to bring my bike to the trail head. When on vacation I need a car to transport my family and stuff 100s of miles away. But if I want to just run down to the local store and pick something up, the bike becomes the perfect tool. I enjoy the fresh air, spend zero on gas, and get front row parking. So I guess the only thing I “hate” is using the wrong tool for the job.

There are many more driver vs cyclists things going on out there but I really don’t have the time or patience to cover them all. Not to mention others have done great things with their blogs to debunk all the myths out there. Now get out there and go for a ride.



Posted in cycling, rant, technology | Comments Off on …And so the needless bikes vs. autos war rages on

Winter boots are still a missing component

My transition to minimalist footwear has been a long and slow move that needed to take place for a whole host of reasons. Those reasons have been discussed in previous posts so I won’t repeat myself. The last remaining component of this move is wintery type footwear. I have running sneakers, black “work” shoes and a black casual hiker boot. What I don’t have is something that will get me through the winter months. Since I live in MA, a state known for it’s cold and frigid winters, here are my wants and desires.

1. Something that will retain heat while walking on snow, ice, cold ground, etc. Meaning work to prevent cold feet while doing every day things.

2. Provide some form of water barrier. The shoes don’t need to be perfectly waterproof, although that would be really nice, but it needs to have a good water resistance.

3. Traction built into the shoe so I don’t have to worry about doing the above mentioned things.

4. The shoes must be durable. I’m not looking to use them on a job site just allow me to go hiking and such, without fear of some random stick ripping a hole in the side of my boot.

5. Zero drop, no arch, just a nice flat surface with plenty of area in the toe box for my feet to splay.

What I don’t need is my foot to be ultra close to the ground. I am more interested in staying warm. So if you as a shoe maker wanted to use a lugged sole, for example, I’m fine with that. Just keep it flat. I know shoes are supposed to be soft and compliant but like I said, I want to be warm, dry and not have to worry about something delicate.

At this point you are probably thinking, surely there must be something on the market that meets your requirements. Technically not and I’m hoping this post either uncovers a brand I am unaware of OR a current brand hears my calls (and many others as well) and makes it happen. By the way, a quick search will show you forums filled with people looking for the same thing I am, so yes, it’s not just me.

Lets cover what is out there pointing out the pros and cons of each pair.

Lem’s Boulder Boot

I currently own of pair of these. Nice boots, not bad looking at all. The inner sole that came with these boots provided little to now insulation so I had to replace it with something. Even with that change, the boot chills up pretty quick. It’s also not the most durable thing in the world so I would be very hesitant to go hiking with it.

Vivobarefoot Tracker Boots

This boot is a hiking styled boot. Fully waterproof lined, and is made from leather so it should provide some durability. Has a lugged sole so it should work well in different conditions. Problem with this boot and Vivo in general, they have little to no stock for US buyers. Right now the only size available from their 7.5 to 15 US sized chart is 11.5US. To be honest, this company frustrates me greatly. They come up with a boot, then change it, then change it again, all the while not having any stock for people in the US. I’m hoping they get their inventory straightened out because I’ve read good things about this company. But right now, it’s US vaporware to me at least. I haven’t touched on the price because of sales. Right now they are having a 25% off sale making the Tracker boot $165.

OTZ Shoes Brogan Boots

On their website they claim to be a zero drop shoe company but when you look a bit closer you’ll see many of their products are not. The Brogan boots for example come with a cork innersole that is not zero drop (2-5 dependent upon how the sole molds to your foot) and has arch support. The boots already goes for $210 but to get their actual zero drop inner sole you will need to spend another $35. Adding tax to that and you have a boot close to $250. They are made from leather so the durability is there but at that price, that would be a tough sell.

Feelmax Kuuva 3

Feelmax is a company based in Finland who appears to have changed owner/management/etc. Their Kuuva 3 boot looks like a hiking boot and provides some real features. Leather upper, water proof liner, and designed for winter wear. I’m a bit leery about their sole because it’s pretty smooth and very thin. But if anyone would know how to make a thin boot that is warm is people from Scandinavian countries so I’d have to go on faith for this one. But the big problem with this option is price. The boots start at $178 US but the S&H makes the price jump by about ~42. If they don’t fit right an exchange could put your boot well over $250. Like I said, location is an issue, not the shoe or company.

Belleville TR102
Minimalist Training Boot

Belleville is not known for making minimalist anything. They are known for making bomb proof military and law enforcement work boots. I should know because I have their T770 and that thing is a tank. It has a Gore-Tex lining, Thinsulate 200G insulation, a very aggressive lugged sole, and did I mention these things are bombproof? Before I transitioned to zero drop footwear I went everywhere in all conditions with these boots. I loved them and they were worth every penny. The TR102 are a standard 8″ height boot, with a 2mm drop but are made for warm weather use because they are very breathable. They run $161 and can be bought from a number of local stores so S&H would be a none issue. If this boot was ever changed to a winter version with the same 2mm drop (would love 0 drop but….) but with gore-tex and Thinsulate I’d probably pull the trigger. But as of this entry, Belleville has said nothing about a winter version.

There are other options but those are out of my styling arena like Mukluks. Yes they exist but I’m looking to blend in, not make a statement.  What really doesn’t make sense to me in all of this is … I’m looking for a flat shoe with no fancy arch supports, heel counters, etc, etc. You would think it would be easier to leave all that stuff out then to put it in. If I am correct, then why is it taking so long for someone to make a good solid winter boot with zero drop?

If you know the answer please let me know, because I’m baffled.


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