Thursday, August 11, 2005


I haven't written anything here for a while. I think I'll just use this for random stuff I find interesting, not necessarily bike related. A few paragraphs here and there. Anything longer or anything bike related and I'll create a web page and add the link on the home page of


sir bikes-a-lot

Monday, April 18, 2005

Will mountain biking be killed off by development or lawyers?

Lawsuit a threat to trails

A personal injury lawyer decides to sue everyone for injuries sustained from crashing his mountain bike on the trails. Wow. A new low even for personal injury lawyers. I crash therefore it's someone else's fault.

It's bad enough that land is being developed at an astonishing pace without planning or regard to anything else except how to get your giant SUV from your garage to Wal-Mart and back, now we have folks suing clubs, towns and trail managers, threatening to shut down access to our little remaining open space.


Monday, March 14, 2005

When I sat down to play the piano, after not having played for years, I suddenly remembered why I quit in the first place. I have no piano. Apparently I sold my piano when I moved out of Austin, TX.

So as I sat down to play my mom's baby grand, a Baldwin, which I despise (but I'll probably inherit anyway), I realized that the reason I stopped playing is because my hands were always so cold, and I could not move my fingers well. My dad keeps the house so goddamn cold all the time that you have to wear sweaters and gloves and all kinds of clothes to stay warm. Which fricken sucks. When I'm inside, I want to be able to run around in no more than shorts and a t-shirt, preferably underwear. I'm not "bundling-up" inside like some idiot. It is ridiculous that in this day and age I have to feel like I'm living like the pilgrims of 17th century Massachusetts. For god sakes man if you had turned up the fucking heat to even 60 degrees instead of opening the refrigerator door to warm the house I may have been able to actually become pretty good at the piano, instead of being the suck-ass player I am today.

But wait, I read somewhere that Beethoven used to soak his hands in hot water to warm them up, and all those guys played on crappy instruments, so I have no excuse. Yeah, but that's Beethoven. Then there's me. Ask me to play something - I can't play shit despite years of music lessons. My teachers would have saved me a bunch of headache if they had just said to me "man, you can't play shit", instead of "I'll see you next week". But then they wouldn't be getting paid, so I guess they really needed the money. Which brings up another thing - if my teachers were so desperate for money that they would actually put up with my awful hacking without running away screaming in frustration and agony, then a career in music was probably not the way I wanted to go. So maybe that's why I quit, not because I was actually completely tone deaf, but because there were so many others, some with incredible talent, genius even, despite which I never heard about them again - no recordings, no concerts, nothing. Which really says something about how hard it is to make it in the business.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Negotiation, Texas style. Only thing missing is a third gun.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

I just have to write about them because they just infuriate me. I hate this company.

Why can't cities provide broadband to its citizens? Because companies like Verizon have successfully lobbied and put into law bills that prohibit local governments from offering free wi-fi access in public spaces. This happened in Pennsylvania after Philadelphia announced they were going to provide wireless internet access throughout the city. When Verizon got wind of it they successfully got their snake lobbyists to convince the short-sighted Gov. Ed Rendell to sign a bill into law preventing municipalities from embarking on projects where private companies can provide the same service. In other words, Verizon's argument was that it was unfair to have to compete against the government.

When I heard about this I was outraged but not surprised. Besides
getting their way by crying foul using a weak argument and spending tons of money, I would just like to know where the fuck Verizon was in the first place? When a city starts trying to find ways to offer a service to its citizens, you know private enterprise has failed. Why? In this case it's because Verizon is a slow-moving monopoly, a utility. Their only reason for doing anything is to stifle competition and continue to lock the market. So enter the local government and bang! Up pops the 800lb gorilla to shit all over everything.

And if their argument is that it is unfair to compete against the government, then they really suck. If you can't provide a service for less than a slow-moving bureaucratic political organization can then you don't deserve to. Oh, wait, that's exactly what I said Verizon was. Who do you think the government is going to contract with to implement the new services? Hello, Verizon? Anyone there? Can you hear me now?

I mean, if that were the case that it's unfair to compete against the government, then why are there taxi cab services to compete with city buses and trams? Do you hear UPS and Fedex complaining about the US Postal Service? Heck every company should complain that it's unfair to compete against Wal-mart.

Sometimes it is better for the government to provide a service. Imagine if private companies ran all the sidewalks and roads. Every time you went out for a walk or a drive would you have to pay a toll? Wi-fi is a perfect example of a service that the government should provide for free like street lighting (well, through tax revenues). It's good for everyone - it's good for the city, its citizens, visitors and businesses. But Verizon doesn't care about what's good, only about how to stifle innovation and competition.

I see lots of traffic cameras and photo cameras at intersections now. Some of these are run by private companies. With the impact the Internet has had you'd think we'd have companies rushing to provide wireless internet access vs. trying to photograph your license plate. You can watch the traffic on the internet live but only if you had a fast enough internet connection.

But wait, Verizon is a public company, so a good portion of it is likely owned by people like you and me. Their number one goal is to maximize shareholder value, right? So let's look at their performance over the past year. Hmm... -7.12%. What about 5 years? A -30% return. They pay a dividend, so you get a little something I guess, but overall its performance has been worse than if you had just stuffed your money under your mattress. But if you're the CEO, you took home a whopping $12.84 million in pay last year. Sounds like a winner to me.

I used to have Verizon dsl. It was a horrible experience. It nearly cost my wife her job. I ended up writing a letter to their CEO before I got any sort of response. I vowed never to become a customer of theirs again. Recently I had the displeasure of installing dsl for someone. It sucked then and it still sucks now. Try calling their customer service - I'd rather have my ass sewn to my face than have to deal with some of the half-wits they employ.

And it's expensive. I love how James Earl Jones in their deceptive advertising propaganda says that it's only a few dollars more than dial-up. A few dollars more? Sure, technically speaking taking the Space Shuttle to get to Los Angeles is only "a few dollars more" than flying a commercial airline if your baseline is the US GNP. And when you add in all their extra fees, hidden charges and taxes you're paying "a few dollars more" than their $30 monthly fee. And don't forget setup and one-time charges, equipment rental and purchase costs. Cable modem service is also expensive, around $45 a month now - "competition" from dsl hasn't made a dent in their prices. In fact, they keep going up. So a lot of folks can't afford it either. And it looks like they won't be able to for the foreseeable future.

Verizon's board and officers can fuck themselves and go to hell for all I care.

check out this link --> You know they must suck for someone to spend the time creating an entire website dedicated to how bad they suck.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

And you thought spinners were only for automobiles...

While I don't feel the need to go out and kill something, at least not animals, I don''t mind that there are people out there that do, and here's why -- With the increase in US population, areas have consequently become more and more developed. People have moved out of the cities and into the suburbs, and now the exurban areas, areas which are neither fully suburban nor fully rural. In short, development is pervasive - it extends far beyond cities these days and mixed in with rural areas. Nowhere is this more true than along the east coast. At least on the west coast you have densely populated areas and areas further inland are sparsely populated. LA, San Diego are densely populated but outside of these areas it is relatively undeveloped. You can thank the ocean and mountains for that. However, on the east coast there are no geographic features that tend to corral people into an area, so it's less dense but development is a lot more spread out over a much larger area. So what's happening is a lot of habitat is being encroached upon, displaced, or isolated in small pockets of woods between developed areas. With deer, I've seen small herds living right in cities, such as Frick Park in Pittsburgh, PA and in Austin, TX. However, in exurban areas that have been part of the recent housing boom of the last few years, such as New Jersey, the deer are all over the place, and frequently meeting their demise in encounters with giant SUVs and other vehicles. The issue is one of needless suffering. Hunters should be allowed to reduce their populations by relaxing some of the rules such as number, age, and gender requirements.

However, that is merely taking care of the symptom of the problem. The real cause is overdevelopment. Which goes back to why I like hunters. It's because they appreciate the outdoors and understand what a valuable resource it is. Or hikers, cross country skiers or anybody else that takes advantage of the benefits of being outdoors. They understand the need for managing and taking care of our natural resources, and that having more of it is better than less. Also, they understand the benefit of large areas of contiguous land rather than small piecemeal chunks - or what I like to refer to as isolated tree museums.

Unfortunately, it is private land ownership that creates this piecemeal haphazard development and isolated forests. A single wealthy landowner may actually increase our chances of saving the forests. It is easier to negotiate with a single owner than with hundreds of landowners, some of whom end up selling out to the highest bidder which tends to be a developer. I find it surprising that more billionaires don''t donate or sell land to create parks. Cities don't care - they'll bulldoze anything for more tax revenues. Parks? How about a casino? It remains only an act of Congress that has the power to create places where humans can go and experience what the country was like before we had nearly 300 million people living here.

And here's another related thought that people tend to overlook: trees produce oxygen. It just doesn't come out of the ground. Keep cutting down forests, and you literally cut off your oxygen supply. More and more people, less and less trees - you'll get the picture. At the same time we are adding more and more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. It just doesn't go away. After all, trees and plants releasing oxygen into the atmosphere is the main mechanism we have a 21% partial pressure of O2 in the first place. At one time the earth only had trace amounts of oxygen. My biggest concern is the slaughter of the rain forests in South America. More than 10,000 square miles of forest is chopped down or burned annually so that people there can raise cattle and plant crops and earn a living. This is because the world-wide demand for beef is soaring, as with oil, and is mainly being driven by China (and indirectly by America because we are addicted to cheap Chinese made junk that we don't even really need) now that they are becoming a major superpower and its citizens with their newfound wealth can now afford beef. Cutting down the rainforest will have enormous long term consequences. The question is, can we solve every problem with technology? So far this has been true. But I don't really want to find out.

Another attempted water crossing gone wrong. Looks like it was a nice bike, too, but judging by where the rear wheel is in relation to the frame and how the churning water is probably grinding it all into the rocks, my guess is that it's going to take a lot more than a good bike mechanic for this bike to see any trail action in the future.

Question is: where is the rider? Possibly clinging to a tree upstream, or worse?

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Broken video links...

Some of you have noticed that many of the video links are not working. They kinda, sorta inadvertently got erased by me during the whole transfer process. I thought I had them all on my computer but apparently not. And I removed them from the other website before even checking the new site to make sure everything was ok. That's Murphy's Law for you. So it'll be next week (12/1) before I get them working again.