SUI GENERIS punk rock bike shop home-brew art/craft love


Of course I'm excited to ride bike again. The air is getting warmer and the days are getting brighter longer and the noise of the birds and grass buds popping out from below the dead brown thatch of last year's crop all reminds me of great journeys and itching to get in the saddle. But did you know that I hardly even rode a bike after learning how when I was a kid and getting into the big crash that scraped the skin of my right kneecap leaving me with a shiny purple scar that I'll carry the rest of my life, until I borrowed my dad's Peugeot to tool around campus and locked it up one day and forgot about it? (My sin against the bicycle world). On days when I believe in karma I wonder what the bicycle underneath me might have in store for revenge because it knows. Every flat tire and skipped chain is payback for leaving that beautiful old frame to rust and die. I didn't appreciate it then but I understand now.

I didn't ride for most of winter--they say there's no such thing as bad weather, only bad gear, well--I didn't have the gear I needed, and now I don't have the body for it anymore either I'm tired and weak and lazy just like this time last year emerging from my law school applications haze and wondering what's next?

Of course I'm excited to ride bike again. I'm sure I will, any day now. . . .


Always ask for the job

Just a quick question, then I have to go back in my box.

One piece of advice for job interviews I've found is, "always ask for the job." A guest speaker in my Entrepreneur class once said that if an applicant asked him for the job at an interview, he would hire that person on the spot. So I always try to ask for the job at the end of my interviews.

The problem is, I've never found an actual explanation of how to ask for the job without coming across as either needy or arrogant. If I say, "please give me the job," then I sound pathetic. But if I just demand, "give me the job," then I'm a cock. There's got to be a proper way to phrase this request, since so many have recommended it, but I've racked my brain and can't figure out how it's supposed to go. Any advice?

Blog break

I may be embarking on a temporary hiatus from posting here due to general craziness in other, more important areas of my life. Thanks. You might want to throw this on your feeds or what it is you do these days. I'll be back sometime.

Got lost in the rideup to the plungedown

I awoke at precisely 6:00 AM, one minute before my alarm was due to sound off. I hate when I do this. This seemingly preternatural awareness only suggests that I was more restless and un-asleep than I already felt. I can't relax at night. My dreams are too real and rational. At least when the alarm wakes me up, I feel like I've squeezed out every minute of possible sleep from the morning. After a week of all this, I think I can chalk it down as a symptom of stress.

The 40-60 minute bus ride to/from work is the most relaxing part of my day. No responsibilities and no pressures and nothing I can possibly do except to lose myself in a book. I read novels at a fantastic pace this way. If I had leftover motivation then I might could even write one... but the transit is a phase of re-creation... plug me into the busline while my batteries recharge...

I ought to be even busier on this weekend. It'll be a relief to board that city bus again Monday morning and deposit me in somnolent corporate office land where my mind can zone out and rest. TGIF?


Happy White Day!

Last night I brought home a bouquet of jade roses to give my wife for White Day. White Day is a terrific Japanese holiday that we men should really lobby for here in America. Valentine Day in Japan is when women give chocolate to men. Then, one month later, the men give gifts in return.

It is a brilliant setup for many reasons, but primarily because it serves as a one month reminder and extension of time to prepare a gift (it is especially ironic that I can forget about Valentine's Day since February 14 is, in fact, my birthday). So next time you forget to do anything on February 14, you can tell your significant other: "of course I didn't forget about Valentine's Day, honey! I am one month early for White Day!"


Stardust @ home

Yesterday's setback aside, the recent encroachment of nice weather has started me thinking again about the world outside my heated house. I'm looking forward to more gardening this year, mushroom hunting in the spring, and summer weekends at The Lake.

Late last autumn I also renewed my interest in Astronomy: constellation spotting, star waching, phases of the moon, and what have you. So I was excited to discover Stardust@home, a hands-on way to participate in an unprecedented project.

Basically, we've retrieved the FIRST EVER samples of interstellar dust particles from the Stardust spacecraft. The problem is that the impacts are so tiny, "it would take more than twenty years of continuous scanning" for scientists to locate them all. So, they are calling on volunteers to assist with the effort by using an online "virtual microscope" to scan through the images online.

There's more information at their website. You don't have to commit to anything as a volunteer, so I figure it's worth a shot. And if you are a serious Astronomy geek, this should entice you to sign up: "the discoverer of an interstellar dust particle will appear as a co-author on any scientific paper by the Stardust@home collaboration announcing the discovery of the particle." Wow! I can just see it now, my own little Sui Generis particle. That would make a good story for the grandkids.

Snow emergency

Some folks thought Spring was on its way when we had temps in the 50s the other day, but I trekked to my bus stop through a bonafide blizzard this morning. Brutal winds and piled-up snow made biking practically impossible, and not much better for motor vehicles. We took on a load of passengers from the bus before ours, which was stuck. Then our bus got stuck. Luckily, by then, the other bus had un-stuck itself and pulled up alongside our bus. I trudged back over to that bus and rode the rest of the way to work.

After all that, I was only a half-hour late. The office was pretty quiet when I arrived. I'm sure that lots of people are not going to make it to work today at all... like my wife.

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Note this is the AFTER photo when hours of shoveling had been done in the alley. Our neighbor's van was stuck directly behind her car for the greater part of the morning. Besides that, the streets in our neighborhood traditionally don't get plowed until two or three days after a major storm. No point in pulling out of the alley just to get marooned on the street, I told her.

Say shh.....

Funny how the busier my life gets, the quieter my blog becomes. Even Wednesday's wine post was written mostly in advance. If you've been following along then you know that this is the big week for craft fair work. Applications dumped on us earlier in the week and we're still sorting through them to select our vendors for this year. It's a fun, but time-consuming, process and we're ready to be done with it! Of course, the hard part comes early next week when we make our selections, create the acceptance packets and send out all the mailings.

I'm hating my current job about as much as I hated my last one, so the ol' job hunt is back in full swing. I lasted about three or four months, which is pretty good considering I'm doing all the tedious crap work that nobody else wants to do. There's only so long any human being can endure this sort of brainless tedium. I've reached my tolerance point.

Back to the Craftstravaganza: something shocking happened yesterday, and I have to share it with you. I contacted a well-known Twin Cities charity organization with the offer of free space at our show to accept donations and hand out literature to potentially thousands of shoppers. They shot us down cold. I'm not naming any names, but my wife and I will not be donating any of our money to this organization in the future. Here was my wife's response when I told her about it:

J: I can't believe that. They're REJECTING our donations? Tell that to the hungry people!

SG: They've really been spoiling the poor people lately, with all that food and warm clothing.


"The orbits of teh two asteroids are also different."

WBW #19: When in Rhône

The focus for March's Wine Blogging Wednesday is grape varietals from France's Rhone Region. Lucky me, I just happened to have a couple of appropriate bottles laying around. I jumped in on last month's WBW because it was easy: I didn't have to go anywhere or reveal my relatively low knowledge of wine with inadequate tasting notes. I'm participating in this month's event because of the former and in defiance of the latter. Ready? Let's begin!

I thought immediately of my bottle of "Goats do Roam," a white blend from South Africa using Rhone varietals. Too obvious? Yeah, but I couldn't resist. Another blogger actually wrote about this wine for January's "wacky names" WBW. They describe it as light bodied and had difficulty identifying particular flavors. I wonder if we drank the same wine. My wife, no wine connoisseur, declared a definite scent of apricots. The most striking feature was an up-front taste of grapefruity tartness, which is a good thing in my book, but your mileage may vary.

I began to wonder, though, was this taste intentional? Do many Rhone whites share this feature? Hell if I know! (According to the Basic Juice review, it's "[n]othing like a white Côtes du Rhone" but I can only take their word for it). With a professional review, you'd have the benefit of a wine expert telling you what it's supposed to taste like. I personally have no basis of comparison, so I can only tell you what it did taste like. Hey, you get what you pay for.

A bottle of Goats do Roam might cost $10-15 depending on where you buy it. I grabbed two bottles on the recommendation of Dr. Vino (he reviews the red on the second page here), and I'll try this wine again.


Taking a break from all your worries

Lately I don't feel like going to help out at the Depot, but there's probably no better pick-me-up after a long Monday at the office. Yesterday we sold a bike, lock & rack to a customer who was enthusiastic about supporting local shops, and that made me feel good to be there. Wilbur came in with some home-brewed IPA and that made me feel really good to be there (thanks again Wilbur--I thought it was better than Bell's Two Hearted).

It's just like riding a bike; sometimes I don't feel like doing it, but I'm invariably happier after a ride. Some weeks I want to stay home from volunteer night at the Sibley Bike Depot, but I'm always glad I came.

(cross-posted at Sibley Bike)

My brain is dying.

This job is killing my motivation and my creativity. It was fun while it lasted, but now it's officially played out. I'm ticked at the company where I'm worked and I'm ticked at the temp place since they can't get me a new job while I'm still working this one. A plague o' both your houses.

Craftstravaganza buttons

Ooh shiny. A special treat came in the mail today along with the applications. Our one-inch buttons for the Craftstravaganza have arrived!

Remember that applications must be postmarked by Monday and if we pick you as a vendor, you'll be getting one of these beauties along with your acceptance packet. What more do you need?

The only other way to get them is going to be at the Craftstravaganza, so mark your calendars for July 8. Everybody loves buttons.

Busy bee

Phew! I just typed out a resume that includes my volunteer work and planning a Craftstravaganza on top of my paying jobs. I can't believe I'm doing all of this at once! At least the craft fair is coming along smoothly. Applications are pouring in now and we expect to see the floodgates open over the next week since entries must be postmarked by Monday.

Meantime, both my wife and I are job-hunting and looking for a new place to live. We're attending a first-time home buyer's seminar tomorrow, so that could be educational, or else a complete waste of time. I plan to bring a book in case it turns out to be the latter and there's no polite way to make our escape.

At the bike shop, it's just one adventure after another. I probably shouldn't say anything more about that, except if you wanted to drop some cash on bike stuff... now is the time. That would really help us out. Thanks.

Cross Country Chaga

A few days ago, I was watching the Olympic cross-country ski race and my wife asked me what it's like to go skiing. She can't ski, skate, snowboard or play video games for very long because of a weird congenital disease that weakened her wrists and ankles. I told her that it's hard work and kind of boring and I didn't really enjoy it. I don't like downhill skiing either, by the way. Winter sports in general, not my thing; skiing is the worst of the lot. Sledding I'm okay with.

So anyway come to find out that my friend at the Minnesota Mycological Society is leading a Chaga foray using cross country skis to get around. I would totally do this. Only problem, it's just out of Duluth. There's only one thing in winter I hate doing more than outside sports, and that's long drives.

Luckily, I don't even have to leave my house to play with mushrooms thanks to this Flash thingie, as they describe it, "A Mushroom perspective on John Conway's Game of Life." Mushrooms and math, what's not to love? Have fun, NERDS!

Straight outta St. Paul

I live in St. Paul, although you might look at my hot spots map and wonder (as I did), "why?" In fact, we had good reasons for moving here but no convincing argument to stay. What brought us to St. Paul is low rent in a Victorian home with a big yard, but I'm thinking Minneapolis for when we actually buy our own home.

In the meantime, we're here and I'm defensive about my city. "Hey, St. Paul can be cool," I say. That's part of the reason why we wanted to throw the Craftstravaganza within the city limits, to show that good things can happen to our city. Plus we've got the Sibley Bike Depot, my favorite Japanese Restaurant, Rollergirls bouts at the X, the farmer's market... I could go on.

But compared to Minneapolis? St. Paul's a dead city. Thus the joke about the first "discovery" of St. Paul by a Minneapolitan: he immediately got bored and went home. Still, I believe in St. Paul and I know there are gems yet to be discovered. So tell me. What are your favorites in the capital city?