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Two rabbit tales

I have two tales to tell: one with a happy ending, and one horror story. First, a preface. There's a big hole in the yard by the side of our house leading to a basement egress window. It's around 3-4 feet square and a vertical drop of about 5-6 feet.

One day, not long ago, I looked down into this pit and spotted the little fellow that you see above. He was scared, but otherwise undamaged. I climbed down a ladder, scooped the bunny up in a towel, and deposited him back on ground level. He quickly hopped away and ate the buds off our flowers.

My wife and I talked about maybe covering the hole with something to prevent another hapless creature tumbling down the precipice. Unfortunately, we were too late to save the Hole's next victim, a rabbit corpse swarming with flies by the time we discovered it. On the bright side, if there is one, I didn't have to pick it up. By the next day it had been reduced to a skull and some bits of fluff. Two days later, it was entirely gone. The circle of life goes on!

Phoblography: coming up roses

Mystery rose on the hardy bush by our side door

I was told that this is an Asiatic lily

Snapdragon 'sonnet yellow' in the shade

Fresh Morden Blush roses

Peppermint buds on my Marie Bugnet rosebush

Grand Prix report

The big event kicked off with St. Paul criterions last night. I biked to work so that I could head straight down for the start of the womens' race. Traffic into the city was messed up from having seven blocks roped off, which is approximately half of downtown St. Paul. This provided an opportunity to practice urban cycling as I wove between stopped cars.

The crowd at the actual event was sparse. It's a shame; I bet most of the condo-dwellers didn't even know that it was going on.

race photos by Matt Moses

Local blogging celebrities were out in force. Matt was acting as a crossing guard volunteer and taking digital photos of gentlemen in classy hats. I mention this (bloggers, not the hats) for a reason. As a member of the ranks of "influential cycling community bloggers" (yes I am), I was offered press access to the event. What did this mean for me? Lanyards and binders, biznatches!

I watched most of the men's race with John and Downtown Dave. The three of us walked the length of the course to observe from every angle. A storm was blowing in around the Twin Cities, filling the sky with dark cloud formations. It was a beautiful night to be outside. No rain fell in the city until it was all over.

The men were moving so fast that we stopped about once a minute to feel the breeze as they passed by. Potholes and manhole covers were marked with bright, double parenthesis lines, illustrating the uneven street surface. We didn't see any crashes, but they happened. Street signs and other hard objects were padded with hay bales to prevent racers from wrapping their faces around a post. The sweet country smell was cut with aromas of grilling meat and overpriced beer in plastic cups.

I missed the men's finish because I was in Mears Park talking to one of the designers from Twin Six. Twin Six is a locally-owned (Minneapolis) company producing "alternative cycling apparel." I don't have any need for a jersey, but if I did, I would wear the argyle one from Twin Six. They have t-shirts too.

These guys look pretty psyched about something

In lieu of firsthand observation, I hit the crowd for their opinions. One bystander described the womens' attire as "not tight enough." Maybe at the next race I'll use my media pass to ask a lady biker for rebuttal. Asked to comment on the action, local cycling legend Ron Storm summarized the race by saying:
"[The cyclists] were going around, and then they weren't going around any more."

New bike alert: Sekine fix

Fair warning, folks. Sibley built me a new bike, so now you might see me rolling all around town on my fixed-gear Sekine.

I took this photo right after nabbing it from the shop. The bike has undergone several essential modifications since then. First of all, the frame is smaller than ideal, so I had to find a longer seatpost and jack that saddle up a couple inches. Now my knees don't hit the handlebars and my legs don't instantly cramp up.

Speaking of the saddle, it's beautiful vintage leather and I adore it, except I rode over twelve miles last Tuesday and it chafed something fierce. Gave me a case of the Brooks butt.


I'm more into alleycats than street crits, but a bunch of serious local races are coming up and I'll be there. The action starts tonight in downtown St. Paul. If you don't want to miss it, then you should come.

Dessa & her Doomtree friends at Grand Old Day

Photo by ThunderChild5 from Flickr

I'm very impressed with local hiphop artists in the Twin Cities. Like some kind of musical Voltron, Minneapolis and St. Paul combine to form a scene with so much talent, it's silly. Actually, that's exactly what happened with the family of DJs, MCs and producers who became Doomtree.

On Sunday (Grand Old Day) I watched Doomtreer Dessa perform with members of live hiphop unit Heiruspecs. There was a parade of special unannounced guests throughout the set, including Jessy Greene on violin, fellow Doomtree MC SIMS, and Heiruspecs lead MC Felix. It was freaking incredible. When I got home, I warned my wife, "I'm going to be listening to a lot more hiphop for a while."

Listen with me, won't you?

Free bike, uncomfortable

I found a white Batavus bicycle on the boulevard in front of my house this morning. It's the same type of frame as my single-speed, except in much nicer condition. Other than the missing seat, nothing seems to be wrong with it. All the wires are attached, the pedals turn, the wheels spin. Lots of trash gets tossed into our yard, but why was this bike dumped here? It's a mystery.

As an urban cyclist, I know the rules that apply to abandoned bicycles: you generally leave other peoples' bikes alone, unless they're locked up and neglected over a long period of time, at which point they become eligible for salvage. But what to do about this mostly complete bike that was left unlocked and lying in the grass? In this neighborhood, if I didn't take it, then somebody else would (I have had a small vehicle stolen from this address before). I thought I could keep it safe in my garage and leave a note in case the owner came back for it. If nobody claimed the bike, it would be a good donation for the Bike Depot.

My wife commanded me to leave it where it lies. By tomorrow, it will either have been picked up by the person who left it, or gone to a new home.

I touched a shark

My wife and I recently visited Underwater World in the Mall of America. I have been there several times since it opened, but this was the first time I stuck my hand in the pool filled with sharks and manta rays. The rays had streaks running down their spines where their skin had been rubbed away by overzealous petters. This made me sad.

Hands raised for Gama-Go

Boing Boing recently hosted a contest that required entrants to draw or paint a picture on their hands. I loved this winning photo by Rikki B.

Winners get a copy of the new book, Limited Edition: Art & Design of Gama-Go, which is probably awesome.

Spring Garden part II (special peony edition)

Peony photos were taken about a week ago, before all the flowers blossomed and the bush collapsed under its own weight, as peonies are wont to do.

I don't actually know what these flowers are. They're poking through from our neighbor's side of the fence. Comments are appreciated. (UPDATE: thanks to my commentators, now I know.) Lily of the valley:


This flying flower is a temporary visitor to our garden, but it stayed in one spot long enough to get some good photos.

Macaroni penguin

I was watching puffins at the Como Zoo when a child ran up to the glass and shouted, "macaroni penguins!" I thought it was a cute and clever made-up name for these birds, with their bright orange beaks and noodley eyebrows. As it turns out, macaroni penguins are not only a real animal, but "the most numerous of all the world's penguins" according to Wikipedia. Look how cute!