Saturday, February 27, 2010


Most SoCal trails have zero canopy, not so with Tunnels, part of the McGonigle Canyon network.
I spent Friday morning riding the area with my friend (and local boy) Derek. With nearly-perfect tacky dirt, temps in the upper-60s, abundant sunshine and a dialed-in Pivot Mach 5 shod with superb new Continental Rubber Queen tubeless tires, It'd be hard for me to say I had less than a fantastic time.

Derek hooked up his GoPro Hero camera for a few of the sections. The results (for some reason compressed and grainy on YouTube) are below.

The middle section descent was MUCH steeper than it appears in the video, in excess of 25% on a mud-covered, north-facing hill. Plus with memories of my recent road crash still fresh on my brain, I was a little more gun shy (and sucky) than usual. With Derek getting far behind the saddle, it became the CrotchCam 3000™.

Looking forward to heading on down there again in the near future.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Photobooth Phun - Olde Tyme Edition

While rooting through my flat file for another vintage postcard (good filler material when I'm outta things to say), I found some long-forgotten photo booth prints.
Not dated, but my bride (happy b-day!) doesn't appear to be wearing a wedding ring, so it's likely from sometime in 1994. Plus my hair is still semi-floppy in these pix. I gave up - or rather gave in - to male pattern balding late '94 and started hacking my hair super short.
Although I am not 100% certain, I'm pretty sure these were taken at Chicago's Lounge Ax (R.I.P.).

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I Could Play With This For Hours

BBC News had a piece today on the Boneyard at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tuscon.
I've been fascinated with this place since I first heard about it a number of years ago. Even more interesting than the overview shot is Bing's bird's-eye view.
I could play around on this site for hours, exploring all of the very cool post-WWII specimens. Aw, who am I fooling, I have spent hours viewing the collection.
B-52s, broken up for viewing by Russian spy satellites as part of the SALT treaty
Perpetually bad-ass F-4 Phantoms
B-1 bombers
Top Gun-specials: F-14 Tomcats

Go ahead, check out the site. You have a few hours to kill, right?

Portland Brewery Adventue - Hopworks Urban Brewery

Beer + bikes, like peanut butter and dark chocolate, it's rare to find such a perfect combo. But that's just what Hopworks Urban Brewery in Portland serves up.

Built using a lot of reclaimed materials, such as these keg planters, HUB's building is bright, warm and welcoming.
I don't ever recall seeing bike frames used as over-bar decorative elements before.
Favorite beer? Black IPA. Another combo (black + IPA) that's downright perfect. When you're done with your beer(s), deposit here:
With a handy Sting-Ray saddle headrest if you've had far too many.

HUB also has a mobile "beer bike" for suds on the run:
This bike was at Bike n' Hike's Festival di Ticino earlier in the month pouring for the attendees:
Nice Chris King and Shimamo XTR hub tappers:
Portlanders, what *can't* they do?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Batiquitos Lagoon - Critters, Rope Swing and a Stick Fort

Problem: a beautiful, sunny February afternoon with temps in the mid-60s (sorry friends from cold-weather areas, you're welcome to visit...) and an antsy grrrl needing fresh air. Solution: Exploring the nearby Batiquitos Lagoon.
Located in South Carlsbad and intersected by I-5 ("the Five"), it's one of the few remaining tidal wetlands in Southern California.
She wasn't all that excited to go, but I knew that as soon as she set foot on the sandy path her mood would change.
Off we ran to search for crabs.
This little guy was fished out from some standing water. But I then spied a larger one which Celeste was able to nab.
After the crabbing we climbed a eucalyptus-crowned hill on the property.
Celeste tried out the rope swing...
nice vantage point - I-5, a railroad bridge and Coast Hwy/Ponto Beach in the distance

...and then had the great idea to build a lean-to fort.
Lots of stick gathering ensued.
Eventually she had enough to create a small shelter.
During the gathering we found a very large millipede. Too bad it was already dead.
Took a few more swings on the rope.
A great two hours in the fresh sea breezes.

And Now A Word From Our Sponsors

This week's posts brought to you by the British Lard Marketing Board, circa 1958.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Dining with the Daugther

The Counter "burger bar" recently opened in Carlsbad, so Celeste and I decided to check it out Friday night.

Located in the upscale Carlsbad Forum, The Counter is a trendy, casual and modern joint. We didn't feel like waiting the 25 minutes for a table to become available, so we sat at the bar.

First we were given a clipboard with the options:
Here's a detail of what's available (a build sheet?):
Celeste's choice:
2/3 lb beef - which ended up being 1/3 too much
yellow American
bacon (of course!)
on honey wheat

My choice:
2/3 lb turkey
Tillamook cheddar
grilled onions
BBQ sauce
on honey wheat

The bottom of the clipboard was for sides and some kid's options. Celeste has pretty much graduated from kid's menus at this point. She likes food but has an appetite like mine. For sides we chose the fifty fifty fries (half "regular", half sweet potato):
I can't stand sweet potatoes (they're almost as vile as bananas to me), but Celeste loves 'em. The thin and perfectly-fried regular fries give The Old Fashioned's fries a run for the money, and the creamy horseradish dip had a good kick, but again, not quite as epic as The Old Fashioned's Tiger Blue.

After a short wait, the burgers came.
the turkey/onion/cheddar/lettuce/BBQ
Our dinner for two was a bit more than I had anticipated - $42 with tip (2 burgers, fries, a beer and a lemonade), but we'll likely return.

Friday, February 19, 2010


I'm a coffee drinker. There, I said it. Who cares, virtually all American adults are fans of the bean juice, right? Well, I got a very late start on the stuff. Over the years I've had a number of lattes, café au laits, mochas and other "training coffees", but not with any regularity, maybe five or six per year.

It all started at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs, just before Christmas. I was late in joining the family for breakfast and didn't get a chance to order my OJ. However, my father-in-law had a French press filled with Portland's Stumptown Coffee and he only required a cup. So I gave it a shot. And liked it. A lot.

I have always prided myself on being a morning person who didn't really need the caffeine jolt to start my day, and seeing my parents as morning "coffee zombies" at times during my youth turned me off on the idea of the morning jump start provided by coffee and tea.

But back to the coffee, maybe it was the years of silly sugary espresso drinks, maybe those coffee-loving taste buds finally developed after thirty nine years, who knows. Upon returning home I ran off to buy a French press and some coarse-ground coffee to brew at home.
The resulting coffee was strong and sometimes sludge-like towards the bottom, but after reading more about coffee prep online, I found the right water temp, brew time and how you should pour all of the coffee out of the pot after four minutes to prevent it from becoming bitter. I also learned about the Aeropress.

Basically an oversize syringe (giving new meaning to a shot of joe), the Aeropress makes 1-4 espresso shots, into which you can top off with hot water for an Americano.

Just add grounds:
Then 170 degree water to the line for how many cups you're making:
Stir for ten seconds:
Depress plunger for ~20 seconds, applying even pressure:
Top with hot water:
and voila, a smooth, rich-tasting cup of joe.
What's next? Maybe I'll start appreciating wine by the time I turn fifty.