Thursday, June 29, 2006

Focus "Really Gonna Get It" Revisited

This is a belated follow-up to this. Next week I'm planning a vain attempt to take a more serious look at things related to the "Really Gonna Get It" ideas.

The director of The MinusCar Project had this reaction:
The MinusCar Project is a satirical blog where the author imagines how difficult life would be if he drastically reduced the miles he travels in an automobile.
Oh my. I’m surprised people didn’t realize the show was satire. Plenty of people understand when talk turns to dismissing the automobile as a necessity it’s almost never serious talk. Take today for example…on my way home I drove past two coffee shops on the way across town to my favorite Starbucks for my evening latte. I got home and headed out to McDonalds with the family. After supper The Boy 8 broke his pencil doing homework so we headed to the store for a new one and a pencil sharpener. After the kids went to bed I had to go out again to get some lunch food for tomorrow. I bought gas while I was out. Hoo wee it’s expensive now. I hope they figure out how to make it cheaper soon cause I live out on the edge of town and these drives really start to add up. And seriously, how in the world am I going to do all that without a car? Huh?

Another clue that should have revealed the satirical nature of the broadcast was the talk about the standard of living being largely financed. Don’t get me started on this one. Like, duh! Of course it was. And what’s wrong with that? People like the standard of living why do you think so many people are going into debt in the first place!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Sigh...

"He didn't even own a car because he liked biking so much."

"17-year-old Mike Sieverding was riding his bike south on the sidewalk on east side of Minnesota Avenue just before 9:00 Sunday night when police say he ran into a car stopped at the stop sign on 28th Street. Sources say Sieverding saw some friends driving in their car and was talking with them as he was on his bike and didn’t see the car on 28th street."

Full article here.

Friday, June 23, 2006

I Have Gas

Sorry. I know I promised a follow-up to the confusion of yesterday. I'll get to that but not today. If I've caused any inconvenience please e-mail me, I'll refund your subscription.

I had to drive to work today. I stood in the kitchen in full bike regalia and my PDA chirped. I had already forgotten four times that I had a Bike to Work Committee meeting at 8am so it wasn’t a surprise that I needed reminding again.

I could ride and be 15 minutes late or I could drive and be 10 minutes late…The Car was out of gas and it would need to be filled. Additionally there was a lunch date and an end of day haircut session for The Boys. Driving was extra attractive.

Sold. So I changed clothes and headed out.

At the gas station I opened the fuel door. The gas cap was covered with spider webs. This made me smile. I regret not getting a photo. Last time I put gas in The Car…April 7.

The highlight of the B2W meeting came in the form of a story. Apparently one of this years bike to work riders was tailed by an automobile. The driver of the automobile had called to police to report a bike being ridden on the road and wanted to be sure the perpetrator was properly apprehended. Magnificent.

I took the bus to lunch and walked back. I dined with The Dad, WhiteOpenSpaces Guy, and someone I have no nickname for but if he keeps dragging his bike into town from Crooks to run errands he might be inductee #1 in the MinusCar Hall of Fame. The hall is not climate controlled.

Incidentally, except for my bus trip no internal combustion emissions were generated for the lunchtime get together…and that’s even after WhiteOpenSpaces Guy offered to pay everybody’s parking.

One regular attendee couldn’t make it. He was having car trouble. No kidding. And by car trouble I mean the car he just got rid of had bad values and the engine of the car he bought blew after a few days. He's my cube neighbor at work...he suspects a little MinusCar sabotage.

The Haircuts? Uninteresting (does that imply everything above was?)…except to say I’ve got a couple really really good looking boys once they get out from under the mops.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Misc Media

1. Johan Bruyneel has published a short and nice open letter. It's a look back at the success and a look forward to future tours without Lance. A nice read from an unusual source. Read it here.

2. Steven Colbert is funny. Thomas Friedman is serious. Two great tastes for a guy like me...check out Colbert's comments about the Thomas Friedman/GM battle over GM's fuel price protection plan.

Focus On the Family “REALLY Gonna Get It” This Time

MinusCar Future-news Service – 06/27/06 - CSPGS – Not since 9/11 has a single hour of any day done this much damage to the US economy. Not since War of the Worlds has a radio hoax of this magnitude occurred.

Last week Focus on the Family’s Dr James Dobson left his daily radio program in the once capable hands of John Fuller and psychologist and author Dr Bill Meyer. Fuller and Meyer selected a previously recorded show from the secretive black vault. The show featured financial counselor and funny-man Dave Ramsey. Apparently it was Fuller’s failure to appropriately communicate the satirical nature of the content that lead to his arrest as a terrorist under the US PATRIOT Act.

The satirical show was spent humorously exploring the fact that much of the increased standard of living in the US has been debt financed. Ramsey jokingly suggested that this financed standard of living is a large cause of marital strife, even a leading cause of divorce.

Ramsey saved much of his pointed humor for the automobile. There were plenty of funny lines like “The Dave Ramsey Show is The Sell Your Car Show” and “amputate the Tahoe”, “sell the stupid car and go home [to be with the kids instead].” Ramsey also fronts hilarious ideas like paying cash for a $4000 used Honda instead of financing something newer and better. Ramsey had Fuller and Meyer in stitches much of the time.

Apparently these ideas struck a cord with listeners. Millions of Evangelical American’s immediately took Ramsey’s advice and decided to spend only cash they had on hand. This drop in credit card use left banks across the country struggling to find ways to support their crumbling credit card divisions. First Bankcards, who had just broken ground on a $15 million facility in Sioux Falls, put plans on hold, causing loss of work for countless construction workers, not to mention the 500 jobs they had planned to add for the facility.

Chaos has been the rule for the retail sector as millions of American’s curtailed their spending and consumption of goods stagnated. This caused a ripple effect across the global economy. Many of the leading growth indicators had to be renamed to shrinkage indicators to reflect the damage that has been wrought.

John Fuller was lead away from the Colorado Springs Focus Headquarters by Karl Rove and Dick Cheney on Friday. He may or may not be held in Guantanamo, where he may or may not face terrorism charges. As he was placed in the truck he wanted observers to know that the CD’s for the show could be purchased from the Focus website and that summer months are indeed lean months for the ministry so please consider an additional generous donation. Credit cards are accepted.

Dr Dobson – “I feel real sorry for Fuller, but the black vault is for shows that don’t fit the Focus ministry goals. Fuller knows this. I don’t know what he was thinking. Obviously, if our standard of living has been built on debt financing the only way to hold the standard is to keep financing. The standard is important because living comfortably is very important to millions of American’s and their families. The US economy is not to be tampered with. Fuller should know this too. He’s been by my side as we’ve struggled to defend the status quo against attacks from people who want to paralyze industry and have an underlying hatred for America. We are not those people. Pfft.”

Dr Meyer – “I didn’t realize it was satire. I was there in the studio and it all made good sense to me. Some of it was even biblical. I’m just surprised so many people took action according to what we were saying. I mean, one person changing their behavior, that’s bizarre, but millions of people…that’s beyond conception. Usually it seems like nobody’s listening.”

Bill O’Reilly – “Fuller’s a bad guy. He deserves to be at Guantanamo. If you’re in Guantanamo it’s because you’re a bad guy. Everybody knows this. Everybody.”

George W Bush – “The American way of life is not negotiable...but I’m told it should remain financiateabull-ish.”

…tomorrow The MinusCar Project weighs in.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Problem | Solution

I found myself sucked into the candy at the checkout lane today. I picked up some gum. I'm not sure whether I found part of the problem or part of the solution, but I suspect I'm on to something big. I have applied for a federal grant. After I win, The MinusCar Project researchers will be dispatched to study the situation and results will be posted here.



The way I see it Wrigley's is either stealing the ice caps (that would explain a lot) or they should be shipping their gum north. Results coming soon, I'm sure.

In other more serious news, Al Gore pimped the movie/book Inconvenient Truth on Keith Olbermann's Countdown yesterday. The show selected the 14 minute interview for their daily podcast. You can find a link to the podcast over there in the right column. Additionally, for a limted time you may or may not be able to download the mp3 from here.

Nature Valley GP

Looks like VeloNews caught The Owner on film making final preparations for the days racing.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Reports: May 22 - June 11

Report: May 22-28
Trips -
MinusCar: 9
Multi-occupant Auto: 6
Single occupant Auto: 6

This is six days worth of data. The vacation started on the 28th. Half of the single occupant trips for the week involved the picking up of the rental van and the dropping off of The Wife’s car for repairs. Driving the car for the sake of fixing the car is my least favorite thing to do. And the problem keeps on giving too…see June 5-11.

My Car Miles: 30
My Bike Miles/Hours: 74.2/5.3

Report: May 29 – June 4
Vacation week. 1,700 miles driven. No single occupant trips. No cycling. No MinusCar trips.

Report: June 5-11
Trips -
MinusCar: 10
Multi-occupant Auto: 3
Single occupant Auto: 5

It’s always good to see the MinusCar trips greater than the combined multi/single auto trips. This could have been even better except for the need to return the van rental and pick up The Wife’s car after repairs.

Early in the week my marriage survived this story:

I’d just spent the vacation week driving everywhere I went. I had spent two days in town driving errands for the sake fo the vehicles themselves. I wanted to be done driving.

Tuesday late evening the need to pick up some grocery items arose. I declined to be helpful because I didn’t want to add yet another vehicle errand to my counts. This decision bounced around in my head long enough for me to realize I’d essentially put The Wife in the position where she’d probably drive to the store to get the goods…highlighting not only my selfishness but my lack of logic too. So I got out my lights and made the trip to the store…which had the additional enjoyment of a night ride which I just love.

The point – the sense that one cannot go anywhere without a car is very close to the surface…even to a guy who’s basing much of his existence on NOT going anywhere with a car.

My Car Miles: 59
My Bike Miles/Hours: 88.8/6.3

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

CT v HD




Wind Power


Canadian Tire
- 400w - $725USD





Home Depot
- Rust resistant* - $24USD





Solar Power


Canadian Tire
- 120w - $900USD





Home Depot
- 10w* - $239USD


*Home Depot doesn't facilitate direct linking to their products.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Saturday MinusCar

Paralyzing industry since May ’05, one bike ride, blog post and personal choice at a time.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to exercise my body and my inner capitalist. I rode my bike to my investment club meeting. The meeting was supposed to be under a park picnic shelter but it was cold and drizzly so there could have been some confusion as people figured out to move to the alternate indoor venue. I had no such confusion as I was carrying both the treasurer’s report and the food. The meeting was going to occur wherever I was.

I had to start early though. I left home with a change of clothes (did I mention it was cold and drizzly out) a stack of annual reports, plates, forks, knives, etc. I went to the grocery store for fresh fruit and ½ gallon juice, to the bagel shop for a dozen and to the muffin store for a dozen. My rig was loaded!

As I was getting ready to depart the muffin store a woman exited her vehicle and seemingly knowingly asked me if I was touring America on my bike. I answered, “Sprechen sie deutche? No hablo espaƱol.” I think that translates loosely to, “Uhh…I’m just carrying my groceries. Believe it or not I dress like this, transport stuff like this, and yet, amazingly, I live here.”

On the way home I stopped off at The LBS to wish them a good time at The Tour de Kota. It starts today. I left them the excess bagels so I wouldn’t have to pull them home. While I was there I took a picture of my ride with the trailer:



Oh, The Owner got a new ride and trailer for the tour. Here, this is better (with apologies to the Xtra-cycle crowd):



The trailer is a few weeks old and this was its first truly meaningful voyage. By the way, The Owner doesn’t mind how I’ve decided to voluntarily redistribute my wealth.

After that I stopped off at The Dad’s home then I went home for lunch.

The end is here.

Friday, June 09, 2006

What A Day, Lots Of MinusCar Internets Activity

First off, I learned (thanks to a visitor from Florida who actually did it) that if you Google “underlying hatred for America” The MinusCar Project is one of two hits on the internets. Well THAT’s embarrassing…and funny considering who I was quoting. And the other use of the phrase is someone talking about al-Qaeda.

Next, a couple cycling bloggers found themselves giving global warming some thought today. Dandalism (“the act of blowing dandelion seeds into your neighbor's perfectly kempt yard”) plays a what if game, and the Oil/Sissy’s guy weighs in with his thougts (too bad his post, without the context of the comments on this post, sounds like he’s enjoying a spirited contest of off-topic wit with me.) Oh, well, can’t have everything…where would I put it?

Speaking of that post, SueJ from Urbana-Champaign Bicycle Commute left a comment that includes these words, “Some time this winter, a latent crop of spores that had been slowly spreading bore fruit and I also reduced my car trips.” I like that image a lot.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

The Warm Globe That Isn’t (?)

Over the past weeks I've gotten a couple polite nudges in the comments area (I have polite readers!) to check out some sites that push the notion that the hype over global warming is actually hysteria.

This is good. It is easy for me to say I find comfort in this sort of information. It’s when these articles and sites stop appearing that I’m really in trouble.

Please remember, my reaction to what I've read about Global Warming is mine. I have no expectations that this blog’s readers or the world will change because of me. To the extent that I fail when I endeavor to have no expectations, I am sorry.

I believe it's true that Global Warming is occurring. I believe it's likely that human behavior is causing it. I am a human with behaviors. I am choosing to change some of them.

After you check out these sites go see An Inconvenient Truth.

The May That Was

Today I became aware of two "minus" projects that occurred last month that I think are interesting.

A coworker drew my attention to an Aberdeen, SD newspaper sports editor who chose to walk everywhere in May. He did this as his own high gas prices protest and he blogged his experiences at Going Without Gas. I admire this guy's ability to keep statistics. Unfortunately for him, it seems he didn't enjoy the experience all that much.

The Dad e-mailed me a link to The Locavores. A group of people in San Franscisco spent May eating only food that was grown or harvested within 100 miles of them. This intrigues me greatly. I wonder what sorts of food are available within 100 miles of my home. I wonder if I'd be stuck eating field corn and soybeans.

Incidentally, a couple days ago I thinned our garden radishes. I felt unsure and sad as I yanked seemingly hundreds of cute future radishes out of the ground. Some of them were even partly bulbous and becoming quite radishlike. I ate one of them, dirt residue and all...but not before watching an experienced fellow community gardner and mother of a cub scout do it first.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Road Trip

I’m back. From four days in Colorado Springs.

Why go to Colorado Springs?
Because my parents wanted to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary there with my The Family and my sister’s family.
You rode your bikes to Colorado?
No. We drove. But we split a van rental with said parents saving one vehicle worth of emissions. And that also meant we got to spend more time together.
Did you “neutralize” your 1,700 miles worth of carbon emissions by giving money to NativeEnergy a project endeavoring to build a wind energy power plant on a reservation in your home state?
Yes.
What was the best cycling related part of the trip?
Walking into the 7-Eleven Velodrome and having a Carmichael Training Systems coach call my name. Then, while sitting with said coach, observing him chatting with a Discovery Team rider who will be leaving soon…for France.
What really happened at the velodrome?
dMac, a friend from college was there. He didn't know I was going to be there. I suspected he'd be there, but racing. We sat with him. We watched some track racing hosted by the Colorado Velodrome Association. I introduced The Family and The Dad to the joys of track racing.
What was the best vacation related part?
Following the clues and finding a Letterbox in Red Rock Canyon Park. My shoes got dusty. I wore the shoes to work today. I got to enjoy the park again. I like red dirt.
What else did you do that was cool?
We rode mass transit to the top of Pike’s Peak on the Pike’s Peak Cog Railway. It’s The Family's tradition that we ride a train when we go on vacation.
Did anything else happen?
Yes. The FatCyclist linked to The MinusCar Project from his Friday post. A lot of people read The FatCyclist. I think it’s because he’s entertaining. Being mentioned on the FatCyclist blog is about 11 times better than being on the local television news. Thanks Fatty!