Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Let’s Be Religious: Biblical Perspectives On…V

Jesus vs The MinusCar Project

Last December in her Speaking of Faith interview with Krista Tippett, 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai described how spiritual stories have very real physical manifestations. She described her mother’s instruction to not touch the fig tree when out gathering firewood. The fig tree is God’s special tree. God will grow it and God will knock it down.

The physical realities of the fig trees are: they stabilized the landscape and their long roots brought water closer to the surface. As the fig trees were consumed the African landscape changed.


Again, I’m no rocket theologian (more of a pocket one, perhaps) but I think Jesus has something to say about the production/consumption cycle, as well as specific things to say about food.

Fasting: Jesus practiced fasting. Jesus assumed his followers would fast. “Man does not live by bread alone.” Fasting is the abstention from food. What would happen if a whole bunch of people abstained from food? Frequently.

Special note: Matt Lockett and Bound 4 Life taught me a lesson in forgiveness. If I can’t look beyond what I think are his sins, I can’t learn his better lesson of fasting. But I progress.

Sabbath: the day of rest. It began with God resting on the seventh day and continued through to followers of the law being furious that Jesus redefined Sabbath. Jesus said “it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Sabbath is generally thought of as occurring once a week and might require a good hard look at defining “good.” Jesus healed. I buy lattes, which requires the service of at least one and possibly up to thousands. What would happen if a whole bunch of people did nothing but heal on the Sabbath?

Employment: Jesus encountered SimonPeter and Andrew working their fishing nets. Jesus invited them to join him; they dropped their nets and followed. Jesus encountered James and John. They too were fishing. Jesus invited them to come, and they left their work (and their father) and followed. Jesus encountered Matthew at work and invited him to follow. Matthew left his job and followed. If a lot of people did this I think it would have serious production ramifications.

Life: In essay #14 Noel helpfully points out what he thinks “minus is the new plus” means. Jesus said, “He who loses his life will gain it.”


What if Wangari Maathai is right? What if there are actual physical manifestations that occur when these spiritual stories are applied in people’s lives? A brazillian people around the globe claim to follow Jesus.

I find this comforting.


I am very grateful for the place I have here with these wicked people of Nineveh. I am one. I read Oil Is For Sissy’s about an atheist anarchist guy who switched career trajectories and became a bike shop owner. Hooptedoodle just finished an 8 day fast. BlueGreenie tried to buy nothing in January. It is here that I met essay #15 author WooDog, the single gay dad somewhere in Kentucky. It is here that my local friend Snakebite, a guy who uses bad language, swears alot, says naughty words, sometimes all at once; still gives me permission to use him as an example however I like; saw something that caused him to look at some things differently.

I find this comforting too.

These people, the ones on my blog roll, the authors of the MinusCar essays (and the others that read but don’t write) are the people who have the questions that I need to move ahead with my life.

And my real life community (many of them are bloggers too) who, while they don’t always ask the questions I need (yep, believe it or not Global Warming concern isn’t a requirement for friendship), have listened, nodded and uh-huh’d in all they right places for two years now. Ever so slightly they change me and change themselves when we talk. It’s been a good two years.

This is my community. I like to think of them as church.

Tomorrow: the final. A little bit more about Jonah.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Let’s Be Religious: Biblical Perspectives On…IV

Snakebite. Check. Mom. Check. Eayste. Check. Ok. Two more after this one and I might offer a reward at the end.

The People of Nineveh vs Jesus

I’m generally not interested in discussing whether global warming is real. If it is real I’m not very interested in discussing how scary it is. I’m not very interested in the scientific reality or illusions behind it. I’m not very interested in the political ramifications or solutions because of it.

For me, global warming has called into question my very existence. For me, unless I can get to the point where I know there is no God, global warming is a spiritual issue. And once upon a time I learned in Sunday school that Jesus is the answer to spiritual questions. Not too long after that my Sunday school teacher taught me I should be very careful what questions I ask. But I digress.
Yes, my guard stood hard when abstract threats
Too noble to neglect
Deceived me into thinking
I had something to protect
Good and bad, I define these terms
Quite clear, no doubt, somehow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.

-Bob Dylan, My Back Pages
Is Jesus the answer?

Last Thursday I re-listened to a public conversation between two men I greatly admire, the Rev Greg Boyd and the Rev Jim Wallis. The conversation took place in October last year at Bethel University in St Paul, MN.

This question was posed, “If your politics are centered on what Jesus says, where would Jesus rank global warming in the scheme of God’s plan on Earth?” Politics clouded the ensuing discussion. They both enjoyed some Old Testament support of their position that the environment is important. They heartily agree that the conversation about Jesus and the environment should take place.

I didn’t hear much about what Jesus actually says or does. (7mb mp3 available here)

Jim and Greg tend to be thought of as less conservative evangelicals. Here are three, more conservative organizations that repeatedly show up in comments to some of my posts.

The Interfaith Stewardship Alliance and its Cornwall Declaration: On environmental issues James Dobson, Chuck Colson and Richard Land support this group over the leadership of the National Association of Evangelicals. It’s an interfaith group which precludes it from mentioning Jesus. I have absolutely no problem with interfaith groups collaborating. I welcome it. We all need to work together. But they don’t and probably can’t present a Jesus answer.

The Interfaith Council for Environmental Stewardship: mostly it’s an echo chamber for two organizations, the above mentioned Interfaith Stewardship Alliance and the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty (in the next paragraph). From what I can tell it has no policies or documents of its own. The website exists to point to the other two.

The Acton Institute: in their website’s Environmental Policy section they echo links to the Cornwall Declaration. They also have a core policy document the purports to be “Protestant Wisdom on the Environment.” The protestant document doesn’t contain the name Jesus.

Here’s a rosy picture of these religious groups. The $ indicate ExxonMobile funding. The people icons are key individuals to the linked organizations. (The Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow has no religious intent that I could find.)


I’m a pretty dumb guy. I need things mapped out really clearly otherwise I could get lost. Is Jesus the answer? I’m hearing a resounding, maybe.

Next up: two years is too long. I’m done waiting on the experts.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Let’s Be Religious: Biblical Perspectives On…III

The People of Nineveh vs Their Existence

Jonah gave the people a 40 day warning, the people responded and they were not destroyed. I think they worked like crazy asking each other what they should do. For 39 days. It’s the abortionists! It’s the homosexuals! It’s the judges! It’s the religious right! It’s the religious left! It’s nothing. It’s the oil barons! It’s the terrists! It’s the United States! It’s the rich people! It’s the poor people! It’s the environmentalists! It’s the capitalists! It’s the immigrants! It’s the church! It’s the state! It’s all the –ists and the -isms and everybody else!

What answers did the people of Nineveh finally come up with? They stopped eating, quit what they were doing, and sat down in the dust.

Each individual person. Stopped. And then the king heard about it. He stopped too.


I’ve been working like crazy for two years to ask as many people as I could how I can live my life on a warming planet. I’ve done my best to be placed appropriately in public settings. With the help of some very beautiful friends I’ve been able to ask in some very cool places, including falling just shy of Good Morning America. I started a blog and ended up with many more readers than I ever dreamed.

I think I’m at 12 now that The Wife quit reading. Are you still reading mom? I kinda doubt Snakebite is still reading but he won’t return my e-mails to confirm. But I digress.

I’ve been immersed in global warming thinking and conversation for two years now. To me the core of the issue is the production/consumption cycle. Production and consumption of food is a very high percentage of that. To consume food we need money. To get money we produce goods. To produce we work.

Next up, an inconvenient truth.

Saturday, January 27, 2007


It's sort of like church. You know, a long service punctuated by singing. If it helps you go ahead and stand up for the songs. I think I've got 3 (maybe 4) left on this theme.

Since the new year I’ve sort of discovered Taproot. Yesterday I dug into their lyrics to see if there might be something there that was making me like them. Wow. I had no idea.

With my eyes closed I propose a toast,
To myself to find the time to ask my Lord and galaxy
To point me in the right direction,
I got my foot in the door,
I gotta keep on writin' and stay planted to this world,
Before I can take off

So I pray,
And wait for a sign from my guides,
They help me proceed as I lay,
And dream of my future,
I miss those times


I’m seeing tunnel vision in a world that's dark and cold,
I cannot believe how much I've changed since the days of old,
I know, it's temporary but I need to focus straight,
I cannot believe I lost control of my fate,

I need forgiveness from the people I truly care about,
I need support behind my back to help me spit it out
I am gonna win, I can't afford to blow this one,
I hate myself sometimes,
I love myself,
I need this way of life because it holds me.


If life was a game could I win in the end
And if I was sane, would I kcuf it up all over again
These questions and answers can help me redefine myself
And I thank your open ears for all their help

no more shame
is what I see for myself
I need to change for my health
I need a better way of life for myself

if I stay the same how long will I last
yet if I change will I still just be alone and typecast
professional answers cant help me to design myself
so I thank your open arms for all their help


Overbearing panic attack entrenching my veins
In an hour I'll be okay
I pray this pain will go away permanently someday
I've seen more than
I should have to
I've seen this on my own

This song is a poem to myself
It helps me to live
In case of fire, break the glass
And move on into your own, your own

Friday, January 26, 2007

Get On The Bus

Coming soon in the next installment of the "Let's Be..." series: Those wicked people of Nineveh. The ones that should be destroyed.

Four or five years ago my friend Toby published this song. It popped into my head a couple days ago. He was kind enough to send me a lyrics sheet with permission to "use in any shape or form you like. Slice, dice, julienne or destroy."

Thanks Toby. They are quite perfect the way you created them, and thank for having the audible version...ummm...ah it is.
Get on the Bus

Don’t ya wanna come, don’t ya wanna ride
Don’t ya wanna party in the church of brutal honesty…

I get so tired dancing round your definitions
How’s a boy to be inspired conjugating your contritions
We got the skills but we abandon in frustration
We must use them well to bring about the salvation…

I get no love, where is the love
I need the love, get on the bus now

Don’t ya wanna come, don’t ya wanna ride
Don’t ya wanna party in the church of brutal honesty…
You could be saved, take it to your grave
Come and see the way in the church of brutal honesty

I could guess for days the hidden meanings of what you tell
Is it my place, to be refilling your attention well?
I got big love, it’s enough to be drunk on twice
That should be enough, if it isn’t baby, testify…

I get no trust, where is the trust
I need the trust, baby get on the bus now



I’ve said my piece, now it’s time to nail the follow through
My demons been released, I’m sanctified brother, how bout you…

I’ve got the love, I’ve got the big, big love
I’ll give you love if you get on the bus now

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Let’s Be Religious: Biblical Perspectives On…II

New The MinusCar Project Policy: no more patch kits. Full tube only. Patch kits useless below x degrees.

New The MinusCar Project Knowledge: That burning sensation is your rapidly decompressing CO2 cartridge freezing the end of your finger.

Official The MinusCar Project Cab Driver: All City Cab (555-1234) (bet 554-1234 gets tired of people like me) and ask for the driver they call, "Hot Rod." I think I was charged by the word. Awesome...if you like that sort of thing.


Lots of cyclists seem to understand the world looks different from the seat of a bicycle. For evidence of this claim look no further than the photos of Oil Is For Sissies or Simple Perspectives. (OIFS probably never thought he’d be included in a “biblical perspectives on…” sort of post. Sorry to do this to you Jim.)

For a while I’ve suspected that the world looks different from inside a bus.

Check this out, Jonah changed his mind and agreed to go to Nineveh. Apparently the world looks different from the inside of a fish.

Maybe transportation matters.

I wonder what Jonah thought about while he was riding around in the belly of a fish. I bet it was something along these lines: “Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you.”

Boy I could have some fun with that “worthless idol” thing. American Idol anyone? Sheesh, this stuff writes itself!

The thing about the bible is it sounds really judgmental when it’s quoted about other people. Other's say it’s like a double edged sword. Jonah chapter 2 contains the rest of what he thought about.

I want to have more fun with idols: Cars. Abortion legislation. Marriage protection acts. Family Values. Yep. It’s easy to talk about those people in those SUV’s at that church. Even I can do that.

What about these worthless idols: Zaskar, Timberline, 800SL, R1000Si, a yet to be named Independent Fabrication?

Damn. (literally)

I can be rougher. The MinusCar Project itself. Ugh, please stop.

Or what about, gasp: The Boy 8 and The Boy 4. Family values indeed. Adam and Able? How about Abraham and Isaac? God and Jesus. This is getting scary. Surely I’m way off base somewhere. Maybe I should have gotten this post peer reviewed.

I’ll ride the bus tomorrow and see if I can figure out the “song of thanksgiving” and “sacrificing to you” parts.

I wonder if I could be like Jonah?

(…to be continued…)

Seemingly useless statements:

I did not attend when Al Gore was in Sioux Falls speaking at the Augustana College Boe Forum.

I have not seen An Inconvenient Truth.

I did not read the report in the local daily "Gore: Global warming 'could literally end all human civilization'" because the headline itself turns me upside down.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Let’s Be Religious: Biblical Perspectives On…

Sure is special to be put on the front page of the Fat Cyclist blog. I had my wife read his "The Allure of Never Shaving Again." I couldn't tell if she liked the post or the comments more. She was, as they say, in stitches. Them is people over there are amazing.

Welcome curious Fat Cyclist readers. I bet you didn't expect a bible story today. Fatty probably didn't either.

It was a three hour tour.

Once upon a time there was a little felt dude named Jonah, a big stomached little felt fish named Steve, and a big piece of blue felt which held fast the smaller pieces. (Does that sound biblical?) Jonah and the fish had a special relationship in that the fish housed Jonah for a few days while God tried to teach Jonah a thing or two about obedience.

What had Jonah done?

God had determined that the city of Nineveh would be given one more chance before total destruction would be necessary. God told Jonah to go to Nineveh to communicate this message. Jonah, thinking that Nineveh didn’t deserve a warning opted to head by ship to the white sand beaches of Joppa to get away for awhile; probably because God was stressing him out so much.

God is pretty good at finding out where people are, even without the internets. God made the sea all grumpy which seriously frightened most of the ship’s passengers, especially Ginger and Gilligan. The Skipper was pretty smart and had seen this sort of thing before. He was sure God was trying to send a message to somebody on the ship, and there was only one person still sleeping, so he woke up Jonah and asked him what was up.

Jonah agreed that Skipper was a very smart guy and volunteered to be tossed overboard so that God would quell the sea. The crew wasn’t really into seemingly randomly tossing people overboard but The Millionaire and his wife were raising a stink about the conditions so after a few more failed remedies they made Jonah walk the plank. Immediately the sea was calm.

(The Professor was remarkably cool during the whole ordeal.)

Rumor has it the SS Minnow would encounter a different storm on the way back from Joppa and this time wouldn’t fare quite so well. What happens in Joppa stays in Joppa I guess.

Jonah got swallowed by Steve and after a few days the little fish with the big stomach spit him out on dry land. God said again…go to Nineveh. So Jonah did. He told the people of Nineveh they had 40 days to turn or burn. Apparently they heard and understood the message and took serious action. If they hadn’t I don’t think Jonah would be as famous as he is today.

After that I think God should have put Jonah back in the fish because he was still all mad that God had spared Nineveh.

(…to be continued…)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Let’s Be Religious: It’s What’s Next

According to research tomorrow is the most depressing day of the year. Today is also the second anniversary of the day a whole lot of things changed for me. Read all about that in the True Confessions post and entry #2 at the bottom of the Geez Magazine De-motorize Your Soul Digest page.

A reminder to readers who come here for the usual absolutely laughable, amazingly liberal, totally refutable and utterly nonsensical thinking: I just finished a series where I tried to be as conservative as I could be. Although I slipped a little bit in part three I tried to make up for it a little bit with the comment I left about father and son Bush.

Because I’m on a roll I’m going to take a few more posts to practice being religious. Mostly these next posts are for my biggest fans. The ones who visit most often. Especially the ones who anonymously post stuff like this…
I love all those SUV's and minivans at my church. There are very few cars (and no bikes) there on sundays. And those good folks there are hearing the truth and following the Word.
You need to find a bible believing church and learn the truth.
You should review Dobson and Colson and see if their views on this issue are more in line with the ultimate Truth Book.
Why the concern with the environment when it is evident the end times are near. The concern should not be in saving gas but in saving ourselves.
Remember I am not a rocket theologian so cut me some slack. I’ll do the best I can. You’ve been warned.

(…to be continued…)

Monday, January 22, 2007

Let’s Be Conservative: Family Values III (of 3)

I forgot to reset my car mileage for the week. Next Monday's report will be two weeks combined.

This post is a continuation from Let's Be Conservative: Family Values II.

From what I remember the actual words that came through my freely acquired Focus on the Family “Bringing Up Boys” podcast were, when speaking of parents having more time with their children, “I don’t know how you’re going to do it, but if it’s important, you’ll find a way.”

What if spending more time with my The Boys had recently become more important than ever to me? What if spending more time with my The Boys had become so important that I had found a way?

Why doesn’t Dr Dobson have any suggestions for how to do it?

I do.

I do it by doing less.

I do more by doing less.

I gave up a whole bunch of driving my car. I made it inconvenient to do some things. I arranged my life in such a way that sometimes The Boys and I would have to spend up to six hours of time together in a single day just to go to a park and then dinner.

We are untethered. We are adventuring. We are working hard together to find a way to get along for six hours at a time. There is no way out. There is no car to whisk us back home to the safety and privacy of our rooms or our television sets. (Any parallels between this description of my family and descriptions of middle class mass abandonment of the city for the suburbs are perhaps not coincidental.)

I think Dr Dobson and I might have different values.

Minus is the new plus.

(…to be continued…)

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Seeing Things Differently (Footprints)

Happy Birthday Kristin. I found this picture from my bike this morning.

Today is investment club Saturday. I didn’t want to ride my bike. The limited Saturday schedule tossed the bus option out the window. I was this close (picture me holding my thumb and index finger really close together) to driving.

But someone sent me an e-mail last night and sometimes stuff I read on the Internets changes things.

Apparently there’s a longtime MinusCar reader in Sacramento that bought a $69 Toys R Us bike. A reasonable decision considering she hadn’t ridden in 50 years. Did she hate the bike so much that she gave up trying to ride? Nope. Instead she purchased a new bike and sold her car.

Most days she does the bike and bus thing which gets her 10 miles on the bike a day. Somewhere along the way she began to see the environment and some other things differently. This adds evidence for me that, much like from the seat of a bicycle, the world looks different out a bus window.

She set a new goal: she’d ride all the way to work, 44 miles round trip and she’d do it before she turned 60. Last summer she achieved her goal and she’s re-achieved her goal numerous times since.

She turned 60 last week.

Later today, along with gracious permission for me to use her story, she mentioned the value of leaving footprints on people’s lives.

There are new footprints on my life.

Happy Weekend

I recently saw this on Stories of Cultural Vertigo.

It reminds me a little of Max Headroom. I saw this a few days ago on the Bicycle Diaries.

And while I was there grabbing the link I found this clip of some very slippery driving.

Love The YouTube.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Let’s Be Conservative: Family Values II

Showing up in the aggregator at South Dakota War College with a post title like this one sort of reminds me of the time I put the words gay sex in a front page post. I got lots of hits from an audience that doesn’t normally visit. Welcome to the show Dakota War College readers.

When I listened to the Focus on the Family radio show “Bringing Up Boys” I heard Dr Dobson list off a handful of key times during the day that a father should be present. One of them is bedtime. It’s true in my home that some of the landmark family moments have come when The Boy 8 offers up one final thought or question before he sleeps.

The show suggests being present at these key times provides the biggest results for the time invested. The bigger point he’d like to make is that investing time in kids at all is a very large part of being a better parent.

Talking about time sure makes people nervous though. Our days are packed getting stuff done. The mention of just one more hour a day doing something I don’t normally do makes me tense. Actually, I think it makes some of my friends tense too. It seemed like Dr Dobson realized it too when he admitted that finding the time to do these things is very difficult, but if it’s important to people they will find the time.

--- blink ---

(…to be continued…)

If you want the show it’s available from the Focus on the Family website for $9 or something. Give them a little extra while you’re at it.

The MinusCar Project – where the t-shirts are free and don’t cost much either.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Let’s Be Conservative: Family Values I

From what I can tell my biggest fans are anonymous fans. My biggest fans also seem to like James Dobson and Focus on the Family. Apparently I haven’t been giving my biggest fans enough of what they need or expect because a few days ago one of them became agitated and dropped a big pile of steaming words off in the comment section.

Well, I certainly hate to be a disappointment to any segment of my valued readership (such as I do and such as it is) so in an attempt to win them back be more things to more people I’m going to use some language that they might be able to follow.

Speaking of language, this line is golden, “I love all those SUV's and minivans at my church. There are very few cars (and no bikes) there on sundays. And those good folks there are hearing the truth and following the Word.” This commenter is either the pastor or…well, maybe I can work personal responsibility in later.

To you other readers, the ones who come here for the absolutely laughable, amazingly liberal, totally refutable and utterly nonsensical thinking, strap on your strap-on-ables and try to survive to the end. Think of it as rooted rocky singletrack, if you know what I mean. I'm going to fire up the base and this could go multiple posts.

Freshly published and found on the internets:
QUESTION: What would you say to my husband and me? We are disciplining our kids far too much. Is there another way to encourage them to cooperate?

DR DOBSON: The best way to get children to do what you want is to spend time with them before disciplinary problems occur -- having fun together and enjoying mutual laughter and joy. When those moments of love and closeness happen, kids are not as tempted to challenge and test the limits. Many confrontations can be avoided by building friendships with your kids and thereby making them want to cooperate at home. It sure beats anger as a motivator of little ones!

(…to be continued…)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Smells Like Jesus (The Marketing Of…)

There are important disclaimers below.

For a few months we’ve been performing inexplicable breathing treatments for The Boy 4. They are strange because we have his diet under control. They are strange because wintertime is a low environmental allergy time of year.

As parents we mentally note the circumstances and try to figure out just what might be causing the problem. Finally last Friday there was enough information available to point to nap time at daycare.

This morning The Wife posed the simple question and by the end of the day our daycare provider had identified a prime suspect.

The ingredients reveal our daycare provider's suspicions are right on. Got milk?

This is a very special lotion. It’s special because it “smells like Jesus.” Go ahead look it up in The Google. At the time of this posting the brand is the number one search result.

Today we learned that The Boy 4 is allergic to Jesus.

In a typically mixed blessing sort of way, it’s useful to have the physical manifestation of symptoms to confirm the information provided to us by the doctor and the lab. It's especially useful when it doesn't include an ambulance ride.


Let me be clear.

The Boy 4 is allergic to dairy. That includes lactose, an ingredient in this lotion.

The physical issue here is the dairy product and The Boy 4's allergies. It is not the lotion itself, nor the company that creates the lotion.

As parents we believe we are responsible to manage The Boy's allergies. Not our daycare provider, manufacturer, or lotion marketer.


1/18 UPDATE: When I wrote this post I was a little afraid I'd supplant as the top rated Google search result. That would have been embarrassing. I'm search result #3.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Report: January 8-14

A longtime MinusCar reader saw behind the curtain today. In a comment attached to the Elsewhere On The Internets post Commenter BigSUV reveals what heretofore had been secret. I draw attention to it because readers really need to know that they’re “missing out on the good life by not using [their] car.”

It might be coincidence, but if not, I think it’s significant that the BigSUV moniker is strikingly similar to the moniker assumed by occasional commenter bigH. Perhaps BigSUV was impressed with bigH’s 2005/2006 mileage comparisons which can be found in the Rear In Yer View post. 2006 saw 775 less car miles and 999 more bike miles.

Interesting that bigH keeps data like that. Perhaps we’re related in some mysterious way.

Trips -
MinusCar: 5
Multi-occupant Auto: 9
Single occupant Auto: 4
Destinations: 31

I’m going to say again that part of the low MinusCar trip count is actually a function of fewer trips out for lunch.

My Car Miles: 16
My Bike Miles: 22

I’m always glad in January that I made the bus part of The MinusCar Project. That way, even though my ratio of MinusCar trips to Auto trips is bad, I still bike more miles than drive my car.

MinusCar word of the day: moniker.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Pins, Needles & The Virtuoso

The Boys in The House have a certain inclination to the beauty of music. The Boy 4 shows a special connection, including an interest in styles that are outside my normal listening box. Six months ago we noticed Chu-Fang Huang, a piano virtuoso was coming to town. I saw this as a great opportunity to see what sort of tolerance he actually holds for fine arts music.

Step one was getting The Boy 8’s permission to leave him behind for the evening. He operates at a slightly higher mHz than The Boy 4 and knows it. He readily agreed to an appropriate alternative. Step two was to come to terms with the possibility of a bad experience and the ensuing potential for bail out.

To soften him up for the evening we began with his favorite eatery, the downtown Applebees. Don’t forget, because of food allergies the only thing on the menu he can have is the lemonade. Their drinking system was broken. They were only serving water. Nothing goes better with a tapioca flour bread and soy nut butter sandwich than water. Yummy. (I have serious questions about the sustainability of the downtown Applebees and we’re doing our best to be helpful.)

Next up were two art galleries. He lay on the benches and inspected the fire suppression, emergency lighting, and the track lighting systems.

Finally. Showtime. They began by announcing the video recording for the evening will be broadcast on South Dakota Public Television. They followed that by announcing their intent to make a national release out of the audio recording. Throw away the possibility of a mid-performance bail-out. Suddenly we’re the ones who let the four year old into the recording studio.

In spite of my certainty that this would be the performance he’d choose to fall out of his chair, I completely enjoyed it. The performance was excellent. She is, after all, a virtuoso. It caused me to heavily consider what might happen if I listened to less Taproot and more piano.

Halfway through the first set he showed clear signs of waning interest. At intermission we questioned him heavily on his desire to stay to the end. He insisted we stay. I think I heard him mumble something about not leaving before discovering which 5 of the 550 existing Scarlatti Sonatas this virtuoso would choose to perform for a South Dakota audience.

The playlist:
Franz Haydn – Sonata in E major, Hob. XVI:31
Franz Haydn – Sonata in B minor, Hob, XVI:32
Maurice Ravel – La Valse
Domenico Scarlatti – Five Selected Sonatas
Frederic Chopin – Sonata No. #3 in B minor, Op. 58
Less dense more educated people than me might know that the ending Chopin piece contains a musical cliché related to death. It is part funeral procession and it was incredible to hear in its true context.

After the 105 minute show we were in the car on the way home. He suggested, since the performance will be aired on television the same day he becomes The Boy 5, that we include the broadcast as part of his party. I guess he liked it. That's a little bit frightening.

PS – I’m not giving up Taproot.

Friday, January 12, 2007

It Got Cold

Sometimes the system fails. It's easy to get in the habit of assuming the temperature will rise during the day. Yesterday during the day this happened:

The top graph in red is the temperature dropping. The bottom in red is the wind picking up. It's nice to know it can still be January.

Yesterday morning I knew exactly where to draw the line for clothing in 27 degree 15 windchill weather. I was not prepared for a 15 degree drop in temperature and was terribly underdressed to bike home.

To make matters worse the best bus choice would have me home at a terribly late hour. A co-worker was kind enough to give me a ride.

This morning I bailed on the ride too. The Wife was kind enough to let me join the family car pool. I like this MinusCar stuff. Gives me more time with the wife. Hi honey!

I did get a little time outside with a 1 mile nighttime walk to KT's house for some DVR'd HD live concert video. Alas, he did not open the door when I arrived so I turned around and returned 1 mile home. I like this MinusCar stuff. Gives me more time outside to enjoy January's brief visit.


Thursday, January 11, 2007

Way To Go Lane Hogs!

The Lane Hogs are a group of rollers in Vermillion, SD. They are big supporters of the South Dakota MS 150, and actively hold rides throughout the year. Well, throughout this year for sure since it's been so um...unseasonable.

Last Monday evening they changed things up a little bit and served dinner at the Vermillion Welcome Table, a venue that hosts dinner and a friendly atmosphere for all comers.

Apparently 23 of them served 141 people. Beautiful.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Elsewhere On The Internets

MinusCar T-shirt wearer Dan Traube over at A Payne Hollow Visit propped up The MinusCar Project from his blog last week and some excellent discussion occurred in his comments. In lieu of a real post I offer and highly recommend your perusal of his post and it's comments...of which I have added my own. If he sees fit to post it.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Report: January 1 - 7

Trips -
MinusCar: 4
Multi-occupant Auto: 4
Single occupant Auto: 5
Destinations: 22

I was enlightened to why SF Transit keeps the route nearest my home intact. Often I’m the only one aboard, or on weekends we almost get skipped because drivers aren’t used to picking people up. Friday morning I caught the first bus of the day and there were 10-ish people on it. That’s way more passengers than I’m accustomed to riding with.

My Car Miles: 40
My Bike Miles: 23

Just one bike ride this week. The Spoke-n-Sport Annual New Year’s Day ride which was an awful lot of fun. I just finished sorting my randomly awarded bag ‘o swag. Among other items there was a sweet Timbuk2 pin to add to my increasing button collection on the messenger bag.

Bottom line though, another bleak MinusCar week. The car habit reforms quickly when work gets busy and I leave town for the weekend.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

2006, Rear In Yer View (And Everybody’s Celebratin’)

I’m a geek. I keep lists. I keep data. If I don’t know where I’ve been how will I know where I’m going?

Is it warm enough outside?

The negative cost of The MinusCar Project, it’s more than just a bike ride.

2006 Mileage
1,917 - The Car
3,258 - The Bike(s)

Fuel Purchased (gallons)
9.6 - average per month
32.46 - average per month pre-MinusCar

At $2.75 per gallon I pocket $62 per month over my previous life.

Auto Service (dollars)
4.20 - average per month
210.32 - average per month pre-MinusCar

$206.12 savings per month.

I save a total of $268.12 a month in automobile related crap. Shoot, I could buy a whole ‘nother car. A nice one too! No wonder The Wife has green lighted an Independent Fabrication for me.

Anybody want to discuss how they can't afford to cut their car's carbon emissions by 70%?

The bicycle is also a "natural enemy of impulse buying" which leaves room to discuss decreased consumer debt and increased charitable giving. Decreased consumer debt is directly connected to decreased consumption which is directly connected to transport and resource utilization, and even more environmental impact.

Is it warm enough outside now? The MinusCar Project, it's more than riding bikes.

Other Stuff

Books Read/Listened – 9

Full Length Feature Films Viewed – 33 (4 in theater)

Best Film – V For Vendetta. It actually made my top 5 all time favorite, which honestly is probably about 10 long.

I saw all 10 of Ebert’s Top 10 of 2005. That’s an annual goal for me.

Hours Of Broadcast Television: 32 (13 NFL, 14 Winter Olympics)

Hours Spent In Front Of A Computer Screen: data unavailable :)

Best Concert – Brule': Red Nativity @ Washington Pavilion

Disc Golf Rounds – 12
Disc Golf Best Score – 52

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Report: December 25 – 31

Trips -
MinusCar: 4
Multi-occupant Auto: 9
Single occupant Auto: 2
Destinations: 30

Is the holiday season behind us? Can I get out of the car and back onto the bike now? This is the last report of the year. It’s sorta neat how the year ended all nice and tidy-like on a Sunday.

My Car Miles: 24
My Bike Miles: 36

I still managed more bike miles than my-car miles, but not by much. My car crossed the 3,000 mile mark this week too. That’s 3,000 miles since May 2005. It’s time for an oil change and to re-introduce myself to my mechanic…which means…wait for it…driving the car for the sake of maintaining the car. Wheee…I hate that.

I was doing some yearly comparisons this week. I was surprised to see how much gas I’d purchased this year, and found it sad that on the way to New Year’s Eve events I had to fill up my tank to get me through the year. Add 15 more gallons to the year even though I only needed 1 or 2.

Happy New Year!

I’m surprised at the number of people that turned out for the Annual Spoke-n-Sport New Year’s Day Ride. I’d guess between 150 and 200, but I’m as likely to be short as long. The weather was beautiful, (30 degrees little wind), but I figured some ice would keep more people away.

I rode to the ride, actually following some tracks for a long time wondering if I'd be following them all the way in. I roll by at least one cyclist’s home almost daily. By the pre-ride looks of him it wasn’t his tracks I was following.

The local biking bloggers were in-effect. Mr. Bite snapped me a couple times as I rolled in. I met Eayste’s parents. They were rolling on their tandem. Riding tandem on ice requires some serious marital fortitude. I don’t know if I have that in me…let alone The Wife. I saw the PeddalinShutterbug but didn’t get to talk with her.

The PinkFlash found his way in from Minnesota to roll. The guy on the left is rumored to own a yellow Judy. (I gotta stay friends with him. (Hi Jamie!))

I spent most of my time with The Pastor and The Owner. We started toward the back and faded from there as we tried to be helpful to the riders who found themselves on the ground. I remember at least 9 people putting the rubber side up in my proximity. I applied a band-aid to the nose of one rider. The Owner went down on a bridge. Later The Pastor went down and took at least two with him. I was willing to ride over his hand to stay upright and missed it by just an inch. That makes up for him almost dropping me earlier as he found a stride just a touch beyond what my legs could comfortably do on the single speed.

The post ride free chili was excellent as usual. I even won a bag of schwag via drawing. Another highlight was a proper introduction to the mystery rider from a few weeks ago, and her husband, and his riding mother. Most excellent.

The ride home was cold until I warmed up the sweat on my clothes. I overdressed. I followed an additional set of tracks home further enforcing my suspicion that someone on my side of town had ridden. Was it you?

I took a couple shots of my bike when I got home. Yeah, that's a yellow Judy frozen in the fully compressed position making the bike a fully rigid ride with bad geometry.

Happy ’07.

Monday, January 01, 2007


It's been a long hard holiday week for The Boy 4. Here he is mid-afternoon lying on grandma's coat enjoying his art project at the First Night Sioux Falls Celebration.

He perked up an hour later and was good to go for the 7:45 kids fireworks.

New Years Days For You Too?

And so we're told this is the golden age
And gold is the reason for the wars we wage,
Though I want to be with you,
To be with you night and day.
Nothing changes on New Year's Day.

- U2, New Year's Day, 1983