Thursday, December 27, 2007


My momma always said then bicycles will only lead to trouble: Girl's new bicycle leads to fatal accident.

And then there's the kids. They can be a frustrating lot, eh? Mother accused of bumping son off bicycle. Perhaps she was thinking this sort of thing happens all the time. It's part of the risk of riding a bicycle.

Report: December 3 – December 16

Like the butcher who backed into his meat grinder…I’m getting a little behind in my work. I’m going to combine two weeks in this report.

Trips -
MinusCar: 9
Multi-occupant Auto: 17
Single occupant Auto: 4
Destinations: 57

Not much for MinusCar trips, but at least they’re still twice the single occupant trips. I remained in a pretty un-motivated state these two weeks.

My Car Miles: 86
My Bike Miles: 45

This week’s low temperatures: 12/5 | 9 degrees, 6mph wind, -1 windchill

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

"A lighter lifestyle is the smart, cool, intelligent and healthy way to live. Don’t be tied to outdated and dangerous 20th century ways of living. Live light because it will make you feel complete and free.

When you choose to live light you are setting the pace for the 21st century. You will see the people all around you trying to catch up. And when they do we can all work together to build a world that is cleaner, fairer and happier and that you will be proud to leave to your children."

-- George Marshall, Don't Save The Planet No Impact Man says: "Don't Waste"

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Monday, December 17, 2007

Happiness is...

a dry base layer.

Don't forget to dry your fundies under your desk during work today.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Peaking Influence

Welcome dear reader. It’s been a pretty special week in Minuscarlandia. Two things occurred that prove the multifaceted and remarkable influence this blog has had both on world politics and corporate progress.

First, there’s this widely reported piece regarding the UN climate change conference.
“But the road was extremely rocky. Talks stalled as Paula Dobriansky, head of the US delegation, signaled that America opposed calls from poorer countries for technological and financial help to combat climate change. It seemed any agreement was doomed. Then Papua New Guinea took to the floor and, in a highly charged speech, its delegate challenged the US: 'If you're not willing to lead, get out of the way.'

Minutes later, in an astonishing reversal, Dobriansky returned to announce, to cheers from the hall: 'We will go forward and join the consensus.'”
The Papua New Guinea delegate is Kevin Conrad, who is…as they say, Harvard educated.

What I wouldn’t do for a transcript of that speech - and the rest of the session for that matter.


Second, last March I wondered aloud, “Why aren’t DayQuil and NyQuil packaged together?” This week my dream was realized...and my cold ended.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Lots Of Little Things In A Longish Post

As I approached a locked door at work today I dropped my badge. As it fell I kicked it and watched helplessly as it slid across the floor and under the door, leaving me pathetically looking through the window at my only means for unlocking the door.

I have a friend. He's Irish. He wanted to be sure I knew that "Ireland yesterday became the first country in the world to ban the traditional lightbulb. Householders will be forced to switch to new long-life low-energy bulbs in 12 months' time."

My other friend. He likes bikes. He wanted to be sure I knew this...

It's a bike ride. On January 1. I bet The Dad is more tempted this year than any other before.

I took the bike to The LBS. I had them shift it up a couple gears and put on the studs. I was lacking the partially false confidence the studs provide. After reacquainting myself with the bus, I'm happier on two wheels.

The Boy 5 checked the following book out from his school library.

Yes, a picture book about a bike messenger.

The Triplettes de Belleville have been on my mind lately. I found a good chunk of YouTubular.

Roger Ebert said - "To call it weird would be a cowardly evasion. It is creepy, eccentric, eerie, flaky, freaky, funky, grotesque, inscrutable, kinky, kooky, magical, oddball, spooky, uncanny, uncouth and unearthly. Especially uncouth...and none of [those words] do the trick, either...the Marquis de Sade meets Lance Armstrong."

All that and it still lost the Oscar to Finding Nemo.

Last, and perhaps even least, Steve would like to remind me to learn from his mistake and check the lid on the salsa jar before shaking.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Traffic Control Innovations

Did you see the innovative bicycle traffic control device in Portland? CycleSD posted the You Tubular on his site. Sure, I could stream it here for your convenience but I already thefted SnakebiteTV. One theft a week is a great plenty, no?

Check it out here.

BTW - did you notice an increase of blog posts lately? If you did it's because I've stopped reading your blog and resumed writing mine.

I'm kidding. I didn't stop reading your blog. I stopped reading everybody else's blog.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Nap Time

Sometimes when I drive to work I start to get sleepy. I stop at a red light and put my head back on the headrest, close my eyes and think about how I could just fall asleep right there.

Today I hitched a ride downtown with The Wife, then caught the bus to work. I put my head back, closed my eyes, and did fall asleep. I slept good too. I woke up to that really strange feeling of not really knowing where I was.

Thankfully I hadn't missed my building.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

I Remain An Idiot

As I exited work today the CEO’s wife asked me if I was riding my bike home. I responded no, I dress like this because it’s comfortable. I’m headed straight to the top with answers like that, don’t ‘cha think? I think my last evaluation I got dinged in the works and plays well with leadership category.

My accountability partners are killing me. I’ve got Snakebite selling his car and getting his own reality TV show. The Dad, who sold his car this summer, works on the same block as I; he knows when I’m being bad or good, and I’m not so good right now. Then CycleSD wants to know how my not so studded tires are working out.

You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth. I don’t know how the tires are working out because I haven’t ridden them yet. Not Monday. Not Tuesday. I don’t know, yet.

So I went long today. 17 miles. The sun set 15 minutes into my ride. The wind stayed at 0. Temps stayed at 13. I was a bit chilly by the time I got home but not overly.

All went well.

I think I want my studded tires back.

Snakebite TV

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Report: November 26 – December 2

Winter has arrived. Be prepared for less MinusCar performance.

Trips -
MinusCar: 5
Multi-occupant Auto: 4
Single occupant Auto: 4
Destinations: 21

While we were taking pictures of the ocean the temperatures here dropped from the 40’s to the 20’s. I find it lots easier to keep riding in the cold if I keep riding in the cold. Visiting the tropics is not generally hepful. So Monday and Tuesday, after returning home from a seven day vacation, I couldn’t find proper motivation ride to work. Nevermind proper motivation to even work. I drove.

Wednesday I managed to ride, but still decided to allow The Boys the luxury of an automobile ride home from school.

Saturday, ironically, as the snowstorm hit, I drove to a bike related meeting. Could it be, the first ever South Dakota Bike Summit? Perhaps.

As you can see almost as many single occupant auto rides as MinusCar trips.

Even with all that I still rode the bike more than I drove my car.
My Car Miles: 20
My Bike Miles: 34

This week’s low temperatures: 11/30 7 degrees, 7mph wind, -5 windchill

If I can keep my car under 92 miles this month I'll have driven my car less than last year. Probably won't happen but I'll be close enough.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

This Is How It’s Going To Be?

Winter has arrived. I rode home in light snow Thursday and then headed downtown with The Family for our second annual Brule’ Red Nativity concert. As we began to look for parking outside Mama’s Ladas we discovered Snakepants stopped at an intersection on his way home from work.

Sioux Falls police responded to 54 collisions that night.

The temperatures stayed low so the light dusting stayed light and dusty. Friday morning’s 7-degree commute included the beautiful sound of bike wheels squeaking through crisp unmolested snow.

According to the old man pushing carts through the parking lot at my Friday fritter and latte stop it was too cold for bike riding. I displayed my disagreement by mounting up and finishing the route to work. The latte seemed extra tasty on the way.

Saturday the real storm arrived. While CycleSD was realizing (and then overcoming) the futility of riding bike in deep snow I was sitting inside trying to justify putting off shoveling to Sunday. Sunday I shoveled.

Tomorrow’s commute could be interesting. I’ll switch to my snow route…hopefully I’ll remember how that goes. I’m going without studded tires this year, opting for lower pressure in my very wide Maxxis Hookworm tires.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Don’t Forget Me When I’m Gone

I’ve been on a very unMinusCar like vacation. Happy Thanksgiving and all that. We went to the tropics.

I saw a sunrise…

over the…

We ran…

in the sand…

and jumped over the tide…

I'm a dumb South Dakotan who used to be very skeptical about riding a bike on the beach…

now I know.

We got in a boat and found some dolphins…

Occasionally we sneezed…

and while Letterboxing found some still waters…

The wind blows too much where I live to get many shots like this.

We climbed a fake lighthouse with a real moon…

and saw the sun set on the other side of the island.

Friday, November 16, 2007


Ever heard of the Reverend Billy? He leads the Church of Stop Shopping?

Morgan Spurlock produced a movie about him, "What Would Jesus Buy?"

Here's the trailer -

And here's a television interview -

May have opened tonight in a cineplex near you...didn't open tonight in mine. I wonder if it's showing somewhere in South Carolina.

"Try to buy your gift right in your own neighborhood. Walk to your gift this year. Maybe take a bicycle. You don't have to get in that SUV this time."

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Report: November 5 - 11

Monday the weather tricked me. It got colder as the day went on and the soon to be headwind increased too. After work I made a last minute dash to a bus stop to try to get a ride at least for the headwind parts. I caught the bus but a combination of events conspired against me; at one point during the mad dash my forward momentum stopped and I, unable to de-clip, toppled over in the presence of an appreciative audience.

And so it goes…

I drove one single occupant mile that day…I decided not to make my surely underdressed The Boys walk home with me from school.

Trips -
MinusCar: 9
Multi-occupant Auto: 5
Single occupant Auto: 1
Destinations: 21

Wednesday was a good day. I caught The Dad departing his job and we rode together most of the way to his home. It was his birthday. Happy Birthday The Dad!

My Car Miles: 17
My Bike Miles: 106

Saturday we had an appointment at the Dell Rapids Pizza Ranch with The In-laws. I stepped outside and couldn’t help but notice what would be a tailwind and 50 degrees. Since the best way to enjoy a pizza buffet is by biking to it, I packed some clothes and headed out.

I ran out of daylight, temperature and wind before I got to Dell Rapids. I got off the dark highway in Baltic and begged The Wife to alter her route to pick me up. She did. I think I ate a slice of pizza for each of the 20 miles I rode to get's probably good I didn't ride all the miles to get there.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

You Are Midnight

If it's good enough for Snakebite and BikingBrady, it's good enough for me...

You Are Midnight

You are more than a little eccentric, and you're apt to keep very unusual habits.
Whether you're a nightowl, living in a commune, or taking a vow of silence - you like to experiment with your lifestyle.
Expressing your individuality is important to you, and you often lie awake in bed thinking about the world and your place in it.
You enjoy staying home, but that doesn't mean you're a hermit. You also appreciate quality time with family and close friends.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Friday’s Funday

Friday’s are special.

It all starts at the grocery store with my weekly 2 apple fritters and grande chai tea latte. They know me there. She said every window she saw this morning had frost on it. I said I didn’t need to scrape a thing to ride my bike today. I just blink occasionally to clear away the ice crystals.

From the store with latte in hand I roll against the traffic on the sidewalk. DON’T DO THIS. Riding against traffic, sidewalk or not, is a very good way to end up doing automobile undercarriage inspection.

One of the most common ways to accomplish that comes courtesy of the right turning motorist. So intent on the spacing of traffic to their left, they almost never check their right until they’ve started their turn. So it was that I came upon a crosswalk, green light, walk sign brightly beckoning, and I’m stopped at the curb looking at the back of a driver's head.

I could have laid out a table setting on the hood of her SUV and been half way through my fritters before she knew what was happening…she also would have driven away with half my breakfast. Sometime it would be fun to ride in this dangerous manner with a helmet cam just to catch the instant when drivers realize they never ever, not once, checked to the right before making that turn.

This morning it would have been priceless.

I went long on the way home. I love this time of year because I love night riding. During summer I have to patiently wait for enveloping darkness. In November the darkness comes to me. I saw The Dad on his way home from work on his bike. A few minutes later I froze two deer with my helmet light...and that was an ultimate ending to a very good bicycling day.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Just Do It? Already Doing It Chuck

Big thanks to long time MinusCar reader and forever patient Noel for pointing me to the article referenced below.

It took an “oil-belt Texan” and $1.1 million in cold hard cash, but convicted felon and national evangelical Christian leader Chuck Colson has finally put into words something helpful and constructive about global warming. He says, "Just Do It." Somewhat surprisingly he means take action.

Since June the Little Blog In The Big Woods has been writing about pushing icebergs. The foundation of the idea is this:

"…huge societal problems are very much like icebergs. They are huge; massive, with tremendous momentum and inertia. Walk up to an iceberg (standing on anything you can) and push on it, as hard as you can. You will not see ANY response from the iceberg; it's just too massive for you to affect, you and all your force are infinitesimally small in comparison to the berg."

But it’s worth doing your own pushing. And if everybody pushes, even if some push in the wrong direction, eventually the iceberg could move in a favorable direction.

LBBW is happy to report (and I'm happy to read) that the iceberg is moving.

I’m happy to report that on November 2, 2007 Chuck Colson gave his own little push. Somebody alert James Dobson.

It turns out Chuck Colson has a friend named Bill. “Bill is a solid Christian, a native oil-belt Texan, a conservative, and an environmentalist wrapped up in one.” (No need to apologize for him Chuck). Bill, through his company Energy Education, Inc, helped a 7,000 member congregation in Texas save $1.1 million in energy costs by, you know, teaching them to turn off lights and stuff.

"Working with institutions to reduce their energy usage, like Energy Education does, is good stewardship. And it does not depend on what the scientists eventually can prove about global warming. It is all laid out for us already in the Scriptures. All we have got to do is stop arguing long enough to start being good stewards today."

In the scriptures? I’m 11 months ahead of you Chuck. Start today? I'm on it. Stop arguing? Does this mean you'll stop trying to get Richard Cizik fired?

What’s a church do when they pull off the drywall to add insulation and they find $1.1 million in energy savings? I don’t know. But The MinusCar Project has recently come into some money. The other day, after a long week of sitting in the driveway, I found dollars leaking out from around my car's gas cap. I know this sounds weird, but everytime we take a sock off the clothesline there's a dollar in it.

Coming soon…I Hear Charitable Giving Can Make You Rich (it must be true, I read it on the internets)

The rest of Chuck Colson's actual words can be found here.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Report: October 29-November 4

Maybe it’s the lower temperature showers. Maybe it’s the lower temperature house. Maybe it’s the lower temperature bikes rides. Maybe it's a massive cold temperature feedback loop, causing increased comfort in colder temperature.

I broke new ground, I made a new high in low, I can now ride to work without a jacket down to around 30 degrees. This is about 10 degrees cooler than previous years. The downside of this is the margin for error is lower. A flat tire or injury could lead to some new experiences in cold, but overall I’m happy with this turn of events.

I have found it necessary to store a jacket at work though. Riding to work without a jacket is one thing, walking for or to lunch without one is unbearable.

Trips -
MinusCar: 11
Multi-occupant Auto: 4
Single occupant Auto: 2
Destinations: 22

I drove to work Thursday. I couldn’t get started in the morning which led to a choice between being a little late and a lot late. I chose a little. I drove. Friday I drove alone after riding into downtown to get The Wife’s car. I fetched The Boys from school and left them with The Wife while I met Snakepants for Friday night enchiladas. We talked about plans and goals for the new biking season (I guess that means fall begins a new biking season)…and yes, we talked about you.

My Car Miles: 9
My Bike Miles: 51

This weekend I noticed The Google has a new photo of my house. I’m pleased with how it turned out. The MinusCar Car is right where it belongs. In the driveway.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Items: Halloween

A bit of Halloween morbidity - Sunday evening someone visited after Googling "michael christensen - suicide 2005." I was pleased to see the hit was from Arizona, lending me plenty of hope it wasn't someone who knows me (or recently heard me speak) and was wondering just how bad my 2005 started out. Thankfully The MinusCar Project isn't the #1 hit for that search. Erm, at least it wasn't on that day.

I received an unusual food allergy alert today. Seems Dutch Kettle failed to include anchovies in their BBQ sauce ingredient list (seafood is one of the main food allergens). Being a guy who is interested in the variety of secret ingredients that can be tossed into a BBQ recipe I was pleased to learn of this unique one. I suppose they didn't want to include anchovies on the list for fear that nobody would buy it.

Speaking of allergies - how was trick or treating? We did the usual. Send the kids out and have them occasionally drop by home to fill up our candy bowl with all their nut tainted candy. Re-trick-or-treating, it's great fun.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Happy Halloween

For something truly scary head over to the Living on Liguid blog. You'll find a photo of mewithhim and the mewithoutyou drummer. I'm the one who doesn't know how to act when he's getting his picture taken.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Report: October 22-28

I guess I’m healed. I watched CNN’s Planet in Peril this week. I didn’t lose a bit of sleep. Excellent. I think that means I can finally watch An Inconvenient Truth. That’s so last year!

I understand from Planet in Peril that the UN says the Earth is losing species at 1100 times the natural rate. That’s interesting.

Have you ever sat amongst the cars at a red light on a cold morning and all around you are those nice puffs of white steam from the nearby exhaust pipes intermixed with the shiny red brake lights? We understand that’s poison right? We understand on that cold day when we warm up the car for 15 minutes before we travel 20 minutes to work, if we fail to open our garage door the species population in the garage will decline at much higher than natural rate.

Speaking of Al Gore and his energy sucking home…next time you hear someone complain about it you’ll be sure to ask them to show you how they reduced electricity consumption in their home over the last 12 months.

When you hear someone complain about the CNN crew visiting 14 different countries for their TV show and the environmental damage it causes, you’ll be sure to check with them about their flying habits now that they seem to understand the damage just one flight does.

I’m feeling good. I had an exceptional weekend and today didn’t let me down either. Moron that later.

Trips -
MinusCar: 14
Multi-occupant Auto: 6
Single occupant Auto: 1
Destinations: 30

I was in the car alone on Wednesday so I could pick up KT. We me The Pastor and the blogger that is Living On Liquid and enjoyed the musical stylings of mewithoutyou. It was like a Souled Out Stage reunion there. Lots of Too Write Love On Her Arms t-shirts, which I guess is all the rage these days. Just once was I in a car by myself this week. He’s a mile away.

Otherwise, I was in a car Friday so I could date my wife. Sunday we drove to The Parents to jump in their pile of leaves. It was fun until someone got hurt…and then it was still sort of fun because it wasn’t me that got hurt.

My Car Miles: 0
My Bike Miles: 91

I met my friend (yep I have one) for lunch on Thursday. On the way out the restaurant he told me about a required 2 hour bit of solitude he needed to do for a seminar or educational experience. He was pleased it seemed like 20 minutes. I declined his offer for a ride back to work, on the grounds that walking is a solitude type experience for me.

Not 2 minutes later I’m helping a young man and two rather helpless women stuff a 5 foot wide mattress into a 4 foot wide SUV. We put 10 years of wear on that mattress before it left the parking lot, and she thanked me for my good deed of the day. I said it wasn't a problem, I’m not in a hurry. If I was in a hurry I’d be driving, not destroying your mattress.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Date Night

I dated The Wife tonight. We tried and failed to go to a movie.

I was reading Ebert reviews to pick some possibilities. Near the bottom of his Rendition review I found the best turn of phrase I've heard in a long time.

See, Rendition is about Extraordinary Rendition, the procedure of removing a suspect from their life and doing stuff to them that - depending on what your definition of is - is torture.

Ebert quotes James Rocchi from - "Anytime someone tells you that you can't make an omelet without breaking eggs, immediately demand to see the omelet."


This is LB CX.

This is what goes on in other cities while you were sitting in your garage with cold fingers wiping last week's rain off you bike.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Report: October 15-21

If you’re not riding now, you’re never going to be riding when it actually gets cold. It’s most helpful to me to track windchill, clothing, and perceived comfort. I know from year to year what to wear at most any temperature giving me NO temperature related EXCUSES for not riding.

Rain! Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. Rain! I didn’t get to ride my bike much because it was too wet for me. I became practiced at getting ready for work early enough to catch a ride downtown with The Wife. From there I took the bus toward work. Ironically, Friday it stopped raining but I wasted my extra morning minutes until I had to drive or be unreasonably late.

I got stranded at a bus transfer station Monday. Bus A was so late I was unable to catch bus B. I had to call The Wife out of work to go pick up The Boys. Not good! I caught a more frequent bus to downtown and brought them home. As the week progressed they appeared to continue to struggle with that route.

Trips -

MinusCar: 10

Multi-occupant Auto: 13

Single occupant Auto: 4

Destinations: 43

My notes say I was a single occupant once because of the transit fiasco. The second time to return The Car home after having the radiator replaced (driving the car for the sake of the car). Once to pick up The Boy 9 and two friends at the school skate party (we car pooled but I could have made it better by just going to the party), and finally Friday’s previously mentioned laziness.

My Car Miles: 16

My Bike Miles: 44

For all the rain I’m pretty happy with 16 miles on my car. I’ve had bigger weeks with much nicer weather.

Most of the bike miles came from the Friday FAB Starlight ride. I hooked up with a nice group of 12 for a nighttime lap around the local multi-trail.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Is This Kansas?

"Citing concerns about global warming, Kansas’ top regulator today denied a long-awaited permit to build a controversial coal plant in western Kansas."
It doesn't matter to me if this was a good or bad decision. It doesn't matter to me if the decision gets overturned in court or somewhere else. What does matter to me is...
"'I believe it would be irresponsible to ignore emerging information about the contribution of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to climate change and the potential harm to our environment and health if we do nothing,' said Rod Bremby, secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment
Surely there are huge concerns about the economy -
"The announcement comes as a huge blow to Sunflower Electric Power Corp. and many in western Kansas who had argued the plant was vital to the region’s economy."
But just as surely there are more important things than the economy -
"...I'm encouraged by this decision because protecting the people of Kansas in every corner of our state has always mattered to me more than anything else." - Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius
I was unable to determine if pro-life Kansas presidential candidate Senator Sam Brownback agrees.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Report: October 8-14

Trips -

MinusCar: 9
Multi-occupant Auto: 6
Single occupant Auto: 5
Destinations: 30

I’m in a pretty unmotivated period right now. I seem to have misplaced my muse. Or I burned out. Or both. Maybe I’ll uncover it later. In the meantime starting up these reports again will give me a good way to keep The Project alive.

My Car Miles: 23
My Bike Miles: 82.5

The highlight of the week was the 50 mile Saturday. Beginning with the Snakebite led Coffee & Doughnut ride. A trip to the LBS where somehow I ended up hanging the I.F. in the back room and rode away on a single speed roadster (Cannondale Capo).

After a bit of lunch I then joined the FAB Apple Orchard ride. I rode nice and slow behind The Owner and his three daughters. It was fun to hang with them and watch the 30 some riders ahead of us mixing it up with the unusually heavy traffic. Most everybody seemed to get along fine. Speaking of FAB children, I count 6 child rollers on that trip.

Pizza and FAB board elections followed that. I’ll be treasurer for another year.

Off to The Boy 5’s soccer game. “I don’t know dear, these bikes just seem to attach themselves to me.” And back home.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Road Trip: MC In MPLS

Saturday morning, after covering up The Boy 5’s vomit on the fine linen table cloth with the fine linen napkin, The Family left The Car behind in Minneapolis for a day.

It all begins here on Nicollet Island. That’s our car, the one with the South Dakota plates.

The playground beckons.

We walked along the river front to the Stone Arch Bridge. We gazed downstream and said things like, “see the bridge between the one we’re on and that one? No? That’s because there only used to be a bridge there.”

We had a very nice vantage to link what we learned in Chicago about river locks to this trip. That’s quite a drop! Almost 50ft if we believe the nearby Segway tour guide.

We visited the Mill City Farmer’s Market. The dried apples from Ames Farm became a weekend companion for The Boy 5 and a suitable substitute for the breakfast he left on the table earlier.

We were also particularly impressed with Molly O’Brien’s Sassy Knitwear (not so much her website), “always organic or recycled content.” I have a feeling I’ll be seeing some of this stuff around the house before too long…but we can’t consume on this trip for want of a vehicle.

We couldn’t resist the nearby Guthrie Theater’s reflective - things.

We got some tourist to take this family photo.

We abandoned our visit to the Mill City Museum after The Wife had the presence of mind to inquire after the likelihood we’d encounter wheat within. Apparently allergic reactions have even occurred in the lobby.

We ventured by the Metrodome to catch the light rail. The Boy 9 was impressed that the Packers would be playing there Sunday.

In this family no trip is complete without a train ride. This one took us to Lake Street to catch the fabled Bus 21 and included the following conversation:

"Would you mind if I gave your son a $1?"

"I appreciate the thought but I'd rather you didn't."

"'s for, you know, his bank."

"Yes, I know. Thank you. Please don't."

Lunch and an actual clothing purchase at the Midtown Global Market. "We exist to develop and maintain a public market that builds upon the economic, social and cultural assets within the surrounding community..."

The Boy 9 scans the directory for vendors that might be selling Legos.

Back on the 21 to Lake Calhoun. Please don’t bother the boys at Calhoun Rentals when it’s raining. Instead of a tandem, trailer and rollerblades we sat under the pavilion and wondered if the wind surfers would get struck by lightning. They didn’t. We didn’t either.

The Sculpture Garden was next. This is a photograph of the most photographed sculpture in the garden, "Spoonbridge and cherry."

Look. Traffic.

Back on the train to ride to the end of the line. The Mall Of America. We supped. The Boy 9 wanted Legos. The Boy 5 wanted to play the boats. In the food court The Boy 9 observed the log ride logs are…wait…fake. I suggested, in fact, the whole building was fake. He rightly pushed back about the McDonalds he was about to enjoy. I abandoned the argument and resolved to resume the conversation after he’d seen The Matrix.

Indeed the length of this post somewhat matched the length of the day. We returned to the inn and observed it still standing and The Car still parked.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


I threw up on my way to work today. I've never thrown up on the bike before. A new experience. I can't remember if it feels better to throw up in a car.

I got left behind in a conversation today because I don't watch TV. Apparently there's an iPhone ad with a song. Apparently I'm the only one who hasn't seen it. I'm ok with that because if I saw an iPhone I'd want one. I don't want to want one. Right now, I don't want one. (It's working.)

The TV was on this morning long enough for them to switch to the weatherman who was on the street saying how he loves to give away Crest Whitener mouth strips. Yeah, me too buddy. That's what I went to weatherman school for. Today's crappy weather was sponsored by Crest. Click.

I'm supporting No Impact Man as he swims around the southern tip of Manhattan. You can too. Don't know No Impact Man? You should.

No too long ago (but not yesterday either), my friend The Prairie Progressive bestowed on me The Pissant Provocateur Award. Thank you very much Tim. He also wrote a few very nice sentences about The MinusCar Project. I like to encourage that sort of behavior so I'm linking to it.

Last and not least, in the mail today I received my Facility Bike Club Mojo Bag. It's hanging off The MinusCar messenger bag. Thanks Jeff (MinusCar essay #17) & Kristy.

Have a happy Friday.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

It's Bloggerrific

I had great fun reading the internets today. Starting first with Curt at Can't See the Forest who quoted Alan Watts:

"I find that the sensation of my Self as an ego inside a bag of skin is really an hallucination. What we really are is, first of all, the whole of our body. And although our bodies are bounded with skin, and we can differentiate between inside and outside, they cannot exist except in a certain kind of natural environment.

Obviously a body requires air . . . in order to occur, the body must be on a mild and nutritive planet with just enough oxygen in the atmosphere, spinning regularly near a certain kind of star. That arrangement is just as essential to my body as my heart, my lungs, and my brain.

So to describe myself in a scientific way, I must also describe my surroundings, which is a clumsy way of getting around to the realization that you are the entire Universe. However, we do not normally feel that way because we have constructed in thought an abstract idea of our Self."
Later in the day I found this quote from Will Braun of Geez Magazine. It's published in The Idea Factory Magazine, online here:
"I am a Mennonite farm boy from the Bible Belt of Manitoba. Sometimes Mennonites drive me nuts, but I claim my heritage and identity. I don't really see it as a choice – it's who I am.

I believe it is okay to have a love-hate relationship with the church. I don't have to decide if it is all good or all bad. It is both – like me – and I can be part of it anyway.

I believe in being connected to other people. It is popular these days to say ‘I am spiritual but not religious.’ I say bunk to that. I am worried that that leads to the individualization of belief – we all just pick and choose our own little beliefs and do our own thing. It can be a rather arrogant, me-first approach. I think the individualization of belief is the end of belief.

Faith is about connecting to that which is larger than ourselves, and doing so in humility, recognizing the value of relating with others who have varying beliefs and lives. I believe in organized spirituality. I want to be part of a collection of people that includes different generations, people of widely varying backgrounds, and people with whom I disagree."

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Walk This Way

I went for a lunchtime walk the other day. I do this often. When my company moved the changing room situation degraded and I’m no longer comfortable changing clothes for lunchtime rides.

(goof - cameraman is clearly visible in the frame)

I don’t mind the walking thing though. It’s two or three hours a week to further minimize the number of man-made things around me. It’s paths by green pastures...

and quiet waters type stuff.

The sky was blue.

I took my camera this time. I once saw a piece of tree bark...

with legs moving through the water with purpose. Another time I came across a turtle the size of a quarter.

This time I was looking for signs of fall. Sure it’s early, but there are a few more leaves on the ground than usual at home .

I didn’t find any signs of fall.

The next morning I found this. I hope it didn’t fall too far.

Apparently mammal extinction is in the news lately.

I'm hiding my nipples.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Adventures In Saturdays

The Boy 5 had a soccer game today. The Wife had to work.

Load up the messenger bag and a supplemental soccer bag…let’s make a day of it. Emergency allergy medical supplies, check. Blanket because it’s cold out for soccer, check. Soccer gear, check. 700 page Harry Potter #3 for The Boy 9, check. Water, check. Treats, check.

Begin at 11 with a walk to the bus stop. Arrive early to kill time looking for calories at the convenience store. Had a conversation with The Boy 9 about the word ain’t. I pushed him on its lack of appropriateness. I softened when I told him it became a word in my lifetime. I backed off completely and told him if anybody ever tells him not to use that word, tell them there are a lot of other worse words he could say but doesn’t.

I wonder how long before that gets me in trouble.

Bus ride downtown to steal The Wife’s auto.

Stop at The LBS for some fresh patch kits because Saturday’s flat with petrified patches was completely unsatisfactory. (See what you miss out on when I don’t blog.)

Enjoy U6 soccer. It took him a whole game of encouragement, “go get the ball, get knocked over if you have to”, and finally right at the end he went into the scrum, got a foot on the ball, and got knocked over. He stood up smiling at me as if to say “I did it.” Moments later he fell apart crying. Seems he got hit in the nose…which brought back additional memories from a ball to his face a few days ago. In his defense he’s probably 20 pounds lighter than most of the other players.

We enjoyed the game in the presence of four grandparents, two of which brought extra lawn chairs for me and The Boy 9. That so we wouldn’t have to manage chairs on the bus. The Boy 9 spent the game with his nose in the book.

Return the car to The Wife. Bathroom break and back on the bus. I think one of my favorite bus riding experiences is the downtown hub when all 10 buses are picking up riders at the same time. With the noise and the bus riding people, just for a second, things feel exceptionally urban. Another neat experience is being led through the hub by The Boy 5 after simply telling him we need bus #3. He almost got on the bus a few people ahead of me but at the door he looked to see if we were coming and then got out of line to join us.

On the bus ride we practiced not pointing. We also got to see the lift work for a wheelchair. We counted emergency exits…and I wasn’t a bit embarrassed when The Boy 9 pulled his 700 page book out and started reading.

At the transfer station we got to see the driver that we argued with on last Friday’s adventure. It was a nice little touchstone back to an adult conversation between the driver and me about whether the place we were waiting for pick up is, or is not a bus stop.

As it turns out it the conclusion of the argument came down to what our definitions of is, is. (See what you miss out on when I don’t blog.)

I avoided pointing out that since he stopped the bus to pick us up it is in fact a bus stop.

I spent 5 hours with the boys today, when I could have spent one. It occurs to me that we went by The Car at the repair shop twice and it never entered my mind to even notice the car was there. Maybe it should just stay there.


Later this evening, as we were outside enjoying the fall-like turn in the weather (by cleaning freshly picked pumpkins no less) it became clear a neighbor had misplaced their 3-year-old-ish daughter. Some clues included a rather speedy drive around the block followed by a parental exchange of, “welp, you’d better start looking because I ain't seen her.” A lost child is hard to ignore so I jumped on the bike, found the child, and advised her older playmates that her parents would really like to see her again.

I’m not saying driving a car speedily around the neighborhood in search of a 3-year-old is a bad idea. I am saying that a bicycle, with its reduced speed and increased ability to hear kids playing on a backyard swingset, has its advantages.


Did I mention that Harry Potter #3 has 700 pages.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Instant Karma

…is going to get you. It’s going to knock you right in the other head.

I had a zero car-mile week last week. I might post later about how I used myself up over the weekend. Because I’m still recovering from that, I’m having trouble getting up in the morning…which has caused me to default to my car for transportation on Tuesday and Wednesday for work. Just plain lazy. Just plain guilty.

But I paid dearly today…

On the way to work, on an interstate overpass I ran over a domesticated animal. I feel awful…but it should know better than to be in my right of way. Oops, sure is easy to slip into that sort of thinking…’cause you know, there’s no reason why slowing down can’t and shouldn’t be an option, especially when there’s a seemingly unpredictable kitten, child or cyclist on the road.

I left work early to take The Boy 9 for a doctor checkup. It was a rainy trip. I was happy to be driving. We made good use of the car making multiple errand stops. We arrived back at school to pick up The Boy 5 and to my dismay, upon returning to The Car, the contents of the radiator had created a minor ecological disaster on the asphalt.

As we headed off to the service station the engine temperature went ballistic. We pulled off the road and called The Wife to come rescue us.

Tomorrow I guess I’ll be driving…but definitely riding after taking the car in for a pit stop.

Tonight…somewhere out there at the side of the road sits an abandoned MinusCar.


It's fitting then that MSN Money has an article today (thanks 'quatch) that goes something like this, "If you're constantly broke and can't figure out why, the answer may be sitting in your driveway."

Fitting too that the first item under the "What's Going Wrong" heading is, "Viewing cars as a need rather than a want."

The broad stroke point of the article? She didn't say it, Sasquatch didn't say it...

Consume. Less.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Blogs

Two things:

1. Pinch Flat News has a beautiful statement on one of their posts today - "We've said it before, and we'll say it again: Bikes are morally superior to cars, if for no other reason than they use far fewer resources in their manufacture. But bicyclists are not morally superior to car drivers."

2. Garrett Hoyt e-mailed me about a doctoral study he's doing. Don't know Garrett? Well, he blogs and he owns (possibly wears) a MinusCar t-shirt. He said, "I'm a doctoral student (I knew that) interested in how the structure of a city is related to the physical activity and health of its residents." And then he said, "I am conducting a survey on transportation preferences to find why people use the form of transportation they do."

Seems to me MinusCar readers such as yourselves, and such as...would be really interested in answering his 15 minute survey.

Friday, August 31, 2007


With all the energy I've been expending related to food allergies I was especially fun to receive this e-mail from the Food Allergy Network.

"Bella Cucina is recalling 'Death by Chocolate' cookies due to undeclared walnut."

Which came first, the name or the nuts?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Soccer & Stickers

Got home today & hooked up The Boy dragger and rolled 2 ¼ miles to U6 soccer practice. The association selects teams geographically. Apparently we’re the ones who live close enough to not have to drive.

Watched a U6 kid get kicked in the face…careful bending over to pick up your ball, boy. Just another reason not to use your hands. Ever. My The Boy took a ball full on to the nose. He came running to me for comfort and got intercepted/picked up by an assistant coach. I thought it was gutsy of her to do that. Dude, at soccer, your coaches are in charge.

I posted about receiving the Lunatic Biker sticker.

I have the special gift from Jim @ Hiawatha Cyclery scanned over there at the right.

A few days ago I received a couple Pinch Flat News stickers. Pinch Flat News currently being one of my very favorite blogs. With snarky posts five times or more a day I can’t help but check in 20 times. Grrr…

I kinda like the whole sticker swapping scene. So…

Want a sticker? E-mail me! I have 1.5 and 3 inch sizes available. I’m not sure how much I like them. The logo is circular but the minus sign upsets the balance of the logo and the sticker. Oh well, you’re getting what you pay for.

Maybe version 2.0 will be better. They’ll still be free so get one now and get one then.


Tuesday Commute

The old guy in the grocery store thinks I make pretty good time on the bicycle. Apparently he passed me on the way and by the time he came across me in produce I’d already bagged two apple fritters, my chai tea latte was poured and I was looking for my daily dose of local veggies.

The one who poured the latte – she’s intrigued…or just practicing good customer service. What do you do if it rains? I get wet.

The woman at the register wanted to know if I'd ever done RAGBRAI. Once. She's from Rock Rapids, boy that's a crazy ride! I asked her to try to remember the 9950 people just like her who were standing there gawking at the 50 making it crazy.

A co-worker passed me on the road. She said she knew honking hello wasn’t a good idea. She said she was a little uncomfortable passing me on the bridge. I said she could have waited behind me (there’s a pinch point that’s maybe a 100 ft long). She said she wasn’t THAT uncomfortable.

When I got home I attched The Boy dragger and rolled empty, also pulling an empty bike for the other The Boy...and we all rode home from school together.

These are what some people call inconveniences.


Monday, August 27, 2007

Allergic To School

If you've been reading this for a long time you know that The Family occasionally deals with food allergies. If you're a new reader, why? I haven't posted for a week! How could you be a new reader?

If you figure with a name like The Boy 5 that he may have started kindergarten last week, you'd be correct. If you cared you might be inclined to ask, "how's that going?" The highlight of this week so far (yeah, it's Monday) is he read a book to his class. (It's the wife's fault, she's the smart one.)

The highlight of last week was his first special diet school lunch. At work I watched the clock pass 11:30 and breathed some relief as it appeared that all the hard work and coordination paid off. 10 minutes later the phone was ringing and he's in the office throwing up, swollen eye, and some hives.

That made for one inspired bicycle commute from work to school.

Coincidentally The Local Daily published an article Friday (and more Saturday) that some local schools have banned peanuts. Their website includes a forum for every article. There's plenty of "the needs of the few spoiling it for the many" sentiment.

And it's possible I couldn't suppress the urge to join in the fray. I actually got zinged pretty good after round one - so if you're inclined to see me get zinged...

So, my internet minutes are getting used up over there right now.


(I don't have a good excuse for Tuesday through Friday.)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Tithe Your Gas Money

I may or may not have seen this on a church sign:

"Ride your bike, tithe your gas money."


Update: thanks to Da'Square Wheelman for giving me a clue...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Snakebite's Guts

The Wife alerted me to the presence of a Snakebite in the local daily. He's racing across the state tomorrow (Friday) in the Highway 212 Gut Check. That's 412 (plus road construction) miles with a 48 hour time limit.

The race is a fundraiser to fight Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Last year there appears to have been two solo racers. This year there are 19!

The accompanying picture contains his new fixed gear bike.

MinusCar friend Kevin Brady is also competing.

Good luck guys. I hope all goes well!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

This Isn't My SFPD

This video is making the bicycle advocacy rounds. It's a San Francisco Police training video describing bicyclist rights and responsibilities, although I think it's VERY light on bicyclist responsibilities.

I find myself wondering how far removed my SFPD is from making a video like this. I understand a video encouraging helmet use is in the can...but this video seems like it would be a big stretch to do locally.

A goal for 2008 perhaps?

New MinusCar Initiative

Given The MinusCar Project’s attentiveness to consumption…

Given that television exists partly (primarily?) to encourage consumption…

Given the television already almost never gets turn on…

Given The Family pays $500/year for cable service…

Today the cable gets canceled.

I’m thinking there’s a high probability for error when canceling cable television service…

Since home internet service is tied to my cable service…

I wonder how long it will be before I can blog again.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

My Thumb Hurts!

This morning I loaded up The BOB Trailer and headed for the FAB Coffee Doughnut ride.

Two weeks ago we had a record 10 for the ride. Today we had a record 3. I questioned the FAB Ride Director about the scheduling of a weekly Saturday morning road ride at the same time. “If that’s the ride they prefer, then that’s the ride they prefer.” There he goes, giving people what they want. Sheesh.

I, Mr Bite and KW headed for The Farmer’s Market. I was pulling t-shirts for 30 people with hopes of getting in some post-ride delivery. Later Michelle’s was the eatery of choice where full orders of biscuits and gravy were thoroughly enjoyed while one of Sioux Falls' most prolific songwriters regaled us with tales of Friday night's observation of street level plate glass window shattering hand-to-hand combatting.

Here we were joined by The Snakebite SO and, with no need to return to the place of ride origin (FAB rollers ride to the ride), turned the ride into a t-shirt delivery ride. For the next three hours we enjoyed last night’s cigarette smoke and mixed drinks (Coke and water) at Ken’s Northside Country Club (it used to be a bar), visited The LBS and The Owner prior to lunch at the Hy-Vee Super buffet…and stopped at 21 residences in central and eastern SF to deliver FABRAD t-shirts to participants.

35 miles later I had an empty trailer, some decent conversations with deliverees and I didn't know why my thumb hurt.

Want to know how to visit 21 residences by bike in the most efficient manner possible? Make a dot-to-dot with The Google Earth.

I am geek boy.

Later I opened The Parents screen door and instantly remembered why my thumb hurt. Residence #15’s thumb pusher latch actuator failed to budge when I attempted to open the door. I didn’t realize at the time that I had sprained my thumb. I’ll send the x-ray charges to FAB and the doctor's bill to the residence. (Just kidding resident #15.)

I’m halfway done with local shirt delivery…if anybody else wants to go riding.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Commuting On Liquid II

Via C.I.C.L.E. - "Kayaking to Work Offers Ad Agency Employees Exercise and Serenity"

"The trim, 55-year-old body of this gray-haired, bespectacled graphic artist wanted a new way to reach his office at Mullen, a Strip District advertising and public relations agency.

Three years ago on Father's Day he got it when his wife, Tina, and his two sons, Simon and Luke, bought him a 9 1/2-foot-long kayak."

Friday, August 03, 2007

Commuting On Liquid

The Living On Liquid blogger pointed this article (Man Rows to Work, Leaving Car Behind) out to me today. It's about a 63-year-old man who bikes and rows to work. Very cool. Intersting that I could almost pull this off myself...if there were certain infrastructure items in place.

"He rides one bicycle from his home in Cheverly to a boathouse where he keeps his 21-foot-long fiberglass rowing shell. He rows 6 1/2 miles, then rides another bicycle from the river to his job at the Library of Congress. The whole trip takes about an hour-and-a-half."

When he got out of his car and into the water something changed for him, "His intimate perspective on the river has led him to get involved in the Anacostia Watershed Society, a local environmental group, and to 'adopt' a piece of shoreline that he keeps clean."

Thursday, August 02, 2007

And The Bridge Falls

I read this editorial in the Minneapolis Star Tribune today. It’s pretty good. I especially liked a couple lines:

“There isn't any bigger metaphor for a society in trouble than a bridge falling, its concrete lanes pointing brokenly at the sky, its crumpled cars pointing down at the deep waters where people disappeared.”

“…we are left to conclude that it was worse than any of those things, because it was more mundane and more insidious: This death and destruction was the result of incompetence or indifference. In a word, it was avoidable.”

"Both political parties have tried to govern on the cheap, and both have dithered and dallied and spent public wealth on stadiums while scrimping on the basics." (The Twins have postponed the groundbreaking for their new stadium.)

His overall point is that government has failed the people.

I listened to Barbara Kingsolver today too. She’s written a book (Animal, Vegtable, Miracle) about her family’s experience of eating only local food for one year. There’s some pretty excellent stuff in the transcript.

But for the topic du jour:

“We have a tendency to blame anybody but us, especially the government, and say, 'Well, the government needs to fix this.' Well, here's the trouble. The government is us. We have the laws that we allow, that we're willing to put up with. We're terrified of sacrifices, it seems. We're really afraid of giving up the things that we're accustomed to.”

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Report: July 16 – 29

Looks like I missed last week’s report. I’ll combine two weeks in this one.

It’s been pretty great biking weather. One person’s drought is another person’s car sitting in the driveway. Yeah, that’s selfish…so, one person’s drought is my dried up peas. Yes, the garden is suffering…but the robins are enjoying the partially sundried tomatoes.

Trips -
MinusCar: 23
Multi-occupant Auto: 10
Single occupant Auto: 2
Destinations: 77

The Car left the driveway on 7/18 with just me in it. I was late because I was lazy. I tried to make the most of it.

My Car Miles: 29
My Bike Miles: 168

On the 24th I combined bus and bike for a trip to a regional transportation planning meeting. The bus was necessary because I wanted to be dressed and not sweaty. I can’t remember the last time I put my bike on the bus. I know I’ve never put the IF bike on the bus…the tires are so fat they need to be pounded into the rack.

I was the only one at the meeting with a messenger bag. I got the best parking spot though…they let me park inside the building.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Coffee And Doughnuts And Bloggers, Oh My

We had a record 10 rollers at the Coffee & Doughnut ride Saturday morning. Snakebite took us to Black Sheep coffee. CycleSD blogs a review of the ride and the FAB Poker Run later the same day. And...he purchased commuter gear too. Hmmm...

"I'm the new evangelist for this ride. What a cool way to get off the beaten (bike) path..."

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Preach It Brother

“The question isn't just about what they do with the brick; it's what the brick does to them.”

Lots of people are talking about how hot it’s been. Summer does that to a person doesn’t it? Yeah, it’s probably just a summer thing. I’ve been remembering how much I enjoy riding in the wintertime.

Yesterday I noticed my electricity bill was less again this month than last year with the same average temperature. I like that in an electricity bill.

I ran 90-degree bike errands after work. I hooked up with the FAB check cosigner. I hooked up with Snakebite to give him the checks so he could purchase prizes for this weekend’s poker run. Then went to check out the freshly posted alternate bike trail route signs the city has placed. I took a call from The Owner, noticed a man urinating in pubic, and yep the signs exist. Bring a digital camera so you have something to refer to as you travel the alternate route. So far the city isn’t really into making them completely useful.

My ride listening for the trip was Rob Bell’s Sunday morning message, the fourth installment of his churches God Is Green series. As I’m being amazed at the heavy MinusCar content I’m thinking about how I should blog it. I'm a little uneasy about blogging Rob Bell because lots of people are convinced that listening to him is akin to taking a few steps down the road to hell.

I decided if, when I got home, there was postal mail from Ray the Lunatic Biker, I would blog Rob Bell. If I’m following the road to hell I want to be in good company.

Thanks for the stickers Ray! (the other one is over there) -->


Rob Bell

The mp3 I listened to is here, or check their site for the official source. If you listen, get bonus points by correctly identifying the Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson song lyrics he works into the first 15 minutes.

Here are two quotes that I particularly liked:

“I decided to make a vow that I would ask myself, every time that I was about to drive somewhere, is it possible to walk this, and if it's not possible to walk to this thing, is it possible to ride my bike to this thing. So I've been practicing this for a while now and it's absolutely revolutionized my life...It's hard to consider the lilies at 70mph.”
“Many people go out to a garage, get into a car, windows up, air conditioning on, garage door up, drive to parking garage, get out into building, windows sealed, air conditioning, back out, into car, air conditioned, windows up, drive back to home, door up, in, door down, into air conditioned home and then say things like, ah, God just seems far away.”
Thanks Rob.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Friday Night FAB

I see the CycleSD blog is displaying pictures from our Friday night adventure. Here’s what happened…

Late Friday night the FAB Fone beeped out the message that a FABB13 (FAB behavior #13) was possibly going down at the bus depot. A FABB13 is a possible subversive misuse of the FAB logo. He and I converged on the bus depot just in time to observe suspicious materials being handed off between two parties.

We split up and I followed the vehicle that received the mysterious materials. They led me to the 49th Street Bridge near the bike trail closure. It was dark and I kept my distance but they were there for quite some time. I didn’t want to push my luck so I retired to my bed for the rest of the night.

The next morning, with the safety of daylight I went to inspect the scene. Here is what I found…

Parts of this tale may have been fictionalized.