Thursday, October 26, 2006

this is oddly cathartic

yummy wideangle flatirons action

so here I am in the midst of finishing a gargantuan pumpkin cheesecake.

it's about twenty minutes from coming out of the oven and right now the entire apartment is bathed in the heady aroma of pumpkin pie spice and several pounds of Philly's finest.

dibs on a slice anyone?

it's the biggest cheesecake recipe I've ever seen or made... well considering I've never made cheesecake before, but anyhows. I think this thing is gonna feed not only my colleagues but prolly most of the internet with some left over.

anyways earlier on I was following the roommate's recipe for a cookie crumb crust. like all his recipes, it was pretty basic: "mash 1 box cookies, mix with 1 stick melted butter, refrigerate".

he's a really, really good cook that lad, however his recipes tend towards the spartan on the details.

sooo... there I was wandering around the living room with a box of lorna doones and a 4 quart steel mixer bowl, wondering how in the fuck I was going to mash up an entire box of cookies - seeing as we're somewhat light on kitchen gear, y'know -- luxuries like rolling pins and such. not to mention the last time I tried something like this with a food processor it promptly went tits up.

Now, might I add that we do have eight bikes and seventeen pairs of wheels and about five thousand eight hundred seventy-two bicycle-related doo-dads and whatchamajiggers including a huge rollaway tool chest full of every bike part and maintenance option known to god (you know, those kind car mechanics have? we got one, only it's full of bike tools).

then inspiration struck as my eye lit upon ye olde 12 oz. claw hammer.

turns out a 12 oz. claw hammer is the dog's nutz for mashing cookies, especially in one of those cheapassed Target 4 quart steel mixer bowls cos the profile of the claw and the bottom of the bowl marry up like peas n carrots. So I wrapped that hammer up in a floursack rag, stuck an old Stabbing Westward cd in the stereo and got jiggy with it.

this freaked out the cat and I'm sure the downstairs neighbours wondered what the aitch I was up to, but as the Geto Boyz spit in the movie Office Space: god DAMN it feels good to be a gangsta.

take me to your leader

I feel so much better now. thanks y'all for listening.



Tuesday, October 03, 2006

o Denver Cruise, how I shall miss thee...

Last Wednesday evening included many beers, my date crashing his fixte, some drunken streaking chicks and lots of wrong turns.

ahhhh, Denver Cruise, how I will miss thee in the cold winter months... yet therein lies a tale:

A long, long time ago, in a city far, far away, high up in the Rockies where the air is thin and the microbrews are phat -- there were a bunch of cruisers. Most were former (or current) couriers, and every Wednesday night throughout the soft summer months, they would meet at the wineshop with their friends, dress in humourously themed costumes and ride their cruiser, track and singlespeed bicycles around from bar to bar to bar until either the bars closed or they were too drunk to balance... or both.

One of the cruisers, an enterprising young Irish lad, decided that the key to ultimate cruising bliss was to build himself a 'Drunken Cruiser', to merge the themes of boozing and cruising in a metaphorical endless, infinite feedback loop; a proverbial Moebius of debauchery. Being that he was himself a metalworker, and owned a property full of lathes and welding equipment, he cracked a 40 and got down to work.

Thus the Ketel One Valdez was born. Conceived in inebriation, born in intoxication, nurtured in pure unabashed blitzedness and intended never to be ridden sober, it became the paradigm of debauched pubcrawlery. Weighing in at a svelte 83 lbs, stretching 9 feet long, and carrying a fifth of Russia's finest in the conveniently located faux fuel tank, this behemoth inspired fear in the hearts of fixed gear riders up and down the Front Range.

Imagine the pure visceral terror felt by the rider of a scant sixteen pounds of gazelle-like grace and noble purpose that is a fixed gear bicycle, as this juggernaut hurtled out of control on an irrevocable intercept vector, the high child-like scream of its thoroughly inadequate braking system sounding as the klaxons of doom.

on Wednesday night, the KOV claimed its fifth victim.*

two hot bianchis
*no fixed gears were harmed in the making of this tale



Friday, September 29, 2006

the gates of autumn

Shut your eyes and think of somewhere
Somewhere cold and caked in snow
By the fire we break the quiet
Learn to wear each other well

And when the worrying starts to hurt
and the world feels like graves of dirt
Just close your eyes until
you can imagine this place, you're our secret space at will

Shut your eyes, I spin the big chair
And you'll feel dizzy, light, and free
And falling gently on the cushion
You can come and sing to me

And when the worrying starts to hurt
and the world feels like graves of dirt
Just close your eyes until
you can imagine this place, you're our secret space at will

-- Snow Patrol

I was certain I'd gotten over the appalling habit of listening to the same damn song over and over when I was about seventeen, but apparently not. I'm now at 3 Snow Patrol albums and counting. Yes, yes, I know their latest album is distressingly 'pop' to their indie core fanbois, however I do feel both their earlier stuff and the most recent album show amazingly insightful lyricism, plus a studied and intelligent evolution.

Kids, I know how painfully devoted you are to that 500-watt college station you've been listening to for the entire duration of your 7-year attempt to graduate, and that it feels like a betrayal when your precious little twee bands hit adolescence and start making eyes at the A&R men, but let me enlighten you. Starving in a garret and playing shitty 50 seat venues is all a noble cause and such, but it doesn't pay the bills, and indie bands (to paraphrase Woody Allen) are like sharks. If they don't continually swim forward and thus evolve, they die. Not to mention that it's one thing to sound like a garage band when you are a garage band, but it's both sloppy and ill-advised once you're getting paid decent money to produce something that people who don't live in their moms' basements will want to buy.

When a band has been fortunate enough to get signed by a major label, I (personally) consider it refreshing that they put down the PBR, find some clean(er) tshirts to wear onstage, and make a good-faith effort to tune their instruments. Even better if they stretch their creative muscle and try out all those shiny new gadgets they've been given access to. It is absolutely possible to do all this without selling out. Irish-artists-who-shall-remain-nameless have indeed sold out, and this I will not argue. These guys, however, have yet to... despite opening for one of the more egregious examples of sellout in recent modern rock history. Oh and I don't doubt that with the exposure on some stupid TV show, the track Chasing Cars is poised to become the most-overplayed-song-on-the-radio for fall 2006, but if you listen closely to all the work on this album, you'll find it's well-crafted music that's still as emotionally raw and vulnerable as the stuff they were producing on Jeepster. (which happens to be the same label that spawned indie-pop gods Belle & Sebastian, who collaborated with the original SP members on their debut EP Starfighter Pilot).

man I loves me some Scots-Irish indiepop.


The days are getting shorter, the nights colder, and ski season is just around the corner. This summer has disappeared like a prom dress at the afterparty. The roommate is getting antsy to start the ski season and cyclocross bikes have been getting a heavy workout for the past month. The road bikes are getting left on the hooks more and more often as chill mornings, changing leaves and chinook winds all conspire to make riding in the woods an attractive prospect.

nighty night,


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

mountain biker

Okay, okay, enough with the cute already. What would this blog be without one of my seriously overcooked Photoshop messes as a header?

I particularly liked this shot cos it makes Aaron look like The Mountain Biker That Ate Seattle... or something like that. that's an extra-large Heckler and his saddle nose almost comes up to my collarbones, but somehow when he's on that bike, it looks tiny.

The two of us went and rode the West Magnolia trails last weekend.

hecklerThis is a shot of the Heckler all by its lonesome, waiting for us to figure out the best route, since it's a maze of twisty little passages, all alike.

A big wind storm a few years back blew down a bunch of trees, which made for an interesting texture in the background, and a 'signature' West Mag kind of shot.

"uh, which way now?" "dude, I don't remember..." "didn't you say you rode up here?" "that was four years ago! and I got lost! besides, everything's changed..." "so do you remember if the outer loop goes up or down this hill?" "dude, YOU'RE the one who read the map, you tell me!"

um, yea. looks like it was down the hill. Holy shredalicious line, Batman! This guy never ceases to astonish me with the sick terrain he can ride. and yes, it's every bit as steep as it looks. worse, actually.

we rode for about three hours straight, and it was darned hot. At some point I got distracted enough that he managed to confiscate the camera... and yes, Aaron really is that tall. well, that plus I'm a midget.

sometimes I manage to make it look like I can ride. sometimes.

Aaron retaliates for the many, many butt-shots I've taken of him, yikes!

This one says it all.

next up... more Breckenridge pics!! woo!

Monday, August 07, 2006

The cat's pyjamas

I'm posting this because, well, come ON, it's too freaking cute not to! Billy (the kitty in the pj's) has been scratching at a spot on his ribs. So Aaron decided to get him a little baby jumper to keep him from worrying at it.

I wanted him to get Billy a 'Hello Kitty' jumper, but on review the little wrenches and stuff are too funny (well at least when you consider that Aaron's a pro bicycle mechanic).

I have been resisting this temptation for over a week, but Saturday night I couldn't stand it anymore. I had to get out the Nikon and shoot some guerilla adorableness-poisoning-inducing pics of the two of them passed out on the livingroom floor.

Saturday Aaron threw down at Winter Park again. He's confirmed in second place for the series; first place is the ::cough cough:: sandbagger dude who's won every race by like eight or ten minutes.

Saturday night we ate an entire monster pizza from Abo's (mmm, Abo's!!) whilst watching Hero and Garden State. About halfway through Garden State, Aaron decided to play with Billy on the living room floor. I told him 'dude, you know you're just going to pass out down here, and then I'll have to wake you up so you can go to bed...'

'oh no I won't, I love this movie...' (btw Garden State? Best. Movie. Soundtrack. EVER!)

ten minutes later, he's passed out, just like I said, probably during the pool scene, which IMO is one of the pivotal points in the movie. He and Billy were all curled up on his ma's afghan, and the result was just too freaking cute to pass up, as you can see.

so... here's the part where I figure out if A reads my blog, har har har. He would/will absolutely KICK MY BUTT if/when he finds out I've posted these.

I like to live dangerously.

Sweet dreams,


Saturday, July 29, 2006

A busy summer

This lead shot is probably my fave from the Denver Cruise series. It's nominally a capture of a rad moto cruiser, worked with my special secret lomo recipe... but that also happens to be my good fixte pal Frye there in the background, looking like an Abercrombie model.

Oh yes. Here we go again with my lame protestations of being busy. Honestly, though, the combination of my somewhat flakey bootlegnet wireless here at Chez LFR plus the dude considering it his Moral Imperative to keep me busy 24/7, has been seriously cutting into my internet time. On review, living alone pretty much sucked rocks compared to living with A and the Psychokitties (and the nine bikes... can't forget those guys either).

Perhaps if I post a bunch of photos that explain where I've been all summer, it will somewhat make up for the fact that I basically haven't had time to post.

This one's a shot of the Ogden Theatre marquee, with some awesome headliners up. I posted a ton more from this Denver Cruise on Roadbikereview awhile back, click to link.

Every other Saturday, I've been heading up to support Aaron and shoot pics at the Winter Park mountain bike series, which he's currently kicking major arse in.

That's a nice schwag shot from WP; Aaron picked this up on a cold rainy day a few weeks ago. His mom loved it.

This kid was just flat hauling in the slick, muddy conditions that day. Shooting fast motion in abysmal light, at roughly f/4 or so to maximise my shutter, whilst trying to keep the fill flash from startling the riders in the singletrack was a challenge. I had fun. I've also had quite a bit of interest in the shots I took, so I'm printing cut sheets and will take them to the next race, since there have been no photos posted on their web site for the series as yet.

Back in the '90s before he moved here from D.C., Aaron was both a sponsored rider and a professional mechanic for the Spooky factory team. Meaning he keeps his equipment (and mine) in peak working condition. The rain at this race was wreaking havoc with everyone's gear, so we heard plenty of squealing discs, creaking shocks and grinding drivetrains. The joke of the day was that Aaron keeps the Heckler so tight that it's just too damned quiet. We (meaning the marshals and me) couldn't even hear him coming, so all we got to see of "Rider #684!" was his Camelbak disappearing down the mountain. By the time I realised it was him, I'd completely missed the shot.

This one of him at the start, tho, really tells it like it is. Cold, damp and stressed out. Aaron's the rider on the far left, in the red-and-black kit.

Two weeks later, the sun was out, the course was much more open and rolling, and I had no such troubles capturing a good action shot of A in the singletrack this time. This one also shows I've figured out how to metre the fill correctly AND learned to use trap focus. O yeah!

Aaron has been hounding me to carry his big-ass fancy ballmount tripod to events. Meh. I'd rather shoot handheld and have the flexibility. I'm getting reasonably good at it. I also suspect that hucking a tripod along with all the other shite I carry at these races would be an exercise in How To Completely Own Myself. The singletrack I'm riding to get to these spots gets downright rocky, skinny and steep. It's already hard enough to sherpa 20 lbs of camera gear, bug spray, etc... up there in the Metropolis without the bonus option of clotheslining myself with a tripod.

When he hasn't been racing the Winter Park series, Aaron has been hauling me out to BFE Colorado to bag the biggest, sickest, most radical stashes of singletrack I've ever seen. Today we were out in the hinterlands somewhere north of Breckenridge for the second time in the past couple weeks. At the end of August, we're going to take a long weekend and head back out to Crested Butte for a four or five day epic.

This shot was from today, on the jeep road leading up to the Colorado trail. Oh. My. God!! This SOB totally redefines steep, ass-busting technical un-fun climbs. When I say the singletrack payoff is worth the pain in the rear (and the back, and the legs) getting up here, I mean it. The next 2 shots should somewhat prove it.

All this mountain biking (well A also drags me around on multihour road rides during the week...) is either going to kill me or make me fitter than I've ever been in my life. What I do know is that insane amounts of riding plus my refusal to drive to work for the past six months, or anywhere else for that matter, means I'm slimmer than I've been since high school.

Since it's been requested, I'm sticking a (somewhat) recent photo of me on the blog. Meh. Frye shot this one back in June at the Denver Cruise. I'm still toughing it out with the hair, tho at least now it's finally long enough to get put in a ponytail on rides.



Tuesday, July 25, 2006

this is plain getting creepy.

I got carded tonight... again. Now, I'm not actually boasting. Nor am I honestly complaining because I really should be flattered considering I'm staring my 38th birthday in the face.

The creepy part comes in considering that tonight was the SECOND time in a week that I've been in a liquor store and got carded, and my companion (we were simply buying beer, nothing major) did not. Now, Aaron isn't massively younger than me, but he does happen to be on the opposite end of his thirties, and looks 25 if that.

last week tho... that was pretty freaking scary. you see, I was hanging out with my fixte bro Frye, and Frye, awesome brilliant dude tho he is, just happens to have turned 21 in May... and looks all of about sixteen. I actually gave the register clerk shit about that one, because how can you let that slide?. I'm like 'ok, I understand you're just doing your job and all, but seriously. You're going to card me, and I'm almost 40. But you don't even bat an eye at HIM??!!??'

I'm flattered, really. Now cut the crap and quit just blindly asking the girl in the group, just because you ASSume she's the younger.

I chalk that one up to pure chauvinism. Plain and simple. And if me calling 'bullshit' makes the clerk stop and think a minute then perhaps that's a good thing (although I really do not want to even get into the politics of 'underage' drinking here).

Kids these days. Hell maybe someday I'll grow some grey hair or something, and then I can forget about having to carry ID everywhere. I still can't get into a bar in LoDo without it, although I am fairly certain that's simply standard policy for them to card everyone who walks in the door regardless. Honestly, you can say it's flattering and all and I should appreciate it (well and of course I do!). But how do you think this makes my friends feel, considering I'm at least five years older than any of them? That's a bit of an insult, and it makes me uncomfortable.

Anyway, I'm just rambling. Thought it would be entertaining. And no, I don't keep a portrait in the attic.

Nighty night all.