Friday, March 24, 2006

Ketchup... the novel

24 Mar 2006: Damn Dude! Again, it's been a long time between issues here. I know, it's unacceptable to you, my audience, to be so lackluster, so as the flagellant I am, I have administered 10 lashes to myself, and bleed from the back now. Hurts.

So I realize that is the proper venue for this sort of thing, but nevertheless here are some things that truly Suck:

  • American Airlines: AA sucks like few other companies. Seriously, I think their corporate mantra is "The Customer: A Necessary Evil." Their asinine policies, along with similar dipshit practices of United/Delta/Northworthless, created the inevitable success of Southwest and Jetblue. Ever be in the unfortunate position of needing a ticket at the last minute? That's going to cost you, pal. I'm guessing $1000+ to go from, say, SF to San Diego. Gee, maybe I'll pay $200 and go Southwest, even if I buy the ticket 30 minutes in "advance". And that ticket is fully refundable with no restrictions whatsoever! AA rips you off solely because they can, and somehow they are still in business. Memo to US government: let shit companies DIE, like they deserve. No more low-interest loans, no more bailouts, no more restrictions on competition like the disgusting recent action by AA/Delta/United to keep Virgin out of the US by invocation of some archaic law meant to keep enough commercial aircraft around for the US military to potentially use in wartime. Come on! Like the air force needs a 737. Eat shit and DIE AA and your ilk.

    Oh yeah, I forgot the "AAdvantage" miles program. This is a really terrific perk. Not. Ever try to actually use "your" miles? Good luck getting a flight anywhere near the dates/places you want. I actually tried to book a flight more than a year in advance to this little backwater called Miami and guess what? No flights within a week of my desired departure. This is totally par for the course. Why am I in this stupid program? Duped, bilked, and milked, I say no more AA. Go to hell, ass-munches.

  • Bank of America: These guys only hate their customers, a big step up from AA, but still not so great. So I forgot to get my ATM card out of an ATM the other day, and like a good bank, they decided that even though I had just conducted a valid transaction, their own machine had the card in its maw, and there were no questionable charges, they should cut off my account access, and make their site try to fool me into thinking I had never had an account! That's just great. My card is gone, and I can't even check to see if anyone had the thing because I can't check my account activity! My god, you people are bright. Why do I keep this account open? Probably because my ATM card says "Valued customer since 1987", and you know I hate to lose seniority... like it does the slightest bit of good to me to be a 20-YEAR CUSTOMER. Still treated like a guy trying to cash a third-party postdated check with no address printed on it. The only reason BofA is so big is the fact that the $2 fee they charge for non-BofA withdrawals makes people grateful they have a trillion ATMs everywhere. Sinister, but it works. Well eat shit and die, BofA.

1 Oct 2005: Damn Dude! Been months. Cold lampin' in the 'Mish', another sunny day. The Keurig is the most convenient coffee machine ever invented - just throw in a cartridge of sorts, push a button, and about 30 seconds later you have a passable coffee. Great because Google has them too, so if I ever get low I can grab a few new varieties. Of course, the ultimate, finest, most multi-dimensionally-delicious coffee in all of SF is right around the corner -- Philz, at 24th & Folsom. By far the best coffee I've ever had, and a suitably motley band of wackos behind the counter to go with it, including Phil himself. So.damn.good.

12 Apr 2005: So I'm moving to San Francisco, oh yeah. A true cyclist's city, SF has the right political bent to suit an anti-SUV chap like myself. Immediately will deploy a fixed-gear Cannondale road bike to gain necessary credibility for arriving properly at venues such as Zeitgeist.

06 Apr 2005: Stupid Cinelli made the bar-end shifter tubes too small on the high-dollar Angel. This is a $500 aerobar (got mine for $200 on ebay) and fricking dura-ace shifters don't fit! Had to hog them out with a dremel about 1/16", which took a long time and many sanding drums due to the high-quality, very hard aluminum they used. Finally got them to fit, but damn, couldn't they have made the tubes slightly bigger? Are they Campy-specific? Duh!

26 Mar 2005: Rolled the sweet vintage Schwinn Hollywood today, which recently appeared in my garage as a result of some dude moving. Sports cool white rims with black stripes -- all original. Nice bike to ride around on, very comfortable. Coaster brake is a little weird if you haven't used one in 20 years, but it's like they say...

17 Mar 2005: With fresh Bud in hand an nothing pressing, sauntered out into the garage and noticed I had an old Cannondale road frame with cranks/fork/bars sitting around. Found some track wheels, new single-speed chain, and an old Shimano 600 brake and put it together. In about 30 minutes I had a working fixed-gear commuter with a towering 53x15 ratio. Not the best for hills, but a fast beast for long flat roads. Really light and cool looking too. The dropouts were a little too wide, but a 14mm wrench put them in the right spot. Hope it doesn't crack the frame...

26 Feb 2005: Was about to go mountain biking today on the old dual-suspension Giant and break in the new Skareb fork, but the crank kept moving on the BB. Took it apart and discovered it's the wrong bottom bracket, which sucks. Don't have the right one either. I guess I had a road BB on there, and the splines aren't the right size. The XT MTB cranks have fatter slots for the BB splines, even though they are both Shimano. Dammit, I hate buying bottom brackets -- never sure if I'm getting the right one.

18 Feb 2005: I am building such a dope time trial/tri bike. I'm using a super cool polished aluminum Giant SL-ALUXX compact road frame (2003) which is amazingly light. Wheels are the ultimate in cool, Mavic Cosmic Carbones, which I got used on ebay for $500. Dura-ace brakes & cranks, a radical 55-tooth Dura-ace chainring, and the coup-de-grace, the Cinelli Angel TT bars. This will be the fastest TT/tri bike ever, possibly. I will use it to defend my 3rd-place 'title' in the thinly-contested team-relay class of the Devil Dog Duathlon, held at Camp Pendleton on April 23rd.

07 Feb 2005: The club ride kicks my ass again. Riding 50 miles on saturday and running 5 miles on sunday having little to no effect on weight. The siren song of beer sweet beer cannot be resisted.

27 Jan 2005: 20 pounds of fat actually impedes your breathing on a bike, due to the hunched over position. Beer reduction plan not achieving goals of, uh, reducing. Commute times, limited though the sample be, suck. Running pretty sad. Obesity around the corner. Harridan virago slattern.

26 Dec 2004: "Tremendous Slouch" does not begin to describe my sloth. After crashing at the track in late July, my "regimen" has consisted primarily of the not-so-strenuous 12-ounce curl, which has resulted in a gain of 15 lbs. in amazingly short time. As of today, no more bread, no beer simply because it's 3pm, and daily elevated heartrate. Will get down to 175 for racing season, dammit.

19 Dec 2004: New KHS single-speed mtb showed up today. A complete s/s bike with decent components for $350 was too good to pass up. was selling them for $500, then dropped them to that ridiculously low price and I had to jump on it. Probably use it for a cruiser around Pacific Beach. Speaking of, it's 80 degrees and sunny here in San Diego on December 19th, two days from the shortest day of the year. Are you kidding me? I'm going to the friggin' beach. Where's the Bud?

04 Dec 2004: Raining in SD today. Looks like the utter greyness of black paint swirled into water in a styrofoam cup. Perfect day for the Avalanches and coffee. I think I'll start selling Chris King single-speed hubs. They are bad-ass and hard to get. We'll lead in that market.

27 Nov 2004:Too lazy to do the SDBC(.org) club ride today, so went running on the beach. Running sucks, but it gives you the CV you need in much less time. The rest of today will be spent filling orders, since the volume has gotten so high. A lot of you see a great bargain for xmas when you know it, or something. Anyway, this stuff is moving at a ridiculous pace. F*&%in' A!

20 Nov 2004: The front page of the Union-Tribune was a beautiful thing today. No, the writing didn't suddenly get good or anything, but the headline was lovely: "Mayor Wins Vote". Not that I have particular fondness for Dick Murphy - he did, after all, support Prop G (lukewarm-ly). But hysterical Donna Frye is a downright nut, hell-bent on banning beer from the beaches of San Diego. As a former alcoholic herself, this smacks of the worst kind of hypocrisy - the "trust me kiddies, I've been there, and alcohol is bad for you!" Save it, wacko.

10 Nov 2004: "Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for thatmatter in Germany. That is understood. But, afterall, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a
fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship....That [democratic voting] is well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be
brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of
patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

-- Hermann Goering, April 18, 1946

04 Nov 2004: One could make the argument that morons elected Shrub, and that there are simply more of them than smart people in this country. I would not argue with you.

03 Nov 2004: This just in: BUSH DOES SOMETHING GOOD! I know it's impossible-sounding, but the nitwit actually passed a smart energy bill - the one that gives tax breaks to biodiesel, which will greatly encourage its production and infrastructure development. It's a good day for the alternative fuels movement, and biodiesel is the best of the alternative fuels. Read the PDF press release.

03 Nov 2004: What a disaster. Shrub gets reelected, anti-beer Donna Frye looks to be the next mayor of San Diego, and Lions refused to embrace the lord Jesus. Can someone explain this all to me? I need some perspective here. Very troubling events across the spectrum of human stupidity. And oh yeah, some nut was riding up Mt. Soledad today at 6:45am. That means he will be vanquishing me at the next Camp Pendleton Road Race in the early spring. Mofo.

26 Oct 2004: That's it, the fricking tonsils are coming out. I've made the appointment, and next Tuesday I get (hopefully) approved for the surgery. And then, after a couple weeks of the worst sore throat of all time (or so I've heard), I'll be free of lame illnesses, strep throat, snoring, restricted airflow, and the daily irritability that comes with insufficient oxygen and interrupted sleep. The uvula goes too. What the hell good is gag reflex anyway?

10 Oct 2004: There is one thing that burns me up more than more than people who watch The Bachelor and read People magazine -- people who try to take away my freedom to drink beer on the beach. San Diego is pretty much the last place in California you can legally drink on the beach, and that right is under constant assault by busybody morons who think they know what's best for me. They incessantly prattle on about unsafe riot-imminent conditions and horrific scenarios like someone urinating in public or a flower bed getting trampled. Nearly everyone likes to have a beer or (plastic) glass of wine while unwinding on the sands from a hectic workday. Yet these shrill whiners still insist on trying to force legislation to ban this almost universally loved freedom. Message to the meddlers: BEAT IT. If you don't like people having fun on the beach, LEAVE. You can move to Orange County where nearly everything is illegal.

04 Oct 2004: Ever temporarily suspend your mania for bicycles? Somehow it seems I have. Haven't even bought a bike part off ebay in a month! My feedback languishes around 200. Currently consumed with the idea of a biodiesel fueling station - there are none in San Diego that sell 100% biodiesel (B100), only one place that sells biodiesel at all, and it's B20 (20%). And it's off the 15, which isn't that convenient. There needs to be a local B100 purveyor, and I'm afraid it must be me. The riches will be mine, oh yes. And I will stick it to Bin Laden, OPEC, corrupt Russians, corrupt Nigerians, corrupt Venezuelans, corrupt Pemexes, corrupt Bushes, corrupt Halliburtons, corrupt ChevronTexaco-ExxonMobil-BP/Amoco-ConocoPhilipses, and everyone except the American farmer, producer of soybean, rapeseed, and other diesel-friendly oils. It's about time, dammit. Just think if all thos semis were powered by the same produce that they drive thru all day delivering porcelain figurines to Wal-Mart? The beauty of biodiesel is simply too great to ignore.

16 Sept 2004: What's the best value in road bike frames? I always go Cannondale. I was checking out this Excel Sports catalog today, and Gios frames weighing 4 pounds were selling for $2000 or so. WTF? I can get a nice CAAD4 Cannondale, weighing under 3 pounds, for like $250. Great frame, super stiff, really nicely made (in Pennsylvania, by hand), and good-looking to boot. Just bought a CAAD3 mtb frame for like $80 - and that included a Shimano bottom bracket. $200 later I had an XT-laden mountain bike that was better than anything made up until the early 90s and that weighs maybe 23 pounds. And it's a sweet orange color. Want value? Buy Cannondale off ebay. Disclaimer: I own ebay stock, and it's up 210%. Booyah!

6 Sept 2004: The mountain biking mecca that is British Columbia dishes up plate after plate of scrumptious vittles a la singletrack thru the boundless temperate rainforest of the Hawaii of the Pacific Northwest - Hornby Island. Sunny and warm the whole week we're there, with perfect conditions for both beer drinking and getting rad on a bike. Such a cool place.

3 Sept 2004: Up in Seattle on the way to Hornby Island, BC. Toured around the city on rented hybrids along the way cool Burke-Gilman trail, an enlightened civic accomplishment linking more or less everywhere you'd want to go in the city of endless cloudiness. Rails-to-trails is a great thing, friends.

18 Aug 2004: Doh! The previously uncrashed Roy, feeling a little out of it from a cold, starts to pass this guy when WHAMMO! the dude swerves up-track and takes out the ol' front wheel. I hit the pavement at about 22mph, sanding off a considerable quantity of flesh and badly damaging my lovely yellow bar tape. Fortunately the GT is otherwise more or less unscathed. 3 weeks later, I'm all healed up except for the flesh discoloration on the right arm. Good excuse anyway to buy a new wheel with a deep-section Zipp carbon tubular tim and American Classic hub. Skipping racing again tomorrow night, but will probably do a couple more this season. Need to catch up to Bri, who won 3 races in 4 tries. Still only have 2 outright wins myself, dammit. Probably because Bri's bike is way more shiny.

11 Aug 2004: Ouch, the velodrome claimed some victims last night - the Kid crashes and road rashes himself all up, and Bri hits the concrete with a bone-crushing wallop - both out for the season. 8 weeks to heal a broken collarbone, no driving stickshifts...

25 July 2004: Damn Lance kicked some ass. This was perhaps the most dominant Crushing levied in modern Tour history, with nary a viable challenger in sight the whole 3 weeks. The award goes to Iban Mayo, who wussed out do to general lameness, when still in decent physical shape and 30+ minutes down. Was he hurt or just a pansy? And wasn't Tyler twice as injured last year? I guess he was in some back pain this year, but one would think that a fractured collarbone is worse. Oh well, he's at least not a primadonna like Mayo, whose major cost center is doubtless hair product and gold necklaces. Speaking of, why do ALL pro cyclists insist on wearing Guido-esque gold chains? When I'm going up L'Alpe D'huez, you can be damn sure I'm not bringing any extra weight, especially weight that's in atrociously bad taste. Only Jacky Durand, sporting the insane mullet form hell irrespective of how hip it is, should be wearing gold rope.

23 July 2004: So last saturday we rode on the new state route 56 freeway, a multi-billion-dollar boondoggle connecting Rancho Powayardo Irvine-style tract home hell with Del Mar. There was an endless procession of dignitaries speaking, including Dick Murphy (the mayor who tried to ban beer on the beach in San Diego - lame!), who prattled on for what seemed like hours as the hundreds of assembled cyclists wilted in the scorching sun (one fainted due to heat stroke) impatiently. Meanwhile, the classic car club guys got increasingly agitated by the bikes getting too close, and one guy with a 30s-era Model A tried to fight us for allegedly brushing his bumper with a bike tire. Bikes and cars don't mix chums. When all those old cars fired up, guess who got to breathe the unburned hydrocarbons? Almost turned into a brawl. Hmm, here's an idea, how about we spend 1/100000th of that money on bike paths so we can actually GET SOMEWHERE in San Diego without risking death? But nooooo, we need more freeways - which don't, by the way, give developers carte blanche to build thousands more tract homes! That's a lie! I tellya, this nation is messed up.

20 July 2004: The Car is Your Enemy, and Pedestrians are Oblivious. Does anyone pay attention to where they are going? Of course, any kid under 12 or so is completely unaware of anyone else in the universe and should be presumed to be planning random darting in front of you, but what's amazing is how completely in fantasyland all rollerbladers are, even those pushing strollers loaded with infants, which presumably they'd have an interest in protecting. Everyone should ride on the velodrome once and learn this: always look before you move in any direction other than your current trajectory. Pay attention, damn you.

15 July 2004: The PB cruiser to Cass St. 5 hefeweisens, then to the West End for some Makers & soda - great drink. Learning from the classic Fallbrooker, I've sliced up a softball-sized/shaped avocado and added it to the pizza - so, so good.

14 July 2004: Hopped on The Commuter today at 8:45 and rolled to work dripping in sweat. Damn humid here in San Diego today, which is, in the words of OMC, How Bizzah. About to get back on the bike for the homebound trip. The keg of fresh Bud awaits, as does stage 9 of the Tour and the jacuzzi. Oh yeah! Read that last part about the keg again and weep.

13 July 2004: Rolling home along Riviera last night along the bay when some rednecks in a massive Ford M1-Abrams Expedition grunt-yelled menacingly as they passed a few inches away, then proceeded to guffaw and yuk it up at their cleverness as they chirped it radly. Reminded me I needed a paintball gun or wrist-rocket perhaps at the ready to redecorate the rear window of certain jackasses' hickmobiles.

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