Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Onsen Buddy

I'm in Montreal for the NABSA conference this year. It's an absolutely fantastic city; full of all of the life that I love in Philadelphia, but done in a slightly European, progressive way. The important thing however, is that I was able to reconnect with Shane Smith, human being par excellance, and onsen buddy of yours truly. Jennifer and I were a bit shell shocked when he and Lara broke up years ago, and honestly we ended up gravitating more towards her, as she'd kept in better contact over the years. Shane is a man of the moment though, and we missed him a lot.  I last saw Sumisu-san when we visited during Canadian Thanksgiving in 2005. We went rock climbing, and hung out with Lara's parents a bit.

Tonight, Shane picked me up at my hotel, and we headed back to his place to catch up a bit and have a couple of beers. I can hardly express how great it was to see him again. He's doing well, working intermittently as a camera man on a number of TV shoots and some commercials. Most recently he was filming life on the Jersey Shore for the Évasion show on Quebec's Travel Channel. He probably knows more now about the 'downna shore culture than I do.

What was great about seeing Shane again was the almost audible click of connecting with a friend from long ago. It'd been twelve years since we last saw each other, and yet it was so obvious that we were still friends that it's a bit painful to write this. He's a good man, who cares about people in an intuitive way, and who collects good people to himself.  In a lot of ways, we're not that similar; he's eager and polite, I'm pessimistic and inconsistently considerate.  What we do share is a sort of human compatibility where I can know and understand this differences between us, and accept them and love them all the same.

After he insisted on treating me to ramen and heading to Dieu du Ciel, the mold-making microbrewery of Monteral, I had the pleasure of meeting his girlfriend, Frances. She is great, in the same sort of natural way that Shane is great, and that Lara is great.  Let me write it here, and keep the promise to myself that we will meet up again sooner than later. That's the right way to keep a friendship going.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Get the lead in

A little lead solder and a bit of luck saved me five hundred bucks. About three weeks ago my 2011 vintage Power Tap hub started to freak out following a routine battery change. After fiddling​ around with everything I could think of, I was ready to purchase a new one, but decided to give it one extra new set of batteries to check. As I did, I noticed that there was a small wire that had come loose from the battery unit.

Thanks to my sister, I had a handy soldering iron and some electrical wire and made the repair this evening. The hub even works like it should now.

While I admit that there is often something obnoxious about my insistence on making things my own way, it is really satisfying to use what I've fixed or made in my own.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Snack vortex

I picked off a whole nest of tent caterpillar babies with the idea of giving the fish an all-natural snack.  As it turns out, guppy mouths are even smaller than baby tent caterpillars, so the remaining hundred or so got to hang out for a couple of days.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

One reason to ride in the evening

In some ways, I really don't like weekends​. I spend so much time during the working week thinking about what I will do with my free time, that when I finally have a whole two days to myself, I kind of freak out. I can't decide which of the million awesome things I will do next and it is painful to sort through. Mostly I just flit between several options unsuccessfully, and then kick myself for indecision and incomplete projects all Sunday night.

Today was just such a day. I had in my head that I was going to do a bike race, but then realized that I had spent all Saturday cleaning out the basement, and had not spent any time with Jennifer. I chose the latter, but was so annoyed that I couldn't do both, that I in turn annoyed the shit out of Jennifer.  Neither of us enjoyed the day.


I finally dragged myself down to the Navy Yard for a bike workout, and was ultimately rewarded with this sunset. A nice way to remind myself that every day comes to a close, and every morning is a new chance to start it over.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017


Steve Tilford, the first real, honest to god, bike racer dude I ever met, died last night in a car crash in Colorado. I remember seeing him hanging out on the couches in the back of Michael's Cyclery, holding court about some bike race deed or other with the guys. He raced for a number of years for Michael in the 80s, and knew my dad well from the scene at the shop. There was always a sort of manic energy about him, like sitting still was a waste of his time. He was a compelling character in the way that many such driven people are, like a little crackle of electricity arcing through the room as he ambled in. There was a newspaper article in the back break area of the shop with a picture of Steve, arm in a sling spinning along on his rollers. The headline said, "Steve Tilford Wants to Race His Bike Badly." Underneath, someone had written And He Does in neat block print.

The last time I saw Steve, he was fuming after some jerk kid from United Health Care chopped his line in a corner of the nighttime crit in the Sands Casino Hotel parking lot at Interbike in 2009. He was talking with my dad, and was obviously still coming down off of an adrenaline rush from what would have been his thousandth crash in a race. My dad always insisted that Steve was likely immortal, because scar tissue doesn't die.

Even if you've never heard of the guy, I'd recommend reading this blog post, which paints a compelling picture of a fairly crazy dude. I'm sure you've seen shades of this guy in the people we know around Philly or in your scene, whatever it is.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Thank God the montage is over

While there is still a little extra bump on my collarbone, things look a lot better than this now. I can even sort of do pushups.