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These Things

This morning I cut the zip ties holding my first Brooks Cambium C-17 saddle to the display card and installed it on my Rivendell Road.  #barsabovesaddleRivendell Road 07.27.15

I’ve just finished a four mile tour atop the seat so I am ready to pass judgment.  It possesses the perfect balance between support and suspension.  I love the texture–it provides just the right amount of grip.  It seems to have at least an inch of territory on which my sit bones are both supported and suspended, so I can move forward or back as much as if not more than I can on other Brooks saddles.  I am in love with this perch!


The garden is still handing over the goods.  Bounty 07.27.15

Twelve cukes and a pint of beans needed to come home.  The mustard has gone to seed so I uprooted the lot of it it and brought home a pillow of leaves.  I also cut three stalks of Italian broccoli and introduced three beets to the sun.  I sautéed the beet tops in olive oil and finished them with roasted garlic and salty and sour umeboshi vinegar.  I’ve never enjoyed beet greens more.  Picture at @randypedals (tweeting now).

Frida is still chugging, but my parent’s dog Daisy recently died.  I’ve been putting off writing about it.  So sad.  No more waiting–Daisy has earned her place in these pages by being a truly wonderful dog friend to my parents.  MnD

She was my parents first dog so the parting has been particularly tough.  After our first dog Speed passed, Lacey and I said goodnight to her every night for at least five years.  Still do on occasion.  DnD

I’m sure my parents will undertake similar rituals in Daisy’s honor.  Wish I was there to sit with them some.  Rest in peace, precious Daisy.

Want a more livable Albany?  Let the City’s design team know by attending the following public meeting.  The City of Albany is progressing on Madison Avenue Traffic Calming from South Allen St. to Lark St.  The project will reduce the number of travel lanes, while improving bicycle accommodations and completing all work between the existing curbs.  The meeting, on Wednesday, July 29, 2015 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the College of Saint Rose, Touhey Forum, Lally School of Education, 1009 Madison Avenue, will include an overview of the traffic calming project and you will be invited to provide your two cents (or two fifty).  Thanks to Lorenz and everyone at the Albany Bike Coalition for their hard work on this and for keeping us in the loop.

Time to refresh Frida’s bowl of ice and give her some eyedrops.  Take care.

Wake Up!

Breakfast today?  Chocolate waffles for two!


Preheat waffle iron.

Combine:  1 C whole wheat pastry flour, 1 T cocoa powder (maybe more!), 1.5 t energy egg replacer, 1 t baking powder, 1/2 t cinnamon and 1/2 t salt.

Combine: 3/4 C almond milk, 2 T canola oil, 1 T agave nectar and  and 1/2 t vanilla.

Combine the two.  Waffle iron time.

Field Roast maple breakfast links, maple syrup and Earth Balance complete the deal.

Adapted with love from the Complete American-Jewish

Happy Sunday!

Where to start?

All is well.  A week ago we returned from a week in Provincetown.  You know we brought Frida’s Tail Wagon.  With the wagon and two bikes we were able to park our car upon arrival and not see it again until the morning we left.  Loved that.  Cars are awesome but no cars are more so.  Babushka Frida agrees.IMG_1170

Frida’s eyes are still doing great.  I think she’s winking/squinting below because of the bright sun.IMG_1158

We stayed right on the bay.  That’s the bay above.  First time for us.  Costs a little more, but Frida loves the bay (water without waves).  Who knows how many trips she has in her.  By the looks of things, I’d say about a hundred.  Here’s a tall ship (probably not the right name–help me out if you know) on the bay that I snapped through my binoculars.  IMG_1182

Staying on the bay meant we could enjoy the water without a trip to the ocean.  So we enjoyed walks along the water every day, many times a day.  Still, twice we hooked up the wagon and hauled Frida and our gear to Herring Cove beach.  Even brought a separate parasol for Frida.  Surprisingly, she actually got under it on her own.    IMG_1171

A third time Lacey and I pedaled to a secret part of the beach where the boys like to hang out.  Left Frida back.  We hadn’t been there before.  It.  Is.  Amazing.  Since we aren’t a pair of boys, we felt a little like intruders on the beach itself (not a word was said–it was all in our heads).  The walk in, though, across a salt marsh is half a mile, maybe more, was for us the highlight.  Check it out!  Have you ever seen anything so pretty?  Click once, then again.

IMG_1116The town always does a fine job of feeding us vegans.  What with the Bradford Street Market (groceries and vegetarian hot lunch buffet), Far Land Provisions (awesome deli), East End Market (swank jarred goodies), 141 To Go (mucho vegan), Big Daddy’s Burritos (hot momma sauce, please), Tiny’s, Grab and Go Health Bar (vegan soft serve!), Burger Queen (burger and fries), the Canteen (why’d you stop the fried chickpeas!?!) and Kung Fu Dumplings (steamed or fried veggie dumplings, noodles, plus a side of kimchi), Ciro and Sal’s (maybe not super vegan, but really yummy), we were very well fed.  I didn’t cook a single meal!  In a week!  Strange but enjoyable.IMG_1186It was bear week while we were there.  Our favorite week ’cause bears are awesome.  Food and bev workers are in a good mood, too, ’cause bears eat, drink and tip with gusto.  Maybe a few other things, too, but that’s their business.  Everyone wins when the bears are in town.  Go bears!

Oh ya!  I walked by this cute couple every day.  IMG_1125

One might think they make an odd pairing, but bikes and motorbikes were birthed from the same parents way back when.  No reason they can’t play nice together to this day.  Notice the motor on the bicycle?  It’s all good.

Almost no one wears a bike helmet in Provincetown.  Maybe out on the highway, but not in town.  I have still donned a lid in the past but didn’t this time.  The speed limit in town is either 25 or 20 and people stay at or under it.  So much foot, bicycle and dog traffic that cars keep it real slow.  Often times about 5 or 10 miles per hour.  So you feel safe.  You are safe, when compared to biking next to people going 45.  Of course I’m sticking with a helmet in Albany.  Even though it wouldn’t help much at the speeds folks here drive, you gotta try.  Skeptical?  I get it.  But don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.  Maybe this–imagine how much you’d enjoy walking without a helmet if you’d never done it before.  You might get hit by a car while walking, but golly the wind sure feels nice.

Good to be home.  The garden saved for us a ton of beans, cukes, greens, garlic and endive.  Beets and cabbage can be harvested soon.  Yesterday I made a feast for scrabble players with tamales (filled with corn, squash, onions and chilpotles in adobo), refried black beans, red rice and massaged kale (dressed with olive oil, umeboshi plum vinegar, mustard, agave, salt and tons of black pepper).  I made green and red salsa, too.  All delicious.  By the way, we’ve all let down the folks at the Mexican Grocery here.  A couple of times recently I tried to visit but they were closed during business hours.  I finally caught them this week and the shelves are kind of bare.  Seems like they might be going under.  Buy maybe I am wrong.  Maybe they are in it for the long haul and will turn it around.  I hope I am wrong.

That’s enough for now.  Happy Friday.

One Reason

Frida, yes, greens, yes, work, yes, warmth, not really.  That was my June.

More?  Two weekends ago, for the first time in more than a decade, I stepped out of my space capsule onto the fertile soil that is Lincoln, Nebraska.  The place was looking swell.  Better even than I remembered it.  The folks were sweet, drinks were cheap (and often enough very good) and there were more choices for Mexican food than I had room in my belly.  You in Lincoln or headed there–enjoy the shops at 11th & G.

On the way home I picked up from a chair at ORD a Best of mag put out by The Reader.  It contained much I want to check out but I started with and am glad I did.  You should, too, if you like good writing and punk music.  If that doesn’t keep you busy, a new album from Desaparacidos is out.

Bikes?  You heard of Vision Zero?  Me neither, but it doesn’t take long to see why it could work.  Check out this infographic.  speed

Why isn’t Albany listed as one of the communities committed to reducing traffic deaths to zero by 2030?  We need to push for this.

Here’s looking forward to July.


Ragonese Imports is now officially taking care of vegans.  They’ve long had vegan friendly items, a fair amount of Italian food has always been “naturally” vegan, but now the word “vegan” shows up on their sandwich board and on house branded ravioli.Ravioli

The ravioli are excellent!  Check out the ingredients!  Sorry I didn’t take a picture of the ravioli themselves (we smothered ours in pesto made with our backyard basil thinned with cooking water), but here’s a description–they’re big and pillowy and perfect.  The vegan sandwich is terrific, too.  Get there and show them you care, since they do.  Everyone wins!

How about a little bike safety?  My friend sent this.  Can you believe it?  If you are a local bike advocate, consider sharing it with the powers that be.  Me?  I’ll probably just buy one so I can continue to shake my fist in disbelief but with science on my side.  If our police department doesn’t want to incur the cost, I invite them to ride with a yardstick under their left hands.  If a car hits it, ticket.  Feel free to use that slogan, on the house.

Just got back from a high school reunion.  Which?  Let’s just say too many decades!  My old town was looking swell.  Ton’s of pedalers, lots of good Mexican food and unseasonably mild weather.  I really miss the place.  Seeing old friends was the highlight, but a pilgrimage to the Monkey Wrench bike shop was a close second.  Randy at Monkey Wrench

Check out their wall of historically significant mountain bikes!MWW

There are more but I didn’t need to shoot them all.  Go see them for yourself.  I picked up a Brooks Cadmium saddle to say thanks for being awesome.  It’s very nearly vegan (the vulcanized rubber may contain animal products–can’t be sure).  I’ll have to take a little time to see to which bike it will be added.Frida on Mountain

Frida is doing great, and we’re doing a good job of cherishing every moment.  Somedays she’s a little faster than the day before.  Others a little slower.  We try hard not to read too much into either trend.  Just loving her lots and getting lots in return.

Take care of yourselves, okay?

Good Things

Today the garden offered up some early summer treats.  Summer Haul

First two cukes, spinach and some other fancy lettuce the name of which I have forgotten, wild onions, garlic I missed during last year’s harvest and strawberries from a friend’s plot  (from which I was encouraged to poach).

Yesterday I enjoyed a presentation given by a friend who has started a company called Node40.  He explained Dash, one of many competing crypto currencies, and how his company can help you get involved.  In very basic terms, he can help set up a savings account into which you deposit Dash (a Bitcoin competitor) and then he rents server capacity on your behalf so that you can help verify transfers of Dash and run calculations to create unique transaction IDs.  In exchange for the work the servers are doing, you are paid Dash on an ongoing basis.  He takes an ongoing fee for setting it all up and monitoring the operation of your account. You get an ongoing revenue stream and, when you cash out, the benefit (or burden) of fluctuations in the value of Dash.  I encourage you to keep an eye on his schedule and attend talks he gives in the future (or, now, watch the presentation at the link in the comments below).  That, or contact him if you have a group who’d like to hear him speak on the subject.  He’s very committed to getting the word out.  Also enjoyed seeing for the first time the Albany Barn.  Quite a place and very nice of them to host talks by local business owners.  me enjoying a ride

Remember when I wrote to the CDTA to inform them of close passes made by many of their drivers?  I wrote March 31st and April 30th.  No reply so yesterday afternoon I wrote to the CEO, who replied this morning.  Bingo!  The fellow I first contacted just wrote to say the following (edited):

After receiving the initial e-mail, I instructed the Superintendents at each of the three divisions to work with the Safety Department to come up with a notice that reminds all operators of their responsibilities regarding safe passing of bicyclists. That information has been conveyed to our workforce.

We will do a better job at monitoring our operators and gaining full compliance of this responsibility. We will also need to rely on you and the other bicyclists in the Capital Region to notify us when someone fails to comply. If possible, please provide bus numbers and corrective measures will be taken to address on an individual basis.

Not too bad!  I’m going to take him at his word and let him know when operators aren’t complying with the law.  I encourage you to do the same.  I won’t print his name and contact info here, but it is easy to find the appropriate contact info on the CDTA website.  That said, if you know me and want the contact info for this specific fellow, reach out to me outside of this blog and I’d be happy to share it one to one.

Frida is doing very well during the day but has had a couple of very anxious nights in a row.  Upping the xanax to a full pill from a half seems to help so that may be the new normal going forward.  The poor dear.  It is a terrible thing to witness.  She just paces and barks, is let outside and then back in, then paces and barks, then outside then in.  This can go on for hours.  I sometimes shut her in my office and sleep with her on the floor.  Try to sleep.  Neither she nor I do, but at least Lacey stands a chance of getting some sleep.  Last night the extra half xanax and her Thundershirt together helped her collapse on the floor near me and she slept the rest of the night.  I don’t know how many hours of sleep we got.  I sometimes don’t look.  I don’t want to know.  Here’s hoping a full pill at bedtime helps her out.FwTs

That’s enough.  Take care!


I bought the necessary tools to open my iPhone and clean the camera.  The procedure was quick and easy (great tools and instructions are available at, but the results were disappointing.  See for yourself.


There are dark blobs visible on the left side, more pronounced at the bottom, in the middle (two red bits) and a dark blob on the right near the top.  I used air and Zeiss wipes over q-tips four times.  The first time I thought I had it clean.  All of the visible dirt on the inside of the lens cover was gone.  I closed the phone, powered up, opened the camera and saw what is shown in the picture above.  I repeated the process three more times with increasing vigor and each time there was no change.  I have to believe the particles creating the artifacts are inside the camera assembly itself where they cannot be cleaned.  To add insult to injury, I now see that Verizon will sell me a refurbished iPhone 5 for $32, which is less than I paid for the tools to open and not fix my camera issue.  Sigh.

Onward.  Frida had a bath!cf

Happens only once a year unless she rolls in something particularly fragrant.  You have to see her now that is dry and all combed out.  She looks like a puppy.  So cute!

A friend had set up a bike camping trip to Thompson’s Lake.  We were supposed to leave Saturday and return Sunday.  I was packed and ready but the weather suggested caution.  Rain predicted for Saturday night and all day Sunday, so on Friday we scrubbed the mission.  It did rain heavily on Saturday night, so I guess the cancellation was a good move, but not a drop on Sunday.  We’ll have to try again.  It is nice to have a place to camp and swim that is biking distance from home.  Soon!

Other news?  At 8:00 am on Wednesday, at the Albany Barn, my friend is giving a talk and a Q&A on investing in Dash.  Dash?  A competitor of Bitcoin.  A cryptocurrency.  With me?  If not, I can’t help because I don’t understand it well enough to explain it.  My friend started a company that helps folks mine for Dash and collect interest on their investment.  He takes a fee for setting up and monitoring your master node(s).  He’s whip smart, a great communicator and a very good guy.  You should go if you are local.  The details are here.

Take care!