It's only been nine days after I put my order in, but Bill from LGC has already made and shipped my bee-yoo-tee-full new belt. I promptly scratched it, but I've decided to call it an early start to the aging process. Check back in 3 years for some great pictures of it.

Report from Interbike

Mario Cipollini just walked through BikeCo's booth at the big trade show in Las Vegas. Everyone from our company is appropriately jaded about it.

You traitors

Will one of the media-types among you please tell me more about why the Clinton-on-Fox-News story is getting played as "Whoah - Clinton's Crazy!" instead of "Hey - that guy's right!"?

Man, this is the best Daily Show I've seen in a while. Getting Musharraf for an interview was a score. They're talking about Expected Utility of War theory right now!

Life Is How You Describe It

This is the kind of blog that makes you want to have kids. Read it and try to tell me I'm wrong.

Sam's kid

Sam co-owns Context, a new menswear store in Madison. Sam's kid is the coolest 3 year-old in the state. Maybe the midwest.

Context recently (as in, count the days on one hand) became the sole US distributor for an Australian brand called Imperial. These Imperial Dukes were worn for about 12 months before their first wash -

Should I go to the denim-nerd gathering they're hosting at Magnus Friday night? I just started noticing some wallet- and honeycomb-fading on my Nudies, but I don't know if they're broken-in enough that I'd get past the door.

Rockin' the suburbs

Not that we're downtown hipster zip-code-snobs in the first place. But we spent the weekend house-sitting, as well as dog-sitting and eating-out-of-the-refridgeratoring, at a big house in Fitchburg. Watched some digital cable, played some foosball, drank some miller lite, listed to dave matthews band, drove some minivans, feared some minorities, other suburban stuff.

My HBO review -

Entourage - better than I expected, for a show about agents and actors
Big Love - not as good as I expected, for a show about polygamy
Deadwood - I didn't watch it. This might be on showtime

Bravo showed a repeat of the Studio 60 pilot last night - deserves the hype. Sorkin's drama comes from the characters, not from situations he puts them in. Late night sketch comedy is just as dramatic as the Bartlett administration facing down a nuclear Uzmenkhistan.

And to keep this blog on topic, what's the deal with those polos that button all the way down? Stop it.

How do you keep YOUR trousers up?

I flipped an ebayed pair of vintage Red Wing work boots for a tidy little profit - just enough to treat myself to a custom leather belt from Norwich Leather Co in Taftville, CT.
These belts have beveled, burnished, and dyed edges; they are dyed, sealed, waxed, and buffed by hand with attention to detail by an experienced craftsman. Let's be real - people pay more for plastic, generic, soul-less, production-made leather belts in mall stores every day.

Here's the customization page for the harness-leather belts - I ordered mine with the light brown leather, 1 1/2" width, wheat edge stitching, buckle #7 in polished brass, and NO words stamped into the back. I'm giddy.

The blue states always lose

Lifted from Gawker, because you don't want to read what I'm writing about -
Remember right before the '04 election, when you were watching The Daily Show every night, reading a lot of liberal blogs, listening to Bright Eyes and sayin' "Fuck yeah!" everytime David Cross told a joke ripping on how retarded the right really is? You felt optimistic, like good might actually prevail, and that it would be inconceivable to imagine America giving Bush four more years worth of chances to utterly destroy everything we've accomplished as a species thus far. Well, here's why you lost, why you'll always lose, and why the only political postion worth taking is in the safety of a well-stocked bomb shelter.

Race report

"What is that over there?"

"I don't know, dude - it kinda looks like a Chequamegon race report, but aren't those, like, endangered?"

Are you nervous for me?

We're leaving for Chequawhatever this afternoon to celebrate my birthday with a 40-mile mountain bike race tomorrow. Here's what Burrito Eater, a grizzled veteran of the 2005 race, has to say about the course:
You piss away about 3-4 minutes before you can even start, there is that many people. You ride on the road for like 3 miles, super sketchy! Then you enter a grass farm field that is very tough. Then you start hitting some XC ski trail. It only has one line so you are mostly riding in grass still. You switch off between ski trail, gravel roads and two track for the rest of the race. There is no real singletrack although there are a couple places of double track that roll like singletrack (not technical but you can’t pass.)

It gets progressively harder. Fire tower is steep and very hard. Last year it was in perfect shape and almost everyone was walking because there are too many people. I was able to take a line up the middle and swerve around people and gain about 100-150 spots. When you hit gravel roads, find a pack and sit in. You will ride in a different pack each time, it spreads out on the not gravel roads and comes back together when it does get back to the gravel.

The last 10 miles will test you physically as if you aren’t hydrating well you will cramp. I even started to get the twitch and I hardly ever cramp. [ed. note: I cramp just thinking about cramping] Finally you decend into a ski bowl with lots of people cheering and ride up to the finish. All this with 1800 of your closest friends. It’s physically as hard as you want to push it, it’s easy if you don’t care about time but if you push yourself it will hurt bad. Last year I saw some of my WORS rivals so I really pushed it, but I beat all of them. Technical skills aren’t needed just make sure to have your weight back when you ride down grass hills as there are lots of random ruts. And pray it is dry out there.

Your 2X8 won’t be great on the climb for it as you need to have a high cadence so you can slow the cadence down when people are walking in front of you. The 2X8 will be perfect the rest of the way! The last 10 is up and down easy, hard, easy, hard. It’s tough!
I just had a conceptual breakthrough for my dissertation! I think I just re-wrote the whole introduction in my head - now I just have to spend a caffeine-fueled, crazy-eyed, locked-in-my-library-cell week LaTeXing what I'm thinking. I love dissertating.

Still awaiting word on where to buy PC tweed jackets

I hate to push crazylady down the page, but it's important to me that you know how to dress like a mac.


About a week ago I posted about a complainey scrapbooking customer - it's update time, kids! The customer was upset that M.Bro's store had recently stopped accepting competitors' 40%-off-any-item coupons (which some customers were bringing in daily), and starting a once-a-month 40%-off coupon of their own. After the tantrum in the store on 9/6, the customer sent an e-mail containing the hilarious lines, "It is my policy to buy nothing at regular price. Unfortunately for you, your recent "business decisions" ("mistakes") leave you with little to no business or profit from me. If you wish to stay in the Madison craft and scrapbooking market you should consider competing for my business. That's right, YOU NEED TO COMPETE FOR MY BUSINESS..."

M.Bro replied with a very reasonable e-mail explaining the new policy, including, "While we do understand that you would like to use a 40%-off coupon for everything you purchase, it just isn't realistic. No retailer would stay in business if they allowed that."

I was a little disappointed because I thought that was the end of it.

And then there was a new e-mail this morning! It wasn't quite "give me free stuff if you want my business", but it was close! It's a rambling manifesto, but here's a little taste -
Are you just scanning my e-mail instead of thoroughly reading it and discussing it with your staff who knew my situation and would have set you straight? You have totally mis-understood me if you think I mis-understand you and your very selfish new store "policy." The problem is that I understand all too well, obviously even better than you do, that you are only looking out for your own bottom line and you obviously do not care at all about your customers finances like the other stores.

Your "sales" are always at a time when you don't have money for crafts so your "sales" are almost jokes. Also 35% off or less does not really constitute a "sale". Sorry, Missy, I've heard you out, but it is not cutting it for the budget minded scrapbooker. You'll have to do better than that!

On the catwalk, yeah

You've probably been reading it for the last couple days anyway, but on the tiny chance that you haven't been, the Sartorialist is blogging the NYC fashion shows for GQ's website.

This dude stole my look. Or, since he's in fashion and I'm, y'know, not, officially, maybe I stole his.

And since OleNelson doesn't think I remember how to blog about anything but clothes, this is for him. Big Check-a-mee-gwon (pronounced "Chequamegon") mountain bike race this weekend - 40 miles on mostly xc ski trails, goal of 2:30. Then I'm putting all of my bikes but my fixed-gear away for the winter and running and running. At first just to get down to marathon weight, and then to get up to marathon fitness before Mad City in May.

wet and fast and cold

Congratulations to BurritoEater on a super-fast Ironman yesterday, which is particularly impressive given the monsoon-like conditions! I read this morning that almost 50 people dropped out before finishing the swim and around 450-500 were pulled from the race with hypothermia.

He even took the time to write you a race report -

I'm not ready for this

A boy invited Mel to come to his soccer game tonight.

Update: I just realized that I never really made a big announcement-type post about this, but M.Bro and I are Mel's permanent guardians now. She's moved from Nebraska to live with us in Madison, and she's transferred from her tiny rural school to 2400-student-strong Memorial High School.

In a lot of ways, she's just like our daughter. Our daughter we conceived at 10 or 11 years old.

Melanie and The Very Big Days

It was quite the week for the .Bro household, what with Melanie's first trip to Chicago, a ride on her new "school bus", and her first day of school. I present to you - a photo pictorial. I'm turning into such a dad. How do I not do that, or do I just go with it?

She would like me to not tell you in detail about her first day at school. There was some crying afterward. She's dropping Physics and joining the club that build sets and costumes for school plays. She's way more excited about it than I expected her to be about something that she associates with geeks.

I don't like your face

In a competition for least-effective customer complaint, "This food is too good for you to charge this little" would obviously win, but a shopper at M.Bro's store just made a strong showing for second place. About the store's customer-loyalty program, she had this to say: "Well, what about those of us that don't spend $50 a year to earn a discount? Huh? Maybe we'll just have to take our business elsewhere!"

A September Post

This is what a blog post in September looks like. Hopefully it will tide you over until I can post pictures of Mel's first trip to Chicago and her first day of school. Awwwwww! And the military-issue peacoat I picked up from Goodwill - it's so warm just writing about it makes me sweat. Awwwwww!

Battlestar Galactica is hopeless and depressing and fantastic. It deserves a very high place in your netflix queue. (A tip from a BSG veteran: start with the miniseries, and don't be fooled by the labels on the season 1 discs)