Half an accomplishment

Pictures are on the way, but I finished the Madison Half-marathon in a few seconds over 1:40 this morning - that's a 7:40 pace for 13.1 miles and about five minutes faster than my goal. I really like the half-marathon distance - long enough to feel like an accomplishment, but not so long that I'm wiped out for a week. The rest of my summer, to the extent I train much at all, is going to be getting ready for some Fall 5Ks. It's a good distance for me and I don't have to take much time away from dissertating to train.

Update: Results are up. My official time was 1:40:42, which put me in 258th overall (out of 2153) and 43rd for men 25-29 (out of 209).

PSA: Infestation

A growing threat -
Have you recently found yourself asking any of the following questions?

—Whose fixed-gear bicycle is that in my garage?

—Where do I keep misplacing the charger for my iPod Nano?

—Why are there vast amounts of food mysteriously not missing from my pantry and refrigerator each week?

Yes? Then, chances are, you’ve got hipsters.

Hipster infestations have become commonplace in modern times. One day, life seems completely normal. The next, you’ve got an anorexic in a train-conductor hat scurrying across your kitchen in the middle of dinner. This, understandably, can be a pretty disconcerting sight.

Not to worry, though. While hipsters can really slaughter a nice mood, they are otherwise harmless and probably just as frightened of you as you are of them. Still, they are a nuisance, of course, and need to be treated as such. Following are suggested measures to pinpoint the location of hipsters in your home, coax them out from their hiding places, and capture and return them to their natural habitats.

I third the the emerging belief in Harvey Dent

I haven't enjoyed a Batman movie since the first one - but that's going to change next July, right? The underground marketing push has started already - including a teaser picture of Heath Ledger as Joker. One of my favorite comic book villains - and one who rarely gets written in the right psychotic tone (he certainly wasn't in the first movie).

You can't pick a book - that's my rule

What's the most interesting* thing you can buy for $20 or less?

*defined in whatever subjective way you want it to be.

Man-Bike Love

Can a human being be in love with a bicycle? Yes, he can - if he is me and the bicycle is this bicycle. That's more titanium that the space shuttle uses.*

Happy Bike-to-Work Day! I hope you did, or if it's not too late, I hope you do. National Don't-Buy-Gas-Today efforts are nice in principle, but don't hold up to any practical or economic scrutiny - reducing our reliance on nonrenewable energy, on the other hand, is an effective, permanent solution.**

*Not actually fact-checked. May be a bald-faced lie.
**Not that the uber-conservative Bush-monkey who sits next to me at SummerJob thinks there's any environmental problems we should concern ourselves with.

Look out! LOOOOK OOOOOUUUUUUUTTT (for a light layer of ice)

My ZIP code (note the proper capitalization - something I always do correctly, but with the secret fear that other people think I'm yelling at them or correcting them in a jackassey way) is under a FROST ADVISORY WARNING. No, I don't understand either.

Kid Nation

Kids hanging out in an abandoned city? This is a recipe for gangrene. And entertainment!

The Conservative Mind

Spice and I know all about the maternal-paternal divide between liberals and conservatives thanks to 816, but it was interesting to see reactions to the Republican debate (which I avoided) on DailyKos reflect a lot of the same ideas -

    • The fear and/or contempt for reality was absolutely palpable, in both the panel and audience. That's what these people are at bottom. Deep and profound unresolved neuroses manifesting themselves as magical thinking and overcompensating machismo, with a decidedly sadistic, zenophobic and violent bent: you look funny, we kill you. Hee hee. Some serious childhood and parent issues here.

    • They start off life with a personality type that is attracted to authority figures (looks only, actual achievement or ability is immaterial), an intolerance for ambiguity (again, they aren't interested in actually getting to the bottom and finding the truth of something, mythos will do fine) and a strong attachment to tribal instincts rooted in the paleolithic then go straight downhill into morbid fear of things they can't control.

    • Remember when you were about three, and you thought Daddy and Mommy knew the answer to everything? Then you grew up and realized they were really just doing the best they could. The Republican base is still stuck at three years old. Watch Elizabeth Hasselbeck on "The View." It really is true.

Im in yr dorisflexors, causin yr medial tibial stress syndrome

This article is going to revolutionize my running. I've had serious shin splints ever since high school track, and my solution has always, always been treatment of the symptoms (rest, ice, compression, elevation) rather than dealing with the root causes. Because I didn't realize there were root causes, let along root causes that could be addressed. I thought shin splints were just a reality of running, so I lived and dealt with them like I would any other part of running - blue urine, receding hairline, human rights violations, fear of the number eight, etc.

I'm simultaneously disappointed and relieved, but my marathon plans for later this month have been revised to half-marathon plans. Dissertation work and recurring shin splints have kept me from doing some key training runs, and while I could probably slog through 26.2 miles, it would kill me. Instead, I'm going to run a nice 13.1 mile race, enjoy myself, and be able to get out of bed on my own the next morning. Marathon - you and I shall meet again next Spring.

Levi's Circa Great Depression

These jeans are a piece of history - GI Joe would be proud to wear them (as capri pants, because GI Joe is 6'4" and awesome and would kick your ass for suggesting he wear manpris).

It's what Kirby Puckett would have wanted

I was cleaning out the garage yesterday and, among other things, found a souvenir Twins baseball with a 1990 copyright. Just a few hours earlier, Mel had been telling me how ridiculous I was to have two baseball mitts in the closet but no ball, so I decided the discovery was fate and we played catch with it.

So Mel say thanks, Dad, for taking me to watch Kirby Puckett play in a game that happened almost before she was born.

Your guide to vintage Lee jeans

Along with Levi's and Wrangler, Lee is part of the triumvirate of classic American denim. And of the three, it straddles the middle between still-sorta-respected and sad-former-shadow-of-its-roots. Context sells their high-end line, which is much more popular and far more widely-available in Europe. The rigid 101Zs Sam showed me last time I was in the store were pretty fantastic - both the new pair and the worn pair hanging on their wall.

Check out this scan from a Japanese fashion magazine, and lots of bonus blog-points to someone that could give me a rough translation of the column headers!

(click for massive)

Cities as they were and could be

Rome, as drawn in 1551, and Tokyo, as an artist imagines it post-apocalypse.


Levi's Vintage Collection

I convinced GrrrBear to buy a limited-edition pair of Nikes, and my next goal is to convince someone out there to buy a pair of high-end denim. You should always try to support my doods at Context, but the Denim Bar in Arlington (which I thought TOWWAS wrote about, but which I cannot find on her blog) is having such a ridiculous clearance on Levi's that you can't say no. (Unless you have two pair of dry jeans you're already breaking in).

But wait, there's more! If you use coupon code "style4um" you get another 20% off the clearance prices, AND if you buy the pair that's $134 ($107 after the discount), you get to take advantage of the $100+ free-shipping promotion. That's a hair over $100 for selvage, big E (the red tab reads LEVIS instead of LeVIS, just like they did from the 1800s through the 1950s) Levi's in a very inoffensive wash.

DadBro is green

Did you know my dad is spearheading a 3-year effort to bring a multi-million dollar biodiesel plant in northeast Nebraska? In the most basic process, oil is pressed from soybeans to create the fuel, and the husks are fed to livestock. The NE plant would also be one of only two in the US that could also process other organic waste and byproducts. Unlike ethanol, which has an energy gain ratio 1.33:1, biodiesel gains at a 3.5:1 ratio. Diesel engines also don't have to be specially-manufactured to run even B100 (100% biodiesel fuel) - they can all do it, and when the mixture gets above B20, the exhaust is virtually clean (and smells like french fries).

I'm really proud of Dad. I think a lot of family farmers are just putting their heads down in the face of giant corporate farms, but he's spending 12+ hours in the planter and then coming home to raise a million dollars (last night) in phone donations. If you have money to donate and were wondering what good cause should get your charity, call Dan at 402-358-5462 and tell him you know his son FROM THE INTARNWEB. Sunday is the deadline.

Blooming trees, new life, all that jazz

Sometimes the world just kicks you in the shin to remind you what an astonishingly fantastic place it is. Just....look, go outside and look at a tree.

The Fire Man loves New York

Dudes, get over to the I Love New York II voting contest and give my man The Fire Man your support. It's a movement you wanna be down with. Don't let "moochie29" kill your enthusiasm for The Fire Man!
New York is not going to holla at you. I know she would talk straight up shit to yo ass.

Bleu Genes

Blue in Green's in-store customer service may be lacking, but those dudes sure know how to make dudes want to buy stuff from their website.
As you may of already noticed from the sound that immediately started as the clip was uploaded (sorry I couldn't figure out how to keep it from starting automatically) this is video footage of an old Toyoda wooden shuttle loom that I shot on my recent visit to Japan. This was one of the highlights of my trip and I wanted to share it with everyone who has never seen one of these in action. It's a short clip that starts with a view from the front of the machine which is where the material finishes it weaving process and is rolled onto spools at the bottom front. The next view is from the rear where the indigo warp threads are fed through to the front from a large spool. The next view is of the carriage that slings the wooden shuttle carrying the Ecru weft yarns back and forth over and under the indigo threads creating the clean finish on both sides of the material otherwise known as selvage. The slow motion footage shows the wooden shuttle inside the carriage resting for a moment before being thrown to the other side and then returning for another completion of the weaving cycle. As the warp yarns are passed through the indigo threads a large wooden bar compresses them to create a tight weave between the two. The final shot brings us back to the front of the machine where we see all parts in motion. Please enjoy this small sample. click the "Refresh" tab on your web browser for video replay.

Flying Scotsman

I'm testing Sophist and J.Po's theory about automated mega-commenting on any post about Graeme Obree. So here it is - a post about the Graeme Obree movie, Flying Scotsman. How do you feel about that, "Anonymous"? Anything to add?

More on why I'm hot: A look, with graphs, at a groundbreaking song

Melanie loves this song, but I don't think she's taken a deep, hard look at its true meaning - what does it mean to declare one's self hot because one is fly?