Who are we? We are our stories.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Perfect Present

Christmas Eve:
Addy gave me a signed and numbered Adam Turmam 18 x 24" screen print of this. It's hard to see on this photo, but right under "Ride Gravel" in small letters it says "Southern Minnesota". I should have been suspicious when she said The Growlery needed some pictures. She was right. Now, all I need is a picture frame.

Thanks Addy, I love you.

Adding Growlery Capacity?

I have a weakness for fendered bicycles. It has become painfully obvious that they take up twice as much storage space. To deal that that I took a baby step; I removed the fenders from the white "Ghost of Elvis" Kvale. At some point a person doesn't need two fendered Chris Kvale bicycles. Another thing has also become apparent. I have no provision for miscellaneous storage. The smaller parts can be dealt with boxes in and beneath the bench. Where the hell do I put fenders, wheelsets, etc? I'm thinking maybe an overhead compartment over the door. An attic.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Oakwood Carolers

It's been many years since we've had a brown Christmas. We may not have any snow for Christmas this year in Oakwood, but we do have the neighborhood kids out caroling and plenty of cookies on hand to reward them. A Partridge In a Pear Tree beats Trick 'R Treat any day. (My daughter is 26 and says this is the first non-white Christmas in her memory. It just ain't right.)

I can't do first names with all these kids, but last names from the left:  Utz, Heinz, Heinz, Cookle, Heinz, Utz. I think.
Not only were we treated to the Christmas spirit in song, they gave us a loaf of Hawaiian fruit bread from Tobi Utze as they left. Still hoping for a little snow. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The 1410 Growlery: 12/21/2011

The view as I enter. The walls are Benjamin Moore GN-77, an obsolete code paint that was in a rusty can that has been in our basement since we moved in 25 years ago. As one might expect, the paint has a lot of clumps and bumps. It gives the walls "character".            Also, a good leather chair for company.  Between the wood chair, the leather folder and the ottoman I can seat three.  One for solitude, two for company, and three for society.  Should be enough.

The Peter Mooney is in the future location of the work bench. To the right, Lorna's little mixte.

The Ghost of Elvis. I'm seriously considering removing the fenders. How many fendered Chris Kvale bicycles does a man truly need? The bike hangers are just plumbing -  floor flanges, 12" pipe, end caps, covered with foam isolation jackets.  
Galmozzi and McLean. Tomorrow, Odean, God of War is coming over to patch my ill measured holes behind the McLean. He will work for really good beer. In true light the "orange" walls are actually burnt sienna - a brick red brown. The plywood will be covered by my old board fence, which is 3/4" x  7" redwood boards which will be planed down to  1/2" and stained to match the door.

The day before yesterday I visited Dave Forland and bought another of his old $25 chairs. Lorna claimed the other one I had for her sewing room. The ottoman will be eventually be covered with brown leather. And I think I need more shallow bookshelves on the wall behind the chair - just in case I need to read. We have a killer wi-fi router which will blast a signal down to The Growlery, but I think I'm going to resist that temptation for now.
As you can see, I'm slowly getting things fixed up. Next, baseboard and ceiling, then lay down the vinyl flooring. Then next summer, refurbish and trim the windows and door. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Growlery is a State of Mind

A photo from Silky Jack - his Growlery, a nook where he can curl up to read, play his banjo and monitor the computer. It has been my observation that banjos are often banned to faraway corners. Also cigars.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Another Growlery?

By definition a Growlery was a place to get away from the women, particularly when the occupier was in a cranky mood. So the question is, can a single woman have a Growlery? Apparently so, Judijudijudi sent me this picture today. Maybe she needs a place to get away from her cats.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Warm Snap ...

It's pushing 50 degrees right now. Nice weather for ice fishing? There is a skim of water over the ice that set up last week. It is people like these gentlemen that are decimating our fishing gene pool.

Phone photo by Lorna B. ...................... from shore.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A new attitude about biking in Minneapolis?

A close member of my family lives in Minneapolis and works in one of the western suburbs. Last weekend she finally gave in and for the first time in years she temporarily parked her bicycle and bought an automobile. Even in Minneapolis the combination of distance and weather made bicycle commuting too difficult. The following is from yesterday's Minneapolis Tribune. I assume the photo was taken earlier in the year.

"The number of bicyclists in and around Minneapolis has soared in the past year, signaling that a decade-long cultural shift in transportation and urban design is gaining ground.
The number of people burning calories instead of fuel to turn their wheels increased by 22 percent in the past year and by 52 percent since 2007, according to data to be released on Friday by Bike Walk Twin Cities, an advocacy group.
The numbers are still low compared to car usage. But, experts say, they are big enough now to make an impact on health, air pollution and traffic congestion.
"It's become a cultural phenomenon, and part of the identity of many people who reside [in the Twin Cities]," said John Pucher, a professor of urban transportation at Rutgers University in New Jersey. "Minneapolis is one of the most successful [biking] cities in the United States, which is incredible given your weather."
The trend is also producing new attitudes toward commuting and -- in case you hadn't noticed -- a need to share the roads no matter what the weather.
"I'm going to ride in the tire track, right where the cars are," said Jill Hamilton, 48, as she described how she handles her bike commute to downtown Minneapolis on snowy days. "My mindset is: I'm sharing the road, too."
The fact that Hamilton is riding -- Minneapolis has more female riders than the national average -- and doing it in the winter is evidence that millions of dollars invested in biking lanes and trails are resulting in a transformation of the city, Pucher said."  continued

Friday, December 16, 2011

More of the Boyd Lee Dunlop Caper

The web is remarkable. A week ago I posted a piece about Boyd Lee Dunlop. The next day I received an email from Brendan Bannon who initiated Boyd's recording session. He had found 1410 on a Google search. We exchanged  a series of emails about Boyd, but mostly about Brendan's photographs (more on that later) and Somali children. Brendan offered to send me a CD, but I had already downloaded the album from Amazon. He said they had made a small number of CDs, but the demand far exceeded his expectations. This CD is remarkable music, really Grammy-worthy stuff. I have a feeling there will be more demand; Boyd Lee Dunlop has hit the New York Times:
For years, the donated piano sat upright and unused in a corner of the nursing home’s cafeteria. Now and then someone would wheel or wobble over to pound out broken notes on the broken keys, but those out-of-tune interludes were rare. Day after surrendering day, the flawed piano remained mercifully silent. Then came a new resident, a musician in his 80s with a touch of forgetfulness named Boyd Lee Dunlop, and he could play a little. Actually, he could play a lot, his bony fingers dancing the mad dance of improvised jazz in a way that evoked a long life’s all.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thinking About Bob Tonight


You spend your life
Trying to get mature
And when you reach eighty
You realize that you're
Only halfway there
And running out of time
You're not going to make it
You're already past you prime
I'm as good as I can get
And really no great prize
And I ain't going to to make it
Before my demise!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Galmozzi In the Growlery

We finished hanging the sheetrock a couple of days ago and this afternoon I got one coat of primer on most of it before I ran out of paint. We're taking suggestions on eventual color. Disregard the window, I will be completely refurbishing and trimming them out when it warms up again next Spring. Check out the wall mount speakers. I'm pretty happy with them. They sound pretty darn good considering the diminutive dimensions of the space. The Galmozzi is sitting about where the workbench will eventually go next Spring after I get the flooring down. Slowly progressing.  

1968 Galmozzi
I think it looks pretty good.  It has that bolt together busy look of the old Campagnolo equipped bikes, kind of a nice change of pace from the lean, spare look of the '82 McLean. Most of the components are Patent  '68 to '72. There are two or three things that are not "pure" but they were all conscious decisions - for instance, the brake pads.

The vintage I.S.C.A. wraps had very nice finishing tape with World Championship stripes. Unfortunately they were brittle and the 40 year old glue was just gum.  I finally gave up and just wrapped a couple of turns of white tape around and wrapped another turn of narrower blue tape over it. Looks just like I intended it to be that way. The corks are NOT from Italian wine. 

Universal Super 68s. I ended buying two rough sets and combining them to get one fairly clean set. The hoods were purchased separately. Because of their age, most old blocks are as hard as stones so I cut down modern Kool Stops which were sized for vintage Campagnolo holders. They obvious aren't going to fool anyone, but at least they are close to the original color and more importantly, they will work. Brakes just don't strike me as a place to be period correct.

The stem is a first generation 3ttt Mod.1 Record Strada. The decals were flaking so I bought a replacement set from Greg Softley. Originally I thought I would be using fabric wraps, but then I scored these vintage I.S.C.A. vinyl wraps. These tie in nicely with the I.S.C.A. saddle. And what can I say? they're blue. The bars are 3ttt Competizione with the optional Gimondi bend which have a nice old school feel to them. It probably doesn't show up in the photos, but wine corks have been installed in the bar ends. 

I.S.C.A. (Iscaselle) saddle. Every bit as nice as a Cinelli - so similar I suspect they came out o the same factory. The Selle San Marco G.S. post may not be quite period correct, probably mid to late 1970s, but it's so damned rare NOBODY seems to be certain. I already owned it, it fit the seat tube, and I'm using it. ;-)

Campagnolo Nuovo Record pedals and blue Binda straps. I used Balilla toe clips, only because I wanted to keep it as Italian as possible and I may be wrong, but I don't believe Campagnolo was making toeclips at this time. (Any other info welcome.) 

Campagnolo cable clips and vintage Campagnolo cable housing.
Patent '72 Campagnolo Nuovo Record derailleurs. The front is so close to NOS it must have be on a demo or show bike. Used very gently. The rear is still good, but the top pivot is dinged a little and there some wear on the plates - all replaceable and available. Maybe someday.

Campagnolo NR shifters and bottom cable guides. 

REG bottle cage. What can I say about a bottle cage? Except it's Italian and I have a white Campagnolo labeled REG bottle to stuff in it. 

Campagnolo Nuovo Record Strada crankset. A technicality: this is not a '72. It is 1979. There was a slight change in 1978, slightly more clearance to clear the lip type derailleur front plate, but I doubt anyone could tell without looking at the number stamps on the back of the crank arms or measuring it with a dial caliper. I got tired of combing over the For Sales hoping to catch a clean '72 that was in my $$$ range. I gave up, this will have to do. 

An old Regina Oro 5-speed freewheel I already had hanging on a peg.  It's been used some. An Everest Special Oro chain from Scott Davis.  The hubs are actually not going on this bike. Dan Lestrud will be using these to build a new wheelset for the McLean and the set on the McLean will go to the Galmozzi with the addition of pre '78 quick-lease skewers.

The above referenced pre '78 skewers.

Boyd's Blues

I have sworn off posting music. Forever. But I make the rules. I can break them. Boyd Lee Dunlop was recently "discovered" playing a broken down piano with missing keys in a retirement home dayroom. He just made his first recording at the age of 85 primarily of his own compositions . This is great stuff. Rehearsing.

I'm old and set in my ways. Every time a new music format comes out I am dragged kicking and screaming into the present day again, although I never really warmed up to tape. I'm pretty much a vinyl and CD man. Except for a number of bootleg recordings I have never downloaded MP3s. Boyd's Blues forced me to change because it isn't available as a CD.  But you know damned well I'll be burning one.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


It's nearly midnight - almost a full moon tonight. We got our first real snow, 4 or 5 inches, a couple of days ago. It's not much by Minnesota standards, but it was enough to cover the ground and make the whole world seem clean and pure. For those who don't know, beneath a full moon away from the nervous light of humanity new snow reflects the light and takes on a moonglow of its own. The whole world becomes moonlight.

When I let the pug out for his last piss and sniff I heard a Barred Owl hooting, so I lingered a while on the steps listening to his declaration of ownership. An owl calling in the moonlight. This is one of those reality checks - a moment just to let us know that life is truly wonderful.

Goodnight to you all, I hope your life is as sweet as mine.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Roll, Coffee, and a Newspaper

This morning. Coffee and butter not shown. This is for Old Fool, who hates pastry as much as I do. And for Margadant who has been known to share rolls with me when he's in town. Life is hard.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

English Sheds

Yesterday I wasted a chunk of time just sitting and smoking cigars in the Growlery with Christy from next door. We do this fairly often, yet when he leaves invariably he says, "We should do this more often". I guess we haven't hit the threshold of too much yet.

Thanks to George A. for the link to these pictures. Also, thanks to The Telegraph where I stole borrowed these images.  And the Brits in general, who are wonderful in their quirky "shed in the backyard" sort of way.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Angry Catfish, Beer, and Pastry

This link is for the young bearded dude at the Angry Catfish Bicycle and Coffee who sold me the tail light this afternoon. The Catfish is one of three sweet stores in a row on 28th in South Minneapolis - a triple destination. The others being Buster's On 28th next door ("What a neighborhood pub should be.") where I had a Butternut Squash Rissoto and a tap Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, one of a couple of dozen beers on tap. Then we moved one door down to A Baker's Wife where we loaded up on enough almond Danish pastry to fuel the remainder of life's continuing journey.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Smalltown Pleasures

On the spur of the moment the ladies and I decided to make a run down to Worth Brewing this evening. Before Lorna and I left to pick up Add at a friend's house, I called Soups Pizza in Northwood to place an order for a Hot and Spicy Peno pizza, thin crust, easy on the Jalapenos. The woman took my order and asked if we wanted it delivered to the pub? And how many plates did we need? She did not ask for my name nor a phone number nor credit card number. Now I understand caller I.D. and all, but it struck me as being a very casual transaction. When we got out of the Honda in front of Worth Brewing, I asked Lorna and Add to stake out a table while I checked on the pizza. As I walked in the door of Soup's, she looked up and said, "Hot and Spicey Peno, right?"  Right. The pizza was just ready and waiting for delivery. "How would you have known who to deliver it to?" "Oh, I recognized your voice." My voice? I also should have ordered some of the buffalo wings, which Add, world traveler, has declared as to be the best ever. Maybe next time.

(If ya ain't got nothin" to write about, write about nothing.)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

This was a variation on a theme played out all over America today - a little beer, a little football, a little wine, a lot of food, a lot of family love. There were 16 family members plus a couple of old friends. And three big ol' dogs who ate most of the leftovers set outside to cool. We were all a little pissed, but the dogs seemed rather pleased with themselves and even thankful.


The next generation: Foster, Signe, and Ruby.