Who are we? We are our stories.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Life Is Good

We are spending a few days at the cottage on Church Hill. I've been continuing to insulate the basement walls and generally tighten things up for winter. Tomorrow maybe I'll get to replacing the basement door threshold. Lorna has yoga early tomorrow morning. While she's burning off calories, I may sneak over to the Pastry Shop and see what Brett has in mind for my breakfast.

The pug is doing well. Greet all the folks back at home for me.

I should have hung the bicycle from the ceiling with monofilament.

Smalltown Food Picture no.42

As I have said before, if you want to eat really well, throw yourself at the mercy of the cook. This was what Brett wanted to fix for me this morning - called a "ah-h-h, it's sort of a capocollo scramble". It was sliced peppers and assorted veggies, and capocollo ham - scrambled with an egg and covered with grated parmesan and diced tomato. And some herbs. It sounds so simple, but it was just amazing. Very hot and spicy.
"In its production, capocollo is first lightly seasoned, often with red and sometimes white wine, garlic, and a variety of herbs and spices that differ depending on region. The meat is then salted (and was traditionally massaged) and stuffed into a .casing, and hung for up to six months to cure. Differences in flavor can also depend on what type of wood is used for smoking, as well as what breed of pig is selected. Capocollo is esteemed for its delicate flavor and tender, fatty texture, and is often more expensive than most other salumi. In many countries, it is often sold as a gourmet food item."
Lorna's omelet and hashbrowns
For those keeping track:
Two breakfast courses, coffee, one loaf of fresh baked bread and a bag of blueberry scones - $16 and change. Plus some for Hannah for keeping my cup full. ;-)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Giuseppe Marinoni

Giuseppe Marinoni makes beautiful bicycles. He also rides them. The Hour Record has been the Gold Standard for bicycle manliness since Eddy Merckx threw down the gauntlet in 1972, riding 49.431 km in one hour. I had no idea there were age categories. On October 20th Marinoni rode 35.728 km in one hour to set the 74-79 age group record. I best get training, I only have seven years left before I'm due at the starting line.   

Friday, November 23, 2012

Nishiki Progress


Old back quill extender


We generally spend Thanksgiving with the Anderson's in Rochester. As is the tradition with her family, Lorna made a number of side dishes. (The day before she also roasted a whole turkey with dressing and all the sides, just to generate enough "leftovers".) My only real obligation was to show up at the door with a selection of wines. How could I screw that up? Forget to bring the wine. Thankfully some other guests had each brought a bottle. It still we were soon running low and it was not looking good, but one couple lived in the area and went back home to fetch more wine. At the last moment disaster was avoided. Thanksgiving? I was thankful for the generousity of the Lemkes for covering my ass.

I resisted taking pictures of food.

Kitchen pre-food talk

Post food talk

Football guys

A couple of families with children couldn't make it because of flus, etc, but there were still over 20 people, mostly family, a few friends. Good time.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Cjell and Gunnar's Great Adventure

It was late by the time I gathered up all my stuff and coffee so I got over to Zimmerman's at about 8:45 to pick up Cjell for the 100 mile trip to Minneapolis.

Our first stop was the home and shop of Mark and Jane Stonich, Mr. and Mrs. Bikesmith. Mark makes tools, 'bents, bikes and short crankarms. Jane makes homemade yogurt and tea among other things. It was a gorgeous day, sunny and pleasant, so we sat outside for a while talking smart and helping the cats soak up the sun. Later we went in to look at Mark's new baby, a silver vintage Holdsworth, a pretty and very well crafted bicycle. After I caught my breathe again, we went down into the shop where Cjell pumped Mark for everything he could about fillet brazing, listening intently about technique, brands and models of welding heads - taking copious notes in a little notebook. This must have taken more time than it seemed, because soon it was well into lunchtime, so we adjourned to a local Cuban cafe. Good choice.

Then Cjell and I went on to the complex where a number of the local bike builder boys work. First stop, Chris Kvale Cycles, for a little give and take with Chris before Vincent Dominguez came down. Vincent is one of the reasons for our trip. He is going to make some small, light racks for my Blood and Ivory Kvale. Vincent has been checking in on Chris the past few days. Vincent who can build pretty much any bicycle he wants, instead has choosen to pay Chris full price for a Kvale built frame, and his name has finally come up in the queue.

I was asked to take a lot of pictures. I did take a camera, but people were talking, I was talking. I was listening. We were laughing. Hard to step aside with a camera, but here's a shot of Chris Kvale working on Vincent's frame.

Because Chris was busy on his frame Vincent led us through the labyrinth of hallways and stairwells to a shared workspace where we first met Matt Appleman who was building a carbonfiber frame. Matt was the only person that Cjell didn't grill about welding. Vincent is reconfiguring his shop, but I still was able to get these shots of a couple of his personal frames, a rando that he had recently ridden in a bevet. He is a serious tourer, having ridden Paris-Brest-Paris, and is planning another run at it next time.

Vincent holding his single. This is not a hipster street bike. It has only been ridden at the Blaine velodrome. Check out the trick seatpost binder and stem that picks up the same design look. Gypy's color choice is ..... just inexplicable.  ;-)

Eventually Erik Noren and his lady friend showed up. I introduced him to Cjell and got out of the way, Erik is passionate about everything, even welding techique, and when he got really wound up verbally, I retreated back to the relative peace of Vincent's shop. On the way out of Erik's area I shot this pic of a vintage Alex Singer. Just to jack people around, Erik is spreading a rumor that he is going to install disc brakes on it.
Winter biking in Minnesota is sometimes extreme. Behold, a truck and trailer.
 It got to be 5:00 and we left becasue I had to fight the rush hour traffic and still get home by 7:00 before Lorna would be back from book club.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Cjell Money

The Z-Man hit town and stopped by today for a afternoon of Growlery time. We looked over his Black Sheep and talked bicycle geometry theory. Envisioning a possible future in frame design and building. He already knows far, far more about mountain bikes than I ever will.

He is planning on riding the Tour Divide again next year, again south-to-north because, well, because he is Cjell. After living with it, he isn't quite as entralled with the Schlumpf kick-shifter because there is a lag similar to a cheap freewheel. He's not a member of the Church of the Single Speed, but he may join long enough to take a run at the singlespeed record. We must have talked about other things too because it took about four hours and a handful of beers to do it. Tuesday we're going on an outing to check in with some Minneapolis frame builders. I'll try to remember to take a camera.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Claudia Schmidt

The email I received yesterday began:
"Please join Frank and me for an evening of wonderful music, desserts and beverages at our home on Friday, Nov. 30 at 7:30 p.m. We will be entertained by singer-songwriter Claudia Schmidt."
Of course I responded immediately. The timing is wonderful - Lorna's birthday (What is it, 26, maybe 27 years?) Whatever. 7:30 gives us enough time to eat a nice meal at the Village Hall and walk or drive over to Peg and Frank's house for dessert. And a helping of Claudia. As Garrison Keillor said, "When Claudia sings a song, it stays sung."  Pretty sweet.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Larry Bergo

Lorna's cousin Jean's husband, Larry Bergo hit the end of the road this week. He was fun. He and Lorna had a "relationship". When we lived in our other house we lived between Bergo and wherever he seemed to be going. Every time he turned on our street he would honk twice and Lorna would leap to the doorlight switch and flick it on/off twice. And she smiled. Bergo fought cancer for nine years, his bones slowly, painfully crumbling, until he was eventually released. 11:00 Thursday, flash your lights twice for Bergo.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

R.I.P. Old Fool

Internet friends and blog commenters come and go. From Old Fool's last blog entry on September 23rd it was obvious he was in very bad shape:
"When I got up from my nap Thursdays my mouth did not work right. Head seemed OK but what came out of my mouth was gibberish. It carried over to writing. I can't to seem to spell or touch type either. It seems a little better today although it has taken 40 forty minutes to type this so far. If it was not for spell checker you would not be able to read this."
I sent him emails inquiring about his well-being, which went unanswered. Today I really went looking and of course there was a blog comment to his last posting. Richard T. Swain-Herrington is gone. He died of a stroke the same day. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Nishiki Ultimate

Yesterday I picked this one off eBay. It's not one of those rare, collectible things that makes some people get damp, but it's a very nice bike to bring down and ride in Texas. 

Some of the top end Nishikis for the European market were supposedly made by Colnago, but this one was built in Japan in the late 70s (?) by Kawamura. After the Japanese exchange rate got out of hand, Nishiki production moved to Giant in Taiwan and the brand became a bit more of a commodity. The Ultimate was the top of the line (though possibly not cataloged), original full Campagnolo equipped, even down to the Campy rear dropouts. On a Japanese bike!

As someone observed, "The irony is, of course, if it were more common, more famous, but a less well built European bike, it'd going for twice as much." For instance, Silk Hope's reaction to my buying an old Japanese bike was, "WTF?" 

And if it was an expensive vintage European bike, I wouldn't have bought it. 

Check out the nice lug lining.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Outlier Minnesota

With politics all over the television recently, I've noticed something about the red/blue maps that has made me wonder. It's maybe an urban versus rural phenomenon, but in general, the East Coast and West Coasts are blue; the south, center and rural west are red. Minnesota is a blue island. I understand Iowa and the Dakotas; frankly Wisconsin is harder. It's all over the map politically, right now almost schizophrenic. Minnesota is consistently liberal. The last time Minnesota voted for a Republican for president was for Nixon over McGovern in 1972.  That's a long time to tilt to the left. 

Minnesota is not only a political island, it is a cultural outlier too. This is not a right or wrong thing, but we are very different than our neighbors. In many ways the states that Minnesota is most alike are probably Oregon, or maybe even Massachusetts, so I'm not sure which coast we drifted away from. In my opinion all this has made Minnesota a more livable place, but how the hell did it happen over time?

A quick addendum:
Minnesota does not have a Democratic Party. It has the DFL, the Democratic Farmer Labor Party. It is the results of mid 1940s merger of the Democrats with the progressive populist Farmer-Labor Party. I'm not certain how that figures into the above, if at all.