Thursday, September 30, 2010

Contador Involved In "BoeufGate" Scandal

After reading about what I am calling "BoeufGate" I am resubmitting my Alberto Contador logo for your approval.

Doping up a cow in hopes to lure poor Alberto into a false sense of security... damn Frenchies. 

How To Bike Commute In A Downpour or Swimming To Work

If you're anywhere near the east coast this morning and you rode your bike to work your workspace probably looks something like this.

When it's pouring out and it's still in the low 70's a rain jacket will only last a short time. Yes that first bite of cold rain in the morning sucks but if your wearing a rain jacket you'll be soaked with sweat after the first hill. I would usually rather be soaked with rain than sweat.

I spent a about 10 minutes in the parking garage drip-drying and wringing out socks and such. Then I proceeded into the office to begin the transformation from dirt bag who fell in the river to working professional type guy. Having a sink with a tall spout helps for cooling me down fast and rinsing the nasty out of my hair.

What also helps is an REI camp towel. They are highly absorbent, quick drying, and small enough that you can leave them in your bag year round and rarely notice them.

Once I've made myself all classy again I move into gear drying mode. There is NOTHING worse than having to put wet bike clothes on at the end of the day. I usually "borrow" additional fans from coworkers and set everything up to dry, checking the clothes throughout the day. Shoes take the longest to dry so I usually stuff them with paper towels to drastically reduce drying time.

Got any tips and tricks for commuting in the soaking rain?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Mondays Can Be So Awesome

You're probably in a state of vigorous fist clenching vein popping disagreement right now. Before you hurt yourself or anyone around you, I submit this photo I took of a hawk as proof that Mondays can in fact, be awesome. 

It was right outside my house and it was awesome.

You're god damn right it's Monday...

Friday, September 24, 2010

Eating Locally On Vacation

A while back I posted about a mushroom event I attended after I lucked upon a patch of Chicken of the Woods mushrooms. It seems my luck is still running strong, I happened upon these beauties while on vacation in Rhode Island last month. 

It had been raining for a few days and the mushrooms were popping. This dead tree was standing in a neighbor's yard where my wife and I were renting a house. I saw them from the road and started thinking about a recipe. We had visited a friend's farm nearby the day before and left with some fresh picked okra, string beans, and tomatoes. 

I threw everything in a pot and made another pot chicken of the woods curry that thanks to the fresh veggies rivaled the initial last batch

The farm where we got the veggies was 20 minutes away and the main ingredient was picked a few hundred yards away. With the exception of the spices and a little butter, this may have been the most "local" meal I've eaten, and damn was it good.

This weekend is a perfect time to hit up a farmer's market or two. ;)

Happy Friday.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Beer Review: Dogfish Head Punkin Ale (My Wife's New Favorite)

Last weekend the family stopped into the Dogfish Head Brewpub in Rehoboth, Delaware. The place was packed, the food was decent, and the beer list was extensive.  I had the DFH Ale which was strong and hoppy as promised. My wife wanted to try something seasonal and was presented with the Punkin Ale of which she was instantly a fan; so much so I thought I had better pick up a four pack for further analysis.

Punkin Ale pours a beautiful orange color that is kind of well... pumpkiny. The spices: nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and brown sugar are all present but not overpowering. Some pumpkin ales seem to force the pumpkin flavor making the beer too sweet but not this one. This is also true of a lot of flavored beers. The actual pumpkin flavor is subtle and balances out the spices well giving the Punkin Ale a very smooth finish.

I can see why this is on the top of my wife's list. It is full-bodied (as the label states) but not gimmicky like some of the competition.

Bottom line: Highly Spouse Recommended.
Buy It if you love the flavor of beer in your flavored seasonal beer.
Don't Buy It if your looking for hints candy corn in your pumpkin ale.

Capital BikeShare: At A Glance

I was driving down 5th Street yesterday when I saw my first Capital Bikeshare station. All crisp and clean, free of the impending graffiti and stickers. If I didn't already have 4 bikes I'd sign up for it. Hurray for DC!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

20 Somethings Are Buying Fewer Cars!

According to this article by Kiplinger;

"Motorists aged 21 to 30 now account for 14% of miles driven, down from 21% in 1995."

Contrary to our parents generation who saw car ownership as a divine right, or the culmination of manifest destiny, 20 somethings are opting to take the bus and tweet rather than sit in their car (and play with their iPhones).
“This generation focuses its buying on computers, BlackBerrys, music and software and views commuting a few hours by car a huge productivity waste when they can work using PDAs while taking the bus and train,”
That's a savings of 2 additional hours of blogging time, EVERY DAY! Yes I see the irony, that I am blogging at this very moment but hey, I'm doing it at the office like a responsible adult.

Honestly I don't care why people are choosing not to buy cars, I'm just happy with their choice.

Monday, September 20, 2010

New Blog Series: Will It Compost?

Most of you have probably seen the "Will It Blend?" website that made the rounds a while back. The idea was to see if the latest must have personal electronics equipment could be taken out by a blender. The answer was always yes, yes a blender can destroy an: ipod, cellphone, game system... whatever. I thought it was pretty stupid at the time but a variation of the idea might be pretty cool. Recently I purchased a set of Ergon GP1 grips (which I love),  and noticed the substantial "green" engineering effort that went into the packaging and I had my variation.

Will It Compost? 

The idea is to put packaging that is supposedly "green" to the test by subjecting said packaging to a month in my worm composting bin. Then I'll be able to judge weather the companies claims of eco-friendliness are legit or full of compost. If my worms don't eat it, it ain't green. At the same time I will be getting an education on green packaging, as I don't know much about it. 

And just to clarify, I'm not going to put recyclable plastics or any other petroleum based product in the bin, unless the product claims to be biodegradable.

So Ergon, think your packaging is sustainable? Let's find out.
As you can see in the photo below, Ergon uses soy ink and 100% recycled paper. There is also some glue holding the cardboard tube to the rest of the package. 

Step 1. Cut a hole in a box...  Soak the packaging.

Step 2. Shred the packaging to make it easier for the worms to work with.

Step 3. Throw it in the bin!

Tik-Tok Tik-Tok... (fast forward a month or so...)

DING! We have our results.

The worms ate almost all of the packaging. They went through all of the pressed cardboard material leaving only a ring of glue mentioned above and the thin "waxy" outer layer that made up what the main graphic was printed on. One cool thing about worms is that they leave behind only what they don't like. A good example is this Starbucks cup I threw in there a while back.

The worms are about halfway done with it. They eat the paper leaving behind thin layer of wax that made the cup waterproof.

I'm pretty happy with these results. Most companies would put a product like this in clear plastic, which even if it does make it to the recycling bin uses more oil and more energy to make it into yet another piece of plastic.

In this case (for most of this package), I represent the end of the line, converting a useful product, paper, into an even more useful byproduct, fertilizer for my winter greens and eventually food on my plate.

In conclusion I think Ergon did a great job with their grip packaging. The only improvement would be if they  could find a way to print the graphic directly onto the cardboard and use less glue.

Please comment with any "Will It Compost?" requests.

Happy Mondaying

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Synthetic Jerseys: The Great Stink Cycle

Most of my jerseys can be worn twice in a week before they become somewhat offensive. I throw them on the pile (much to my wife's chagrin) and move on to the next jersey. However, two of my jerseys have crossed over to the dark side. If I wear them, they are unbearable by the time I get to work. By the time I get home they will have become so powerful that the odor lingers long after I throw them in the backyard. The offending jersey must be washed several times before it can be worn again, only to stink just as bad, thus the great stink cycle continues.

No more! I'm moving to merino wool. Hailed as the non-stinky all weather miracle material on the interwebs, merino wool is praised by most anyone who owns some. I may have to sell some blood or bike parts to get the good stuff but I've had enough with the stench and the spousal complaints. 

Do you have a brand/product recommendations? Post a comment and let us know.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Beer Review: Get Yourself A Little Sumpin' Sumpin'

As a birthday treat my wife stopped by the Whole Foods in Fairfax, which has a hefty beer selection, to pick me up a sixer. She told the ever capable beerman what I liked and he sent her home with a six pack of Lagunitas' "a Little Sumpin' Sumpin' ale" . Happy birthday indeed! God I love this beer...

This is a very hoppy wheat bear that pours out golden and lovely. With 50% wheat and tons of hops comes a very complex taste of citrus, pine, and apricots that is truly sumpin' sumpin'. What's even better is given the popularity of the seasonal release the brainiacs over at Lagunitas are moving it over to their regular offering.

Bottom line: Highly Recommended.
Buy It if you love flavor in your beer and hops without the bitter.
Don't Buy It if your looking for the "born on" date on the label.