Thursday, January 29, 2009

If the saundola's a-rockin'...

so are the rest of the trolleys, probably. The crafty Ylläs resort in Finland has devised a gondola car that heats to 170 degrees for the, umm... enjoyment of a wealthy guest and three friends. Apparently, riders are free to shed everything, from parka to base-layer, for the two-hour round trip.

This story comes via Wend Blog, who wonders about the environmental impact of this "luxury mountain travel." Personally, having managed an apartment building that had a sauna for tenant use, I just hope the Finns are hosing this sucker down after ever trip.

I give thee 1 bacon, but only because thou art slightly awesomer than an apartment building sauna.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Rediscovering the run.

At various points in my life I have run, but always stopped (sometimes for years before lacing up again). Run, stop. Run, stop.

7 years-old; run because that's what Dad does. 14 years-old; run because in small town high schools you do a sport (and face it, kid... you're no linebacker). 27 years-old; run to relieve the stress of divorce (here done with an insatiable vigor, sometimes twice a day).

Now 34, I am rediscovering the run. And the experience is more satisfying than at any other time. Here, done not for approval, a ribbon, or self-medication. Here done with joy. To reach that moment of simple being, when vision reduces to a pinpoint on the horizon, all else blurred and inconsequential. The mystical moment when feet that have been pounding the asphalt in a slowly-building rhythm suddenly... disappear.

I find ways off the asphalt, to muddy roads, sandy river-grade, and patches of grass. It must look ridiculous to see a grown man dart off the roadway and bound across the turf of an elementary school ball field. But this is running with joy. And it's how I know I won't be stopping again anytime soon.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Because sometimes...

teh funneh is the best medicine, I offer a post that has nothing to do with gear, beer, bikes, or cancer. It's merely a couple spots I check when The Man is gettin' me down. If you don't enjoy these, you probably are The Man.

I Crush Your Head flickr pool
Mr. Tyzik from Kids in the Hall said, "Not everyone deserves to have their head crushed, just 99.99% of them." At the next meeting where The Man tells you about a pay freeze or "operational restructuring", try giving his head a small crush. Therapeutic!

Sexy People Blog
We've all had our share of regrettable school and family photos. Sears just seemed to have a knack for bringing out the worst in people. Awkward poses, unusual fashion choices, apparent inbreeding, and bad dental work are all on view here. Make yourself feel better by scoffing at others. Harmless!

See also: Rad Dudes

You Suck at Photoshop tutorials
Get some software skills and let the always-depressing host berate you for using the perspective tool. "My name is Donnie and you suck at Photoshop. You do. You're awful. That's why you're here. Alright let's get started." Self-deprecating!

1000 Tiny Things I Hate blog
Because Jon Brown is British, you may occasionally have to put up with words like "cakehole" and "blimey". That aside, his rants on everything from Bereavement Tattoos (#87) to People Who Never Take the Protective Plastic Off Things (#10) are hilarious. Blimey!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Thanks Sara!

My cousin Sara has always been more like a sister. We played endless hours as kids... imagining ourselves homesteaders, restaurant owners, explorers, and more. No matter what fantastic unreality we immersed ourselves in, we have always been friends first. So, thank you to my friend and bestest cousin for your support then and now!

Bacon for my vegetable-despising cousin...

Friday, January 16, 2009

What's up with Gearcheep?

I'll be the first to admit, this project has been undertaken with a concept that is foggy at best. It starts from a blank page, literally.

After securing the domain name last week, I rushed to the grocery store in the middle of the night and bought a crisp, new notebook. Back home, I sharpened a fresh pencil, sat at my favorite writing desk, and proceeded to stare at the aforementioned blank page for an hour.

I guess I expected the storm of ideas that's been swirling in my head to magically coalesce and give marching orders. Create action plans. Identify low-hanging fruit. You know, the stuff of serious business. The notebook went in the desk drawer, empty.

I've spent the last few days allowing myself to consider possibilities, and have tried to quiet the voice of pragmatism. Last night, the notebook came back out and the ideas did flow right onto the page. And they made sense together. And I've got my marching orders.

A lot of old-school business guys will tell you to keep your ideas under lock-and-key. Build a tower on the backs of other men and put yourself at the top. I believe those days are long gone, and that success is now largely determined by how much you're willing to share. So...

My vision for Gearcheep is: "Come for the deals, stay for the reads." To be one of those places (we all have at least one) in which people enjoy spending some time with their morning coffee. How to do it?
1) Provide great content for "everday adventurers", 8-5ers who work hard during the week, then blow off steam at the races or escape to the wilderness with their families on Saturday.

2) Enable "everyday adventurers" to connect with the site, and with each other, to build a community of like-minded people.

3) Promote sustainable living and a positive environmental ethos. Can I do that and still talk about bacon and beer? I love bacon and beer.

4) Scour the planet for the best deals on gear that lets "everyday adventurers" live the dream. Deliver this resource in a way that's "fresh daily" and easy to digest.
Lisa and I are excited to get to work. I'm building a content plan, and have already secured an interview with the editor of my favorite outdoors magazine! I'm not sure how to handle the "deals" portion of this concept... it will likely be pretty manual at first.

Now you know the story. What say you?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Thanks Katerina!

This is Kate. Kate is special. Noooo, not like that! I mean she's a special friend... the kind that doesn't come along often in life. She watches our bad dogs when we're out of town, brings over Rock Band and plays with our kids, and cheeses on the webcam to cheer up my wife.

Thanks for sponsoring me (again) and for being generally awesome!

Katerina can haz bacon.

Thanks Global Daughter!

Our family stands back in amazement watching my cousin, Erika. Already a world traveler at a young age, she started a business in 2007 to improve the lives of women in developing countries. Global Daughter has been a labor of love, and definitely helped inspired me to live my own passions. Thanks for sponsoring me in the Livestrong Challenge, Erika. I hope this is a great year for you!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Thanks Brianna and family!

It's been fun getting to know my cousin Brianna again, albeit through teh Internets. Competing family schedules have kept us at a distance for a few years, but now at least I can follow her family's shenanigans here.

Thanks for sponsoring me, Brianna. Sorry I farted on you Christmas day!

Brianna has a big family. Double-bacon...

Thanks Beppu family!

A big thank you to cousin Chanda, her husband Kirk, and (most importantly) their awesome little pumpkin of a baby, Cole. I appreciate your donation! Here we are, circa 1983 (or 1984?). Style for miles and miles, even back then.

Thanks CampingBlogger!

My friends at CampingBlogger have risen to the challenge... thanks for sponsoring my ride!

Anyone interested in camping as a family activity should really check out this site and subscribe to the email newsletter. I've learned a bunch already, and have only been reading for a month or so.

CampingBlogger gets bacon...

Are you up to the challenge?

Alright, kids. I gave you fair warning a month ago! Now, will you sponsor my ride in the 2009 Livestrong Challenge, and help the Lance Armstrong Foundation continue its important work?

My Personal Challenge Page

For people living in cancer's shadow - like my mom, my dad, and surely someone you know - "Livestrong" is more than a catch-phrase... it's the only option. Live with strength and purpose. Fight, but don't think you have to do it alone. This is a time when we can never have too many friends. Thankfully, the Lance Armstrong Foundation is in our corner, funding research and reaching into our local communities... helping us win.

Dini Scharf has already stepped-up with a pledge of $10. Thanks, Dini... only $240 to go! And thank you for your sponsorship. I can't wait to do the ride with my dad in June.

My Personal Challenge Page | I ride with Team Fat Cyclist

Monday, January 12, 2009

There's a part of me...

that has the brass ones to hike this trail. There's another part that, at the trailhead, would tell the first part to shut up, go back to the hotel, and take a bubblebath, girlie-man.

Small victory...

I've flailed (and failed), but last week finally made it four days without soda, energy drinks, or beer. Ah the brew, my dark mistress.

Here's a shocker... "Mr. Type A" has a hard time unwinding. I am hopelessly compelled, every single day, to stay busy until I'm too tired to keep my eyes open. With a beer (or four) after work, I'm comfortable doing nothing because beer is the something. I don't expect you to understand.

And here we go into Week 2 of Unfat Me. I write to pass the time. I read Lew Bryson's excellent "Why We Drink" and think about having one of the 2-Below's that are out in my beer fridge. Poured into an ice-cold glass. Just one. So cold. So tasty.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

It's incubating...

This is the business idea I wrote about a few days ago, a project that will surely mean a lot of work for little or no pay. It's high-time to start living my passions, and believing that good things will follow.

Chick it out: gearcheep

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

What does it all meme?

I don't do surveys, give information to marketers (unless they pay), or forward those godawful "when is the last time you cried" emails. But I just got tagged by snotty in something called a "meme challenge". So, uhhhh... this is not a survey, it's a challenge. I never back down from one of those!
Unless I might get hurt, lose money, or not come away from it looking totally awesome.

Apparently, all I have to do is tell the truth 10 times. About anything. This will be easy as I'm an honest guy. And it will surely be fascinating for those of you (hi, honey) who just cannot get enough Mike. So here goes...

1) Bacon: Truth be told, I don't really like it that much. I only jumped on the baconwagon because I noticed how hip it was becoming. Just kidding! I put Bacon Salt on my bacon, punk! And now you don't know if you can trust what I say about these other 9 things... I own you!

2) Good vs Great: I'm ok with just being "good". That doesn't mean I'm not capable of, or have dreams of greatness. Only that I'm not willing to focus on just one aspect of life in order to be the best. I may never make a million... but I've managed to (mostly) avoid career burnout, spend real time with my family, and can hang with a laid-back weekend game of just about anything. Balance. Ommmmm.

3) Beer: I don't mind the cheap stuff. I love a good, flavorful brew as much as the next guy. But that shit is expensive! It doesn't have to be a handcrafted micro every day. Give me a tall-boy of PBR and let's play some Big Buck Hunter. Dude! You shot a doe!

4) Blogging: Is a fun way to stay in touch with one's family and friends. Wheeeeee. See how much fun I'm having? Now how can I get paid?

5) Divorce fallout: There's a piece missing from our family. A hollow spot in my heart every single minute of every day. I try to be tough, but I miss my son when he's not around (and sometimes even when he is).

6) Country music: It's not all bad. I've grown to appreciate some of the old-school, outlaw and honky-tonk stuff I remember hearing on jukeboxes as a kid. I was raised in Montana, and (at least through the oversimplified eyes of a teenager) you were either on the country or the city side of the fence. I picked the city and moved to Seattle almost 15 years ago.

7) The city: I'm over it. It's been fun. Now can we get a few acres in the mountains and a couple Merle Haggard albums, please?

8) Ouch: I grew up really close to one of my girl cousins. One day, seemingly everyone but me decided that we were getting too old to be hanging out so much. No more Monopoly marathons.

9) Levity: I will sometimes bust a loud fart to break the tension in a room. No squeakers either. I get up and make a big production out of it.

10) Meme challenges: This will be my last one. Ever. What the hell is a meme, again? I've been working in the Internet industry for 10 years and have never been thusly challenged. Enjoy your victory, teh snotteh.

Oh, and tag, you're it (or not, I don't really care either way). And then I guess you're supposed to tag 7 people. If you want to. Whatever. Le Lovely Life, Always Counting to 3, Subarashi, Chanda, antibike, CampingBlogger, and cousin S, you should start a blog!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

I'm using my mulligan...

In "social" golf (that's what it's called when you suck), a mulligan is a shot taken to correct a previously errant one. It is generally accepted that each player should be granted at least one mulligan per round.

I'd like to use mine here, please.

Unfat Me 2009 kicked off with high hopes and honest intentions. But I didn't count on the holiday season, with its pervasive and unavoidable "good cheer". I also didn't count on getting snowed-in for a week. Fail. I hit my drive into the woods. Never saw it... only heard the ball ricocheting off into the distance. Uplayable. I need a do-over.

Phase 1 commences (again) tomorrow.
Weight: 158 | Banned Can Success Rate: 100%

Thursday, January 1, 2009

That's not a growler. THIS is a growler...

How, in all our years in this city, have we missed Elliot Bay Brewing? I guess "missed" isn't the right word. We knew it was there, but the joint is unassuming, and I think they like it that way. Easy to overlook, but impossible to forget.

After an afternoon strolling Lincoln Park (and finding our destination bar closed for the holiday) we stepped in. We ate the finest happy hour grub ever... delectable pulled pork sammiches and a pile of homemade 'slaw for $4.99. That's $4.99 for two sammiches, chappy. We bellied-up with the locals. We sampled all the brews, and we took our favorite home in a growler.

This vessel is now the crown jewel of our small collection. Screen-printed labels? You've been outclassed. Stickers? Step aside. This growler has set the bar, and it is colored gold, chappy. 2009 is the year of gold. And yes, I'll stop calling you chappy.

The beer's good... brews ranging from meh to m'awesome. We took home the very tasty IPA, and were just as happy to leave the stout and weizen behind. The beer was just a sidenote to the atmosphere, anyway... "West Seattle's neighborhood brewpub" is vintage 1980's Cheers, set among the drugstores and cookie-cutter retail of California Ave.

Everyone seemed to know each other, but not in the "we sit here all day and stare at our whiskey" way of sadder watering holes. More like, "Hey, here comes Joe. How was the snow today, Joe?". And to the kid weaving his way between tables and barstools, "What's up, buddy? Sure, I'll come explore with you in a second."

Gold. And bacon.