Christmas on the Farm

physics with bells

cutest little challah

swedish breakfast

blue jays & lady cardinal

the barn & sheds at sunset

christmas sunset

the rattiest tree dad's ever seen

mom & i halfway through the obligatory holiday scrabble showdown

dad lets his true alliances be known


New Dearland

Elvis Perkins in Dearland has launched a new website with a few songs from their new album. Particularly happy am I for an album-ready version of "Shampoo" -- it's always been one of my favorites. Hope this will bring them back to the heartland...


Friday commute

We got quite a bit of ice Thursday night. Lincoln Public Schools, notorious for never closing for a snow day, had no school. The State marches on, however, and the streets were pretty empty for my ride.

There was only one other bike that had evidence of having been ridden that morning. Success!

My Ultimate Influence?

Mathias sent me this link this morning.

I used to sing this song all the time when I was little. My parents had a strict no-commercial-television policy, so all I watched was PBS, with a heavy dose of Sesame Street. This bordered on addiction, and my parents had VHS tapes full of episodes for the days it wasn't on.

This song is unbearably catchy.

I have the realization that I would have been perfectly suited to making documentaries for this vintage of Sesame Street.

These women are so happy to be making crayons.

And then I realize that it is more likely that this is in fact the overriding influence in my media lexicon.

Funny, this was supposed to be education about very different worlds for the young children of Harlem & the Bronx. We put up hay in the summer to feed the cattle in the winter, too!

Why can't this be my job, to make these? Why must childrens' programming be so gaudy and terrible now?

There is such a wealth of these -- I could go on forever. But here's one more for you to spark a rabbit hole of YouTube related videos.

If we had more salutes and dances for fruit, perhaps we'd have healthier children?


the sky is falling

Ice Rain Bike Commute

  • Leaving the State Office Building: "You're crazy. You sure you don't want a ride?"
  • M Street, Centennial Mall to 18th: Not bad at all
  • 18th Street, M Street to J Street: No big troubles here, easy crossings of L and K, and mostly clear street. See a biker on the sidewalk, front tire slips, contemplate switching to sidewalks. Rescind consideration.
  • 18th Street, J Street to C Street: Getting the hang of navigating the patches of ugly brown loose snow on top of the packed base. This is like skiing, with little rushes of excitement in my stomach as a tire begins to slip and I catch it, not falling.
  • C Street, 18th to 19th & 19th Street, C Street to B Street: Two well executed turns, no cars.
  • B Street, 19th to 20th: Attempt at going uphill. Finding the need to add power (which would mean speed) so as to continue to progress up the hill. Gingerly succeeding, secretly hoping for a cheer from the guy unloading his groceries at the top of the climb. Hope unfulfilled, but hill climbed.
  • B Street 20th to 21st: Ice Sprinkle quickly transitions to Ice Rainfall. Sounds like a Steve Reich composition on the leaves of the trees. Hurts the tops of my cheeks.
  • 21st Street, B Street to A Street: Have to wait to cross A for a long time, thanks especially to a dark van without lights on. Curse the van. Curse the Ice Rain. Pause. Enjoy the sound of the accidental Steve Reich performance. Cross A.
  • 21st Street, A Street to Sumner: Uneven, messy, far deeper brown crap sometimes on clear street, sometimes on ice, sometimes on packed snow. See a guy filling up a car with a red gas can as his dualie runs, blocking half the street. Wonder if the same physics rules apply to a skidding bicycle as to a skidding car. Carefully attempt turning into the skid, turning opposite the skid. Inconclusive, as I am more focused on the reverse psychology involved in this counterintuitive behavior.
  • Sumner, 21st Street to 24th Street: Smooth riding, even increase the pace a bit. Just a bit.
  • 24th: Home safe.

Gizmodo Recommendation: Macabre Plush Toys Are Perfect Xmas Gift for Future Psychokillers

Title: Macabre Plush Toys Are Perfect Xmas Gift for Future Psychokillers
Link: http://gizmodo.com/5113090/macabre-plush-toys-are-perfect-xmas-gift-for-future-psychokillers


I can't wait until Friday

Cat Post NOW!

Thanks, Andrew Sullivan.

snow commute

4℉ this morning, snowing, but no wind, and i'll stop dissing my mtb. i had a fun ride.

this was what it looked like out my window all morning. good weather for editing.

this afternoon, different story. it wasn't snowing anymore, but the cars had packed things down pretty well, and the ruts were pretty killer on a relative icebike novice like me. i'm totally thrilled with my winter bike pants, though.

face, masked. head, handknit-hatted & helmeted. eyes, in need of ski goggles. that might make me look less mean.

Doomtree - Drumsticks

drumsticks & chainlinks...

had a good bike ride through the snow this morning


Sent to you by Elisabeth via Google Reader:


via DVblog by michael on 12/2/08

Drumsticks (2008, 32.1MB, 2:43 min)

I know no more about Doomtree than you can glean, gentle viewer, from their site
& their my space but this video simply fills me with joy.
First off, nothing with massed bicycles in it can be all bad but, over & above,
it's something to do with the combination of skillz & almost palpable & somehow
innocent sincerity that just makes a beeline for my heart. Lovely.


Things you can do from here:



The Tam

Brent & I enjoyed the warm evening air to bike to the Tam O'Shanter. Brent enjoyed the shag carpet on the wall.

This is our new slogan.

Might make a good name for our BRAN team.

We biked through the fancy new arches along the Antelope Valley corridor.


and, thanks to the Daily Dish

a mental health break...

Colours from Charlie McCarthy on Vimeo.

More Cabinetting

So my former boss is being suggested as a candidate for Secretary of Education in the Obama Administration. I urge you to look into the matter, and write a few words in support, if you agree. Perhaps I'll bloviate on the subject a little more later....

NYTimes.com: Obama's 'Secretary of Food'?

Obama has name-dropped Michael Pollan....sign this petition!

OPINION | December 11, 2008
Op-Ed Columnist: Obama's 'Secretary of Food'?

When Barack Obama chooses his agriculture secretary, we need a bold reformer in a position renamed “secretary of food.”


Films Not Playing Here I Want To See

There are three films (the last just added, thanks to A.O. Scott's review in the Times) I'd really like to see right now.

Synechdoche, NY (which I just learned will be coming to the Ross in January, thankfully)
Wendy & Lucy

If you live in NY, go see Wendy & Lucy and tell me if it's as good as it looks.


Chinese girl gets 'kiss of deaf'

elisabeth saw this story on the BBC News website and thought you
should see it.

** Chinese girl gets 'kiss of deaf' **
A young woman has been left partially deaf in China following a passionate kiss from her boyfriend.
< http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/2/hi/asia-pacific/7772902.stm >


Land of Make Believe

Photos of TV. Totally my favorite website of the moment.

So, plenty of the images made me laugh. Some made me laugh in very unladylike ways. But then there was the photo of the ad for the Land of Make Believe. I have two stories about the Land of Make Believe.

I just tried counting the number of times I've driven on I-80 through New Jersey on the way to or from Nebraska. I couldn't count the number. Then again, I'm not quite sure how one would count numbers, unless there were a pile of numbers somewhere that needed counting. I digress.

Ande and I were on our way to Providence, and I think this was as part of our massive loop around the eastern half of the United States in 19 days.

View Larger Map

That was a great road trip. We stopped in DC for a very confused and sleepless hour or two, drove all over Myrtle Beach in our Honda listening to Motley Crue since it was Bike Week, and ate Waffle House hash browns cooked by a convicted felon near Jacksonville at 3 AM. Anyway, on the way back to Providence, we visited my godmother in Chicago and then went to see our friend Ben Donsky in New Brunswick, NJ, where he was in grad school at Rutgers. The drive from Chicago to New Brunswick is about 13 hours, and as I'm writing this, I'm realizing it wasn't on the same trip as the epic road trip of the eastern half of the U.S.

It was winter. But we were driving from Chicago to New Brunswick, and by the time we were in western New Jersey, we were a little slap-happy from all the driving. We saw the sign for the Land of Make Believe -- it was one of those little brown place of interest type signs you see along the interstate for scenic overviews and ski resorts and state parks. Even though it was dark, Ande and I were intrigued enough to take the exit ramp. We get to the end of the exit ramp.....nothing. No sign pointing us in the direction of the Land of Make Believe, no billboards, nothing. And we explode with laughter. This was also, I think, not too long after Mr. Rogers died, making this somehow even more tragicomic. So we get right back on I-80, arrive at the little house party at Ben's, and just can't get over telling the story of how the Land of Make Believe DOESN'T EXIST! HA!

A year later, when Alex Svoboda had just moved to Providence, she and Ande and I were all driving home for Christmas. We had gone to New York for a couple of days before returning to Nebraska, and had stayed with Ben in New Brunswick once again. This time, we set off for the Midwest -- and for a show Ande was playing in Detroit -- in the early morning. Alex was sleeping in the backseat, and I was driving and listening to a Freedom Call CD Darin had burned for me. Play that video now, while you read the rest of this.

As I approached the exit for the Land of Make Believe, this time in the daylight and perhaps inspired by the music, I decided to try again. I pulled off, and this time, coming from the east (and therefore, the populous part of New Jersey), there were signs. I wound through the sleepy town, following street signs and painted billboards, and finally pulled into the parking lot of a dinky amusement park just at the point that a very bewildered Alex woke up in the back seat as Freedom Call blared through the speakers. Priceless.

Maybe you should watch a Freedom Call live video, since that other one was just for the song.


Two Modes

I forced myself to go to an afternoon spin class today after work, and was definitely in it with the workout crowd. (I've usually gone in the mornings, with my buddy Denise, and the 6:15 AM spinners tend toward the serious cyclist.) There seems something somewhat perverse to me in imitating riding a bicycle in an enclosed room with a bunch of other people, no scenery to look at, fake hills called out by an instructor. Then again, there was some amazing symbiosis with my body on the bike and "Groove is in the Heart."

On my way home, though, I was reminded why so many people prefer bikes in rooms and bikes in basements over bikes on the street when a car blatantly blew through a yield sign right in front of me. Meh.