Monday, August 24, 2009


I finished up my re-build of the road bike. In the end, I had to do a bit more than I wanted. Turns out the guy had thrown a 27" wheel on the front, so when I went to swap tires the old 700c's wouldn't fit. So I bought a nice new front wheel with a Mavic Open Pro on an XT hub. So in the end, it was:

New cables - brake and shifter
New housing
New bar tape
New brake pads
New tires
New tubes
New pedals
New seat

It's pretty damn fun to ride around on. And I'm finally learning how to handle the thing. Still, it's much more unwieldy than a mountain bike. I know from experience that 700c wheels on their own make a bike act kind of crazy. Throw in the drop bar though...I honestly can't think that the aero or hand position advantages outweigh the handling advantage you get with a flat bar. But I guess I haven't ridden the thing for more than half an hour.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


First up, Someecards finally has a create your own option. Not sure when they did that, but it's awesome. Check out stuff other people have made as well. I made two today, but I haven't quite hit my stride yet.

So, Pitchfork and me have a strange relationship these days. I still like to hear what they say, but I'm less and less interested in hearing about a bunch of shit that is beyond obscurity. I tune each day with half a cup of enthusiasm. So it took me until today to realize they were running a best 500 songs of the 2000's this week. Say what you will, but those mofo's are thorough. This thing is a thing of beauty. Links to each song. Write-ups on the top 250...I think it's the top 250...Sorry, top 200. You must check it out.

I decided that I was going to come home and make a playlist of all the music I had in that top 500. I figured it would take a half hour or so, but it's slowly consumed a chunk of my evening, although I have been multi-tasking. And as I dig into it, it's bizarre to say the least. I think they throw some red herrings in there just to fuck with people. There's some stuff in there that is bizarre. It seems like the get the right band and the right album but the wrong song a whole bunch. Allow me to elaborate.

DJ Shadow - You Can't Come Home Again - Excuse me? You've got Six Days sitting right there and you choose that?

The Libertines - Time for Heroes - An okay choice, but why not Up the Bracket?

Wilco - Handshake Drugs - Yes. A fine song. But you also have Hell is Chrome, Muzzle of Bees, and...shit, most of the album to pick from. Okay. Tough call.

The Walkmen - In the New Year - Okay, of all the Walkmen songs to pick, they picked this one. I had a hard time stomaching this, but as I listened to my playlist and this came up, I can see it. Still, not the best Walkmen song, by any stretch of the imagination. Maybe something shows up in the Top 10 tomorrow?

The Streets - Blinded by the Lights - Booooooring. Fit But You Know It.

Fleet Foxes - Blue Ridge Mountains - This is the worst song ever. I don't get it.

Japandroids - Young Hearts Spark Fire - Okay. They stole this song from somewhere. I will figure out where. That bass line is an exact copy from...something. Help me out here.

The Twilight Sad - Cold Days From The Birdhouse - That Summer, At far better.

The Constantines - Nightime/Anytime - I'm glad they got a song on here from their one good album (which is amazing). But it should have been National Hum, Shine a Light, Young Lions...

Trail of Dead - Another Morning Stoner - Baudelair? Relative Ways?

Ryan Adams - Come Pick Me Up - I haven't even heard this song, but over To Be Young? Bizarre.

The Fiery Furnaces - Here Comes the Summer - Okay, maybe the most radio friendly Fiery Furnaces song, but far from their best.

The Thermals - A Pillar of Salt - Right album. Good song. Wrong song. Here's Your Future is the only choice.

The Liars - Plaster Cast of Everything - Once again. Right album, good song, wrong song. There's 3 or so better choices.

Les Savy Fav - The Sweat Descends - Come on! Yawn, Yawn, Yawn!!!

Ted Leo - Timorous Me & Where Have All the Rude Boys Gone - No. Bad choices.

McLusky - To Hell With Good Intentions - Lightsabre Cocksucking Blues? Collagen Rock?

The Shins - New Slang - Fuck the Shins. But if you're not going to, it should be Caring is Creepy.

TV on the Radio - Wolf Like Me - I've never gotten TV on the Radio. Except for Playhouses. So to pick this...over the same album...crazy.

LCD Soundsystem - Someone Great - What the hell?

It goes on. Of course, some were spot on.

Ghostface Killah - Shakey Dog
Girl Talk - Smash Your Head
Dan Deacon - The Crystal Cat (could have been others, but I'll take it)
Broken Social Scene - Cause=Time (this album will be a classic in 20 years...the first three quarters anyhow)
Interpol - NYC and Obstacle 1
Camera Obscura - Lloyd, I'm Ready to be Heartbroken - I know. Not very masculine of me. But catchy as hell. I've been pushing this song on people for a long time.
Beirut - Postcards from Italy
Modest Mouse - 3rd Planet

Anyhow, the top 20 goes up tomorrow. Of the 480 given so far my playlist has 205 of them. Not quite 50%, but I'm surprised. And I have no idea what's in that final 20.

Oh. It's also very interesting to see how many of the songs are either #1 or #2 on the album. As I was told once...start with a Banger.

Update - The rest of the list is up. I think in seeing the top 20 there's a bit of redemption for Pitchfork. Nothing too surprising. Adding The Walkmen - The Rat and LCD Soundsystem - All My Friends kills a couple of my previous comments.

Interestingly, there's a pretty good representation of mainstream pop, hip-hop and R&B on the list. But there is absolutely nothing to do with mainstream "Rock". Radiohead? Other than that, nothing. What does this say? Are Pitchfork a bunch of rock snobs, refusing to listen to anything that might show up on the radio, or is mainstream pop, hip-hop and R&B just more in touch with what actually doesn't suck?

My final playlist tally is 220 songs at 16 hours, 15 minutes of listening. So it will take me a while to get through it all.

Oh. Priceless. The Pitchfork 500 Cool-o-meter.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

My new ride

I have an illness when it comes to bikes. It's never "good enough". I always seem to just slowly creep up until I've created something ridiculous.

For example. I've been trying to build a city bike for some time. I built this guy up a while back. But it was too nice to lock up. I wanted drops. And it got geared out rather quickly. So I stripped it down and sold the frame to a friend.

I decided to build a cyclocross frame. So, I started with a SOMA frame. Which became a Salsa, because they're close in price and the Salsa is so much nicer. And that needed discs.... and on and on. Pretty soon, I'd only spent $1500, but I had something that I absolutely, positively, could not lock up anywhere.

So I re-set and started searching Craigslist for old road bikes. There's a lot of crap out there. And the hipsters are creaming the city out. So I finally found this guy, and I had to have it. Yes, it's not super pretty yet. I probably could stand to have a size larger. But with some minor modifications (new pedals, tires, tubes, cables, housing, brake pads, handlebar tape, seat...that's about it) I'm going to have an almost bone stock, classic Bianchi. Call these the before pictures.

Oh. I'm going to have to completely re-learn how to ride a bike. I just rode it up the street. My quad kills (I did about 10 pedal strokes) and braking is absolutely crazy. But it should be fun.