Thursday, November 27, 2008


Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Here is what we'll be bringing to dinner- adapted from an authentic grandma-approved recipe:
Apple pie
  • 2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 c shortening, lard, or butter
  • 1/2 c ice cold water
Mix flour and salt. Cut in shortening with a pastry knife. Refrigerate overnight. To make crust, fold in ice cold water until the dough reaches the desired consistency. Split dough into two halves and roll each separately. For a 9" pie pan, roll the dough into a 12" diameter circle. Place half the dough in the bottom of the pan, add filling, and use the other half for the top crust. Brush with egg white or milk.
  • 6 medium-sized tart apples
  • 3/4 c white sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 c walnuts (raw or caramelized)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Pare and slice the apples. Add the sugar, cinnamon, and salt, and mix well. Add to pie pan. Cover with top crust. Bake 15 minutes at 425 F, then reduce heat to 350 and bake 45 minutes longer (or until crust is deep golden brown).

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I know that vet-school-related posts have been a little lacking lately, but that's not because school has been particularly busy or bad. It's just been remarkably consistent. Lectures all day, tests, every now and then we have a lab. We also have a lot of large animal courses right now, which, I gotta say, I just don't find very interesting.* It's hard to write about things that I find boring, since I don't want to bore you all, which is why the recent derth of vet school posts.

Judging by the attitude of the class of 2010, school right now is more like an endurance run than the past two years. First year is about trying to live up to the expectations that you had for yourself in undergrad. Second year is about proving your strength- how many tests can you study for at once, how many hours can you spend practicing suture patterns, how many labs can you juggle, how long did you spend standing in one spot while you you doing your first spay surgery.

Third year is, so far, all about how long you can maintain your attention span during our eight or nine or ten hours of lecture per day. We try to stay focused on how close we are to entering clinics (131 days!), or how little time we have to study for boards (only a year away!). But it's hard to escape the feeling that we're never going to be done with these long days of lecture. For now, I try to just keep swimming, and catch those moments of clarity when I know that of course this whole vet school thing is worth it in the end.

*not that cows and horses aren't interesting animals- they are just frustrating to study. Especially horses, which our professors always like to describe as "created when God was having an off day."

Saturday, November 15, 2008

MN State CX Championships 2008

Well that's the season! 7 weekends 7 races, and today's was a great one. I finished 60th out of 99 Riders which puts me in the 61st percentile this time. And I am really happy about that place too, because looking at the people I finished around, they have always finished ahead of me, and sometimes by a lot! So I can go into the off season showing some improvement, which makes me happy.

I got to the course really early this time, having screwed up my race last week so badly by being late. Race started at 11:00, so I was there at 9:00! I was 6th in line to register. It was cold, but I got a good long warm up and a few laps around the very long course. There was a little of everything today. Sections of pavement, grass, packed dirt, single track woods trails, a stairs/run up, and a sand pit. Only one set of barriers though, I thought that was odd. The pack for my race was big too, 99 racers which was the largest all season. I got a good starting position and missed a spectacular crash to the right of me on the first corner. I then proceeded to get passed by what seemed to be just about everyone but that's ok, I started way out in front.

On the first lap I was riding in the middle of a pack, but got sent to the back when the rider in front of me stopped short on the single track section and I ran into his wheel, which stalled me out an dumped me on my side still clipped in, and into a brier patch! Lots of burrs on my butt. I got up but couldn't get a spot in the train until every one rode past so I fell back about 10 spots. Very frustrating. Eventually I worked my way back up and passed guy I ran into, but it set me back.

The rest of the race was really uneventful. The course wanted to go fast, and I felt fast. I left everything on the trail and collapsed after it was done. Had family there today spectating which is always great and a huge motivator. Especially when equipped with a cow bell!

So, one season done. I am going to try and get ready for next year by getting more power in my legs via weights and of course more biking. Cross country ski season is almost upon us too, and Megan and I both have new skis to put to work...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Lit up

I attended a bike safety/community dinner at Macalester last night, and listened to one talk on commuting safety and and another about the Sibley Bike Depot. The talks were good and the people where nice. They were selling deeply discounted lights and locks, so I picked up a set of lights and a new U-lock. So I am all lit up with 2 reds in the back and 2 whites in the front. Although now that I see a little bit how great it is to have lights that show me where I am going instead of just show cars where I am, I am looking at the MiNewt from NightRider. More of a headlight for a bike than anything else! Now all I need to do is install heated seats and a radio and I will match the Volvo soon!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bike Snob Zen

One of my new favorite blogs is Bike Snob NYC. It is a mix of bike humor and observation, irony, and a study of NYC hipster bikers on their fixies. Each post is so cross linked to other posts that it can take a long time to get through one. His writing cracks me up. For example,
If you're unfamiliar with the recumbent, it's similar to the bicycle in that it has two wheels and it's human-powered, but it's also very different in that you kind of lie down on it. Also, it replaces the saddle with a lounge chair and your dignity with a big gaping hole.
But, besides bike hilarity he has some great things to say, like this from yesterday called, "The Indignity of Commuting by Bicycle: Weirdness"
I too long for something, and that is a world without stupid behavior. And recently, I made an important discovery, which is that while you can't change the world you can change your own perception of it. Certainly I can't eradicate stupidity from the Earth (if only because that would also involve eradicating myself), but I can keep myself from getting angry about that stupidity. This realization in turn brought me to a revelation: Stupidity minus Anger equals Weirdness. In other words, when I observe something inexplicable and get angry about it, I've observed something stupid. But when I observe something inexplicable and don't get angry, I've simply observed something weird. And weirdness is much easier to live with than stupidity.
And here is the snob on Cyclocross which he is a fan of:
But let's be honest--part of the bicycle's appeal is its swift mobility. What cyclist hasn't fantasized about living in some kind of Apocalyptic wasteland with only his bicycle and his wits to keep him alive? Who wouldn't want to live in some sort of real-life "Red Dawn" and carry out guerilla attacks on bicycles under Patrick Swayze's capable leadership? Well, probably very few people, and I suppose that's why cyclocross is still not that popular.
So, keep racing cyclocross on your recumbent bike in preparation for the red dawn but don't let stupid things make you angry, they are just weird after all.

And today's bike of zen. It is an 8 speed/single speed cyclocross bike - aka you can shift 8 times but the ratio remains the same. What class would you enter this in I wonder?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Good news!

We got the biopsy results back from Winnie's masses that were removed last week, and good news! Both were benign masses called papillomas. I was a little nervous because masses in the mouth have a tendency to be bad news (think metastatic melanoma). Winnie is so young that she was at low risk for it to be anything serious, but cancer is always a possibility when dealing with masses.

So what is a canine oral papilloma? Also known as puppy warts, oral papillomas are cauliflower-like growths caused by a virus. The virus is contagious, so dogs often pick them up when engaging in "mouthy" play with other dogs at parks or doggy daycare. They don't usually cause problems unless they get large enough to interfere with chewing. They can be found in places other than the mouth, as in Winnie's case, where it started as a mass on her paw. The immune system will eventually clear the virus, although it can take weeks to months. Winnie is a little unusual in that she's on the old side to be getting puppy warts, so her vet is going to put her on a supplement to help support her immune system.

Now all that's left is for Winnie to survive the next couple days of sutures in her paw pad. She is a sad sad sight, but it's almost over!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Velo CX

Race number six was yesterday and it was a cold, snowy and wet one! It was at the National Sports Center Velodrome in Blane which is a very neat place. In the warmer months you ride on the wooden planks on special track bikes but for this race we only rode on the infield. (Photo hat-tip to Frye).

I also got lost getting there and arrived with just enough time to register, get my bike together, change, and get to the line before the race started. So with zero warm up, and feeling slightly panicked, we were off!

...and the race went about as well as my arrival, with me crashing on lap two hard on the entrance to the Velodrome. I came in to the turn too fast trying to maneuver around a pack of three other people and lost both my wheels. It felt like someone had pulled a rug out from underneath me. And it was on astro-turf so it could have been! No great damage to anything, just a bruised hip and shoulder (and my leg warmer fell down making me feel a little 80s), but I had to get back into the race mentally again after that.

The rest of the course also didn't play well to my strengths, with lots of technical slippery turns and no hills to speak of. And it was cold! I should have had heavier gloves, because I couldn't feel my hands a bit which made shifting and braking an act of faith.

Overall I finished a fairly dismal 47th out of 58 racers, or the 81st percentile. But, while that is my worst finish of the year, I think the makeup of the racers was such that those who normally finish in the top half raced, and those who normally finish in the bottom half stayed home due to weather. I peg myself to a few other riders who finish around me, and they were all about 20% down from last week too.

Now there is just one race left - next Saturday, the "state championship" at Bassett Creek Park in Crystal, MN. The results from the "state championship" don't award any points, so the name has more to do with the fact that it is the last race of the year. Should be a good course for me too from the sounds of it.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The best URL ever

Rahm Emanuel

From Mathew Yglesias, a point that so far the best prediction for the Obama White House comes from the TV show about the White House, The West Wing:
  • 1998: Josh Lyman is modeled after Rahm Emanuel.
  • 2004: Matt Santos is modeled after Barack Obama
  • 2006: Matt Santos wins the presidency, and appoints Josh Lyman his Chief of Staff
And what happend:
  • 2008: Barack Obama wins the presidency, and appoints Rahm Emanuel his Chief of Staff.
Or in pictures:
As for the Emanuel pick it self, I don't know enough about him to know much, but it seems to fall between people bemoaning Obama picking a highly divisive, Clinton era politico thus giving up his "change" message and those who think it is a good move because it means Obama means business and he is going to hire tough people to enforce his agenda. In my understanding of Obama, I think the second is more accurate. Obama is not, and has never been, a hugs-all-around bipartisan guy. He is someone who always will listen to the opposite side of view, and then come back with a rebuttal strengthened by that conversation. From what I have seen of Emanuel, he will be a very effective Cheif of staff.

Here is Emanuel on the Daily Show a few years ago. I think he intimidated John Stewart!

Good times. Or as this post declares in reference to his harsh style, "Change you can motherf*cking believe in."

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

If looks could kill....

FL 2000 = MN 2008

AP calls MN for Norm Coleman AP un-calls MN for Norm Coleman.

Ug, with all the amazement and emotion last night this race is a real downer. Normally, if Franken loses, OK. It was a hard race to win. But possibly lose by under 1,000 votes? That would be really painful. And the recount wont even start for a few weeks, and we might not know anything until December. Staying up late last night, listening to WCCO radio (last news org in the room), watching TV, and manically hitting "refresh" on CNN/CBS/ results map/MN Sec. of State results page - I had dejavu of watching Florida go insane in 2000.

Lets hope that doesn't happen again here.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Hard to grasp, but Barack Obama just sailed to victory.

Obama is 44

It is 8:30 and Barack Obama will be the 44th president of the United States.

Thank you Ohio.

Now lets make it a landslide....

Clean toofers

For all the Winnie fans out there, she came through her dental cleaning relatively unscathed today. She did have a mass removed from her paw pad that's been giving her problems since August, and while they were examining her mouth, they found a small mass and removed that too. She has a super-stylish pink bandage on her paw, and has to wear a bootie when she goes outside. She also has to wear an E-collar for the next couple of days to keep from tearing her bandage off. Winnie in an E-collar is a sad sight!
In lieu of get well cards, Winnie requests chicken, cookies, or ice cream please.

Election Day links

Here is what you need to know! Updated Ten Reasons Why You Should Ignore Exit Polls
RealClearPolitics chart map odds of an Obama win
Video: Chuck Todd's guide to election night on MSNBC

NEW: Really Cool thing from the New York Times. What One Word Describes Your Current State of Mind? It gathers words submitted by voters (neutral, Obama, and McCain) and scrolls them across the screen with their size in proportion to the polarity. As of 1:30 Obama supporters are optimistic, nervous, and hopeful. McCain supporters are scared, hopeful, and and worried.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Red Barn CX

Race number 5 in the books! It was at the Red Barn Tree Farm just west of Taylors Falls MN this Saturday on what was a chilly frost nipped morning that warmed into a beautiful day. It was the day after Halloween so there was a costume contest that was great. I didn't know cowboys did cross! The course was flat and very long - only three laps for the C race. I finished 48th out of 76 riders which put me at the 60th percentile, so I mostly kept the gains I made last week.

The course was almost entirely flat and bumpy with lots of twists and turns around the Christmas trees and then out into a dusty field and back. I still really need to work on my cornering, and I seemed to lose a little bit too much momentum at every turn that I had to make up in a sprint away. This left me utterly ragged by the end of the race.

The notable exception to the flat course was the "OH $#%! AHEAD" hill right at the end of the loop that shot you down a narrow track and then immediately had your run back up, and then dash to the finish line a few hundred yards away. This run-up wasn't much of a passing opportunity like last week, but did provide for a rather dramatic finish for the race!

Three riders had been trailing me the last lap but they gained on me at the end so that with just yards to go they were right on my wheel. I was spent, and hadn't saved anything for the finish! So we tore down the hill, and then I chaotically dismounted and we all tore up the hill in a frenzy. My remount was beyond awful, at that point I could hardly control my jello legs, but I managed to get back on and sprint to the finish crossing the line 1.5 seconds ahead of the guy chasing me!

Thanks to L. who was on sick rest and took lots of video of the race as well as provide tons of support and guidance as always. You can see the dramatic finish at 10:30

Red Barn C and Single Speed Race from Ladric on Vimeo.

2000 vs 2004 vs 2008

For comparison, here is 2000 vs 2004 vs 2008. Gore over-performed the polls by about 2.5%, while Kerry under performed by 1%. Obama would have to under perform by 6% to lose at this point.

Via Open Left