Thursday, September 20, 2012


Greece is the best country ever. In practically any category of country comparison, Greece comes out on top. Greece has a long history of being the absolute best, too.

Consider the following firsts and bests Greece has on its score sheet:
  • Inventing democracy.
  • Inventing philosophy.
  • Inventing science.
  • Smartest person of all time: Aristotle.
  • Greek people are the best looking. Case in point: John Stamos and Jennifer Aniston are both of Greek extraction. Imagine how good looking their kids would be. I bluster at the thought.
  • Not only did greek people invent athletics, but the best athlete of all time, Shaquille O'Neal, goes by the nickname "The Big Aristotle." This is to imply that his athleticism is Greek inspired.
  • Best all-purpose pastry? The phyllo.
  • Best ever military leader? Alexander the Great. (Note: for the purposes of this review, Macedonia is in Greece).
The Greek people can also lay claim to very worthwhile advances in the fields of yogurt making, mathematics, and income tax evasion.

All in all, it makes for a great country.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Campagnolo Veloce Dual Pivot Brakeset

If you enjoy cycling, and I'm sure you do, you should really do so on a bicycle with excellent stopping ability. The history of bicycle braking systems is long and storied, and out of the scope of this blog. But for a brief rundown, there are several broad categories of bicycle brakes:
  1. Caliper brakes: these are generally seen on road bikes and on very cheap mountain bikes.
  2. Cantilever brakes: most used on older mountain bikes, hybrids, cyclocross bikes, and touring bikes.
  3. Disc brakes: used mainly on newer mountain bikes, but other bikes are available with these as well.
  4. Hub brakes: never particularly popular. I generally make fun of people who use these.
  5. Coaster brakes: The type of brakes where you back-pedal to slow down. Used on city bikes, beach bikes, and children's bikes.
  6. Spoon brakes: Old-assed highwheelers and shite bikes that people ride in China use these.
So as you now know, road bikes generally use caliper brakes. Road bikes sold before the mid-90s generally had single-pivot caliper brakes. These were surpassed by the now-popular dual-pivot design that provides better stopping power and modulation.

Bicycle aficionados the world round know the name Campagnolo, the legendary Italian components manufacturer. While Veloce is one of their least expensive offerings, I've roundly found these brake calipers to be more than satisfactory.

The brakes offer an all-metal forged construction, which promises strength, stiffness, and weight savings over inferior metal forming procedures.

At 339 grams for the pair, you won't be feeling the load of these brakes on your way up the cols.

I personally found that the included brake shoes are superb. They offer a large braking surface and the shoes are very adjustable so you can get them toed-in just right. It's a real pleasure working on these brakes.

The brakes also offer the customary Campy style. They have a clean, fast look.

Overall these brakes offer awesome performance, quality, and durability for a great price. I'm so proud.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Cheeky T-Shirts

Nothing is as endearing as a gag on a t-shirt. A good cheeky t-shirt conveys a playful spirit, joie de vivre, and the sense of humour of the garment's wearer. A gag t-shirt also affords an insight into a persons personality and opinions, including but not limited to:
  • Their opinion of the size their reproductive organ(s).
  • How many alcoholic beverages they feel are appropriate to imbibe before retiring for the evening.
  • Off the cuff assessments of the character of members of their party.
  • Assessments of the quality and character of an ethnic group they associate with.
  • Assessments of the quality and character of an ethnic group they don't associate with.

Clearly this is all very valuable information to learn about random people you pass on the street, which is why shirts like this are wonderful.

Friday, May 25, 2012


Do remember that scene in The Matrix where the one trench coat guy says to the other "do you think that's air you're breathing?" It's hard to remember the point of a movie that came out 15 years ago, but I think it had something to do with sanitation.

Sanitation is the process through which an organization of lifeforms creates conditions that are adverse to lifeforms of another species, provided that the latter species may have an negative effect on the livelihood and wellbeing of the former. For example, a butcher in a hotdog factory has to clear out the meat chutes every once in a while, lest the rotting meat attracted a pack of wild dogs that would overrun the facility and make it harder for him to do his job. Similarly, ancient Romans devised a series of interconnected ducts to carry away human waste, (mainly excrement and urine), from their urban centres to prevent the spread of disease.

All around, their are really no drawbacks to sanitation. It's basically a "killer app," where that which is being killed is feral dogs and cholera.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Iced Americano at Cafe 260

Enjoy an Iced Americano at Cafe 260. It's like all the good things that happened in your life were put in a cup: every Sunday morning sleep-in; every sun rising on a dewey-morning dog walk; every diploma and paycheck; every smile, hug, and kiss; every milestone and sense of accomplishment; every moment you felt loved. They're all in there. Now take away all the regrets, the people you let down along the way, and any hint of bitterness. That's what it's like. It's liquid heaven.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Torchy's Tacos

"Would a taco in a different shell smell so sweet?"

From the depths of the seedy underbelly of Austin, Texas rose a contender for the title of "World's tastiest taco." Torchy's Taco began life in a rustic trailer park. From these humble beginnings it has risen to prominence in a city known for having above-average Tex-Mex food.

The tacos are great. Nestled between fresh, gorgeous, locally-made corn tortillas you will find an assortment of delectable ingredients, served au gratin, and with a choice of salsas.

The two tacos I've tried are the following:
  1. The Dirty Sanchez: This is a taco centered around battered and deep fried veggies.
  2. The breakfast taco: a big pile of egg and a bunch of other lovely stuff.

These are the two best tacos on the menu.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Woolly Mammoth Cloning

Imagine a world where giant elephant-like beasts roam the vast plains of North America.

Perhaps someday this will be more than a long-lost memory. Perhaps within our lifetimes we will see this for ourselves.

An effort is currently underway to extract the DNA from a preserved woolly mammoth carcass, inject it into the living egg of a living elephant, and clone the long-extinct beast.

I don't have to point out how good of an idea this is.

Preferably, once the revived trunk enthusiasts have a viable breeding population, they can be re-introduced into the wild, so that they might reclaim their place in the food chain.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The January Thaw

By all accounts, Merle Haggard is an idiot. In his classical country and western masterpiece If We Make It Through December, he refers to December as "the coldest time of winter." This is blatantly false. For one thing, Winter doesn't officially start until the winter solstice, usually occurring sometime between December the 20th and and December the 23rd. If December were the coldest time of Winter, then why is most of it not even in Winter at all?

So his thesis is clearly resting on shaky ground, but let's look at some data to really elucidate the scenario. To give ole' Merle the benefit of the doubt, lets look at the climate of his home state of California:

CityJanDecWhich is coldest?




Death Valley67/39






Los Angeles69/50




San Bernardino62/34


San Francisco58/46


San Jose61/42


South Lake Tahoe42/16



So in four places in California, December is the coldest month, in three places January is the coldest month, and in three places they tie. This is hardly conclusive evidence that December is the coldest month. If Merle Haggard had written "Either December or January is the coldest month of the year, depending on where you live in the Northern Hemisphere," then there wouldn't be much to argue about. Instead, he chose to write lies.

Fun Fact:
Did you know that people in the Southern hemisphere call summer winter, and vice versa? Crazy, eh?
Anyways, the point of all this is that December gets a bad rap and that January is actually the most brutal, wicked, nasty, and all-around unbearable month of the year. Your average january day involves prying yourself out of bed with an epic feat of willpower, sprinting to a lukewarm shower along icy-cold floors, a constant cycling of ingesting hot liquids and the subsequent urination, and a jail-like life of cold weather captivity. Some fools develop cold weather Stockholm syndrome, and take to activities like skiing and ice skating. Rest assured that these people are suffering from a mental illness, and should seek treatment from a doctor.

January weather does have one redeeming quality: there is usually a January Thaw. This refers to a span of days when the warmth of the heavens opens up to proclaim:
The effect of this is a buoying of spirits and jubilation in the streets anywhere cold weather is feared.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Snow Plows

Few vehicles exhibit a delicate synergy like the might snowplow. An intricate waltz takes place between the grunting, massive truck, and the groaning, massive plow. As the truck firmly forces the plow through all sorts of obstacles: snow banks, snow drifts, and various other forms of show, the plow reacts by firmly moving those offending forms of frozen water either to the right, the left, or sometimes both. A billowing chute of assorted debris is flung into the air, sent briefly aloft to whence it came. Where it will come to rest is a decision made by the plow artist.