Monday, September 21, 2009

Bruce Saves!

During an otherwise fab weekend with Rob Landgren and Chris Rossi in Chicago, my football teams lost all around. Notre Dame won, USC lost and so did my beloved Steelers. We couldn't afford the $500 tickets for the NFL game, anyway, and then it rained so we were glad we didn't go. Was great to watch it on Rob's 75-inch plasma TV.

What saved the disappointment of the game from overshadowing the rest of the fun was what we did Sunday night. Rob's wife Teresa helped us get third-row seats to see Bruce Springsteen at the United Center!!! That's no misprint. We were in the third row left of the stage, so we had unobstructed views of the Boss (see photo above, taken with my camera phone).

While it was not the best Bruce show I've seen, it was still VERY, VERY good. Bruce on a bad night is better than almost all on their best night.

Thank you Brrruuuuuuuuuucccccce!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

OK, sometimes NYC is a cliche

Generally speaking, we encounter more nice people than rude folks here in NYC. On occasion, however, that generalization is severely tested.

We found ourselves treading water in a vat of obnoxiousness Friday night in several venues. At a free screening of the movie "Paris" we witnessed a tawdry trifecta. First there was a French guy seated in front of me playing with his Blackberry during the movie. To make matters worse, the guy seated next to me outdid him (see anger pictured at right - courtesy Wikimedia Commons - for a sense of this guy's outrage - only this bloke was short and not much of a threat physically to anyone, not even the diminutive aforementioned French guy). So the rude jerk (as I'll refer to the guy seated next to me from here forward), taps hard on the French guy's shoulder but says nothing. Getting only a glance from him, the rude guy proceeds to yell at him to turn off his phone, that he's bothering the people around him. Granted, I didn't notice the guy playing with his phone until the rude jerk informed the entire theater, and I'm not sure anyone else did either. Keep in mind, this is during the movie.

So, the French guy says something back and the guy yells again. He doesn't immediately put away his phone so the guy yells again. Finally, the guy puts away his phone. After the movie, they go at it again. At no point does either guy even hint at making a move to back up their words, but it was an annoyance nonetheless. Then the host of the evening - who only identified himself by name, not title, so we don't know if he was a NYU film prof or some dude from the line who volunteered or what. I'm thinking the latter, after he tried to prevent some woman in the audience from asking a question and then patronized her after she asked it and got her answer from the director. This all came after the host casually and obliquely remarked that Juliet Binoche would not be appearing as advertised, as if he were commenting on the weather. While the director was rather interesting, most people had come in hopes of seeing the Academy Award-winning actress. The film was pretty good, by the way.

Then on the way home, we encountered more obnoxiousness on the subway. I won't explain it, as it's just too stupid to get into. Really, this is a rarity to have multiple examples of obnoxiousness in a span of minutes here in NYC. People are mostly pretty helpful and considerate, but occasionally we are reminded how this city earned the reputation it has over the centuries.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Jeff's "new" 18-year-old bike

Well, no crashes on this morning's first ride on the '91 Merckx Corsa Extra, so that's a good start. Nobody else did and nothing broke. 3 for 3. My buddy Rob finished putting it together this weekend, so I was on it briefly yesterday to give it a little test before riding it for real on this morning's ride to Piermont. After buying the frame more than month ago and slowly collecting the components I was after, I was rather anxious to see what my patience and buck had purchased.

It was a great, smooth ride. It accelerates more quickly than my '89 Raleigh, so that's worth something. It will take me some time to get use to having STI (brake-lever) shifters, as I've been riding the Raleigh with down-tube shifters for many months now. I kept leaning down to make a shift this morning.

As you can see from the photo above, it's a rather colorful, distinctive bike (click on the photo for a larger view). As one my mechanic buddies said, they don't paint like that any more. I did get some long looks from some other older riders on steel-frames, today, including from a couple of guys who told me a couple weeks ago they wanted to buy it from me when they saw it the first time.

So, I can't complain. At this point, this is one sweet ride. My plan is to make this my weekend ride with the gang, and make my Raleigh my commuter bike.

Oh, why, you ask, do I ride old bikes? Well, if you're asking it's because you've never ridden a steel road bike or you've forgotten how it feels. It's just smooth. And this model - a professional level bike in its day - is a fraction of the cost of what the pros ride today.