Power Love

Your definitive resource. That's all, just your definitive resource.

28 March 2008


Alert Power Love readers know that we are all about the public service announcement here at Team Power Love.

In consequentlyness, those of you in Chicago have more than likely noticed the weather. Little bit of snow. Little bit of wind. The only thing missing is frozen nose hairs. But hey! You never know. Maybe we'll get lucky once April comes. Anything is possible!!

If you, like me, spend time looking out the window and cursing the world, nature, life in general, and every single human being that breathes, you probably need some help. Help is here!

First, you'll need the following items:
1. Double-sided tape
2. The ability to double click on the left side of your computer's mouse
3. Eyeballs

Second, do this:
1. Place a strip of double-sided tape on the tip of your nose
2. Click the picture above to enlarge it
3. Place your nose firmly on your computer screen
4. Stay like that until July

Okay, voila! There you are in sunny California!! Those tall things lining the road are called PALM TREES. You're not familiar with them because they only grow in places that actually have sunshine, which, as you know, Chicago does not.

Hope you enjoy your stay in sunny California! See you in July!

26 March 2008


Palomar Mountain.

Shadow. I haven't see this thing in months. In California, it followed me everywhere.

Okay, so this road does not look that mean in this picture. In fact, if looks flat. And beautiful. It is not. Well, maybe it's kinda beautiful. But it's mean. Did you know that this road is actually ALIVE and it LAUGHS at you? It's true! California residents pay taxes to support mocking pavement. I would not lie to you about this.

Anyway, this is a 7% grade, which is not difficult to ride your bike on if you're doing it for a wee bit, but it's very difficult to ride your bike on for 2 hours. The feeling you get while climbing a 7% grade for 2 hours is extreme tension in your lower back and an annoyingly persistent revelation that you are bat shit crazy.

For reference, you should know that the climb up Palomar is about 5400 feet. The height of the Sears Tower is 1,705 feet (including antennas).

Here's the breakdown of the climb from my perspective:

At 3000 feet, I was all, "Hot shit. I'm halfway to the top."

At 4000 feet, I was like, "Ohmygod, ow, ow, ow." And then I was like, "How is it possible I am staying upright? I am going only 4 MPH!" The answer to this question, alert Power Love reader, is that I was ALL OVER THE ROAD. Truly. If I left a trail behind me, it would've looked like a snake slithering from one side of the road to the other.

At 5000 feet, I was aware that I had only 400 feet to go, and yet 400 feet seemed equivalent to the circumference of the earth. This made me cry.

At the top of the mountain, there is a restaurant. Ma's Kitchen. Or maybe it's Mother's Kitchen. Or something. Something maternal followed by "kitchen." There isn't a sign that specifically points you to the maternal eatery. There is, however, a sign that points you to the blandly named "Restaurant/Lodge," so I, in all my crying, lactic acid-filled, oxygen deprivation glory, followed that sign. Apparently, the Restaurant/Lodge is Very Far Away and in a land accessed by a road that runs at a 9% grade (which is far more painfuller than a wimpy 7% grade), and this road is narrow and cold and decorated with piles of snow. Once I got to a point on this road where I felt like I was breathing through a straw, it occurred to me that perhaps I was going the wrong way. As every serious cyclist knows, this is a phenomenon called Suck Assery.

Eventually, I found my way to lower elevations and to the aforementioned maternal eatery, where I had the best fried egg sandwich every created.

And that, boys and girls, is the story of how the Moors conquered Corsica.

20 March 2008

Today I climbed the highest mountain I have ever climbed.

18 March 2008


Okay, alert Power Love readers know that climbing a hill on a bicycle is awesome. Painful, but awesome. Awesomely painful. And, sometimes, painfully awesome. That means that climbing a mountain is AWESOME. All caps. That's the proper Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, way to write the description of climbing a mountain: AWESOME.

You go up and up...

You think you're on your way to go visit Heaven (sky, clouds, voice of God). You wonder if you smell like body odor. You wonder if you're underdressed. (You are.)

And then you reach Awesome.

And you know what's on the other side?


And pie.

17 March 2008


If you take out a map and you look at Amurca and then you look just to the left of Amurca, you will see a large blue area. This is called, "The Pacific Ocean." It's very large and it's very blue and it contains "surfers." Surfers are dudes who wear essentially what cyclers wear, except longer and wetter--body suits of lycra, if you will. "Surfers" also carry around long, shark-finned things called "surfboards." These hurt when they smack you in the head, so don't walk into them.

This dude works at the gas station in Rancho Palisades Ojo Riojo. Maybe that's not really the name of the town, but it's pretty close to the name of every town around here. When we rode in to the parking lot (looking for a restroom), he said, "Hey. Great Cannondale." And I said, "I know, right?" And he said, "I love Cannondale. Great bikes." And obviously, this is a Top Quality Human Who Knows Top Quality Bicycles.

This is a '31 Ford. It has a 451 carburator curbinator engine with 556 horses of power. Also, it's made of plastic.


Hmm...what to do after a lollygag of a bicycle ride? How about HOT TUB!! How about WALKING OVER TO THE HOT TUB IN SHORTS AND FLIP FLOPS!! How about HOT SHITTHISISSOAWESOMEICAN'TBELIEVEHOWLUCKYIAM.

The Pacific Ocean.
It's the Pacific Ocean, people. THE PACIFIC OCEAN.

16 March 2008


Sunrise. The weatherpeople predicted 50 degrees and rainy today. Unfortunate. What will we do?

First, we will discuss how the TSA no doubt not only "inspected" Her Majesty of Cannondale, but also how they no doubt did wheelies in the back room of the San Diego airport on her. Violation. Violation.

Apparently, San Diego weatherpeople are frequently wrong. This is good because the 50-degree, rainy day turned into a 60-degree sunny day. Know what's wrong with a 60-degree sunny day when you have all day to ride your bike and tons of roads to do it on? NOTHING! This is a picture of an ostrich, by the way. Ostriches eat pasty midwesterners, so I kept my distance.

There are canyons out here. They are deep. Writers: Use the phrase "deep as a canyon" as frequently as you can.

Gerard. Resident picture taker.

This was an important view when I was riding past it, but now I can't remember what its importance was. Oh yeah! IT'S 60 DEGREES AND SUNNY AND HER MAJESTY AND I HAVE TONS OF ROADS TO EXPLORE!



Check your gate on one of the 1.6 gazillion monitors that decorate the terminal when you are at the airport. Just because you think your flight is departing from gate C25 doesn't mean it is actually departing from gate C25. This is a big picture lesson for all you alert Power Love readers out there.

See, I was sitting at gate C25 at O'Hare, waiting for my flight to San Diego, staring at the little elevated, accordion-type hallway thingy that connects the airport to the plane and wondering why there was not a plane at the other end of it. Odd, I thought, but I was surrounded by people wearing various articles of clothing, all of which had some form of "California" emblazoned on them--Cal State sweatshirt, Bruins hat, UCLA t-shirt--and, not incidentally, sitting under a sign that said, "Gate C25 to Los Angeles." Well, according to my map, LA is only two inches away from San Diego, so why shouldn't I be waiting for my plane to San Diego at gate C25 to Los Angeles?

That's what the lady told me when I checked my baggage--gate C25--I remember it distinctly because at the time I was paying very close attention to her and my wallet and filling out those flimsy luggage name card thingies and watching this other woman toss (brazenly!) Her Majesty of Cannondale onto the conveyor belt like Her Majesty was just some bike or something and hoping I remembered my helmet and wondering where my credit card was and hatching a plan to end world hunger so I know FOR A FACT that Check-In Lady said Gate C25.

Harumph, I said to myself there at gate C25 with the elevated, accordion-type hallway thingy without a plane on the other end of it, and I got up to hunt down a Coke because Dr. Hope said I should not fall asleep on the flight (bad for blood clots)(actually, great for blood clots, bad for person with blood clots), which is doctor speak for: Don't get drunk and take two Xanax before getting on the plane.

Clearly, I was under doctor's orders to overcaffeinate. The nearest place for Cokes that I knew of was Hudson News (my new favorite magazine store)(millions of fashion mags)(yay) and Hudson News was 10 gates away. It was 2:50. My flight was scheduled to leave at 3:05.

On my way down to Hudson News, I happened by the flight monitors, which look like TVs, so naturally I stopped to stare at them because if you are a human who does not instantaneously freeze and stare whenever a TV shows up, you are not alive, and I looked to see what was up with good ole Flight 679 to San Diego.

Ah ha! That's why there was no plane attached to the elevated, accordion-type hallway thingy--because there wasn't supposed to be a plane there. The plane to San Diego was leaving from Gate C23. Ahhh...all the puzzle pieces were falling into place.

As it so happened, Gate C23 was 26.2 miles away from Gate C25. Luckily, as alert Power Love readers know, I have been Training this winter and so have built up an athletic prowess that is rivaled only by my extraordinary face-planting abilities.

When I arrived, gracefully, calmly, at Gate C23 and saw the Now Boarding sign being turned off and a flight attendant closing the door to the elevated, accordion-type hallway thingy, I very articulately said, "Oh, dear, so sorry, I believe I'm on this flight." And she, very politely, said, "Wonderful, let me seat you in first class, Your Highness of Morris Land."

And then, everyone lived happily every after, wearing gowns made out of drapes and talking to anthropomorphized squirrels and walking around a suspiciously clean Manhattan. Also, Enchanted was the in-flight movie.

15 March 2008


1. The graphic on the current gaggle of Abercrombie & Fitch bags is some dude's crotch, covered in jeans.
a. This is clearly objectification of a human, which I am against.
b. It is also clearly some dude with a ripped muscle-lature, which I support.
c. Such wack-assery makes life worth living.

2. I am really glad I'm not wearing high heels right now. Logistically and after much scientific study, it appears that those who are, are having a hell of a time with the whole traction-on-floor issue.

3. I wonder if the luggage handlers are doing wheelies on the tarmac with Her Majesty of Cannondale right now.

4. I wonder if Her Majesty likes them more than me.

5. Playing the One Eye Game (close one eye, then the other, then back to the other, do it quickly and whatever you're looking at seems to be jumping left to right to left to right) is fun.

6. Apparently, humans in the Jacksonville gate think otherwise. Or, maybe those glares mean they think I'm cool. But, probably not.

7. By the way, reserve judgment, Jacksonvillers! I'm not glaring at you for chewing gum like it's chew.

8. Whoever decided to put chocolate and cofee in one drink together should win the Nobel Peace Prize.

9. Almost typed, "Nobel Peach Prize," which should come into existence immediately.

10. The dude who invented Levi's should also win the Nobel Peach Prize. Same with the dude/dudette who invented zippers.


I mean, kinda on the live blogging, not the travel day. It's definitely a travel day. Here are the stats thus farly:

1. I have met people from the following states:
a. Texas
b. Montana
c. Chicago

2. I am about to meet someone from Charlotte.
a. Or else, someone whose name is Charlotte. Or, possibly, neither one of these two options, since I'm currently sitting at the gate for humans going to Charlotte. Sometimes I like to sit in other gates when I'm early. I like to see who's going where. For instance, most of the peeps in the Charlotte gate are wearing shorts. And a lot of them look college-y. Most of the people sitting in the gate for San Diego are wearing military uniforms and talking on cell phones and keep using the phrase, "Ship out."

3. Current threat advisory level: Orange
a. This is unfortunate. I am not wearing shoes that match an orange threat level. These are the kinds of things they should announce ad nauseum on the radio.

4. Taking pictures on the moving sidewalk is against security rules.
a. This, also, is unfortunate because my favorite ride of all time is the moving sidewalk. Especially the one at O'Hare because it's all Blade Runner-y and there's some disembodied voice that reminds you that the sidewalk is about to end well before it ends, which inevitably makes me think of Shel Silverstein books.
b. Apparently, my camera was not confiscated for picture taking because, according to the hot dude in the uniform, I'm not "the typical demographic of a terrorist" which is good. Apparently, terrorists are not a popular demographic at O'Hare.

5. The preponderance of people wearing flip flops is astonishing.

6. Is preponderance a word?

7. Blogging will continue immediately after I drink some coffee and ask this dude next to me how he got his gun-shaped video game through security.

12 March 2008

Put your thinking cap on.

Things to avoid when you have a split lip:

1. Orange juice

2. Hot soup

3. Sucking the salt off pretzels

10 March 2008


Here's the after picture:

Check out the nose. It's like a shiner, but, you know, not really 'cuz it's my nose, not my eye. Yeah, I know, right? TOUGH! AND, you should see the other guy. And when I say "other guy," I mean, the floor of the Metro.

Here’s the before picture. Please note my nose. It’s straight and unbloodied. A straight unbloodied nose is a good thing because: 1. You can breathe through it; 2. You don’t look like you just finished Round 1 of Iggy Pop’s School of Boxing and Mosh Pitting.

Let's recap Friday night's funtivities, shall we?

First, I went over to Nick's and we hung out. It was good because we talked about music and writing and had a few drinks and it's always good to hang out with Nick because he is a noble spirit and also, he laughs at my jokes and those are two qualities that define the goodness of a human.

Second, we went to The Gingerman because we were gonna go see the Gutter Twins show and the line outside the Metro was like 4.23 million miles long and that is a long line.

Third, we had a few more drinks and talked about life, which is good, and perhaps it was at this point that I should've taken into account the following few things: 1. I had not slept in 24 hours; 2. I had not eaten in 12 hours; and 3. the PMS I was at that point experiencing was manifesting itself in the form of a complete loss of equilibrium, and because matter is neither created nor destroyed, just rerouted, my equilibrium was at that point being rerouted in the form of brain deadness, which caused me to do things like text Nick this message: "The Damen stop is closed." Which is a true statement, yes, but irrelevant since the Damen stop had nothing to do with our evening. Though, for a brief moment that happened to coincide with the same exact moment I pressed the Send button on my phone, I thought that the Damen stop being closed was going to make us very, very late for the show and this made me panic.

Fourth, crowded shows are awesome because if you can't stand up, the people around you kinda force you to do so, you know, because there's really no where to go but into their shoulders, although take my advice--once you run into a stranger more than once, they get kinda pissed and move away from you, and then just try to stand up on your own, sleepless, hungry, and drunk.

Fifth, I don't know who's big idea it was to put STAIRS in the Metro, but I object.

Sixth, I did not realize I fell until I realized that there was something hard, salty, and gritty on my face.

Seventh, my guess is that it was a world-class face plant and you can bet I'm trying out for the Olympic Face Plant team.

So. Once Nick convinced me that my face was spouting blood, there is something hazy in that moment where I suspect the Metro peeps did something security-ish, which involved bringing me to the man with the blue gloves and the alcohol and the gauze strips who very kindly said to me, "What happened?" And I said: IAMSOPMSINGANDIDON'THAVEENOUGHTIMETOFINISHEVERYTHINGIHAVETODO

And the blue-gloved Metro dude with the alcohol and the gauze strips handed me a clean gauze strip and said, "Here. Put this on your nose." And it was at this point I realized what was happening--I'm sitting on a chair in the hallway of the Metro at 4:00 in the morning, while a crowd shuffles out through the adjacent hallway and there is the blue-gloved dude sitting on a chair to my right and a security-ish dude standing in front of me and Nick standing on my left and it is at this point I start laughing. Because, people falling is really funny to me, and me falling is even funnier to me, but me face planting at 4am at the Metro after a Gutter Twins show is really fucking hysterical.

And then I noticed that Nick was holding my glasses and they were not cracked. And most importantly, Nick was there.

I have had the displeasure to know enough people who would skip out after a face plant like that and I'm really glad I wasn't with any of them. Then there was paperwork to be filled out, which included suggestions like, "You should go to the hospital and get stitches on that." To which I replied, "No way." Because, you know, bad enough that I'm spouting blood in the middle of the Metro, I'm not really keen on doing it at a hospital, too, and the best part of this whole interaction was that that the blue-gloved dude and the security-ish dude did not talk to me like I was an idot, which, obviously, I CLEARLY WAS and I AM WELL AWARE OF IT, and even though I was weepy and drunk, I was still aware of how lucky I was to be okay after such a spectacular face plant and obviously and thankfully, lucky that Nick was there to pick up the pieces.

And also, it was a kick ass show.

07 March 2008

Hello! Have a seat. Glass of wine? Let’s catch up, shall we?

So. As every serious cyclist knows, now is the time for the all-important Base Training. Since cycling is such a popular sport in our Amurca, no doubt this is not news to you, alert Power Love reader—but for those of you out there who aren’t aware, Base Training is the funnest part of any cyclist’s life. Especially serious Midwest cyclers. Base Training involves many hours on a “trainer,” and not the kind of “trainer” with chiseled pecs who works at Bally’s or Crunch or that gym in your neighborhood with the endless rows of treadmills butted right up to the storefront window so everyone walking by with their bags of McDonald’s and KFC can see how assiduously you’re working out—NOT that trainer.

I’m talking about the fun kind of trainer. You probably have one, so you probably don’t need this picture, but a lesson is nothing without visual aids and we are all about public service lessons here at Team Power Love.

Trainers are more fun than Wii. I know this because I’ve ridden a trainer for hours, but I’ve never played Wii. The thing about Wii is, you end up playing a sport like you’re really playing a sport, and apparently it’s all fun and good times, especially with friends, the more the merrier and all that, but with a trainer—wow—you get endless hours BY YOURSELF in front of your TV and if you’re smart, like me, you have your iPod all decked out with 1.75 hours of music but then forget to charge the iPod, but still, you wear your headphones anyway, to give you the illusion you are a bike-riding rock star and your know what? You’re right. You are! You are a bike-riding rock star and you should totally talk to yourself while you’re all alone riding your trainer watching crappy network television, listening to songs from the early 90s, wondering if you should buy tickets to that one-and-only Yaz concert coming through town because ohmygod how COOL would it be to hear anything from Upstairs at Eric’s? LIVE! Pretty damn cool and also, the trainer is the perfect time to perfect your snot rocket abilities.

As every serious cyclist knows, you are nothing in this world if you cannot hurl a solid snot rocket. Do you think those beautifully paved roads out in western Illinois are going to gloss over on their own this summer? NO! They are not. You are going to have to help them along, and you will do it with your expertly launched snot rockets and you will succeed because right now, YOU ARE TRAINING ON YOUR TRAINER for just such a challenge. Also, you now have really shiny wood floors, so you are winning all around. Smart move!

In addition, your trainer time should spent thinking about how you can improve the world. Since this is a blog, and everyone knows blogs are in existence solely for the purpose of telling others what to do, I am happy to present you with the following list of things you should be doing while Base Training:

1. Find a solution to world poverty
2. Find a solution for adult-onset acne
3. Find out the cost of those Betsey Johnson four-inch spectator pumps at Pump
4. Ha! Just seeing if you’re paying attention—you KNOW how much those Betsey Johnson four-inch spectator pumps at Pump are and YOU CANNOT AFFORD THEM
5. Unless you sign up for that credit card with the unlimited limit that just came in the mail yesterday
6. What tanking economy?
7. Find the sun, take it out to the nearest alley, kick its ass inside out, tell it to get hotter before you have to “stick yer boys on it and set it up for a pair of concrete shoes” (do not mention that the sun does not wear shoes)
8. Steal summer’s home address from the inside pocket of the sun’s coat
9. Hunt down summer
10. Once you find summer, tell it that it belongs to you and if it ever leaves again THERE WILL BE HELL TO PAY

Heretofore and moreover, quite obviously, Base Training is the greatest time of year. You really learn to sharpen your mind and your social skills, so once this “summer” thing decides to show up, you will be prepared to discuss with actual humans all the cool things you have been thinking about in that nonvegetative mind of yours.

Good day.