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Winterizing the Garden December 13, 2008

Posted by concreteguy in gardening.
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It has been cold here, so in addition to putting plastic over my square foot gardens, I have cut back our banana trees. I planted them over the summer and they did pretty well. So following some instructions I found on several websites, I cut the plants down even with the ground, covered them with mulch, and put some plastic over that to keep them safe and warm. Supposedly they should come back strong next year, bigger than before. We’ll see.

The fall/winter square foot gardens are doing pretty well. I’ll take some pics tomorrow and post them.

Bike lanes and bailouts December 9, 2008

Posted by concreteguy in attitude, bikes, politics.
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First, I must admit I’m surprised to see gasoline under $2 a gallon. I never though I’d see that again. I’ve seen gas here in Dallas for less than $1.60 per gallon. Just a few months ago it was $4 a gallon. I have trouble believing that demand has decreased enough, or supply increased, or some combination of the two, to account for a 50% price reduction. I’m not normally a conspiracy guy, and I do pretty much subscribe to the notions of Peak Oil that are so prevalent, but I can’t help but think the oil industry was taking advantage of the last days of the Bush administration to squeeze a few last megaprofits out of us.

During the campaign, Obama was talking about putting windfall profits taxes on the oil companies. Then he gets elected, and suddenly prices go down?! I think they saw the writing on the wall and lowered prices before Obama got all up in their faces.

So it looks like the “happy motoring” (Kunstler’s term) program continues, at least for a while. We’re going to bail out, or at least give a lot of money, to the Big 3 auto companies to keep them on life support. Normally I would say to hell with them, but I don’t think we need to add all those jobs to the “jobs lost” column right now. Although Robert Reich notes that even though we are supposedly doing this to save jobs, they will probably cut massive numbers of jobs anyway.  At any rate, I’ll be surprised to see them make any real changes to car design or quality, which is fine. I advocate a slow death for the auto industry, or at least a slow down-scaling of the industry. We just don’t need that many new cars on the road every year.

Infrastructure: Obama is proposing a massive public works program to rebuild infrastructure, invest in green technologies, etc. Good. I like this. Unfortunately a lot of this will go to building roads for fucking cars, instead of starting a massive redesign of our society. But whatever — its your great great great grandchildren’s money that will be paying for it. I’d just like to see some fraction of the money go to real bike path/lane/commuting projects and other good, modern, mass transit systems, so we can get off this petrochemical addiction sooner rather than later.

While they’re at it, they can rebuild the passenger rail system too.

Not sure where I’m going with this — just writing — so I’ll stop now.

End of rant.

Long Townie Rides… December 8, 2008

Posted by concreteguy in bikes.
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Here’s a view of Whiterock Lake, in Dallas, yesterday. I rode down there on my Townie 21 and met my friend Matthew and his girls for a ride around the lake. Fought the wind all the way down there, and I was kind of hammering it because I was running late.

Getting to and from our meeting point on the lake added about 3 miles to the ride, so it was 27 in total.

That is way too much for the Townie. Or should I say, it is to much for me on the Townie. I didn’t feel too bad after the ride, as the wind was with me on the way back, but the next morning I really felt it. The Townie is a great around town bike, good for commutes in the 5 -10 mile range, but I won’t be riding it on any more 15+ mile rides, particularly on windy days.

But even with the extra energy expenditure it was a good ride.

Inexpensive winter cycling jersey. December 7, 2008

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I was needing a long sleeved cycling shirt to wear during my winter commutes, but I’m cheap and didn’t want to pay for “real” jersey at the bike shop.

I picked up one of these shirts at Target for $17.99. It fits like a cycling jersey, and is made of a webbed, sweat-wicking material.

I bought some iron-on reflective patches from Performance Bike shop for $50. The package has enough patches to do about 3 shirts or jackets. I applied some to the Target shirt, and it really works pretty well.

Evening commute December 6, 2008

Posted by concreteguy in bikes, sustainability.
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A nice, brisk, December evening commute. Life is good.

Michael Pollan at the TED talks. December 2, 2008

Posted by concreteguy in gardening, sustainability.
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Very interesting talk.

Whiterock Lake, 11/29/2008 December 1, 2008

Posted by concreteguy in Uncategorized.
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Just another picture from Whiterock Lake from my bike ride the other day. Typical Fall day in Dallas. Windy, cool, but kind of nice. The bike trail looks a bit beat up right here, but it isn’t too bad.

Over the weekend I heard plans to connect this trail to some others that would extend it way down south of Dallas, which would be great. I’ll have to look into this today and see what I can find out.

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