Saturday, December 31, 2011

Interesting parking experiment in LA

Read the whole article here:

Illustration only. Lifted from "EnglishRussia"
"Shoup can often be found dallying around parking meters and brings a camera to photograph illegally parked cars. Not long ago you could have spotted Shoup clicking on the corner of Pico and Fairfax, where the city had quadrupled its meter rates. (“Rates had gone too high there—sometimes there wasn’t a car on the street.”) In Westwood Village Shoup once rode the Raleigh back and forth for weeks tailing cars. He discovered that the average driver had to circle the block two and a half times before locating an open metered space. Westwood became a model for Shoup; the “cruising” he observed there occurs wherever drivers seek out inexpensive metered space to avoid pricier garages and lots. (A similar study in Manhattan in 1995 revealed that New Yorkers spent 11 minutes on average searching for a space.) In a year’s time in Westwood, space hunting by drivers consumed an extra 47,000 gallons of gas. It stalled traffic, increased accidents, and required 950,000 extra vehicle miles, about four trips to the moon and back.
The problem, according to Shoupistas, is that meters are priced equally. “Imagine what would happen at Dodger Stadium if every seat cost the same and went on sale game day,” says Dan Mitchell, an engineer at DOT. “Everyone would run for that seat behind home plate—it would be insanity. But that’s what we have now with parking—equal pricing.” This spring the DOT plans to introduce an $18.5 million smart wireless meter system based on Shoup’s theories. Called ExpressPark, the 6,000-meter array will be installed on downtown streets and lots, along with sensors buried in the pavement of every parking spot to detect the presence of cars and price accordingly, from as little as 50 cents an hour to $6. Street parking, like pork bellies, will be open to market forces. As blocks fill, prices will rise; when occupancy drops, so will rates. In an area like downtown, ideal for Shoup’s progressive pricing, people will park based on how much they’re willing to pay versus how far they are willing to walk to a destination. In a trendy area like Melrose Avenue’s shopping district, where parking on side streets is forbidden to visitors, Shoup would open those residential blocks to market-priced meters, wooing home owners by guaranteeing that meter profits would be turned over to them in the form of property tax deductions. (That benefit could add up to thousands of dollars a year per household.)
Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood is already experimenting with a version of the system, and so are San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. If adopted by more cities, the system would hopefully stop a Westwood scenario from ever occurring again, guaranteeing one open space of parking at any time of day on every metered block by pricing out drivers who are more willing to park on cheaper blocks. Should a block remain empty, its meters will drop their hourly rates over the course of a month. Nobody, of course, really knows what will happen once L.A.’s system powers up. After Seattle conducted its own study on performance-based parking, engineers noticed an oddity: When prices dropped on certain blocks, drivers actually parked less. No one can explain this.
“In San Francisco we’ve seen prices go up on one block, down on the next, then up again,” says Shoup. “Why that’s happening, we don’t know.” The DOT and Shoup expect ExpressPark to illuminate the static lives of automobiles. “All we need is to move one car off each block for the system to work and get rid of all cruising,” says Shoup. “It’s not like we’re talking about a problem as big as the Reformation or Prohibition.”

Friday, December 30, 2011

Faucet a quick & easy upgrade

Well, relatively quick and easy. It just depends if the previous install was done per instructions. In our case a little extra muscle was required, but even then, we made quick work of the project.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Duh. Doesn't take a genius to figure this one out.

"The state of Nebraska should take back responsibility for managing child welfare cases from private contractors. And it should create a new department to handle children's services, a legislative committee has recommended."
Get the story from Nebraska Public Radio

Capitalism only works when consumers can take their dollar elsewhere the instant they believe they're being wronged, short-changed or otherwise mistreated. 

In the case of private contractors handling child welfare, neither the state or the for-profit companies "win" if they spend more money to take better care of these kids. The state is interested in low cost, which is why the services were outsourced, the companies must make a profit or go under and the clientele is powerless and captive. The fact we're even having this discussion is ridiculous. DUH! The question of taking care of those who can't care for themselves is a moral and societal issue, not so much an economic one. 

Don't buy it? Well, I challenge you to take on a foster child. The people who do the best job of caring for these children, providing them with the love and stability their homes lacked, aren't motivated by the money, I assure you. What does motivate them can't be bought.

It's better to have a large, stable slow-moving bureaucracy balanced by varied public interests than precarious private set-ups with profit motives. I mean seriously, who wakes up and says, "Hey, I can make millions off the disenfranchised." 

Oh, that's right. Human traffickers.    

Thursday, December 15, 2011

30 day challenge: 02

Erik drew a pic and I deleted and typed till I added about 800 words. Obviously word count doesn't reflect quality any more than mileage reflects race readiness, but it does lay groundwork for a practice.
Also today...a friend lost her brother and a young texas road racer, Megan Baab, died after being hit by a car on a training ride. Can't say I knew her beyond name, face and especially smile, but it's sad. She was just a freshman a Lees-McRae College.

30 Days: Erik 01

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

1000 words/day off to a slowish start

image from this site
I was only able to get a little over 500 words into my outline tonight. I expect as soon as I have a green light on this proposal, however, I can rol forward with much greater productivity. Right now, every idea has to be thought through. It takes a great deal of focus to try and anticipate all the implications of decisions made at this stage: Is it doable? What could undermine it? Can I really measure that? How many people will it take? etc.  I'm doubly cautious because in the first study I undertook, I missed some of those questions and that lead to enormous challenges in the study's execution.

In other news, son Erik launched a 30-day challenge for himself as well. He's drawing a picture each day. I will try and get a pic of each one.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Slowest lap?! Crowd favorite?! WTF?

(Sheen declared unfit, even for mockery. Sigh.)

and then prepare for

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

O my! Richards upgrades right into the leaders sox!

Sunday is going to hear some severe CX cough as the top four cat 3 women battle for cash and seriously sweet gift certificates. In the cat 4 race, Grindcore will aim to keep to keep her lead over Julie Higgins.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Inadequate legs: Spooky 'Cross, Des Moines, IA

Let's see...if you want to race seriously, then consider the course and verify the equipment you've selected it suitable. 42/26 proved inadequate for both day's steep climbs. Third on Saturday. Second on Sunday. I would like to note, however, that I did get the first lap prime on Sunday, so that was cool, if energy depleting.

The best part of the weekend was seeing the cat 3 and cat 4 women mix it up. Here's the summary:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

More cool stuff in the MIDWEST CX STITCH prize pool

The CX STITCH prize pool continues to expand with two original paintings from Berly Brown. You'll be very lucky to take one of these home. Berly's career is taking off and getting one her works will just get harder. Check out a couple other samples of her work and learn more about Berly on SHECLISMO.

I wish I was a cat 3 or 4 again....

It is with a bit of envy that I announce our success at securing cool schwag for our MIDWEST CX STITCH winners, for Casey Sheppard, whose work is currently on display in Minneapolis at Gallery 360, has committed to donate a piece. Don't know which category it will be offered to, yet, but DANG, I'd ride harder. Seriously, this is a rising star and if you collect art at all, check out her work.

We'll also be having a bit of an art show at Saturday night's awards party. Of course, even if you aren't racing to win, you'll still want to come for the SHEnanigans!

Casey Sheppard
The following pieces are not the prize to be offered, but are samples of Sheppard's work. See her website and the Gallery 360 display for more fantastic pieces.


"Concrete Jungle 2"

"Scrap a Tron"

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Buff up those race legs....

The FINAL Flatwater Cycling Twilight CX race 
THAT'S WEDNESDAY, 11/26/2011
5:30 pm registration - 6:00 pm racing

Do good recovery, because THURSDAY, 11/27/2011 
you'll need those gams for 

Do we know how to have some fun around here? Oh, HELLYA!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Berryman Trail Epic 2011 Recap

The BTEpic is in it's 4th year if I remember correctly, but this is the first year I'd heard of it and when Big Pig Steven said that's what he wanted to do for his birthday, I said sure, but inside I was thinking, "Ridiculous. What are you thinking, Sydney? Are you insane?"  A 60 mile road, or even gravel, ride can be arduous enough, but 60 miles in the woods when you've not been training for endurance?! Seriously?! Then, I thought, "What better way to practice skills, get some miles and have some fun than a mtb race?" Let's go!

"Stroke six times and see what comes of it," Grindcore said -- for luck, you know.
When I registered, I noted a good sized women's field, but I really wasn't paying attention to names at the time so when I learned a bunch of Nebraskans had rolled up and that Roxy was rolling to the line next morning, I had a bit of mind shift. I think I mentioned something about her dropping me like a stone earlier in the season and that it still chaffed me -- or something along those lines. The net result was that instead of just chillin', I shifted into race mode. Of course, that still left me quite unprepared to meet Carey Lowery. I didn't recognize her on the start line, but at some point she complimented my leg strength and we traded names. When she said, "Carey," I asked if she was the one I was always seeing at the top of the results lists. Of course, that's exactly who it was and explained why she was so lean and seemed to float along the single-track.  The other major contender was Laura Cleary Scherff. I didn't know her name before the race, but I did notice a woman in a red kit with black tall socks making terribly good time and who was also strong up the climbs.

My race strategy was simple: kick it off strong in hopes of triggering the other women to burn some matches before they were planning on doing so. I also thought I could build up a lead to give myself time to settle into the single-track. I then intended to pace myself and make the best use possible of any sections allowing me to make good use of my power. As it happened, the BT has some seriously long climbs, flat flowy sections and a couple long stretches of roads.

Roxy, Carey and Laura soon caught me. I wasn't paying attention to Laura so much at that point, but was keenly concerned about Roxy and Carey. Fortunately, the bottleneck at the stream crossing slowed them down and I was able to jump ahead again on the road section to the next stretch of single-track.  At this point, the trail sections get fuzzy and all I really recall are instances. For example, seeing Laura ahead of me on a climb. Watching her and then passing, which is why her reappearance gave me quite a shock, but she wasn't far off my wheel and jumped ahead on a checkpoint. Maybe she'll visit this write-up and fill in my memory gaps. In any case, my attention was on Carey. I could tell she could drop me at will on the single-track and when she arrived at the bag drop checkpoint seconds after me, I went into full race-mode, quickly stuffing Gu in my pockets, ripping off arm and leg warmers and slamming some gatorade/heed mix.

I got a lead on her, but soon I heard a voice, "I'm going to pass you now, Sydney." And, she did. I felt a flush of frustration and tried to hold her wheel for a bit, but could tell I was rattled, and that I needed to keep my head together most importantly. I reminded myself that a crash would eat a lot more time than being slower and smoother. I also recalled that the climbs were long and more time could be gained there. I felt I was climbing stronger than the others and that I could make up time there and in the other parts of the course. Finally, if I had to be second, it wouldn't be bad to be 2nd to Carey.  My mind calmed and my body found its rhythm despite the occasional cramp up the inside of my right leg. Eventually, I saw Carey on some switchbacks ahead of me. I increased my pace and the gap narrowed. Finally, I pulled onto her wheel.

To my surprise, she said, "My legs are done. Go on and catch some guys."

Of course, my roadie self thought, "How dumb do you think I am? You really think I'm going to let you sit on MY wheel?" But, she sounded sincere and moved over, so I went ahead and came through. Then, I tried to push the pace a little in case she did get on my wheel. But, she didn't. As Steven said later, "Uh, if she said her legs were done, they were done. She's a mountain biker, not a roadie." Oh, OK. Is it really that simple?

I did pass some men and as I went by one said, "There's one more woman ahead of you." I didn't think he was right, but in case he was and in case Carey was feeling better, I kept my pace as high I could. Finally, and with gratitude, I came to the end of the singletrack and turned onto the finishing four miles of road. In my memory, there had seemed to be more downhill to it, but my legs begged to differ. Nonetheless, looking up the road I spied a red kit with black tall-socks and despite the distance, the rear view definitely appeared feminine.

I determined that I would simply attack roadie style regardless. So, I got up to speed, came up behind and then attacked as hard as my legs were able. I was only able to open up 26 seconds between that point and the finish. It was such an exciting race. Thanks ladies! Can't wait to see more of you on the trails next season!

View towards horse pasture from front deck of the lodge

Steven and I both had some work stuff to attend to before Friday's pre-ride

Stream near the cabins
"I like the idea of  yoga, Steven. Not actually doing it."

Steven can't resist seeing how cold the water actually is. 

This draws other onlookers, which is how we met Tim and Dave.
The race organizer, Scott, points out the fine features of the  bikes to be raffled.
Bikes ready for race time.

Steve is always fun. He won everything. Read his write-up.

Was cool to get to visit with Trudi a bit.

Shortly after this pic was taken, the beer trailer was swamped, but it never  ran out. 

Nothing quite as cute as boys on fire duty.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


I don't have much of a basement, but cleared out, it accommodates 2 trainers and computrainer set-up pretty adequately. Two of my friends roll over in the morning round 5:30 am and we knock out a 60-90 minute workout on our bikes Monday-Friday. Though you can't see the riders, this is what it's like with this morning's lighting upgrade:

Rave Cave Pandora Station

Monday, October 17, 2011

JOULES CX - Lawrence, KS - Midwest CX Stitch #1

Great time racing this weekend. Won the women's open both days. Legs feel great. Methinks the time in the Rave Cave is beginning to pay dividends.

Barriers are great place to gain time. Photo: Keith Walberg.
Sheclismo riders Elisabeth Grindcore, Berly Brown & Jen Deep rattled the cat 4 women in more ways than one. Lis got 2nd on Saturday and 4th on Sunday.

Nobody gets game face, like Grindcore. Photo: Roger Harrison, Laterne Rouge

Jen kept the crew cheerful with victory shouts through the spiral.

Deep demonstrates proper CX spirit! photo: Roger Harrison, Laterne Rouge
Berly won the Midwest CX Stitch Single Speeder points on Sunday.

Berly, Mistress of Chill. Photo: Vicious
"You, race the CX." - Grindcore.
Check out Grindcore's "My Week #130" for OCT10-16

Oh, and we even made Steve Tilford's blog. I think that was the highlight.

Having some fun at Freestate Brewery. Photo: Trudi Rebsamen

No end to the SHEnanigans on SHEclismo.

Road trippin' with the ladies is as much fun as it looks. Photo: Jen Deep

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Tour de Lizard - Sept 10-11

We were greeted with...

Jen "OF COURSE I'm gonna make it!" Deep was a great travel companion, who also takes great pix.

We met up with Steven Thompson from Big Pig Racing.

Who looks like this when he's not frozen in statue form:

Jen did her first full-on long and rocky MTB race:

She & Dennis navigated the many valleys of death together.

Thanks to pre-ride tips from Steven..

I was able to stay upright for the most part and win a trophy. Well, as the only woman, they congratulated me for the win at the start, but I was happy to pass a few men and earn 4th overall.  Steven came back from a busted seat post to single-speed it to 2nd overall. We were both pleased.

Steven has a keen eye for perfect sunset watching locations, so we won at that too.

Tour de Lizard: Great venue, challenging course, fun folks.