Books That Suck

Because I am a flaming nerd, I tend to read a lot of books. Some of them suck in such spectacular ways that I feel it is my civic duty to warn the rest of you, in case you were thinking of reading them. So far this week, I have read two such god-awful stinkers.

Suck ass book #1: New Rules by Bill Maher

Bill Maher: expensive whitespace

I usually enjoy Maher’s stand-up routines, and I even agree with most of his politics, so I was astonished at how badly this book sucked.

Reasons this book sucks:

  1. It’s not funny. Maher is first and foremost, a comedian, and the jokes are lame.
  2. It took only 2.5 hours to read the whole thing
  3. It cost $25.00. That’s $10/hour for entertainment. Not a good bargain.

I give it zero jihadis (and I can’t even be bothered to make up a graphic for that).

Suck ass book #2: Raving Fans

Raving Fans Sucks Ass

This one sucks so hard that it makes me sad that humanity ever invented writing. I was made to read this book by my mangement at work. That fact alone has me contemplating a new career. Most bathroom-wall grafitti is better written than this piece of shit book.
Judging by the writing style I’d say the intended audience is lobotomized hamsters or maybe MBA students (assuming a meaningful distinction can even be drawn between the two.)

The basic story is that you should do all sorts of over-the-top extra-special nice shit for your customers.

Fucking genius.

It does not, however, discuss how you are supposed to finance all this fancy extra crap. Maybe you are supposed to raise your prices or lower your profits, who knows.

This book is so bad, it should get negative jihadis. Since the opposite of a jihadi is an infidel, I give it 5 infidels, only because anything lower would require use of imaginary numbers and non-Euclidean geometry. And I can’t be bothered to make a graphic for that.

In summary, these two books are utter dog shit, and nobody should read them. Ever.

Gettin my Woods on

I went to Stony Valley today. It was cool. I did 30 miles on the Diamondback. The trail isn’t in all it’s scenic glory just yet, there still aren’t any leaves on the trees.
The Trail

The Trail

I was only about a mile in when a flock (gaggle?) of about 20 wild turkeys flew over my head. That was pretty cool.

Moustache Bars

My bike from the perspective of a turkey

I had to stop to let some air out of the tires. The gravel road was vibrating my bike and bouncing me all over.

A big stone

Pit Stop

I came up on this pond/wetlands kind of place. Two ducks flew away before I could take their picture. I think they were Mallards, but thier wings were a funny shade of blue.


There were ducks here a minute ago.

Going 30 miles on a fire road is alot harder than going 30 miles on pavement. I was ready to celebrate every milestone. Crossing the county line calls for heavy metal devil horn fingers.

County Line

Welcome to Lebanon County.

One of the nice (and kind of unsettling) things about this valley is that there is absolutely no cell phone service.

County Line

Nobody’s Home

The turn around point at the Appalachian Trail crossing wasn’t nearly as photogenic as I had hoped, so no picture of that, but I did stop to party when I came back into Dauphin County.

County Line

Welcome to Dauphin County.

You can’t go for a bike ride on this trail without pointing out that the army wants to make this place into an artillery range. Fuck that.

The Ents are wearing signs of protest, too.

Save Stony Valley!


I Like Moustache Bars

I went out for a slighly longer road ride (10 miles) with the moustache bars today. I think they’re starting to grow on me. I have big hands, and I wish the curves had a slightly (maybe 10%) larger radius, but all in all, they worked out pretty well.

I think we are going to have nice weather tommorow, so I am planning to take them on a longer (30 mile) ride on the Stony Creek Rail Trail.

I found some really nice PDF topo maps of State Game Lands 211 (which contains the trail)[east center west].

A map of State Game Lands 211 Inluding Stony Creek Rail Trail

Much nicer than DCNR’s state forest maps.

Pervert Attacks Amish Buggy

Sometimes I like to romanticise my hometown, and then something comes along that makes me wonder what the hell I was thinking.According to the local paper, some goofy pervert got all dressed up in a purple skirt and was lurking about in the mountains, exposing himself to Amish people in buggies, and “engaging in inappropriate sexual contact with himself.”

This happened on the road I like to ride bikes on!

White Deer Pike, Bald Eagle State Forest

What an asshole. I like the Amish. After this whole peak oil thing plays out the Amish will be the new aristocracy. Just you wait.


His Holiness Reverend Ted Haeger has posted some nice videos of the upcoming Suse Linux Enterprise Desktop 10.I think I might migrate the laptop to SLED 10 when it comes out. I installed Suse 10 on a snazzy IBM x336 today. It’s very nice. I still don’t like YAST, but the mono integration is pretty slick. I want to try to get Netware running under Xen.Novell is podcasting like mad these days, too. The show is a good bit more corporate-sounding than Lugradio, but it’s good anyways.

Novell is doing cool shit again! Woo Hoo!

Long Now

I stumbled across something pretty interesting. The Long Now Foundation has a buttload of really interesting seminars that you can download and listen to.

Today, I listened to Paul Hawken’s “The Long Green” talk. He talked about several interesting environmental topics. One thing that got my attention was a question from the audience about what it means for a non-religious person to go to the woods and have a spiritual “oneness with nature” type of experience, and whether or not such a thing constitutes a religious experience, (ala Emerson) or if it would be just a spiritual experience, or if there is any difference between the two.

Interesting shit.

Moustache Bar Update

I foolishly decided to wrap the bars on the Diamondback before taking it on a longer ride. I needed to mail some letters, so I let the 6.5 mile round trip to the post office serve as a shakedown cruise.
My Route
I think I should have put the brake levers further apart. When I grap the hoods, it feels awfully wobbly, almost like aero-bars. Maybe that’s the idea, but I don’t like it. Whenever I get up the gumption to unwrap and re-wrap the bars, I’m gonna move them further apart.

The cockpit

I started to do my hairy-sasquatch jute-twine wrap job, but it gets pretty crazy with all that twine and two cats in the house, so I gave up after doing only one side. 🙂

The bars are pretty fun. I can see them being much more useful off-road than on. If you grab them down near the shifters, you have a lot of leverage to whip the tire around.

This is also handy for doing big swooping side-to-side movements down residential streets.

It felt good to get back outside.

Moustache Vendetta

Brandi and I caught the noon matinee of “V for Vendetta” today.V

It was awesome. There’s nothing I love more than a highly literate, highly articulate demented avenger, and Hugo Weaving did a hell of a job, considering that he was behind a rigid mask the whole time.

I give it 4 jihadis out of 5.


When we got home from the movies, there was a package on my porch! My moustache bars are here! Woo!

I got them installed in a ramshackle sort of way. The brake cables could still do with some tidying up, but it’s ridable.

Bike w/ moustache bars

First Impressions:

  • They feel wierd. They bend you over a good bit more than drops do given the same stem configuration.
  • They seem a bit smaller than I expected. I’m not sure why I expected them to be bigger. I suppose I usually see them depicted on bikes smaller than mine.
  • So far, I like them. I’ve only had a quick spin around the neighborhood, so we’ll see how well they hold up to a longer ride.


Life will soon return to the forest. The willows are already starting to bud. By way of preparation, I am turning the Diamondback into a forest-road cruiser. This is kind of half way between a mountain bike and a road bike, but a little stouter than your standard hybrid. I have a bad-ass indestructable rear wheel on there now, I have nice big cushy tires, and I just ordered a pair of moustache bars from Hiawatha. Moustache bars are basically what you’d get if you took a pair of drop bars and a pair of straight mountain bike bars and got them really drunk and showed them porn.I’m basically trying to build a poor-man’s version of the Rivendell Atlantis.

The Rivendell Atlantis
The Rivendell Atlantis – It’s like a Hummer for smart people

I like riding the forest roads. It’s private. You almost never see a car, you can stop and pee anywhere you like, and you never want for scenery.

You generally don’t have to worry about jumping over logs and rocks and stuff like you do when mountain biking, and you don’t have to worry about traffic like you do when you’re on the street. It’s a very low-stress way to be in the woods.

Picture of the woods
Being in the woods

And that’s the best part. You’re in the woods. You stop any time you like, pull a sandwich out of your bag, and poof! It’s a picnic in the woods! Brilliant! If you see an interesting looking tree, you can sit down, put Dark Side of the Moon in your headphones, and ponder your Buddah-nature. It’s oneness-with-nature in the woods. Brilliant!

It’s everything that’s cool about bikes, and everything that’s cool about being in the woods, at the same time!

Happy Druid Day!

Nevermind the Mainstream

The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.

Bertrand Russell is my hero.