Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Year In Review

I've shamelessly stolen this idea for a post from The Rev. But... In my own defense, I've always had a profound distaste for the "Year In Review" that the local fish wrap, a.k.a. newspaper, does and this is pretty funny.

And here is one featuring the music of Jim's Big Ego...

Note: I love this band. Buy their stuff or at least download the free album for free.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Ramblings Part II

Well... We made it back yesterday. It was a good trip. Got to drive back through some pretty nasty fog east of Des Moines, but it really just required a bit of concentration and attentiveness to things. Shoveled the drive and dealt with a big time ice dam on the roof, oh joy.

This morning's fun was the 0715 Cy-Yo class at the gym for 90 minutes of spinning followed by 30 minutes of yoga with the spin folks. They all think I'm Mr. Gumby. I tell them that they should see the folks that I practice with. It looks like the next real yoga class will be at the Shala tomorrow, weather permitting, just kidding.

It's kind of weird having a week off of work with nothing planned. I suspect that I'm going to be seriously abusing myself at the gym, on the bike, and at the yoga studio for the next week.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Well... We made it down to Kansas City with no troubles. One minor delay on I-35 while an accident was cleared, but other than that and the occasional snow squall, it was a dull and boring trip. Just the kind I like.

The image to the left is one that Apollo 8, the first trip around the moon, shot on this day 40 years ago. It still amazes me when I see it. If you look close, you can see the much younger version of me waving. (From the earth)
  • As seen on the menu at breakfast menu at Subway in Grimes, Iowa - Biscuit Gravy Juice. Mmmm.... The breakfast of champions. A little bit of punctuation goes a long way.
  • When eating pizza at Minsky's (my favorite) two nights ago. We had ordered several half baked ones to take with us for dinner the next night at my sisters. When the waitress person came back with the bill, she wanted to know if we wanted the half baked to go. Hmmm... let's see.
  • The lovely fire alarm during breakfast yesterday. It seems that a sprinkler pipe burst causing the fire alarm to go off when it sensed water flow in the sprinklers. One of the staff who was tell folks it was a false alarm said, "If you see me running, then you should run too".

The daughter and I did a practice at The Yoga Room in downtown St. Joesph Missouri. It was sparsely attended, but a good class. It's always interesting to take classes in other towns. We didn't do anything seriously hard, but the sequencing was interesting. I also have done the Primary Series (in an abbreviated fashion) thing for the last two morning here at the hotel. I will admit that it's not the easiest thing to do when I first roll out of bed.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Music Is The Best

Watermelon In Easter Hay

Information is not knowledge,
Knowledge is not wisdom,
Wisdom is not truth,
Truth is not beauty,
Beauty is not love,
Love is not music
and Music is THE BEST

And a very Happy Zappadan to everyone. Thank you and good night!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Helpful Yoga Tip

Well... It was another interesting class V3 at Tapas Yoga Shala. Lots of stuff way over my head, but it's always fun to give it a whirl. I might do some of those thing in this lifetime... maybe not. But it's all about the journey. That's really the important part. There is a post describing some of the fun up over at Subtle Bliss. You'll need to read that before the next paragraph makes complete sense.

Then there was today's Quotastic "panic or breathe" thing. It's always tough choice. Whenever we get reminded to breathe in a yoga class I'm amused. It always makes me think of this Looney Tunes cartoon, Dough Ray Me-ow.

The line that I hear in my head occurs about one minute into the clip - "Breathe, Stupid! Breathe! You forgot to breathe again!". I'm happy that all that time watching The Floppy Show during the lunch hour in college was well spent. I'm now sure if any of my fellow yogis read this, they will now be having the same thoughts when that reminder is uttered.

Dough Ray Me-ow

Two Tornados of The G-Spot Variety

The first one is the Ensemble Modern doing G Spot Tornado during the Yellow Shark concert. I really wish that they didn't have the dancers and showed more of the folks playing this impossibly hard piece. But... they did. At least you get to see some of the players

And now... The Marching Panthers of R. Nelson High School! This High School Band director has got to be one of the best. And you also get A Pound For A Brown too.

Welcome To The United States *laugh now*

More great stuff from Ensemble Modern. What Herr Kretschmar is reading is, and I am not making this up, an actual form that folks entering the United States are expected to fill out. Frank Zappa conducts this little number. Watch out for the terrorists!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Stunt Guitar

FZ seems to always have had a "Stunt Guitarist" on staff. The most well known is Steve Vai. My favorite, however is not Steve, it is Mike Keneally. Mike's web site,, is well worth checking out. He's always got some interesting stuff going on. Then there is the 1988 Tour Diary, required reading for all the Zappatista's out there. I had a hard time choosing, so in honor of the last Friday of this year's Zappadan, you get two. That's right... You heard right... Two. Without further ado, Mr. Keneally.

Inca Roads (Acoustic)

Echidnas Arf

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Son Of Cook (Orange) County

Dedicated To Illinois Governor Rod Big-Lie-O-Vitch

And in your dreams
You can see yourself
As a prophet
Saving the world
The words from you lips
(I am not a crook)
I just cant believe you are such
A fool

I just cant believe
You are such a fool
I just cant believe
You are such a fool

I just cant believe
You are such a fool
I just cant believe
You are such a fool

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Today's Workout

Well... We are currently in the middle of getting a +4" snow dump. I've even fired up the ancient Deere snow blower that I bought for my Dad some 25 years ago. It still runs, sort of. I'm not sure for how much longer though. It gave up after I had most everything done, but the sidewalks. That was after a bolt that holds the handle managed to fall out. I suspect I'll be finding it sometime in April. I did find the nut, so I should be able to find a replacement bolt for it at the world's best hardware store, K & K. Right now, it's being held together with a lovely black zip tie. Those are about the most useful things ever, right after duct tape. I finished the walks with the shovel.

I took the day off work to take a friend of mine's mother down to Galesburg to catch the Amtrak. She's off to the east to visit with one of her other son's and then is flying to California to visit with more of her children. I'm hoping that I can remember to pick her up at the airport in January.

Mark's class power yoga class at Indigo has canceled, as has my backup class at Gold's. With no yoga and no ride today, I'm not sure how I'll managed. I'm developing an overwhelming urge to sit on the sofa, drink beer, and watch some sort of sports event on the telly. I hope the madness ends soon.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Stick A Fork In It - 10,000 Miles For The Year

Play Above Music While Reading

Well... I did it. I got the last 8 miles in today. I am now sitting a 10,000 miles for the year. That was despite driving the car in and out of the office today. It was the first time I drove to work since early March. That was because it was something on the order of 3F with the wind at around 20mph. So, I wasn't too keen on the idea of riding into work. Then there was the freezing rain and sleet we got yesterday. I really hate to ride on questionable surfaces in the dark without having seen it in the daylight.

When I got home, I looked at the forecast for the week and decided that it wasn't going to be much better and now was the time. So I kitted up and rolled. The ride was pretty close to perfect, other than the cold. The freezing rain and sleet combination was absolutely the best for the studded tires that I have ever seen. It was almost like riding on asphalt with the slicks. Now I have to start thinking about staying on the bike until the weather gets "nice" again.

Oh yeah... The daughter promised to buy me some beer if I got to 10,000 miles. It's going to taste really good.

Music Note: This is Four Ruffles and Flourishes followed by Hail To The Chief. This is what is normally played to salute the President. This particular version / recording is from The United States Army Band. It is free for download and duplication as noted on the linked page.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Why'd It Have To Rain?

Well... I managed to get in 14 miles this morning to the bagel shop and back. Got home in time to change clothes and hit the Primary Series class at the Shala. It's always a treat. I had my Santa hat on for the first three Surya Namaskara A's and could not deal with it any longer. Kelly and Brian were laughing when I yanked it off and tossed it, with feeling, into the corner. I did get it back on for all five rounds of boat. Alas... I don't believe anyone other than Evan saw it.

There was one humorous moment in class,isn't there always? Kelly had this little water sprayer bottle to make her arms a bit more slippery so she could get them through her legs for Garbha Pindasana. She just kind of slide the bottle toward the front of the room. It made a bit of noise. Evan picked it up and casually spritzed the plants. A number of folks were laughing at that. We had a couple of guest yogis with us today. They were from Iowa City. It seems that they teach at and own JRMiller's Freestyle Acadamy. It's always nice when new folks show up.

Got home, made some lunch and then got the coffee roaster out. It was about 50F and I didn't think I'd be getting another opportunity like this in awhile. So... I roasted up two batches of Liquid Amber and one of Classic Italian. It started raining with about a minute left to go with CI. I was standing under the umbrella while it finished.

I just couldn't bring myself to get kitted up and ride in the rain to get the last 8 miles in. So... it's looking like I'll be doing that tomorrow. That is, assuming that the forecast of freezing rain, snow, single digit temperature, and general icky winterness doesn't stop me in the morning. I'm not sure why I can get myself out in that when today would have been rain and 50F.

I'm going to shoot for the Santa hat in Mark's Tuesday night class.

Note - Now it's doing the freezing rain, sleet, and thunder and lighting thing. Grrr!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Mule

What does Government Mule have to do with Zappadan? I'm glad you asked that question! The Mule has been doing a number of covers here and there. I wasn't able to find a video of them covering Pygmy Twylyte, but this is about as close as I could come. At about 1:35 in, you get a little Pygmy Twylyte Teaser. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Present Days Composer Refuses To Die

Edgard Varese was a musical influence of Frank Zappa's. His composition, Ionization, in particular. One of the best groups currently performing "modern" classical music is the Ensemble Modern. The Ensemble Modern (Wiki) (WebSite) did a project with Frank in 1992. The level of musicianship of that little outfit (EM) is not to be believed. They have released several recordings of Frank's work. True "must haves" for the complete record collection.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tapas On Two Wheels

I "Googled" for a definition of tapas. Here are a couple of them:
  • Burning away impurities through self-discipline.
  • Penance, austerity, voluntary suffering to vanquish impurities and to achieve the higher.
  • Sanskrit word meaning "heat".
I think today's ride qualifies with respect to the first two and fails miserably with respect to the third. I rolled this morning around 0435. I was planning on a couple of laps of Sunset Park in Rock Island before turning for work. I did manage to do them. I hit the door at work with 21 miles to put me at 99 miles remaining. Oh yeah... it was raining... it was 34F. Obviously, there was no heat involved.

The ride home was short since I cleared work late. I am always running out of daylight at the end of the ride now. I can't wait for December 21st when the days start getting longer again. The conditions for that were snow and wind. It's so much fun to ride on/in fresh show. You hear nothing except the crunch of the snow under your wheels. The falling snow acts bike a blanket muffling all of the "normal" sounds. It also brings a stillness with it.

There was one little exciting bit coming home. When I applied the brakes leaving work, the rear calipers wouldn't release. They were literally frozen. When I got home, the bike went onto the repair stand so I could get the cables and calipers dried out. After I got back from the sparsely attended Tuesday night class, I got them working fine again and all is good to go in the morning.

Mileage Update - 87 to go. The end is near. I just need three good rides or three more ugly ones.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Muffins - Man.. It's What's For Breakfast

With the added bonus of John Smothers doing some singing

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Today's Ride & Practice

Well... I did wimp out a little and not go for the normal post practice ride. The energy level just wasn't there. That said, I did get out for a pre-practice ride. I headed over to the bagel shop for a bagel and a coffee, where I met the family. It was interesting when I got there. There was this table of guys in the corner that were looking at me. Turns out, they all ride and were in a bit of disbelief that someone was out riding (It was about 10F). I had a brief discussion with them about the tires and the generator setup that I'm running. It turns out that one of them is someone that I see on the bike path during the warmer months (the guy in the orange gloves). I got a refill for my coffee and rode home with it in my water bottle cage. When I got home, I had a delightful coffee slushy.

The practice today was interesting. I tweaked my left knee Friday or Saturday, it's not been being "happy". As a result, I was going pretty slow in the transitions to the vinyasa's. I managed two breathes in Setu Bandhasana then had to flop the hands down to keep me up. That was a first to do it correctly. I normally have my inner thighs lighting up into near cramp when my hands are where they should be. I'm think it's because the mileage on the bike has been in a reduced mode given the weather. I did have one good laugh in the class, in the fourth round of Navasna, Kelly goes, "Jeff is smiling" and I was. Kathy told me to stop and I just had to laugh at that.

Now for the interesting part of the practice. Given that I was going kind of half speed because of the knee, I found that I was being much more "mindful" of what I was doing. As a result, my breathing was nice and slow and I didn't really feel completely spent at the end. Which was good since we had a little student conference afterward. We had a good time talking yoga with Evan and Kelly. There were a few interesting insights to things in Mysore.

Mileage Update - With today's minuscule 12 miles and yesterday's daylight limited 14 miles, I'm now sitting at 147 to go. I need 5 good days and I'll be there. It's looking like I might get two good ones at the end of the week.

The Ed Palermo Big Band - The Grand Wazoo

In keep with the six degrees of Zappadan theme, I offer up the Ed Palermo Big Band. Frank Zappa played a major roll in Ed's musicial life with respect to influences. As a result, he's done two albums of Zappa cover's with his big band. From a post on his (Ed's) web site, Ed says that he will no longer be featuring the name of Zappa in his advertising for his shows due to issues with the Zappa Family Trust. That said, he has one more tribute album (due in May 2009) in the works and Frank's music will still have prominent roll at his shows, just not the advertizing. If you are going to be in the New York City area, I'd be checking to see if Ed's band is playing and take in a show. You will enjoy it. I'd also be getting on his mailing list, as they always have a number of interesting things going on.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Bamboozled By A Lonely Heart

I got started listening to Frank my senior year in high school. I'm not sure who headed me down the path, but who ever it was, I owe them a big thank you. I was lucky enough to see Frank five times live. The absolute pinnacle was the 1984 Thanksgiving show in Chicago that has a few tracks on You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Volume Three. While this is the 1988 band, this version features Frank absolutely on fire... Damn. If the vault mysters happen to be reading, how about releasing the whole show (1984 & 1988)? Might as well swing for the fences.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Happy Hour & Today's Ride

Well... I once again hit Happy Hour at the Davenport School of Yoga. It's always tons of fun. I urge you, if you are in the QC's, to show up. And the price is right folks... free!

Evan taught the class today. I find it very odd to walk out of one of Evan's (Kelly's too) classes and not be completely wiped out. I suspect that I won't be in quite the same shape after tomorrow's Vinyasa III class at the Shala.

I was out on the bike today for just shy of four hours and managed 38 miles. The snow tires and the nastified conditions of the bike path all contributed to the general slowness. I did have one little "interesting" moment. I managed to let myself wander for a minute and had my day dreaming self snapped back to instant clarity as my rear wheel started to try and come around. Nothing like the fear of imminent disaster to focus you on task. 173 to go... That might be hard. We are supposed to get two inches of snow overnight and maybe some more during the day tomorrow. I'm am really not liking the weather pattern that we seem to be slipping into.

Black Napkins

One of my favorites and my all time favorite version of said Napkins. Nuff said...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Welcome To Rock Island

Well... It was a different ride in this morning. It was a balmy 2F at the airport this morning when I rolled. Given that we had the 4 inches of snow yesterday I figured that I really didn't want to try the bike paths in the dark. So... I road the three miles over to the bus hub and hopped the Red Route 1 bus over the river. Good call

The ride home today completely validated my thinking. Moline had plowed things. Not problem there. Rock Island hadn't. It was really, really hard. In retrospect, I should have done the 7th Ave thing past Augie. It would have been more up, but probably easier that riding on that mess. Davenport and Bettendorf had things in really nice shape too. The hands down winner, though, was the Rock Island Arsenal. They had plowed, then salted the new connector. It was your basic dry pavement! I'm thinking that tomorrows ride is going to be on all city streets. It's the easiest thing to ride on. Now I just have to figure out where to go...

Oh yeah, it was the slowest 17 miles of the year... Just over two hours. That said, I was feeling ok in the sparsely attended Thursday night yoga class. Way better than last night, when I was pretty much skipping all of the vinyasas. My arms and legs were seriously worn out.

Merry Zappadan To One And All

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tough Commute

As I sit here typing this post, I hear the snow plow rumbling by outside. I'll be heading outside to find the end of the driveway again shortly. We had about a 4" dump this afternoon. It put the Fun-O-Meter for the ride home today at eleven.

Actually, it was way easier than I expected it to be. I was figuring that I'd be needing 90 minutes to get home and it took just 70. I was going very slow in a couple of spots, but being quite zippy once I got to Bettendorf. In fact, as I was buzzing down Central, past the QuickyMart, a guy there yelled out to me, "You should be 4 wheeling!". Hardly...

228 to go... Now I have to figure out how I'm going to get myself into work in the morning. I'm seriously considering driving. It will be way cold tonight, around 10F, and I really like to be able to see where I'm riding. I might ride over to the bus station in the morning, put the bike on the bus and then take the bus over the river. Then, I'd be riding home in the afternoon.