Archive for June, 2010


June 29, 2010
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June 29, 2010

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Cold Corn Salad

June 28, 2010

Cold Corn Salad

June 28, 2010


June 18, 2010

Japan Tour 2010…Kurashiki!

Ok, So where were we last?……….Something about Tenga© Jenga© and Fleck going native? Or… wait, no, it was Peter doing his Godzilla® impersonation to a bunch of horrified 2nd graders as he decimated their Lego© villages. Uh…ok, now I remember, we was all on train to Kurashiki!

After enduring Yokoi San’s relentless thumb boxing….

 we dined on some amazing bento boxes bought at the train station.

We passed through Kyoto which made me cry a little inside because I knew we were not stopping there to enjoy it’s wonders.

 We arrived in Kurashiki feeling somewhat refreshed after a rest on the train. Our hotel was close to the station, but we didn’t make it to far before trouble found us.

Peter wastes no time at wowing the local school girls with his smooth linguistics and hip, hot pink cell.

This troubled youth had it in for us from the beginning…I believe he is flipping us the “British Bird”.

We checked into another business hotel that was right off of the tracks. Japanese style Tatami rooms, bed rolls, a kitchen, a dining (read drinking) table and loads more space then we new what to do with. We filled that void with empties after a lovely evening full of discussion about what is better: TaKaRa Chu-Hi strong or Kirin grapefruit Chu-Hi?…the world may never know.

Did you know that the Japanese love anime?…I mean really love it.

Our bikes had been driven to Kurashiki by Eji San from Motocross Intl, which made us very happy to not have to build them up before our evening visit to The Farm.

This is Oda San and his wife Mrs.Oda San(as she introduced herself), they are the proprietors of the Farm; a very attractive and neatly merchandised shop. They were also our gracious hosts for this leg of our journey.

Surlys in Japan come in colors we have never seen and many of you never shall; A benefit enjoyed by Rie San’s customers.

That evening a ragtag crew of about 25 or so cyclist showed up at the Farm for a night ride led by Oda San . It was once again awesome to see the mixture of different Surly bikes spanning multiple riding disciplines all tearing up the streets together.

We stopped in the historic Bikan district for a break and some moon gazing.

That evening we wasted the night away in an Izakaya inside the train station. This is how sexy Dave looks through a huge mug of beer.

Surly Whiskey Cat

The next morning we wrung out our livers and prepared for another big day. We would meet a larger crew of Oda San’s customers for a ride into the countryside . “Chii Sai Oda” was ready to put the hurt on us but decided to spare us the embarrassment and took a nap instead.

We rode to a very picturesque temple with a 5 story Pagoda. The weather was warm and the sun was bright as we wound our way through the countryside and then back towards town with big smiles and bigger sunburns.

This photo might very well be in a Japanese magazine right now.

A freakin huge Torii

During our visit to another temple we tested our luck by selecting a numbered stick from a small barrel. The number corresponded to a drawer containing a paper. This paper gave your fortune and told you what sort of luck you were likely to experience. Dave tied his to a fence securing his destiny for “worst luck” in the days to come.

Riding through Bikan again in the light.

At yet another temple we posed for yet another picture. The rock star treatment in Kurashiki was heavy and totally undeserved. If they only knew what we normally do with ourselves…we are obviously total nerds, as you can see.

This is the legendary Ice Cream Deamon. He hopes you choose the black one.

Lunch of champions. You can eat quite well from a 7-11 in Japan!

This is us with a gentleman we came to know as “Super Fan”. He owns

everything Surly has ever made and even some things that we didn’t make…

…Like both my and Fleck’s hats.

That night we had dinner at a “Organic Buffet” restaurant close to the station. There we sampled many things we couldn’t quite place “biologically” speaking. 

After teary goodbyes and such were done we retreated the the comforts of our business hotel. Shuji San, Oda San and Eji San were in attendance as we wrapped up the evening with a little “imbibement”. Peter had a golden moment.

The next morning we were off to Hokkaido. Our visit to Kurashiki was brief but very enjoyable and quite laid back compared to the beginning of the trip. We found a dedicated fan base here and, as always, super warm hospitality. 3 of 4 cities were now behind us…how could the events so far possibly be topped?! You will have to wait for the next installment of “Ride With Surly Super Awesome Japan Fun Times Tour 2010… Hentai!

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Posted via web from Mike’s Blog

Hubble Finds Jupiter’s Missing Stripe | How now brown clouds…

June 16, 2010

New Hubble images reveal what happened to one of Jupiter’s main cloud belts: It’s hiding behind ammonia clouds.

“Weather forecast for Jupiter’s Southern Equatorial Belt: cloudy with a chance of ammonia,” planetary scientist Heidi Hammel of the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado said in a press release Wednesday.

The gas giant’s characteristic band of dark clouds started fading late last year and had vanished completely by early May, 2010. Images taken with Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 on June 7 — just over three days after an unknown object smacked into the planet — found a layer of white ammonia ice crystal clouds. The ammonia clouds float at a higher altitude than the missing brown clouds, obscuring them from view.

The images show a preview of what’s to come for the dark stripe, too. A chain of dark spots along the boundary of Jupiter’s south tropical zone peek through the white cloud layer as the ammonia thins and dissipates.

“The Hubble images tell us these spots are holes resulting from localized downdrafts. We often see these types of holes when a change is about to occur,” said planetary scientist Amy Simon-Miller of NASA.

The clouds blocking the famous equatorial stripe should clear out similarly in a couple of months, the team predicts.

“The Southern Equatorial Belt last faded in the early 1970s. We haven’t been able to study this phenomenon at this level of detail before,” Simon-Miller added. “The changes of the last few years are adding to an extraordinary database on dramatic cloud changes on Jupiter.”

The images also provided clues to the identity of the mystery object that hit Jupiter on June 3. A lack of dark debris at the impact site, which would have been kicked up by the object exploding beneath the clouds, suggests that the object was relatively small and burned up in Jupiter’s atmosphere like a meteor.

“Hubble was only one of several observatories that looked for signs of Jupiter’s impact scar, with more results on their way,” planetary scientist Leigh Fletcher of the University of Oxford noted on Twitter. “Gemini, Keck, VLT and IRTF were all racing to find signs of the impact within hours of the event taking place.”

Images: 1) NASA, ESA and Z. Levay (STScI), 2) NASA, ESA, UC Berkeley, STScI, Jupiter Impact Science Team.

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Posted via web from Mike’s Blog

Starbucks to offer free WiFi service – FierceWireless

June 15, 2010

Beginning in July Starbucks will offer free WiFi to go with that $4 latte.

The coffee chain announced today that it will begin offering unlimited free WiFi access at all of its company-operated stores, allowing all of its coffee-sipping customers to get access to AT&T Mobility’s (NYSE:T) WiFi network.

The company said the service will be free beginning July 1 at 6,700 U.S. locations. The move by Starbucks comes six months after McDonald’s began offering free WiFi service at its stores, which is also provided by AT&T.

AT&T, which has more than 20,000 WiFi hotspots nationwide, scored a coup in 2008 when Starbucks decided to switch from T-Mobile USA to AT&T, essentially ending a six-year relationship the company had with T-Mobile. Currently, customers who have a registered Starbucks loyalty card can get two hours of free WiFi. AT&T wireless subscribers with WiFi-enabled devices can get unlimited access, and AT&T’s DSL customers also get the service for free. All other customers have to pay $3.99 for two hours of access.

The move is likely to increase data traffic on AT&T’s WiFi network. The company has pointed to its extensive WiFi footprint as a potential way to offload cellular data traffic. AT&T spokeswoman Jenny Bridges told FierceWireless that the company was not concerned that any additional traffic might hamper the WiFi network, noting that non-AT&T subscribers have been able to access the WiFi network at Starbucks already, albeit for a fee. “We’re not concerned about it, we’re excited about it,” she said.

For more:
– see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
– see this AP article

Related Articles:
Starbucks snubs T-Mobile, signs WiFi deal with AT&T
T-Mobile USA: WiFi subs can still use Starbucks
“Free” WiFi at Starbucks comes with a price

McDonald’s jumps on free WiFi bandwagon

It took them 10 years to figure this one out. I guess it’s because only recently has it become in AT&T’s best interest in order to off load mobile cell data traffic.

Posted via web from Mike’s Blog

A picture to keep in mind when planning

June 9, 2010

A picture to keep in mind when planning

June 9, 2010