Archive Page 3

Le Tour in 2008

Part of me wants to write to the Tour de France organizers and tell them that I won’t watch this year because of what they did to keep the new Astana and its established stars out of the tour, and efforts to battle the UCI, the other part of me just has to watch. I can’t help myself.

First, the HD Versus channel is now on Dish, and just looking at the countryside in France from the ‘copter is great eye candy. And when I record the early morning coverage, I can actually see the race unfold in something like real time. You can watch the breaks, the chase, the various attacks and sprints, and judge for oneself their importance and chances for success.

Second, thank you Will Frischkorn. For the great break on stage three. For the diary. For the agony and frustration in your interview on Vs. with Frankie realizing the missed chances to actually win the sprint. You are trying to make me forget the cynicism I have developed over the politics and money involved.

Soccer Culture in USA

Well, there is a Lalas guy that has something worthwhile to write. Sorry, Alexi, not you, but your bro at Sports Illustrated online in this piece titled “The US soccer fans bill of rights.” For some of us, in fact more and more of us, soccer is as (is more!) interesting than football or baseball, etc. And we want the press to treat us with this respect, and not treated in some condescending way. And we want criticism of the game and its various players, coaches, etc., and not the homer hype marketing stuff that comes out of the team press releases and web site (sorry Quakes, but that goes for your site too.) Hence, we need more mainstream outlets to publish the kind of stuff you might find on Center Line Soccer dot com, or Pitch Invasion.

Nice to see that the Euros had rebellion against all the corporate hype and rules that mar the game now that money is the most important element. Check this out.

Strawberry Ice Cream Threat

In spite of my wife’s allergic reaction to bee stings, we both do appreciate the site of bees feeding in our garden. Of course, they help use have great strawberries! But they also feed on other flowers we grow, and it is satisfying to know that the garden we built for our own enjoyment is good bee habitat.

There is some thought that mono-culture in agriculture has made life stressful for bees, as this story from the SF Chronicle explains. Bee populations are falling quickly, which can have big implications on the world food supply. There is also a great link here to a site for bee promotion, which is interesting reading from a gardening perspective..

Circles: Wasting energy in an energy challenged world

This is a quote dear to me:

“We need to get rid of business suits, and make sure every facility has showers so that people doing big business feel clean and comfy after they commute to work on their bikes. It should be cool to do big business in casual clothes that can be stuffed into a backpack. And put a laundry room in the office too. Mindsets need to change. It will be a great day when the guy in the suit looks like a doofus because all the cool, fit, successful people are in their casual clothing after a brisk commute.”

For the full story, check out this VeloNews column about lifestyle instead of training.

Neat attitude piece, but of course Crawford is weak on the math part of it all. I would think that our bodies just don’t use much energy that would produce significant gain for the power grid. If someone wants to do the math on a few of the ideas, please insert it as a comment.

Bikes Belong in Traffic – Share the Road

Cool video from the SF Bike Coalition and the SF Police Department. It is meant as a training video for SF Police, but has good lessons for motorists and cyclists as well.

Green Living in Berkeley

In our house, I am sometimes the energy cop for things like water conservation (shut off the water, please) or lights left on. Sherie likes to reuse all kinds of things that I might recycle or throw away, like washing dirty old plastic bags and cutting the smallest “fresh” flesh from rotting fruit.

But we are not as nearly green as the Greenbergs, written up the the Chronicle. And they feel that are nearly as green as they could be.  The green mind set is becoming cultural norms here in Berkeley.

For the love of the game

Brad Freidel is a class act. Most fans appreciate his talent on the big save, his concentration during a game, all the hard work he’s done. And the respect he has earned from others in the football culture overseas.

This story on takes the story of his gift back to the game to the current day. To the kids of Ohio, the USA, and indeed the developing world. I knew of this cool new academy he was building. I new it was to be free for the kids’ families.  But reading the quotes brings it all the more personally revealing about the motivation behind the man.
Brad, thanks for it all.

Qs Game Review

Sherie and I splurged for season tickets to the reborn E’quakes. We have now been to several games, so I thought I would give some opinions on the experience.

Yesterday was the first Beckam visit with the Galaxatives. So the Qs scheduled this at the Oakland Colosseum. This was the second game there (the first was the “home” opener against the Fire, back in April). I observed this:

  • More folks turned out than any other game. In fact, our neighbor Heather and some of her soccer friends and their kids went, when I hadn’t know her to go to other games. In fact, nearly 40k, and the stadium brass took the tarps off part of the upper deck. They don’t do this for the As, so this is the biggest non Raiders attendance there in a long while.
  • Many of the folks had Beckam jerseys, more England jerseys and many Galaxative white jerseys. They outnumber us old time Qs fans in blue.
  • While many cheered Beckam, many of the same also cheered the Qs. (Some where die-hard Galaxatives fans who had traveled from LA. In fact, our seats where near the section for the traveling Gs fans with the drums, weird hair, etc.)
  • The Qs fans were a bit louder than at the home opener, but do not give quite as much home team advantage as at Santa Clara, since most of the stands are pretty far from the field. While our seats are at the north end line, they are closer to the field than most (thats why I picked them). In fact, like the old days at Spartan, the action in the near corner gets hidden below the wall, which is the left-field corner for baseball.
  • The field is pretty wide, which helped the Galaxatives more than the Qs. The Gs have more skill players, and the width helps give them some space. The Qs rely on heart and energy to close down the opposition. All three Gs goals came on crosses when there was too much space left for the guy on the edge to get the ball into the box.

My impressions of games in Santa Clara:

  • The Buck Shaw Stadium field looks kinda like a high school football stadium. The stands are not very tall, and have odd gaps because the field is really a converted baseball stadium.
  • Our seats are in section E, which is above the deluxe seats. Note that the deluxe seats below us are the only ones in the place that are your plastic theater seats with backs and fold-down seats. All the rest, including ours, are bleacher benches.  This temp scaffold structure does not have as steep a “rake” as I would like, so Sherie can have some difficulty seeing above the people in the rows below us. In retrospective I should have picked seats on the other side that are closer to the field on the steeper permanent stands.
  • The  bleachers are getting more crowded each game. Makes for a fun atmosphere, if sometimes a squeeze for peoples bags and movement through the row. Better than too much space, and a lack of energy.
  • The Qs supporters are getting more organized and louder each game. While Sherie and I don’t want to stand and cheer/sing in the end zone, the noise from those sections is getting better. However, many in the stands around us rarely make noise to increase the players energy level, but only react to some action in the field below. And some people have ignored the play and had social conversation while the game goes on.
  • The stadium security staff is too rigid. The act very scripted in their actions. I don’t want to go into too much detail here (I have saved that for email to John Doyle), but they seem to make the paying customer feel like the least important people there, not the most important. Because the stadium is on a private college, there are weird rules about beer (must stay in the fenced in “beer jails” and not go into the stands or the general concourse areas).

Let me know if you want to share a game day, as eventually Sherie may not want to come.

Street Soccer Fun

This is really fun. Take it to the streets!

Bikes as Vehicles

I saw this video on the East Bay Bicycle Coaltion web site. I think most of my experience cycling friends understand this. However, I know of at least one Berkeley Honda driver that doesn’t. Enjoy, and “take the lane” to be safe whenever necessary.


Flickr Photos