2010 in the Rearview


It's been a while since I've posted anything at all on this blog. I blame Facebook; too easy to snap a photo with my phone and upload it, too easy to link to funny or interesting things on the interwebs via FB or Twitter. But something has been lost in the process. And so begins the list of resolutions: I will try to migrate back to this blog for my vocal and visual outlet, my complaint outpost, my therapy. 2010 was a mixed bag, but I suppose that's the way it is for anyone alive. So, here in 2011, being alive, I suppose I'm up on points -- as are all of you. Specifically: In January 2010, my dear sweet…

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Thank You, Contributors!


Thanks to all who contributed to my fundraising efforts for the 2010 Cause for Paws, benefiting the Humane Society of Boulder Valley. About 500 people (plus dogs!) participated in either the run or the walk, and together we raised $50K to help the shelter help animals and their owners alike. Team Hooper (Hooper, Rob & Brenda) did the walk, and it was fairly hysterical to see what amounted to a giant dog walk unfold on the paths around Boulder on a beautiful day. After the walking, there was food, music, dog massage, and Hoop even got to refresh his chops on the agility course, which led to the funniest event of the day. Hooper tried the "chute" obstacle, which is…

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Six Years Gone, and Good Riddance


Six years ago this past week, my dad died. I think I'm finally coming to terms with it all, coming to terms with the fact that he was no father to me, that he literally left my sister & me to fend for ourselves almost twenty years prior to his death, when my sister & I were merely teenagers. Ahh, but that was just the legal part (if it's even true, but who cares, because to delve deeper would involve characters in my life that I hate and care not to associate with ever again). In retrospect, "dad" left me and my sister behind, many years before that. Recent revelations make a lot of shit make sense and at the…

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James


James was a little boy. Nine years old. We say "old", as in "nine years old", but nine years on earth is not a long time and does not make you old. Certainly not old enough to die. One of my former co-workers had a son. His name was James. I think you can tell what happened. Doing some research the best I can tell is that James had acute lymphoblastic leukemia, but the exact diagnosis is irrelevant at this point. Suffice to say, it was cancer. The Big Casino, as Uncle Junior called it on "The Sopranos". Indeed. One never knows how Lady Luck is gonna deal the cards, and James got a shitty hand -- years ago. And…

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BIFF, again


Wow. So, once again, Brenda & I spent part of a February weekend checking out various films at the Boulder International Film Festival, and once again, we were not disappointed. This year, we had a nice manageable program: a movie a day, Friday through Sunday. Two were at the Boulder Public Library and one was at the fabulous Boulder Theater. The surprise of the weekend was that the library has a great theater; we hadn't seen any screenings over there to date, and I was expecting folding chairs and a temporary screen. But it turns out that the Boulder Public Library has a really nice theater, on top of everything else it has going for it. And on Friday evening,…

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Real Life Has Begun


Flying home I pulled up some Colin Hay on the iPhone. What am I, an idiot? I was just asking for trouble. I stared at Kansas through weepy eyes; the upshot is that I ended up finding Lena's song. Listen to it here. Lyrics below: WAITING FOR MY REAL LIFE TO BEGIN Any minute now, my ship is coming in I'll keep checking the horizon I'll stand on the bow, feel the waves come crashing Come crashing down down down, on me And you say, be still my love Open up your heart Let the light shine in But don't you understand I already have a plan I'm waiting for my real life to begin When I awoke today, suddenly…

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Jeff Bosie - Photographer


To merely call my old college buddy a photographer is to understate things a bit. Jeff Bosie, the aforementioned buddy, is a real photographic artist. I had just been bragging about Jeff's ability to a co-worker just last week, and oddly enough yesterday Jeff sent out a mass email yesterday announcing some updates to his website. So I took the opportunity to click on over and check out the newest additions as well as some of my old faves -- three of which are hanging on the walls of my home. It's great stuff. I was glad to be able to attend a show of his in Perth Amboy, NJ back when Brenda & I still lived in Jersey. Brenda…

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RIP, Brent Graber


Brent Graber was a guy I casually knew, a co-owner of a fun little dog named Delaney. Brent and his brother were regulars at the ballfield near my house where Hooper & I spend many an evening. Last month, while Hooper was recuperating from his knee injury, Brent got hit by a car and had been in a coma ever since. I found out about Brent's unfortunate predicament a couple weeks after the fact, when Hooper & I returned to the ballfield. Ever since learning of Brent's unfortunate turn of events, I had been keeping tabs on him through a website his family had set up, and silently held out hope for a recovery of any kind. But tonight, at…

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Hooper, the Patron Saint of Kids Afraid of Dogs


Brenda, Hooper & I all piled into the car today for a drive to Denver, to attend a birthday party for some friends of ours. Partners Greg & Ted share birthdays a day apart. Greg aged a year today, and Ted did the same yesterday. And so a joint birthday picnic/barbecue in the park near the Denver Zoo was in order, with dogs. Greg & Ted have a pair of winning canines; Guinness the Pug, and Lucy the Mutt (I used to threaten to kidnap Lucy and take her home with us from their parties ever since we moved to Boulder; she is adorable and built just like Hooper). Many of their other friends have dogs as well, and…

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Eighteen


Eighteen years ago last night, Brenda & I kissed for the first time. For nine years and change after that, July 28 was our "anniversary", until I finally got my shit together and married Brenda. Nowadays, May 7th is our anniversary, and we've celebrated eight of those, but July 28 is still our first official anniversary and yesterday we marked eighteen of them. Kinda cool. We will celebrate this weekend in Grand Lake.…

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News: Heartless Bitches can Raise Children and Pets (or, why I want to be a vet)


This shit makes me crazy. The local paper ran an article today about the booming pet care business, especially in dog-crazy Boulder. Here in Boulder, there is a "law" that encourages Boulder pet owners to refer to themselves as their pet's "guardians", not "owners". You know how I feel about this one; I have a receipt. But it gives you an idea of the mentality Boulder residents have towards their pets, and in general I think it's great. Here, our dogs are our kids. They hike (off-leash) with us, they frolic in the many dog parks, they are welcome in many businesses, not just the multitude of pet stores and pet bakeries (yes, pet bakeries), and they are everywhere. In…

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File Under: "Small World"


This is crazy. An old college friend found me on Facebook and added me as a friend. When I got the notice, I of course checked out his Facebook page, which lists all of our mutual friends. The usual suspects were there, roommates and friends from college, but so was this guy Roland who I know because he uses Radiance, the lighting software I use every day. Worlds colliding! I thought it must be some mistake, but it turns out those two went to high school together in Cyprus. Of course! I recalled when I first met Roland and he told me he went to school in Cyprus, I thought to myself "hmmm, I know someone else who went to…

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East Coast Trip


Brenda & I went to the east coast this past Thursday, our makeup trip for our postponed christmas Visit. Our christmas Visit was postponed due to weather. Perhaps in honor of that fact, we encountered more goddamned weather. Booked on a noon flight Thursday, our flight pulled back from the gate promptly at 2:15 so we could sit on a taxiway for another 45 minutes before departing. Upon arrival in the NY metro airspace, we commenced a precision hold for another 45 minutes before landing at Newark NJ. Upon arrival, the NJ Transit train we boarded for New Brunswick was horrifyingly similar to the one I left almost two years ago when I finished my tour of duty, but…

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R.I.P., Molly Ivins


Well, shit. Molly Ivins, my favorite Texan, has died. Losing her third battle with breast cancer, one of our greatest bastions of clear thinking and best practitioners of humorous-while-pissed-off writing is no longer around to comment on the bullshit that politicians do. I still remember reading one of Molly's editorials in the Star-Ledger, back in New Jersey, a few months before the second Iraq War began. I was struck by how clearly she distilled the issues, and how humorously she did so. I followed her syndicated column, and read her excellent book Bushwhacked, a book you should all read. One of her rants from last May even garnered a post on my website, for what that's worth. Read the book,…

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Merry Christmas


Well, if this ain't the most non-standard Christmas I've ever experienced, I don't know what is. After the Blizzard of the Universe rolled into town Wednesday, dumping nearly three feet of snow in Boulder and Denver, our office closed on Thursday -- my first-ever adult snow day! But the nagging pain in the back of my mouth that began with the first snowflakes continued throughout the snow day, and so Friday I found myself in the dentist's chair, looking for answers. Answer: my wisdom tooth needs to come out. Extra information: It's Christmastime, and no one is friggin' around to do the job, so I get to complain to Brenda about my aching mouth until friggin' Thursday. So, with my…

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An Old Friend Comes to Visit


Today, I got something I've been wanting ever since I left a dear old friend behind in New Jersey 18 months ago. Actually, I've wanted this thing ever since I acquired "niner three foxtrot", my old beloved airplane. I wanted an air-to-air shot of the old bird, and today I got one. Jake -- 93F's new proud owner (and also recent proud owner of his very own private pilot certificate) -- sent me a pic of my old plane in its natural habitat: loitering a thousand or two feet above the lush, green western New Jersey farmland: Rob W. took the shot, from the open door of his Piper Cub, another plane I flew way back when, when I was…

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Pike's Peak Marathon


Listen up; I wanna tell ya about my friend from work. His name's Galen, and he just finished second in the Pike's Peak Marathon, and I'm really kinda flyin' high on his accomplishment. Yeah that's right, Pike's Peak Marathon. A full marathon, all 26.2 miles of it, only you run to the top of a fourteener and back down to the bottom. Roll that one around in your head a while and I'll wait. I ran competitively in high school and never ran more than ten miles in a stretch, but I've thought a lot about the marathon as my uncle used to be rather fast at them in the 70's, and I have always been impressed when friends…

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Afraid of Trout? Bring me Along!


And I'll scare them all away for you. This weekend Brenda & I drove to Avon (a few miles west of Vail, CO) to meet my Cousin and Uncle for some fly fishing on Gore Creek and the Eagle River. I stunk up the joint. To say my Uncle is an experienced fly fisherman is a serious understatement; he's an ichthyologist by trade, has discovered an entirely new species of fish, and has been fly fishing since he was sixteen years old. He loves fish and fishing, and over the years we had thrown words at the idea of hooking up and having him teach me the finer points of the wonderfully archaic world of fly fishing. When we moved…

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Mount Audubon


The Long's Peak preparations continue, and this weekend it was Mount Audubon (our first thirteener!). Once again, the views were amazing and the hike was a huff-and-puff extravaganza as we neared the summit. As usual, the summit revealed views that made it all worthwhile, and something about the effort and the oneness with nature even causes me to eat rice cakes and fresh fruit -- and actually enjoy it -- while I'm up there. So this hiking thing is really healthy for me, all 'round. From the top you could see Long's Peak, and it sorta just stood there saying "yeah, that's right, I'm right over here, bitches; whenever..." Leslie was headed for Peru on the day of the hike…

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Vegas


Vegas baby, Vegas. Been there, done that. My 38 year-long streak of never having visited Las Vegas has come to an end, as I just got back from spending three days in that pit of depravity. Lightfair, the architectural lighting community's annual trade show and convention, alternates between New York City and Las Vegas for its host cities and this year it was once again being held in Vegas. I generally made the New York shows, but now that I call Boulder home, the desert location makes more sense. We were lucky enough at work to get funding for the entire daylighting team – all four of us – to go, so off we went to Vegas. My review: eh. The trade…

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Santa Fe


Well, this past weekend was a bittersweet reunion with the Land of Enchantment -- Santa Fe, New Mexico. It's where I fell in love with the mountains of the southwestern United States, and, in the summer of 1990, working as an electrician for the Santa Fe Opera, it's where I fell in love with my wife. And it's where Brenda is right now. Brenda's been doing freelance projects both at home and in Denver for the last few months, but had an offer to go to work at the Santa Fe Opera as a draper for part of the 2006 season, and seven weeks doesn't sound like a long time when that seven weeks is eight weeks away, so. The…

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Happy.


Six years of marriage today, and closing in on sixteen years of being together! Happy Anniversary to us. May your marriage bring you all of the exquisite excitement a marriage should bring, and may life grant you also patience, tolerance and understanding. May you always need one another, not so much to fill the emptiness as to help each other know your fullness. May you want one another, but not out of lack. May you embrace one another, but not encircle one another. May you succeed in all important ways with one another, and not fail in the little graces. Look for things to praise, often say "I love you" and take no notice of small faults. May you have…

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Emma's a Star


Our beloved cat Emma has had a bout with celebrity of late, appearing in the latest issue of Delicious Living Magazine. Emma was one of two test subjects for an organic pet treats article for the mag. My buddy Lauren occasionaly freelances for this magazine, and while their dog Begbie was more than ready for the challenge on the dog treat side, Lauren needed another tester for the feline side. Enter Emma. (Lauren and her boyfriend Bill were both roommates of mine while in college at various times, have lived out here in Boulder for six years or so, and were great tour guides when Brenda & I were here last May for my job interview.) The very scientific test…

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Paul Rusesabagina Speaks in Boulder


This evening Brenda & I went to hear Paul Rusesabagina speak at the University of Colorado's Macky Auditorium. Mr. Rusesabagina was the hotel manager at the Hotel de Mille Colines in Rwanda, a country that tomorrow will mark the twelve year anniversary of the beginning of the horrific genocide that rocked the nation. In the spring of 1994, over the course of 100 days, nearly a million human beings were hacked to death with machetes. The story is a long one, and I recommend you read about it. Mr. Rusesabagina was portrayed by Don Cheadle in the movie "Hotel Rwanda", a film that awakened my interest in this sad chapter in human history and spurred much reading on my part.…

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Surprise!


So, Thursday morning Brenda says: "what are you doing for lunch today, I've been working from home all week and I need to get outta the house. Let's have lunch today." "Sure, let's do that", I say, cluelessly. And so there we were, standing in line with a bunch of my co-workers waiting to order at Wahoo's Fish Taco, when Brenda says "so, your birthday present from your sister arrived today". Imagining a huge crate full of presents, I pump my fist a few times and get back to concentrating on whether I want my burrito smothered with green or red chile. Brenda, cool as ever and without missing a beat, says "in fact, her present is right over there"…

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In Praise of Cold Cuts


Our dear friend Patty from New Jersey came to visit us this past weekend, direct from Hoboken, NJ, birthplace of Frank Sinatra and baseball, and the place Brenda & I called home for eight years or so. Patty brought a gift, one that took thought and compassion for our current situation, and we appreciated it deeply. Patty brought cold cuts. See, when you grow up Italian in the New York area, with Grandparents living in the Parkchester section of Bronx, NY, you get accustomed to having access to fine quality cold cuts -- prosciutto, sopressatta and of course, the ultimate in cured fatty meats: coppa. Pronounced "KOO-pa" in my family, this meat is often pronounced "kappa-GOOL" by many Italians. C'est…

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Silence


A moment of silence please, for Bil. It's a year today.…

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Turkey Day Weekend


Well, my first major holiday since moving 2,000 miles away from where I spent my last thirty seven has come and gone. Lots of emotions, many visits, and a few observations later, I am on a plane headed back to Denver International, amidst a thrumming chorus of shrieking infants. Let's discuss. First off, I highly recommend traveling on Thanksgiving Day, if at all possible. I hear that the day before Thanksgiving, and the Sunday that follows, are the worst (well, busiest actually, but more people generally means more hassle, this is a fact) airline travel days on the entire calendar. It meant getting up at 5AM in Boulder to make a 3:00PM dinner date at my sister's house…

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Light


Today, I emerged from my morning shower to find Emma perfectly centered in this direct sun patch on my bedroom floor. Luckily I had my camera on me, so I could get the shot: The old gal sure hasn't forgotten how to find her light, has she? She kinda has a Neil Diamond in "The Jazz Singer"-thing going on, you ask me. Or maybe late Sinatra, like right before he started forgetting the lyrics to his songs -- that single spotlight, high drama thing. I think she looks great. Too bad she can't sing.…

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project


My new project. More later. (I know, I know, I suck. Lame posting frequency, to be sure. But fear not, I do have things to talk about. I'm building a singlespeed bike (and my knees are already groaning about it). Brenda has once again left for NJ (I submit, as evidence, the pictures on this post of a bicycle frame in our living room and wrinkled shirts hanging from the dining room chair). My cat is involved in a taste testing of organic cat treats for a natural foods magazine. I've recently discovered I'm losing my hair. My TV is broken (new development, as of 8PM tonight!). I'm still aware of the problem with commenting on my site. I am…

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Mountainworks


Well, my posting frequency is still pretty lame, and I apologize. Let's see, singlespeed bikes are my new focus, and I'm in parts aquisition mode. I also made a big mistake buying a mountain bike online, since I have no idea what size I really am (I never ride the damned things). As a result, I have a nice Dean titanium mountan bike I'm looking to unload. But that's not the point. The point of this post is to get you to go immediately to my co-worker's website, featuring photographs he took from his many world travels. They will knock your fucking socks off.…

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Long Overdue Update


Hi. It's been a while. Rest assured, I am alive and well. But my lack of presence online and an untimely email outage actually led my friend John to think I actually was dead. I'm not. I'm alive. And busy. My last post was about my trip to the Oshkosh airshow. Since then, here's what's been goin' on: I passed the LEED accreditation exam, so now I am now a LEED accredited professional, or LEED A.P. If you want to talk about stormwater runoff management, or, say, innovative wastewater technologies, or perhaps the amount of operable windows you need for every 200 feet of perimeter space (space being defined by that zone within fifteen feet of the perimeter of…

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Couldn't Have Said it Better


When the time came to fly 93F one last time, I asked my friend John to come along. I wanted to tell him how much I appreciated our friendship, and his help with acquiring this plane of mine, this plane that was about to become someone else's. John's the guy who made aircraft ownership possible for me, and in a way, I felt as if I was letting him down by leaving New Jersey and leaving niner three fox behind as well. But life happens. After a two month hiatus from flying it, I wedged into 93F and John folded himself into the right seat. The plane started right up, and I went through all the motions of preflight. Soon…

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Good News & Bad News


The good news is I spent this past entire weekend with friends and family. The bad news is the goodbyes at the end of the days had a little more significance. The good news is I saw my mother & my sister on Saturday. The bad news is they both cried when they left. The good news is I spent my Sunday at Andover Aeroflex Airport. The bad news is I have no idea when I'm ever gonna get to spend another one there. The good news is I flew my Cessna 150 yesterday. The bad news is it's not mine anymore. The good news is I flew a Boeing Stearman yesterday, and landed it rather well four times. The…

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Birthday


It came and it went, but I'm still savoring it. Not so much the turning thirty seven part, but the general birthday, gift-getting, it's-all-about-me parts. On April Fool's Day I celebrated 37 years of ME. After work on Friday I met Brenda and some friends at Dip, a fondue joint on Third Avenue. Not bad. I opened gifts. Not bad either. Dinner was supposed to be the entire evening, but after I had consumed about five manhattans, Brenda said: "it'd still be fun to go to Toto". Toto of course is the karaoke studio that I frequent, generally with these people or with friends from college. Well, Patrick, upon hearing the word "Toto" went ballistic, and insisted that we go.…

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Ex-Birthday


March 25 was my Dad's birthday for as long as I can remember, and long before that. I guess it still is, in the sense that he was born on this day. But he also died on another day -- June 3rd -- which adds a whole new wrinkle to the whole "birthday" thing. And since this is the first arrival of Dad's birthday since his passing, I've been thinking about the significance of the day. We celebrate birthdays because they mark the passing of a year in a life. But what about a year in a death? Should June 3rd hold a new significance? Do we stop celebrating the birthday and start marking time since the second biggest event…

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Melt


Say hi to Breda. Breda is the youngest daughter (she's three) of our friends Dierdre and Evan. Last time we saw her, she was being baptized, and that was years ago. Breda and her older twin sisters Claire and Elise live with mom and dad in San Antonio, Texas as mom is finishing out her medical residency. We miss them. So when mom, dad and the gang were in Boston for a medical conference, and staying through the weekend before heading home, Brenda & I thought it a good chance to see them all. Amtrak's Acela service whisked us up to Boston Friday night, and Saturday morning I found myself sitting at a table with three sets of young eyes…

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Address Unknown


"Despair overthrown often turns in mad directions." So says Martin Schulse. Martin, one of two characters in "Address Unknown" -- the latest play in previews at the theatre where Brenda works -- is beginning to slide down the slippery slope into Nazism, in early 1930's Germany. This statement -- along with an amazing monologue that to Martin Schulse is about "liberals" and could easily be heard from the talking head of the week of the neocon plague currently rotting this country -- are among the many gems contained in this wonderful 75 minute theatrical immersion. This is what theatre is supposed to be. I loved Jerry Orbach, but "and you give me Allentown?!?" is not the stuff of real theatre.…

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Cozumel Photos


<p>Where have I been? Around. Sorry for the silence. Meanwhile, here&#8217;s a link to our <a href="http://www.ofoto.com/I.jsp?c=oc75gmb.jxz7g6b&#38;x=1&#38;y=y8drql">Cozumel trip photo library</a>. Believe it or not, this is the first time I&#8217;ve used a service like Ofoto. Their &#8220;<a href="http://www.ofoto.com/DownloadClient.jsp?">Ofoto Express</a>&#8221; application makes it darned easy to upload pictures right from your iPhoto library, too. Given that two of my friends offer superior competing products I feel the need to discuss those now. <…

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Famous Friends


<p>Yesterday, as I waded through my backlog of email, I got not one, but two emails from friends of mine, announcing recently published interviews. </p> <p>My friend <a href="http://www.mikezagorski.com/">Mike Zagorski</a>&#8212;a <strong>still</strong> pasty Scot living in Hawaii who rides a bike faster than I ever could&#8212;was recently <a href="http://www.pezcyclingnews.com/default.asp?pg=fullstory&#38;id=2913">interviewed</a> for Pez Cycling News. </p> <p>Mike is one of my many &#8220;internet friends&#8221;&#8212;…

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