Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Happy Birthday Sheldon Brown (July 14, 1944 – February 4, 2008)

Today is the great Sheldon Brown's birthday. Dead Deer Bike Gang would like to take this day to remember the man that was possibly the greatest single wealth of bicycling knowledge on the planet. He was a master mechanic, a father and above all a bike rider. His website was his gift to the cycling community and he filled it with a ridiculous amount of information. If you ever have a question about bikes there is a very good chance that your answers are in his site www.sheldonbrown.com. His beard and eagle helmet were his trademark and he was a great man in the world of cycling.

I have attached the last few entries in his journal below. They are a somewhat sad although great view of the last days of his life. Please take a few minutes out of your day to read it and be sure to check out his website.

Go ride your bike...

January 1, 2008
Film: (DVD) Girl With a Pearl Earring Peter Webber, 2004
Delft, The Netherlands, 1665. A new maid comes to work at the house of struggling artist Johannes Vermeer, his domineering wife and even more domineering mother-in-law.
The maid becomes the model for the painting at right. The whole setting looks and feels very "period" and the various relationships within the Vermeer household and with his patron ring quite true to me. A good, but rather slow-moving film.

January 3, 2008
Film: (DVD) Music and Lyrics Marc Lawrence, 2007
A romantic comedy with Hugh Grant as a has-been '80s rock star trying to re-start his carreer. Drew Barrymore is his love interest and the lyricist he needs to overcome his "composer's block" so he can come up with new material, rather than having to re-hash his '80s hits at 4th string venues. It was kinda fun. I've always enjoyed Hugh Grant. Also features Kristin Johnston (Sally from Third Rock from the Sun) as Drew's older sister.
January 3, 2008
Iowa Caucuses
I've been on the fence between Clinton and Obama for a while now. I am tending to tilt more toward a preference for an Obama/Clinton dream ticket than a Clinton/Obama one, but I'm still in the "undecided" column. Obama's very convincing victory in the Iowa Caucuses adds to the tilt. Let's see what happens in New Hampshire next Tuesday...
(So, I wonder...they're also getting ready for an election in the former Soviet republic of Georgia...I wonder if the nominees were influenced by the "Caucusus caucuses?)

January 4, 2008
Rotator Cuff
Got a letter from my primary care doc, seems the MRI shows a tear in my rotator cuff. I'll need to see an orthopedist, I'll call on Monday for an appointment. I guess that fall was worse than I thought at the time.
January 7, 2008
Got a call from Beth Israel Hospital a little after 6...Harriet got hit by a car on her way home from work. George and I drove in. She was in the CT scan when we arrived. Turns out nothing was broken, but she was very banged up, and will be pretty sore for a while. Evidently she was broadsided by a car that ran a red light as she was riding across Huntington Ave. Pretty scary!
January 12, 2008
Went for a short ride on the Greenspeed, only about 3 miles, but it was good to be back under my own power, such as it is.
Film: (DVD) Dune (Extended Edition) David Lynch, 1984
I saw this in the theatre back in '84, after reading the book a time or two. I liked the book a lot. The first time I saw the film, I kinda liked it too. Many people complained that it was hard to follow, but for those of us who had read the novel, that wasn't the case.
For this "Extended Edition" they addea a great deal of narrated exposition, with paintings on the screen, to try to make it clearer. This rather slows the film down, but might be helpful to some viewers.

The acting is mostly rather over-the-top, especially the villains who are prone to bursts of manaical laughter. My favorite is still Sting as Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen.

Seeing this again, it was interesting to note that two of the "unknown" actors in the film have since gone on to fame and fortune. Specifically, Paul Atreides, the protagonist, turns out to have been a very young Kyle McLachlan, later to make it big in Twin Peaks, then Sex and the City, and currently starring in Desperate Houswives.

The other is Gurney Halleck, played by...Patrick Stewart, before he became Captain Jean-Luc Picard!

My Dream Scene
For a while I thought my dream scene might make an appearance in this film, but it didn't. My dream scene is one that is theoretically possible to film, but as far as I know it has never actually been done. Hers's my dream scenario:
The hero and heroine of a film are running for their lives from some sort of danger, whether it's the villain, or some sort of natural catastrphe. Here's the bizarre twist in my version: The two of them succeed in running away and escaping the danger, and during the course of it the heroine does not trip over something and need to be helped back up to her feet by the hero!
It is my belief that someday, some brilliant director will succeed in filming such a chase scene, but it may not happen in my lifetime...

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