Flying by Christina LapchynskiMy lovely wife, Christina Lapchynski, has been an artist since she was a little kid. She recently decided to go to school to study. One of her classes, on 3-D design, has been challenging her to try new media. Her unique vision continues to shine through despite this difficulty, as you can see in this work, “Flying” which is a static sculpture that has a moving element (the front wheel). In this sense, it not only implies motion but has motion. Please check out (and comment on!) her other works on her new blog, “arousing the inner child.”

As an aside, we went to a show of Kenneth O’Connell‘s work at DIVA recently. Christina was really excited about this because they both work with Copic markers. When we were there, we bumped into ex-customer service guy Hugh Larkin & his wife Sandy (who has some great art herself). Turns out they took one of Ken’s classes on a trip to Italy. Small world! Ken’s stuff is INCREDIBLE, by the way. He takes sketching and elevates it to a whole new level.

The wrong dessert to get me for my birthday: Bacon Burger Pie

The wrong dessert to get me for my birthday: Bacon Burger Pie

Yep, it’s my birthday tomorrow (thanks for the early wishes, everyone!). My honey ain’t feeling too hot so I probably won’t have a cake, so if you want to stop at Sweet Life and grab a Vegan Tiramisu or something, that would be cool. While you’re at it, a Vegan Chef’s Choice from Pizza Research Institute and some Oakshire beer, maybe the Vit or Duck Billed Platypus or the Ill Tempered Gnome, would go down quite well, too.

If you really want to splurge, get me a gift certificate at Best Buy (I probably would have said Frys but they’re not local and I’ve already got some old gift certificates at Best Buy). I can use it to get another external hard drive for the music, pictures and video. A print server would be nice, too. We could also use a couple extra Wii MotionPlus remotes for when the visitors come and want to gang up on New Super Mario Bros. Wii! 😀

<geek>Not to mention the fact that it would be nice to get another Linksys WRT160Nv3 router in case I happen to render mine useless trying to flash an Open Source firmware called Tomato USB onto it. After SimplifyMedia made me mad and gave up the ghost, I’ve been trying to find a good solution to accessing my files from abroad. crashes and has literally no support. Remobo— is just plain weird and looks like it will have issues with firewalls. This lead me to virtual private network solutions. Hamachi would be GREAT but there’s no support for anything but Windows (ew!) anymore. There was Viscosity but I didn’t feel like spending money for it.

So that lead me to OpenVPN solutions. Tunnelblick held some promise but it was going to take me forever to figure out how to configure the thing (I have a couple BOOKS now on the subject) and then I wasn’t sure it would work with a Bonjour-based service like iTunes Home Sharing. Looking for other options, I stumbled across a few different Open Source firmwares like dd-wrt and the original Tomato, complete with built in OpenVPN server. Now it’s just a matter of implementation but I’ve been a bit nervous without a backup option. So, yeah, that would be cool. I can always return it if all goes well.</geek>

But in all honesty, I don’t need any presents or surprises. I can’t complain. Even if I got nothing, I got a great wife who I am so proud of for going back to school to persue her dream (art) and constantly and delightfully surprised by for gaining new interests (biology) and who is just the best friend I could ever have (tandem kayaking and whale watching last weekend was fabulous!). I also got a remarkable little daughter who could out-swim me any day, who’s excelling reading standards and who continues to challenge and astound me every day.

Besides, I’m a geek. I don’t ever get bored, so it’s hard to feel sorry for yourself if you don’t get any presents or no one remembers your birthday. 😀 Not like I have that to worry about…

Lapchynski Christmas 2009 - Sunriver, ORThe snow is thick (in fact, I swear we gained a whole foot last night) in Sunriver and Christina, Sierra, Grandma Cheryl, KZ and I are having a great time.  Looking forward to some  more sledding today with Sierra and who knows else.

Now might be a good time to finally post the video of Sierra’s Christmas performance at church wherein she pulls off a fantastic solo in “The Friendly Beasts“, so here you go.  You should be able to just press the play button and it will play in your web browser but if you have a problem with that then you can download it there, too.  Now if you still have a problem with that, drop me a line and I’ll drum up a DVD for you.


Sierra 2008 Christmas program solo

Anyways, Santa was good to us.  Sierra’s love for the American Girl series (which, I think is cool because it teaches girls about the important contributions girls have made to history) continues to be appeased, this year with Nez Perce (the people of Chief Joseph) sweetheart Kaya, complete with teepee and corresponding fire!

As for us, interestingly, one of our presents is to come back to Sunriver for a couples retreat!  I also get to take a class on foraging for wild food and Christina gets a class in landscape painting.  Santa also made sure to get us thank you notes, which is indeed going to be useful!


But Christmas ain’t about the presents, right?  No, it’s a time to cuddle up against the cold with our loved ones and celebrate the seed of new hope that has sprouted.  No matter what you believe in, whether it be in the birth of Jesus or simply looking forward to the coming of spring, may it be a blessed one for you.

By the way, this was composed to Silber‘s annual winter/Christmas compilation, “Winterizing,” which you can download and/or listen to free here.  It’s an interesting mix of psychfolk, ambient, shoegaze, and electroacoustics from an ever-interesting label.  Their tendency towards emotional yet not goth stuff has always delighted me since I landed a copy of their first release many moons ago, especially when it comes to covering traditional Christmas songs.  Sadly, that’s lacking here, but it’s a good one none the less, especially given the price.

Bike Friday has been alive with activity lately, so much so that this blog is a nagging memory every now and then while I ride to get to work, so I can in turn work like crazy and then finally get to ride home into the sun to my beautiful family.

Needless to say, things have been good. We had a nice vacation on the beach in Newport. We flew kites in a state wayside right down from our hotel that thanks to knowing the right people was less than it costs to stay in the Motel 6 on the freeway here in Eugene. We didn’t do much of anything. That was a nice change of pace.

After which, Bike Friday went to the Oregon Country Fair in custom-built (folding, too!) tie dyed polo shirts and showed off the bikes. We showed Ted White‘s classic “Return Of The Scorcher,” a movie that’s not only well known for showcasing bike culture around the world (read: see it if you haven’t!) but also for inspiriting the first Critical Mass (and also much less so for including a little interview with Kash, who runs our SF tikit agent Warm Planet, as he washes some underwear on tour). We made a whole skit out of it, explaining that our power source wasn’t working and that we’d need to bring in the back-up ROB unit.  As it turns out, the “ROB unit” was Rob English, fastest British man and 7th fastest in the world according to the hour record, atop Hanz’s desk which is entirely pedal powered.  He was all decked out in a huge Union Jack in the form of full-on time trial gear.  Anyways, it was a blast, but we didn’t get to camp because the Fair’s weird like that. I guess.

The girls left me last weekend and I went to Paul‘s well-named “No Car Party” as well as the even better-named “Kidical Mass.” The latter really sticks into my memory because it was a heck of a lot of fun on bikes. I’ve appeared at a Critical Mass or two and kind of like it. The police reaction to it I don’t like. But Kidical Mass was none of that. Just a family-friendly group touring about the neighborhood with the kids, enjoying the ride and following the traffic laws along the way. It was not like we were blocking traffic (yes, yes, I know, “we are traffic”), but it was like the other traffic didn’t exist. We went down to the Whiteaker Neighborhood River Festival I didn’t even know existed and then rode all over. Then they were playing “Labryinth” at the park and the plan was to go to Laughing Planet beforehand but I thought the dog might miss me.

In the Bike Friday front, we’ve never had a July like this. Usually things start slowing down now. They’re ramping up. In other news the tikit line hit a real milestone in production today, being a sure sign of the ease at which we’ll be able to keep up with the increased desire for transportation solutions. Season tikit? Yeah, it’s pretty much ready. We’ve got a blinged-out fiber Express tikit in the showroom we’ve been calling the Carbon tikit. Kind of like a carbon credit, but much more useful for getting the groceries.

I’ve just been riding (actually so has Sierra, both on the Tug-a-bug and on her own Bantam NWT) and hope that I’ll take the Pocket Llama to Cycle Oregon Weekend and the tikit to the Bridge Pedal. The 54×15 will be perfect. Hope to see you there!

In honor of the Last Friday Artwalk (the much better of the two in Eugene) as well as Critical Mass, I propose we change the name of our most ridiculously-category to “Bike Friday Fabulous First/Final Friday Fixed Gears.” There will be one every month or else!

Lastly, go see/hear Panasonic‘s new release if you haven’t. Yes, I know they’re now called Pan Sonic because of that silly electronics company, but I still remember them at Panasonic when I saw them play with Merzbow and Masonna. Indeed, that was probably the most memorable show of my life. Their cold, mechanical, form of minimal techno is unlike anything else, all pink-noise and square-wave. The latest is another live set, just brimming with raw, powerful energy, like a technology-current Esplendor Geométrico. I just wish it were a LOT louder. Just put it on headphones in the dark on turn to tracks 8 until the end to feel the full frontal force.

On the same trip, 1/2 of the aforementioned, aka Mika Vainio, who usually seems to have more in common with minimal glitch composers like Ryoji Ikeda or Alva Noto than anything else, also put out a great album called Oleva under his ∅ alias that even has a cover of Pink Floyd‘s “Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun” to rival Psychic TV‘s. It’s dark, throbbing, almost ambient at times and highly recommended.

What’s new in ya’ll’s world?

I’m back in school again so communication may be a bit sparse from me. If you need to get a hold of me, you can find my schedule via the calendars on the right and, more specifically, you can find my Bike Friday schedule and various ways to contact me here. To make matters worse, I’m already behind on new news. Frankly, I’m behind on posting the Christmas videos. I hope to have them up here soon. I also have videos of Sierra’s school’s Christmas program which are as delightful as I’m sure you imagine they are.

Right now, though, I’d like to share another event in Sierra’s life: falling in love with snowshoeing. Last week we took a trip to the Ikenick Sno-Park and had a nice little time together, as I’m sure you tell from this video (click on the picture to get it, too, if you like). There’s some fooling around on our way to the Sno-Park, a little interview with the girls, some footage of shoeing the trail, and some shots of driving through the winter wonderland. Next time we’ll get some actual shots of people snowshoeing!

Speaking of which, hopefully that’s this weekend. Atlas Snowshoe has a Racing Team. One of its members, Teri Smith, just so happens to be the lady in this neck of the woods that gives presentations called Women’s Winter Workshops to help introduce women to the sport. On her own time (this is not published on the Atlas events) she’s inviting women (and their families) to show up at the Trillium Lake Sno-Park, which is part of the family of Sno-Parks around Mt. Hood, to do some snowshoeing! The $15 she will collect from each person will go 100% to the Breast Cancer Fund so we get to do something fun and get to give back for it.

Because we’re going to be in the backcountry, something we’re inexperienced with as of yet, and because we’re going to be led by at least one hardcore athlete, we’re going to leave Sierra with Grandma while we’re gone. I’m sure it will be fun, though, especially given that in spite of the fact that on average the contiguous U.S. was warmer this year we were pretty darn close to the lowest temperature on record in Eugene today (only 10 degrees off) and we actually got snow in the valley. And it’s stuck for more than a couple days. There’s bound to be some killer powder on the top of Hood. I absolutely cannot wait!!’s wishing you all a happy new years. I hope yours was enjoyable as ours, but somehow I doubt it.

Saturday I worked at Bike Friday and then came home and got us all packed up and ready for a trip to the snow. Grandma showed up because she was going to hang out with Sierra while we were gone. I was supposed to work late at the Hampton, but as luck would have it, the other girl thought she had to work and so we both showed up at the same time and I resolved to go home and sleep. We got up early and headed out, getting some coffee and tea and hot water before taking off. We had some organic vegan cinammon rolls from Sundance (which I might add, though they were smaller and lacked the cream cheese, rivalled Sweet Life‘s) and eventually made it to our hotel (it helps to have an employee discount!).

We were supposed to hook up with our friends Jamie and Chris at REI but it turns out Ted got them lost on a shortcut. Chris and Ted were to go to Mt. Bachelor for skiing and snowboarding while Jamie, with her gimpy arm, was to go snowshoeing with us. She didn’t have shoes so we needed to pick some up for her. Unfortunately, they didn’t open until 11. So we had to wait. Eventually, we got in there, got our stuff and took off for the snow. We hooked up with Jamie and had a great little hike from the Dutchman’s Flat Sno-Park. The sun was out, the sky was clear, the scenery was gorgeous and the snow was great. It was so nice out, we were shedding jackets! Then we hooked up with the boys and went back to the hotel, just as the sun was disappearing.

Then we went to the local McMenamins (an old Catholic schoolhouse) for some beer and pizza and fries. Then we bummed about Bend trying to find somewhere cool to go to ring in the new year. We were going to go to the obvious hot spot in Bend, the Grove, but the $10 charge turned everyone off. We ended up at some dive bar with a good juke box. Then we went tiredly home and all fell asleep after watching some of “Everest: Beyond the Limit” which we were all in awe of.

We woke up in the morning, had some breakfast (free at the Hampton!), got some more stuff and REI and left our companions on Bend while we travelled home. We were to be back by 6PM and we wanted to get some more snowshoeing in. So off we went, eventually stopping off just below Hoodoo at the Ray Benson Sno-Park. The undulating trail had deep snow, was more forested than the previous day’s trail, and went down to the Pacific Crest Trail— the very thing that originally brought me to Oregon over 10 years ago. It was so exciting, even the drizzly rain couldn’t spoil our moods. Christina kept a blistering pace and so we were pretty much wiped out and had to sing silly songs just to stay awake, but we made it at last.

To commemorate the moments we had this new years, check out Jamie’s pictures as well as our own personal new years greetings (click the pictures to play the video):

from Christina:

from Walter:

I have other video but I need to edit it, so you’ll have to wait on that. also might add just how cool snowshoes are. We’re definately hooked. Though Ted warned us vehemently against them (“Just wait until you have to go downhill. Give me skis instead.”) we absolutely loved it. Snowshoes are like the mountain bike of ski sports– they go over anything. You could use them to get deep into the backcountry and up on mountains that would be perfect for skiing or snowboarding. Just hang your gear off your backpack and hike in. The innovative Atlas shoes (complete with a woman’s specific design) we have certainly makes things easier relative to those old-school net designs like we see Bike Friday owner Vic Gedris demonstrating here.

Speaking of bikes and snowshoes, I might add that snowshoeing is great cross training for cyclists, and can get you burning up to 1000 calories per hour which is not only greater than cycling, running, or walking, it’s even greater than swimming. Watch out, though, you’ll be using muscles you probably haven’t been using much. Christina had a horribly sore hip. I wasn’t sore but totally wiped out. Bring lots of food. You’ll need it.

Anyways, we’re planning on heading out again soon, so if you want to come along, let us know. We bought shoes for Sierra, too, though she hasn’t tried them. We figure she’ll like it for a while and then get sick of it. I plan on having the sled on my backpack so I can pull her when that time comes. Should be a real blast. We’re thinking we’ll hike into some snow shelter or fire lookout and spend the night. I can’t wait. It’s raining here and all we can think about is snow.

So my wife and I went on a little mini vacation this weekend to Portland. We stayed at the Embassy Suites Downtown, aka the historic Multnomah Hotel. We saw Marie Antoinette (which was beautifully filmed and a bit slow, but well done, especially the non-period but perfectly acceptable 80s soundtrack; Sheldon Brown found this horribly inappropriate, but I must agree with him, that I, too, saw a pair of sneakers in that shoe scene!) at Pioneer Place after shopping around, among other places, the Apple Store.

But mostly we relaxed and ate good. Portland’s a good place to be a vegan. We indulged in some authentic Chinatown food at the Vegetarian House, doughnuts at Voodoo Donut, and the breakfast buffet at Veganopolis. There are plenty more options in Portland, but all of these were within walking distance. Oh! I did forget the most memorable place, though– and the most relevant to Bike Friday. This again proves the idea that it’s a small world on small wheels.

Here’s the story: for Christmas a few years back, I bought my wife this cookbook of vegan world cuisines prepared by a resturaunt called Blossoming Lotus in Kauai, Hawai’i. It’s got a little bent towards raw food, too, which is really nice. Christina discovered shortly before we left that they had opened a branch in Portland. That was definately first on our Friday itinerary.

We ate mostly raw there. To drink we had Kauai Chai which was more like a chai-flavored soy latte than anything, but very good. Our appetizers consisted of exquisitely delicious raw pizza (which was to DIE FOR!), a raw spinach tomato soup which was sort of a creamy gazpacho that came with these wonderful flax crackers that they sell there in the bag, and a small salad with crumbled almonds on it. Our entrees were raw veggie pasta and a raw version of the plum sauced-Chinese version of the wrap, mushu. Both were incredible and the latter was so good it was almost too rich, but I’m not complaining. Desert consisted of a breakfast parfait which was fruit, nut cream and sprouted granola, a piece of raw fudge and a bit of carrot cake. Probably one of the most satisfactory meals ever. Highly recommended. Can’t wait to go there again.

The Bike Friday content? Well, there’s a growing raw food contigent among Bike Friday owners. For example, there is Chef Ito (search for his name here for a great review of the resturaunt.. and him) who now owns my old messenger bike along with a superlight Pocket Crusoe. Ito also coerced one of his staff to get a Bike Friday, too! Then there’s lecturer and author Paul Nison who is actually in between Bike Fridays.. but only because he got married and decided to sell his single and get a tandem. And though Nic Mamula, whose fixed Friday will be next month’s BFFFFFG, isn’t raw as far as I know, he’s at least got leanings in that direction to work at Cafe Gratitude in San Francisco.

Now here’s the punchline: our waitress recently went to Cafe Gratitude and was served by Nic. Furthermore, she used to religiously visit Ito’s resturaunt when she lived in the LA area. Oddly, she never heard of a Bike Friday. But now she has. 🙂

So I have to wonder: any other raw foodists out there?

Next Page »