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Sheldon Brown's Journal

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Sheldon Brown portrait by Richard Brown

September 2, 2005

Audiobook Lake Wobegon Summer 1956 Garrison Keillor, 2002

A pleasant diversion, read by the author.

September 3, 2005

Film: (DVD) Animal House John Landis, 1978

Not sure how I escaped seeing this earlier. Not really worth the wait though. If you ever wonder what the word "sophomoric" means, just watch this film.

September 6, 2005

eBook: At All Costs ARC David Weber, 2005

Another Honor Harrington book , not too different from the others. Never did figure out what "ARC" in the title means...

September 7, 2005

Film: (DVD) The Awful Truth Leo McCarey, 1937

A classic screwball comedy with Cary Grant, Irene Dunn and Ralph Bellamy. Not their best work.

September 10, 2005

Sailing in Boston Harbor

Got a call last week from Woody, a friend from Revels, asking if I wanted to go sailing. I said "Sure!" so I hopped on my Raleigh International and rode in to meet him this afternoon at the Courageous Sailing Center in Charlestown. They have Rhodes 19s , bigger boats than I'm used to, but nothing too hard to handle. I sailed down the harbor to the Black Falcon Terminal, where we ducked in to ogle the QE2 which was docked there, last in a row of 4 big cruise ships. We switched over there, Woody took the helm and I worked the jib. We went out and around Spectacle Island, then back to Charlestown. It was a gorgeous late-summer day, good wind (though a bit fluky) and a virtually cloudless sky. I brought along a sweatshirt and long pants, but never needed to put them on. A very enjoyable outing with one of my favorite people.


In addition to the sail I got a nice 12 mile ride in each direction. Went in via Memorial Drive and the Prison Point Bridge, but took the PDW bike path home...I get kinda nervous on the roads when I'm heading straight into the setting sun.

Had a somewhat bizarre encounter on the way home though. Just as I got to my own block, I noticed a car stopped by the side of the road, and that one of the brake lights was not working. I stopped next to the driver and tried to get her attention, but she didn't hear me until I tapped on her window. She then reacted with a piercing scream of I really that scary looking? Or was it Igor? I dunno. Anyway, I told her I was sorry I startled her, but wanted to let her know that one of her brake lights was out. Her reaction was to flip me the bird. I rode away, and as I did she opened her door and screamed "F*** you, a**hole!" I can only guess that she must have been on drugs...

September 11, 2005

My brother was in town, came by in the afternoon. I finally got around to updating his Website, including his recent portrait of me:

portrait of Sheldon Brown by Richard Brown

Click for larger version and more of my brother's paintings

September 12, 2005

eBook: Sharpe's Havoc Bernard Cornwell

Another of the Sharpe's Rifles series. If you liked any of the other Sharpe's books, you'll like this one too.

September 13, 2005

Film: (DVD) Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow Kerry Conran, 2004

This is basically a video comic book, set in an alternate version of the late 1930s, where our hero has to save the world from the robotic creation of a mad scientist. What was interesting was that this is the first feature film to be entirely shot in blue screen. The CGI backgrounds were dark and mysterious, but not enough to make up for the hackneyed plot.

The writing was pretty sloppy too, including two references to the "First" World War, at a time when it would really have been called the Great War.

September 14, 2005

Film: (DVD) The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Garth Jennings, 2005

This was OK, though somewhat inferior to the British TV series (and vastly inferior to the original radio drama.

The director seems to have concentrated more on the plot and special effects, and made insufficient use of the brilliantly funny material Douglas Adams wrote as excerpts from the Book. It was generally quite watered down and did not do justice to the material.

September 15, 2005

eBook: Sharpe's Eagle Bernard Cornwell

Another of the Sharpe's Rifles series, dealing with the battle of Talavera in 1809. If you liked any of the other Sharpe's books, you'll like this one too.

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September 16, 2005

Film: (DVD) I [heart] Huckabee's David O. Russell, 2004

A somewhat Dada-esque comedy with Lily Tomlin and Dustin Hoffman as "existential detectives." This was quite good, though not much laugh-out-loud material.

September 18, 2005

Vintage British Bike Ride

Met a gang of fellow fans of older British bikes in Cambridge for a ride on vintage English steel. I rode my Raleigh Competition. A good time was had by all, though I didn't much like the route that was chosen, which was mostly on narrow sidewalk-type bike paths with bad pavement.

Here's a photo by a drafted passerby on the shore of Jamaica Pond:

near Jamaica Pond

September 20, 2005

eBook Sharpe's Gold Bernard Cornwell

Wellington has been pushed back into Portugal by the French, and needs cash to build essential fortifications. It appears that the Peninsular War is on the verge of a French victory, but then Our Hero saves the day, with the help of a nubile Spanish guerilla leader.

September 22, 2005


Cycled over to Cambridge for the annual Revels "Riversing" production. This is a free antiphonal production on opposite sides of the Charles River and on the Weeks footbridge.

It's a kind of nice idea, but the technology doesn't work out all that well.

September 23, 2005

Film: (DVD) 3rd Rock From The Sun

We've been watching some old TV from Netflix. Got a few episodes of Mork and Mindy, which were kind of disappointing on second viewing. However 3rd Rock really holds up well, an absolutely hilarious show. Everybody involved had major comic talent, and the scripts were an absolute hoot. Very highly recommended.

September 24, 2005

Film: (DVD) The Big Lebowski by the Coen brothers

I've seen this a couple of times before, but I never get tired of it, one of the funniest films ever made.

September 26, 2005

Film: (DVD) Gibraltar Earth Michael McCollum

A mildly entertaining hard science fiction novel, very poorly written however.

Off to Las Vegas for Interbike

My boss had lots of free miles, so I got to fly first class, which was a real treat.

My report can be found at

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October 1, 2005

Film: Serenity Joss Whedon, 2005

Harriet and I are big fans of the late, lamented Firefly series, and own the DVDs. We have been looking forward to the feature film ever since it was announced.

We enjoyed it, but not as much as we expected to. Basically seems like one of the one hour TV shows padded out with more fights, which we find much less interesting than Whedon's clever dialogue and characterizations.

October 3, 2005


I've jumped on the podcast bandwagon. See (or rather hear):

eBook Sharpe's Escape Bernard Cornwell

Yet another of the Richard Sharpe series on the Peninsular War, this one set in 1812.

October 8, 2005

Concert: Boston Symphony Orchestra Carter, Foss, Ives and Gershwin. James Levine, conductor; Dawn Upshaw, Soprano; Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano

The Ives Three Places in New England is a long-time favorite of mine, not sure I've ever heard it live before though. Good performance. Dawn Upshaw was wonderful as usual, in the Lucas Foss Time Cycle.

Carter is a composer I've never warmed to, I'm afraid. The Gershwin Concerto in F ended the program. A good performance, not one of my favorite pieces though.

eBook: The Lead Goat Veered Off Neil Anderson, 2000

An entertaining cycle-touring memoir of a winter trip on Sardinia. The prose tends to be a bit purple from time to time, but I guess you have to expect that with a travel book. A more vigilant editor would have no doubt caught most of the malapropisms, but even so it's a pleasant read.

October 10, 2005

Film: (DVD) Mrs. Miniver William Wyler, 1942

A classic, multiple-Oscar-winning WW2 propoganda tear jerker dealing with life on the British home front during Dunkirk and the Blitz. Not to be missed if you like this sort of thing, as I do.

October 11, 2005

iMac G5 CD Drive Angst

One of our suppliers had provided a CD rom price list, but I failed to notice that they had put a label on the CD that didn't have a hole in the middle! When I popped it into my CD it not only wouldn't mount, it also wouldn't eject!

I called The Computer Loft, my favorite Mac repair facility, who suggested a couple of things to try with software first, but nothing for it, I had to open up the computer, remove the drive and open up the drive to retrieve the offending disc.

In the end it all came out OK, though it was a bit scary. First time I've been that far into my new Mac...

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October 17, 2005

Film: (HBO) Elephant 2005

A fictionalized treatment of the Columbine shootings. Astonishingly boooooooring. Run away! Run away!

October 18, 2005

Christmas Revels wants me after all!

I got a call from the director of The Christmas Revels. Although they have all of the basses they need for the chorus, he would like me to be in the Mummers' Play segments of the show. This is great news, and will be a bit less intense than doing the chorus as well.

October 19, 2005

Film: (DVD) Sharpe's Company Bernard Cornwell

Another of the Sharpe's Rifles series.

October 23, 2005

Film: (DVD) Not on the Lips (Pas sur la Bouche) Alain Resnais, 2005

This is a French operetta from 1925, a sex farce with a plot too complicated to detail. One of the main characters is an uptight American industrialist who has a pathological fear of being kissed on the lips.

Film: (iTunes) Desperate Housewives

I'm sure I taped the last two episodes of Desperate Housewives but I must not have labeled the tape. Fortunately, Apple came to my rescue, with their new iTunes Video system. I was able to download the missing episodes and watch them on the 20" screen of my iMac. Although the resolution is only 320 x 240 or something like that, it was quite watchable on the monitor.

I just love this show!

October 24, 2005

eBook: Grantville Gazette 2

Another in the The Grantville Gazette series inspired by Eric Flint's 1632

October 25, 2005

Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks died today. She was one of my great heroes, glad she got to live a long and full life.

October 27, 2005

Film: (DVD) Sleeping with the Enemy Joseph Ruben, 1991

Silly stereotyped thriller. Not recommended.

October 28, 2005

Film: (HBO) Warm Springs Joseph Sargent 2005

This is a quite good film about Franklin Roosevelt's coming to terms with polio, starring Kenneth Branagh as FDR and Cynthia Nixon as Eleanor. Excellent film, recommended.

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November-December, 1998 April-May, 1975


The overall Booklist has been moved to a separate page.

Books reviewed on this page:
The Lead Goat Veered OffNeil Anderson10/9/05
Sharpe's CompanyBernard Cornwell10/19/05
Sharpe's GoldBernard Cornwell9/20/05
Sharpe's EagleBernard Cornwell10/15/05
Sharpe's EscapeBernard Cornwell10/3/05
Sharpe's HavocBernard Cornwell10/12/05
Grantville Gazette 2Eric Flint10/24/05
Lake Wobegon Summer 1956Garrison Keillor9/2/05
At All Costs ARCDavid Weber9/6/05


The overall film list has been moved to a separate page.

Films reviewed on this page:
Animal HouseSeptember 3, 2005
The Awful TruthSeptember 7, 2005
The Big LebowskiSeptember 24, 2005
Desperate HousewivesOctober 23, 2005
ElephantOctober 17, 2005
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the GalaxySeptember 14, 2005
I [heart] HuckabeesSeptember 16, 2005
Mrs. MiniverOctober 10, 2005
Not on the Lips (Pas sur la Bouche)October 23, 2005
SerenityOctober 1, 2005
Sky Captain and the World of TomorrowSeptember 12, 2005
3rd Rock from the SunSeptember 23, 2005
Warm SpringsOctober 28, 2005


The overall music list has been moved to a separate page.

Music reviewed on this page:
October 8, 2005B.S.O., James Levine, Dawn Upshaw, Jean-Yves ThibaudetCarter, Foss, Ives and Gershwin


November 29, 2002Lorraine BraccoThe Graduate
November 23, 2001Helen Mirren, Ian McKellnThe Dance of Death-August Strindberg
September 30, 2000Tova/Black Box Theatre, Cornell UniversityThe Maids-Jean Genet
May 30, 2000Kelsey Grammer/Colonial TheatreMacbeth
May 26, 2000The Huntington Theatre Co.King Hedley II
September 3, 1999The Publick TheatreNine
August 21, 1999Orange Tree Theatre, Ithaca, N.Y.Sonata
August 13, 1999Firehouse Theatre, Ithaca, N.Y.Sister Mary Ignatius Explains it All For You
May 22-29Newton South/North High SchoolsRichard III
December 18, 1998Newton North High SchoolThe Bone Violin, May Flies
November 12, 1998Newton North High SchoolTo Kill a Mockingbird


November 21-24, 2007Plantation, Florida
September 25-28, 2007Las Vegas, Nevada
August 18-25, 2007Truro, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
November 22-26, 2006Plantation, Florida
September 25-28, 2006Las Vegas (Interbike)
June 10-20, 2006Santa Cruz, California
May 5-7, 2006Aurora, Indiana
November 23, 2005Plantation, Florida
September 26-29, 2005Interbike, Las Vegas, Nevada
August 26-28, 2005'Bentride 2005, Bath, N.Y.
July 21-24, 2005Family Reunion, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
April 29, 2005Cirque de Cyclisme, Greensboro, N.C.
February 16, 2005Indianapolis
November 24, 2004Plantation, Florida
October 8, 2004Santa Cruz, California
October 4, 2004Las Vegas, Nevada
June 8, 2004France, England
December 22, 2003Halifax, Nova Scotia
November 27, 2003Florida
October 31, 2003Potomac, Maryland
October 10, 2003Las Vegas, Nevada
September 21, 2003New York, N.Y.
November 27-30, 2002New York, N.Y.
October 8-13, 2002Evanston, Illinois
October 4-8, 2002Las Vegas, Nevada
July 3-9, 2002Canso, Nova Scotia
May 24-27, 2002Long Island, New York
November 21-24, 2001New York City
October 16-19, 2001Cape Cod, Massachusetts
September 29-October 3, 2001Las Vegas, Nevada (Interbike Show)
June 16-23, 2001Nags Head, North Carolina
October 5-14, 2000Evanston, Illinois
September 30-October 2, 2000Ithaca, New York
June 22-25, 2000Urbanna, Virginia
October 7-13, 1999Chicago/Evanston, Illinois
August 19-28, 1999Ithaca, New York
August 12-13, 1999Ithaca, New York
July 23-25, 1999Bridgeton, Maine
November 25-28, 1998Fort Lauderdale, Florida
1988-89France, England
1980Yucatan, Mexico
1975England, Belgium, Yugoslavia, Turkey

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Sheldon Brown's Personal Pages

Articles by Sheldon Brown and Others

Since November 8, 1998

Copyright © 2005, 2008 Sheldon Brown

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Last Updated: by Harriet Fell