The bike is a '97 or '98 Novara Randonee I bought in January 2011:

the beginning
This bike was built for touring and should serve me well.  I tore it down to the frame, cleaned it, and replaced all worn parts while upgrading some.  Here are the specs if you're are a nerd, like me:

frame and fork - 60cm Novara Randonee - 4130 chromoly
bottom bracket - Shimano UN54
headset - Tien threaded
crankset - Shimano RSX 46-36-24
rear cassette - SRAM 7 speed
chain - Shimano
shifters/brakes - Shimano RSX
front derailleur - Shimano RSX
rear derailleur - Shimano Alivio
handlebars - Sakae drop bars
stem -  Kalloy
tires - Forte Kevlar 700x35
wheels - Alex DV15 700C
hubs - Shimano Deore
brakes - Shimano Alivio cantilever
pads - Eagleclaw
saddle - Brooks B17
seatpost - Kalloy
fenders - PlanetBike 29'er
front rack - Axiom Lowrider
rear rack - Axiom Journey
front panniers - Axiom Seymour
rear panniers - Axiom Lasalle
headlight - Cat Eye
rear flasher - PlanetBike

Here are some photos of the progress: