Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Holiday Sampler

Bouncing Souls



Gorilla Biscuits

Validation & definition

"Hi! This is my _____ (insert your title within the relationship),
________ (insert your name),
he's a ____________."

Obviously the last one is your occupation.
Why does it matter?
Does it really define who you are?
Does it state what you contribute to society?
Or is it simply another way to sort, file and label.
To determine where you or I fit in the predetermined
ranks of society?

This last year has been alot of discovery.
The discovery of mom and dad type relationships.
What defines me (your actions, words are cheap).
Self appointed titles, and the society ranking
of your worth according to the importance of your job.

I have a job.
Actually I have alot of jobs. Is there a priority?
If so, I don't think the job/career comes before alot
of other things. And people often change careers, well
I guess some insensitive people can change families too.

I'm a father, and not the one that is always gone except
for one day on the weekend. A husband. The MacGyver-ish
home repair guy. Self landscaper. Interior decorator.
Novice home remodeler. Bicycle advocate. Co-op nonprofit
artist. Photographer. Bicycle commuter. Active community
citizen. Friend. Crappy advice giver. Beginner cook. There's
alot of titles to own up to. But my job truely does not
define who I am, or what I'm about.

The job fills an income void, since I don't make money
riding a bike or taking photos. And I don't want to make
money on a bike because it's a selfish stress reliever that
I enjoy. And it keeps me balanced and alive. The job pays the
mortgage and bills, and for now, allows enough time to spend
with the little ones as they grow up. The reassurance is knowing
there's alot of us out there that don't feel our jobs define us.

Society as a whole continues to push a higher education, while
marginalizing trade schools. When the economy completely tanks,
that BA in management is worthless. The guy who's a licensed
electrician? He'll always have a job. Day trader? Middle management?
When you walk out the door, what's your skill? What abilities,
not pieces of paper, do you have?

One highlight during the holidays is the get together with family.
Add a fire and drinks and the conversations go everywhere.
A good one was the fall of education over the last three
decades and the thought that in the 60's most teachers were
women. But as women entered the other parts of the work force
in the 70's, the smartest women went into corporate careers
leaving a vacuum in the education field. While you cannot dismiss
teachers as a whole, there are alot of great teachers being
pulled back by mediocre ones.

Add to that the push for higher education. High schools reporting
how many students go onto college - but not how many actually
complete and graduate. And when you do graduate, with a ridiculous
debt load, a degree and no job. That's no way to start your new
and independant life. Alot of graduates end up back home for a while.

I have no poignant conclusion. Just an observation.

I'm just a father, husband, bicyclist, and guy who tries
to define his life with actions.

What is the title you choose?
And what is the title you seem to be given?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

New year...

New Beginnings show at UAG opening Friday January 2nd.
Three works, and hopefully something will sell. I'm
feeling a little stagnant with the work, but I set a
goal to get into each juried show this year, along with
another gallery or two. We'll see what happens. But for
this month it's this show.

Random holiday beer photo, that's all.

What I really want for Christmas, next year. I'll keep
dreaming. Maybe I can just get another bike instead. I
worked the collection down to just the Gunnar, still no
one belives me. For now I can't think of anything else
I'ld want to ride. I'll take that as a sign.

bad luck days are here (again)

Well, less then two hundred miles and the van is
out again. Screw you Ford for such a crappy build
and pawning it off with Buy American pride. My
Waterford built Gunnar, proud to own. AAMCO
transmissions, swapped the torque converter at
58,000 miles and worked with me on the first time
even though it took over a week. 3,000 miles later
and the tranny is shot again, right before the
holidays. This time it takes 14 days, $600 for two
weeks of a rental car. So that's a HUGE step backwards
on only being a one car family and me commuting. Now
it's going back AGAIN. I truely hate cars for MANY

Now I need someone's help. When we had rain and my shoes
became soaked for three days straight, I decided I finally
had to buy some sort of waterproof booties. I saw some
unknown brands and finally decided with the Pearl Izumi
Amphibs. But after an hour in the light rains and wet
streets I rolled into work with soaked shoes & socks.
WTF!? So here's the question: Do you use a caulking/sealant
on the bottom near the cleats?

I don't mind the snow, and I can work with the ice, but the
rain is killing me. This winter isn't making it any easier.

At work, all I could think about was picking up a couple of
slices from the pizza place around the corner of my house.
That was the longest coule of hours, I couldn't change quick
enough. Fought the traffic for a lane and headed towards the
sweet love of pizza.

Now with all the rain, I switched jackets to this O2
rain shell that was a score on Ebay, a short lived
score. I wanted something cheap to breakout during the
rain. And with the late night commutes, I thought the
yellow was a better choice than my usual black. But
after looking in the mirror, man I look like some
cartoon of a lemon, a fat lemon in black swishy
sound making rain pants and wet shoes....

Now I have my pizza, but the Heinekens were at home.
And the bag was half full. Where do I put my slices?
I stack them in a paper bag, wedge them into the bag
and head out the door to a 'rip'. Well, now it looks
like I'll be picking up some extra lights, since I'll
be wearing the black jacket - while I look for a new
rain shell. AWESOME!

With my luck, I expected to see a mangled mess of greasy
cheese and sause. And I realized the grease would probably
leak all over my camera, UGH! Well, if there is anything
good to happen today, it would be dinner.....

open to suggestions on wet weather commuting and pizza
transporting. Two things I seem to struggle in, well there's
alot of others, but I'll take those for now.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas sucks (in ways)

When really at this time of the year I just wish it
was good. It's too easy to complain. Complain about
about bad drivers, bad car manufacturers, bad whatever.
Every year it just seems the holiday season just brings
out the worst in people, as far as their behavior
towards others. The weather this season hasn't helped
either. Especially when your a commuter.

On Christmas eve morning I headed out to work earlier
than ever, just because I knew there could be crappy
weather. At the end of the street it started with a
sleet-freezing-rain that may as well been ball bearings.
I was prepared with the rain gear, but by the time you
get to work you realize the weak links in your planning.
Wet socks (put the pants over the Amphibs).

Frozen helmet, broken adjustments, frozen bag and one
nasty bike. And quick bolt-on fenders DON'T work on
the Gunnar - haven't even tried the studded tires yet.
The rims just came the other day - so soon.

The only thing that I think has saved me is from getting
clipped is being in full wet weather gear with a face mask.
So with the pink tape & cables - guy must think I'm a 225 lb
girl on a bike, and it's just not cool to run a girl off the
road, unless you're a mom in a minivan or a college girl -
which unfortunately there are plenty of in this town - and I
now seem to have run ins with way too often. You can't win.

With all the craziness of the holidays, I took the little
ones to see "BOLT". Halfway through I get a call that a co-
workers sister had died the other night. I had just spoken
with her several hours before she passed I guess. Her sister
wanted me to talk to her about adoptions and being reunited
with families (something her and I share but were unaware of).
Due to the hectic nature of work, we shared a couple jokes,
said our bye's and see you soon - then we'll talk, guess not.
It's a big cold reality slap in the face - what if this is the
last time you'll see the person in front of you?

One thing (well there are a couple) but a big one is my aunt
is now cancer free - after an intense battle. And now rocks
a beannie she loves. So suiting. And the little ones are happy
(most of the time) and healthy. So at 2:30am after last minute
present wrapping and cleaning on Christmas eve, I was caught
mumbling very loudly, 'Christmas sucks'. Luckily this next
morning proved me wrong, for now.


This last week just flew by.
The work party at the cancer research center.

Lobster dinner on Christmas eve with family.

The early morning wait on the steps for present time.

The big day for the little ones.

And of course, sugar.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Memory lane

Stumbled across this, and I won't say gem,
because it's not. Now this has to be at the
fairgrounds, and The Offspring's second visit.
Because I saw both and the first show was at
a dumpy club, only thirty people showed up.
And we spent the first part of the show (during
the opening band) singing "who wears short shorts"
to some guy with long braids and cut off jeans.
HANGING OUT. Well, that guy turned out to be Dexter,
the singer. Don't take it back - the shorts and the
Bo Derek braids needed to go. Still a good show,
and funny to see a hundred times more people
show up at the next show.

This next one featured the whole crew from Salt Lake,
the younger straight edge guys, and Shane the pizza guy.
Awesome for the time, that everyone ended up in the
actual video. And Stormy, a local girl became their
manager and went on to Epitaph, for the time 'THE' label.
And Jeremy Chatelian's brother, John also in the video.
Love those guys.

Since we're on Epitaph, I could go on and on about Bad
Religion, but at that time there was Pennywise. And the
show at DV8 where they (the locals) literally tore the
stage apart, ending Bro Hymn acoustically - as the power
went, and some one ran off with the mic. Awesome. I belive
the bouncers had a rough night, and lost a couple.

As old and overplayed as the so cal/baseball cap/volcom/
I-used-to-skate/moto x/punk scene is - there's still some
good music.

Snow days are here...

This year the holiday season kind of snuck up on me.
I'm already a grinch, and the insanity of the season
seems to be condensed into two weeks versus four or
five. Throw in the weather, and I'm WAAAAAY behind.

I raked the leaves when we had the first major frost,
so about four weeks late. The neighbors must hate us.
And I finally got around to putting lights up last week.
The whole time, as I was freezing my ass off, I thought
of Christmas Vacation, it was almost that haphazard.
At the end of it all, it's like a flood light shinning
through the front window. At least the Chinese delivery
guy will find my house with no 45 minute search. You
can see this from the top of the street.

I just laugh at the self imposed irony. Using flourecent
bulbs, growing food in the backyard, riding my bike
everywhere. But then I wrap the entire front of the house
with cheap made in China lights, AND LIGHT UP THE STREET!

Several days ago (right after the ice storm) it was 50.
Of course I put the lights up the day after when it was 30.
Now THE storm is blowing in, snow in LA and LV? Well, it
left about 6-8" here. Not bad, but the first big storm
always puts people in a panic, and this was no different.
Commuting in the evening (after the rush hour) isn't so
bad, just a couple of idiots who still belive 4WHD allows
you to make your own lane and drive fast.

It's awesome to watch the big machines come out. When it
rolled by i realized those tires are TALLER than me (and
I'm not a small guy). Still haven't mounted the Nokian's,
I'm waiting for the beater set of rims to arrive, some
Mavic Aksiums. The hardest part of being a retro-grouch
and refusing to switch to 10 versus the Record 9 - lack
of any selection of ANYTHING!

The Bulldogs got me home. Snow commuting I realised just
takes twice the time - that you're outside freezing. So
the learning process of staying warm continues. You change
the weather 10 degrees and everything seems to change.
But commuting brings back the same adventure as when you
were a kid. I didn't care back then. You got a bike for
Christmas, there could be two feet of snow outside, you
were gonna ride that thing! It's still the same.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

upstate update

Icestorm. No power (but we did). People from the suburbs
wonder aimlessly around the mall. Two days later it's 50
degrees. Now the next two (snow) storms are rolling in.
So here's a couple of photos with more to follow, and I'm
really bad at updating the Flickr page. Any show work is

*the last photo, that's not rain,
that's a half inch of ice EVERYWHERE.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

days of being awesome...

It's been a week. Ups and downs and the added stress
of the holidays. I don't know what happened with the
time between Thanksgiving & now? It's truely hard to
see the positive when the collective society is
scrambling to 'get stuff' for other people getting
'stuff'. I guess though, when you hit a low spot
you can only go up. Sarcasm usually pulls me through.

So, what's awesome? Clean the house on your day off,
go pick up the kids from school, and when you come
home, the dogs have a little fun & eat all the mags
on the coffee table & have the trash for dessert.

On the other side of awesome is channeling MacGyver.
This often comes in handy when a bike is your primary
transportation, that and a friend at a bike shop.
So I have 45 minutes to get to work, and mail two
heavy flatrate boxes, AND the bag is full of work
clothes & camera gear? Two minutes, plastic bag, packing
tape and balance. Post office trip done!

Truely awesome? The Mrs. and family. Since I spend
whatever free time between the Art Gallery and local
bike coalition, the Mrs. has taken up fostering dogs
with the local rescue. So Saturday mornings no longer
involve little kids running around the soccer field,
now it's adoption clinics. We're on our third dog, and
despite allthe pee and rug incidents - she's doing a
great thing, and hopefully the kids will get something
from it.

The latest show. Another good turn out. Hopefully
something will sell. All five entries were accepted,
and the next show is already submitted. And again,
hopefully I make a few entries. This current show
we purchased 4 works, a first. And we're giving the
gift of art this year, along with charities.

Which, after two weeks, the livestrong page had over
$500, a quarter of my goal. Thank you all who donated!
And there's still 6 months of avoiding me for the rest
of you. Be nice this season people! We're all in some
pain one way or another.

Lastly, I sent out a package of work for the Bob Stokes
Gallery in Port Angeles, WA. And despite an early closing
due to weather, two pieces sold. A nice little validation.
Now I'm just waiting to get back on the bike after a guy
(the Dr.) who looks like a disheveled Santa violated my
netheregion, and put me out of commission. That's awesome!
And not in the good awesome way. Between that and the
season release of EGGNOG, well, I'm just fatter than fat
right now.

Friday, December 12, 2008

what's that crash?

well, the ice storm rolled in last night, and true to
my normal planning, I ordered some Nokian studded tires.
So they'll be in next week, and the ice will be gone
tomorrow I'm sure. And I budgeted for some W106's, and
of course, this late into the season they're gone-
so it's some monster 40c W240's.

The first crash was 6 am with the tree across the street
taking out it's fustration on the other neighbor's Honda.
So, my morning isn't THAT bad I guess. Since I have no
studded tires, I'm gonna have some coffee while I look
for some ice skates to get to work.

The other crash this morning was that of the auto
bailout. And it's a well deserved, self inflicted wreck.
The government actually tries to give some money, but
they won't accept a date to take a pay cut? Well, besides
all the other reasons they deserve to go out of business,
they deserve to be overpaid? They would rather be jobless
than get paid an average wage? Shut them done.

I fully understand workplace abuse, profit over people,
and increased productivity. And also socialism, capitalism,
and the role unions play. But it's become such a joke about
(NY) state employees just sitting at thier desk, doing online
shopping, milking the timeclock, and generally providing
really shitty could care less service to those that
essentially pay thier salary. And try to fire one of those
idiots, it'll never happen due to the union's strength.

So the other week as the topic of the auto bailout came
up, a unioned state worker mentioned that an average UAW
member pulls $180,000. I was seriously stunned. Could not
belive it. Then this morning NBC reported that a UAW average
pay is $79 an hour versus Toyota (US factory) is $49!
Holy shit! So some jackass is making $164,320 (full time
hours of 2,080 a year), and won't take a pay cut even
though they make 3 to 4 times the average US income?

The UAW and US auto industry has essentially robbed thier
own livelihood. Making an inferior product at almost twice
the rate of the competition. Definately idiots. I'm already
pissed that I have a crappy van the family can't even drive,
but that I as a tax payer have to finance gluttony and
stupidity? Fuckers should learn to make Trolleys, and
reintroduce mass transit. They don't deserve a penny.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Leogrande replacement?

well, I threw away my computer. Don't log miles. And just
ride around town. So how am I supposed to break into the
race scene? Since Kayle Leogrande is off Rock Racing, I
booked myself more tatty time! Maybe I can just get the
"look" down and slip on in? Save some money and buy an
ugly ass RnR kit and I'm set......

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Pete rode by on his Hutch...

instead of the rocker, you get the old-man acoustic
set. Is that the definning moment of old age? When
all the hard and fast music is redone acoustically?
Suck.... those are grey hairs.

Like Rodney Dangerfield......

no respect. I don't ask for it. I mean, if you're gonna pull
up to work in a Hummer I'm not gonna heckle you like a angry
Peta supporter at a fur fashion show.

So why is it every time I ride to or from the work place, the
boss always has to have some half ass comment? And none are
even that funny. I can appreciate sarcasm, or bitting wit.
But it's like roll call with a drill sargent every time:

"Has the wife seen you in that get-up?"
"You look like that one swimmer, you know, from the Olympics
in the 70's!" (WTF? before my time, and I am old.)
"Oh man! Here, do you have your camera? Let me take a picture
of you so you can see how silly you look!"
"Have you ever looked in the mirror before you leave?"
"Hey! Look at me and the flashing lights!"
"You seriously have to stop riding your bike." (um,NO!)

The other part of the bad economy is the work place abuse.
Expect it. And it'll get ALOT worse. The undermining attitude

Well yes, dumbass. I would, but there's no where else to go.
And I ACTUALLY like my job, just not you.
I'ld file a complaint, but then I'ld get forced out in
retaliation. So, I just have to give you a courtesy laugh
for everyone of your miserable comments.

Ford, and those other two....

I sold my car, the reoccuring breakdown Volvo. By reputation
it held the potential to go 250,000 miles. Mine insisted on
$700 repairs every 3,000 miles though. And since it only takes
about 10 minutes more to commute by bike. It was a quick and
happy decision to let it go. Now of course there is still what
I refer to as the 'family vehicle'. So I don't know if I can
say I'm truely CAR FREE, but at least CAR LITE.

Now our vehicle use is on a limited basis, but with a family
there's always a need. A mini van seemed to cover all the bases.
We skipped Chrysler, well simply put they suck, always third
rate, electrical problems, etc... Chevy couldn't offer up much
more, the Astro gets about 16 mpg, may as well be a truck, and
still poor performance. So we got a Ford, basic & dime a dozen.
Mpg is a little better at 20ish, and it uses a timming chain vs.
a belt that needs replacement every 60-80 thousand miles. Now
the van was purchased this spring with only 54,000 miles, coming
back from Portsmouth, Maine, the torque converter went out.
Luckily it was covered under warranty, ands o was part of the
rental car. But seriously? A tranny rebuild at 58,000 miles?

Skip forward three months and 3,000 miles. Little man and I are
driving along, running an out of town errand for the holidays,
when there's a huge shudder and loss of power. Sweet! Tranny is
out again. This time I have to get myself and kid back to town,
pay ALOT for a tow, and rent another car. And that was a week
ago, still no car.

The benefit from this was the conversation with the wife, that
after being a 'car guy' since I was a little kid, I finally was
to the point that I never wanted to own ANY car EVER AGAIN! I
was done. If I could live without a car for the rest of my life,
that would be MORE THAN IDEAL!

With all the talk of a bailout for the crappy three, the government
should just buy them outright. Each one is only worth a couple
billion. Don't give them anything. When the auto makers intentionally
disassembled public transport and pushed (lobbied) the government
for more roads, they effective made the US dependant upon the
automobile. They put aside progress in MPG, safety (NADER), and
alternative fuel vehicles,so they could market oversized SUVs and
trucks. Now they want help? They built themselves into an obsolete
market. Now it's time for them to go the way of the trolley,that they
decommisioned years ago. If they want to really stay in business,
build small alternative energy vehicles now, along with efficient
mass transit. The government can sell back these three after they're
profitable, and MAYBE that will offset a fraction of the Iraq war cost.

Welcome to the free market that you wanted so badly. No one trusts
your shit, so you change or go out of business. What do they say?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Fatty's Livestrong Challenge

It's easy to get caught up the excitement, and the reaching
for goals and such. To sound like some cancer-fighting-activist
-warrior, suiting up in your lycra colored in pink or yellow
and clipping in to pedal away a horrible disease. And there's
a ride or run for anything out there that needs a cure. And there
are those riders that love to do FUN-draisers, regardless of
the reason. Maybe it's the closest they'll get to racing, actually
able to draft off of someone, and the rehashing of stories while
refueling at a check point. I don't know. At least they're out
there, and in some way making a difference. This holiday season
is already getting to me. Any thankfulness I had after reading
FAT CYCLIST on Thanksgiving (Gratitude 2009) was quickly erased
listening to shoppers saying NO to donations to St. Judes this
last weekend. Come on, REALLY? You have your kids with you at the
register, you're spending all this money on basically 'crap', and
expensive 'crap' at that. And you wouldn't give $1. ONE DOLLAR for
a hospital for sick kids, that only exists through donations.
I'm sorry but people in general just make me sick. I'm sorry you
are a role model of greed and selfishness for your children.....


Why I deal with crappy comments & treatment at work (so I can
spend time with my kids while they're young). Why I attend EVERY
bicycle coalition meeting, so my kids can be safe riding, just like
I was able to. Why I enter my photography in shows, so they can
see the art, and explore thier own interests. Why I ride to work,
so my kids can see the bike as normal transportation, and to be
one more cyclist on the road. The reason I ride the ADA diabetes
ride, for and eventually in memory of my dad who had diabetes.

The reason for this ride? My daughter, my wife, my aunt, myself.
Hell, all the people in my life, family and friends. Because I don't
know who will be diagnosed, but I'm sure there will be a couple.
And everyone deserves every chance to survive and thrive afterwards.
Lastly, in the circle of life, a parent should never have to bury
their child. So, who wouldn't give a dollar to help prevent that?
Well, I saw plenty of them this weekend.....