"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?
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.
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 reasons...
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.
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.
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. And THEY ARE SHORT WHEN YOU CAN SEE THE POCKETS 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.
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.
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 on the DISMANTLE THE MACHINE blog.
*the last photo, that's not rain, that's a half inch of ice EVERYWHERE.
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.
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.
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......
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 is: "WELL, IF IT DOESN'T SUIT YOU, OR YOU'RE UNHAPPY, YOU'RE FREE TO GO ELSE WHERE."
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.
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? YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW. That's it.
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.....
Stoked 3. March 2011
Injustice for All. UAG, March 2011
Dead Presidents Lounge. January 2011
Last Call. Marketplace Gallery, December 2010
Send2 Show. UAG, November 2010
The Wine Bar & Bistro. November 2010
Dead Presidents Lounge. November 2010
Townsend Cafe. October 2010
unDead. UAG, October 2010
Townsend Cafe. September 2010
Members Only. UAG, August 2010
Danger!. UAG, July 2010
People's Choice. UAG, June 2010
Marketplace Gallery Fundraiser. May 2010
The Yellow Show. UAG, May 2010
ConTEXT. UAG, April 2010
Rosen Gallery. April 2010
SLICK. UAG, March 2010
Infinity & Beyond. UAG, Febuary 2010
ARTributes. UAG, January 2010
Small Works. UAG, December 2009
Art for Animals. Spencertown Academy, November 2009
Fresh Produce. UAG, November 2009
Myth Conceptions. UAG, October 2009
Tag! UAG, September 2009
Utopia. UAG, August 2009
Off the Wall. UAG, July 2009
People's Choice. UAG, June 2009
Vacant Artist Project. TNO, May 2009
Grand Tour. UAG, May 2009
Loose Threads. UAG, April 2009
Issues. UAG, March 2009
The Blue Show. UAG, Febuary 2009
New Beginnings. UAG, January 2009
Stokes Gallery Show, December 2008
50/50. UAG, December 2008
Futura. UAG, November 2008
Buried City. UAG, October 2008
Dream Wheels. UAG, May 2008
Dirt Rag/Rays MTB Park
-photo contest finalist
I sold my car. I ride my bike where
I need to go. I take pictures. I say dumb things when I manage to get one of my big feet out of my mouth. I'm
about 3 cases of beer shy of entering in the clydesdale class. Technology
challenged, a retro-grouch. Bad luck
follows me everywhere. Don't ride close, you might flat after me.
libertyonbikes (at) aol.com
This next year?
I swear I'll:
A. drop some weight
B. make a few more races
C. offend another ten percent
D. keep putting my feet in my mouth.
E. find a jersey that fits properly