The other night was the local coalition meeting, and despite the storm and cold, it was the largest turn out. We're in the process of incorporating, and trying build the community. Strange to sit around planning all the events for Bike Month (May) while it's so cold. Almost triple the normal turnout, maybe everyone is just going through withdrawls since the bike talk went way past the meeting.
Now I rack my brain on how to build the coalition into something that CAN make changes. How do you build the scene? How do you get people other than the weekend warrior group rider out on the road? I guess that's what I have the next three months for. All I know is your scene begins with you, but half the time I can't decide to even ride Critical Mass.
The ride into work would normally be uneventful. Today it justified 'the three foot passing law'. Nothing like getting buzzed while well within a bike lane. And pushing studded tires through snow, I'll never catch them at the next light. I know the bad driver complaints are old, and something I'm trying to eliminate, but the passive-aggresive honking from someone turning into the university was almost too much. If you really mean it, then honk well before you turn off. That way I have a chance to stop and respond accordingly. Anyways.... I was counting the last couple of blocks since my toes were so frozen. I seem to discover a weak link in my clothing selection with every temp drop. Today was no exception, only it happened twice. Frozen toes to work...
Throughout the day I would see little snow flurries coming and going. Everyone had some sort of remark for the guy that rides to work. It's old. Like really bad background music. As I suited up. Looking like a burnt version of the Stay Puff marshmellow man, I rolled out just in time for the next wave of snow. Maybe like a bad Northeastern version of surfing.
My other weak link in clothing you ask? Well you didn't, but I'll tell you, not glasses, but goggles. I had to squint the whole way home. It was great. Layered in snow. Plugging away with the hum of the studded tires. A great thing when it actually WARMS UP ENOUGH TO SNOW! This is one of those times that ties back to being a kid. And as I got close to home I realized that I wasn't the only one out here. I just hope their ride was as enjoyable.
Now what's the witching hour? Where do I tie it in? I didn't. I didn't experience the witching hour, or the hour of SUCK. That little window of time where I was riding to work on ice then an hour later it was managable slush. But I avoided the other hour when the sun goes down and that slush becomes chunked ice. The hour never came, and my ride, as long and snow covered as it was, made me feel almost guilty for taking my time to get home.
So some lucky person waiting for me got to experience the other 'witching hour'. That hour around dinner time when little kids go completely insane, throw tantrums, have meltdowns and finally 'bonk' right before dad walks through the door. I guess I avoided two of them.
If you don't have kids, just laugh and dismiss it. You'll get yours later. We laughed at the crazy mom describing 'the witching hour' too.
With the release of Nashbar & Performance's fixed/commuter/ singlespeed/hipster-mode-of-social-change-and-identity.
Yes Jennifer, it's over. Like break dancing on the corner. Your flannel and grunge cds. Your gold grills. It's all over. It's now become one more identity that you can claim half drunk at the bar, "yeah,I used to ride a fixed....".
Where will they all go? Will they continue to ride? Will track bikes be had for pennies on the dollar?
people are idiots (in general). I've come to accept this. If you ride with that knowledge - that a driver WILL do the MOST STUPIDEST act. You'll probably live a little longer.
A year ago when Bush was still deniying a recession, I was thinking, "shit! it's gonna be like the depression era." Time to start simplifying.
When Circuit City announced that it was closing doors, there were no interested buyers, it became the topic of the day. A couple of managers were gathered around talking about the state of the economy and future reactions.
One exclaimed "well, it's retail. It's so easy to get a job!"
Wow! Are you really that clueless, or is that at a level of plain stupidity? Really? Well, I guess maybe you could leave your management position, and go work some random retail job. But those positions have already been filled by other people who have already lost thier jobs. Just plain stupid.
This last week was just weird. Secret faxes and phone calls. Random secret discussions going on. Confidential packages arriving. What the hell is going on? The lemmings that had sense were worried. The others went about their business like cows at a meat facory. It started on Monday, subtle probing questions went unanswered. It finally hit on Friday.
Actually it leaked out online on Thursday. Eighteen percent reduction, multiple closings, etc....
Nothing like living your day to day knowing there may be no work tomorrow. Live it like that for a week. By the end I could barely sleep. Everything was depressing.
On Friday two people left. A manager with two kids getting ready for college. It's like watching someone fall out of a lifeboat and drown. But because of that action, you now get a spot in the boat. Suck. Unfortunately it goes by seriority, not stupidity. So the manager with no clue about the economy is still there as a reminder.
It's a cold year already. And 2009 will not be better. Quite possibly 2010 will not be good either. It's going to be a long bitter ride. I hope your job can't be eliminated, but it's a good time to take a life inventory. I thought I was all good, but now it's obvious there's still action to take. Good luck.
Now with the news that has been released in the last two days. The writing isn't on the wall. It's a big f@cking billboard! It's friends, family, and neighbors. People you ride with. The other commuters you pass, or use to.
It's been -10 to the mid twenties for the last month. Except for the couple days at freezing that I got out to stretch the legs. Five people occupy this small house, not including all the four legged things.
Problem: The hot water heater started seeping last week. Problem #2: I am not comfortable sweating pipes, and I don't take chances with the gas line. When you know the problem, the solution is usually easy to slove. Usually.
I made a call to the best plumbing company. "$1350 installed." It was almost laughable, but I wasn't laughing. This thing is gonna blow anytime.
So I go to Lowes. $398 for the water heater, and $280 for the install. That sounds alot better. I load it onto the cart and head to check out.
"There's an additional $300 for a permit fee, required by the city" the associate says.
"Are you f@ckin kidding me? The plumbing company told me it's actually $15 but they charge $30. Not $300!"
"Sorry, the computer and my manager say it's $300."
"Well, you can keep your stuff then."
I check online with the city permits. Homeowner pays under $20. The installer licensing is $300 for a 'B' permit - which they should already have.
Call a different Lowes. Get a manager on the phone.
"It's anywhere from $120 to $300 if you live in the city" she rudely says, as I question the permit amount.
This thing is gonna blow soon.
Call plumbing company back. "How much just to have my hot water heater swapped out, just the labor?"
"$125 for the first hour, $95 every hour after, $30 for the permit."
Go to another store. Buy the water heater for $400. Carefully drag the fat bastard down to the basement. $168 later, I have hot water. But that was the biggest pain in the ass. You screw with customers, you may make some money, but eventually you'll loose more than you made.
The events in the last week and a half have left little time for posts, or even checking in on other blogs. But there was time to reflect on why. Why do I care? Why am I so interested? You'll never catch me watching a reality show. But blogs are an edited glimpse into someone's life, or interest. For this community it tends to be about bikes. Then there's the surrounding advocacy, politics, types of bikes, racers, bad drivers, unsafe streets, hipsters, scenesters, commuters, there's alot of tired old complaints and alot of new discoveries. For here I offer more of a personal insight and maybe less of the bike. Over thirty bikes have rolled or been shipped out the front door, I found my love - a one bike guy I am.
So I hope you keep checking in. There is always something going on, I just can't manage four or five blogs all for different topics. So this becomes the do-all of thoughts, ideas, and stories... bike related or not. Hopefully you can relate and enjoy it for whatever it becomes.
THE SUV of BLOGS. That would be appropriate! Outdated and out of style, rusty and semi-broken down. But for some reason, still exists.
So for a more personal note. In the 'Must Reads', is my mom's blog. Maybe you can find it. BTW - I have two moms (and yes, two dads). The story there could fill an entire blog, maybe even a book. What lies in there is who I am, why I sold over thirty bikes, carry a camera everywhere, pursued showing my 'work', and have focused on simplifying my hectic life.
it was a short stay, and one of the easiest (even with FOUR dogs running around). Johnny now has a new home & new chance.
I know it's not really bike related, but neither am I. Well, bikes do consume most of my free time, and are an inadvertant identity, but there is alot to life, bikes just weave themselves into many aspects of most of our lives. Rambling on to new post....
actually one gaint snowball chasing be down a hill. that's been my life this last week, and I'm just trying to get out of it's way. Can never figure out why I'm so irritable until I realize it's been fifteen hours since I've even sat down, let alone relaxed. Maybe this week..
Got word this morning that four works made it into the upcoming 'BLUE' show, Febuary 6-27th. One 'mini' goal accomplished. The gallery usually accomodates 40 works in the main room, so that's ten percent of the room (using my basic math skills to feel good about myself, also why I don't have a cycle computer, and stay away from my scale - lately).
'Every man is either trying to live up to his father's expectations, or making up for his father's mistakes.'
-Obama, refering to a quote that applies to his relationship with his father, and alot of ours.
Yeah, that one hit close to home. And then while watching his speech on tuesday, all I could think is "Damn, who is your speech writer?" I don't know what you pay them, but well done! And if you penned that yourself, well, then I'm blown away. If you can shape up this government like you deliver speeches, I think we'll be ok. At some point.
You almost got me. Got a little teary eyed, almost. Hopefully no one will forget how we got into this mess. And he addressed that in the speech. I'm impressed. Hope that was uncomfortable for W. He deserved harsher words, but I'll take what was given.
Lets hope everyone can take those words to heart, roll up their sleeves, and help make this a better, less self-absorbed, society.
Just stop making lists. Eat more. More TV time while on the couch. I'm just tired and worn out.
Then I find a picture of me from last years Commuter Contest. SUCK! I'ld post it to embarrass myself back into shape. First I need to remove the innocent people from it. You can referance this for now:
Someone really screwed up by letting me out the door like that. All I need is a Primal jersey and a recumbent. Now I'm tired and depressed. It's time to breakout the trainer and mount up some slicks.
As I head out with the little man on my day off to do the usual erands, we get a call that several foster dogs just arrived and are waiting in a cold garage. Change of plans for the day! Load up the van & hope everything works (thank you Ford - quality first! I know....) A long drive out to the hills...
Two well behaved pups, I'm sure this will be a short term foster. Someone will definately take them....
1. Get a good scale. 2. Throw away the old one, or reset it and give it to someone with a weight complex.
The wii thing was a little concerning. So I finally went out and bought a new scale. (the old one would just get stuck at 230 lbs., so I just figured I'm at least 230, I feel like more.)
3. Don't let the kids "play" with the scale. They actually don't play with anything. It's a combo of a three person tag team wrecking crew. Scale equals mini-trampoline.
The starting point. Actual weigh in: 220.4 lbs, BMI of 21.9
That was the quickest and easiest ten to twenty to loose!
The plan: started keeping a log of what I eat on Wednesday. Calories, cardbs, protein, fat, sodium. It's already a little disturbing.
I need to shift to actually having a breakfst. For years breakfast has just meant coffee & cigarettes, lunch too. The 'Models Diet' left me a svelt 215 lbs. Those extra pounds were for pizza & beer, or basically dinner. This was years ago.
I quit smoking three years ago. That was the starting point of road riding. When you stop smoking - you usually replace it with something else. For me that was chips & late night snacks - so there came the extra twenty pounds.
For my reference point of a goal: at the end of college, while commuting by bike, swimming early morning laps at the college pool, and a vegetarian diet, I was 195. Just couldn't hit 190. That was years ago and my body has been used like a cheap college drunk with an open bar tab.
New goal: loose five pounds a month by summer (June). Going into June at 199 lbs. (and not puke on long climbs)
Still not using a computer, not logging miles. Ride for a way to get around, but ultimately I ride for fun - for the sake of just riding. And not letting a car own me.
Santa was WAY to generous this year and brought the little trouble makers a Wii. The Mrs. got a Wii Fit (for the yoga). Since I'm the guy who assembles and fixes..... I set it all up, including demoing the wii board. So after setting my age - 'old', and height, and a couple tests of balance.....
I have the reflexes of someone 53. Now not to insult anyone that's half a century, but I thought I'ld come in UNDER my age...
Then it gave me a BMI of 29.6, SERIOUSLY????? I'm not a swimmer, and rarely am I seen running from or to, but a BMI of almost 30?
And for the last punch..... in the category of 'fat', almost 'obese'. That kills me. The thing comes with this overkill warning about 'your information will be displayed and can be viewed by others'..... well now I know why. If I didn't embarrass myself on a daily basis, then that would suck for everyone to see. It only sucks cause I may hide it fairy well, but I gotta drop some weight.
So the Wii just punched me in the balls, like this....
at a bar, on halloween, maybe like this......
but to argue my 53 year old reflexes is wrong, refer to the above photo. It takes cat-like reflexes to puch two people in the balls and get a picture of it.
unfortunately I'm an adult and don't actually get snow days. I just get to ride in it! I got the Nokian 240's set up and set out on my way, with an extra hour just in case.
Well, I needed only an extra 30 minutes. Believe it or not, there was some walking the bike involved. I think I over did it with the 240's and should have gone 160, but those were sold out & I'm a slacker and procrastinator.
With ice under slippery soft pack, it often felt like the first time you put on ice skates. If you can't relate to that, then imagine riding a bike with flat tires at speed. Hopefully my balance will improve with this.
The Blackburn FLEA has outlasted the Planet Bike flasher. And that helped on the late night freeze fest going home. When I think, "20 really feels like 5 degrees", it's because it actually is 5 degrees. That's just NOT awesome. And being the only one out is a little weird. The excitement to ride in the crap is over. Pushing the studded tires is really like running in deep sand. Maximum effort with little results. The rest of the week is under 15 degrees, and I really think there's another factor of 'feels like' when you're on your bike....
Never have I said 'BAD DOG" so often. Then again I've never had a puppy, well once, but he was a quarter the size of buster. Buster the bad dog. It's like someone shoved five little kids into a dog suit and fed them candy bars for a week. Bad dog. He's taken to trying to eat the dinning table now.
What gets me through it? GOOD COFFEE! Bad Ass (my favorite that gets shipped to me once or twice a year) from Salt Lake. Kona that runs something like $20 a pound, it's gotta be good! Fresh ground, yummy! *note- I won't buy it, BUT if someone ships it to me- I'll drink it.
On freezing ass days, there's not too many people coming through the gallery. This allows alot of reading and planning time. Not like anything becomes of those plans, it's a fake reassurance of what I want to accomplish. Somehow if I write it, it will happen. Yes, there are lots of 'lists' laying around. I would do a New Years resolution list, but, that would be another list laying around.
I guess for here I could resolve to:
1. Post more often. 2. Complain less (bad drivers, job & bad politics & economy). 3. Not buy a car (even when its 10 degrees and miserable).
So that's a great lead into the above book. It's one that you read a page, then have to reread it, just to get the whole point. I'm still not even a quarter the way through, I just keep rereading sections. I wish I had copies to hand out to everyone I knew. Maybe to pull some uncredited quotes & lines from it:
"we have become a nation that places a lower priority on teaching its children how to thrive socially, intellectually, even spiritually, than it does on training them to consume"
"in a world of too many commodities and too few shoppers, children become valuable as consumers'
"for consumer capitalism to prevail you must make kids consumers or make consumers kids"
It goes on and on. Something to really think about. Where do you fit in as a consumer? Can you see through the marketing? Can you remember what it was like as a kid? When did "mom & dad" have to be so cool? After every kid had the new ipod or phone or clothes? Then "mom & dad" needed to keep up with the kids along with the "Jones's" next door?
Now for the finishing blow - lets' ship all manufacturing jobs overseas. We now become a buying nation, not a selling/producing nation. So now we spend more money and make less money. So lets open up the credit markets, so it's easier to keep citizens spending. Let's do that for over two decades, now where are we? Oh yeah, in debt, surrounded by lots of 'stuff' that we don't NEED.
Buy the book, and analyze your life and spending habits.
if you stop by K-WALL blog on the blog list, you'll find all sorts of dreamy high end (and sometimes just messed up no-end) bikes. It never really crossed my mind that most are propped up against a green dumpster. Not until, in my not so well thought out commute from the gallery to the transmission shop in the evening, I arrived at the van and noticed (I had no feeling in my fingers, it was SO cold my lungs actually hurt) and there was a big green dumpster calling to me........
here you go..... frozen NY bike porn for you. Complete with Nokian 240 monster truck tires, that when run with low pressure are like running in the sand, up hill. Maybe that's why my lungs hurt. But I didn't slip out on the ice. Who needs sun and warmth? We have pizza, beer & attitude......
Well, the holiday season is over. And so seems the holiday spirit. I've come to the conclussion that it's about the kids, and not to expect much from the rest of society as a whole. That's a downer. Along with the economy, my crappy made-in-America-broken-family-vehicle, and that lingering thought of 'is my job next?' and 'can they spare me?'. Leaves me like my bike: laying around, covered in dirt and flatted. (photo tie in)
I've been riding everywhere lately. Out to the hills to drop off my Aunt's car (after borrowing it for a week). That was a 20 degree headwind early morning ride to work. Out in the country waiting to get clipped by a redneck in a beater pickup. Turns out, aged hippies in Subarus are the ones to watch. Lesson learned. The ride time gives plenty to think about, I make mental notes on what to write about. By the time I get to a computer, the inspiration has left. No motivation.
A late night ride (11pm, 15 degrees) on the road to the airport to pick up yet another rental car (because the van IS STILL in the shop). There are no street lights. So you roll the dice and sprint in the middle of the lane until headlights come up behind you. Then you jump to the shoulder (keeping a straight line along the ice) and look ahead, using the cars headlights to pick out potholes and ice a hundred yards ahead. Then hop back into the road after they pass. That's when you can't even reflect on how your obituary will read or will they charge the driver, you just focus.
Walk into the packed airport looking like a terrorist in full combat gear. With the clicking of the cleats, and a big black messenger bag with blinking lights. Get the car, go to the grocery store - still look like freak, then home, 11:45 pm. Up at 6:30, wife to work, kids to school, clean kitchen, start laundry, run errands, pick up kids, pick up wife, make dinner, clean up dinner, kids to bed. It's 8pm, my day off is over. There's an ice storm coming in overnight, and work in the morning.
Note to self: Maxwell House is not even good on the first drop, spend $3 more on the next can of coffee.
We have a new foster dog. Missy is out, now comes Buster. I realize that Bella is really more my speed, fat & lazy & goofy. The perfect combo. Buster is like a howling hound mixed with great dane and fed speed & hard alcohol. Standing on the dinning table. Standing on top of sleeping kid on couch - no longer sleeping. Shoot me.
I wondered if I would sell any photographs. The New Beginnings show was this last Friday. Nothing sold in the last show, and there were a couple that I really felt good about, and a couple half assed ones that somehow made it in. I thought about pricing, and went on the point:
the market sucks, no one has as much extra income, and it's pompous to think that a simple photograph is worth hundred(s). Cover my costs and I'll build up my work, but nothing sold. So do I charge triple and act like those other asses?
This new show had a smaller turn out, and instead of the whole family & kids friends, just my daughter & I went. I can't really think of how many times it 's been just her & I. We'll need to do that more, same for my oldest son, more one on one time. A work sold on opening night which is always a good feeling. It was a good night. Now if the rest of the year can follow that night.
Time to mount up the Nokians to ride to the gallery, then off to ride to the transmission shop to FINALLY get the van, so the family can get around, and I can ride my usual routes. One resolution is to ride as little as possible in the suburbs and country, especially at night with their lack of street lights.
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