May 2008

That lasted a little longer then I expected…

Last night around 7PM I came to the realization that in the last 7 days I’d ridden over 150 miles on my bike and suddenly felt exhausted. I still had a lot of work to do so I decided a brief nap would be in order. I was expecting to sleep for an hour. I woke up at 6am today. So yeah, it lasted a little longer than I was planning. I remember responding to a few SMS messages with my phone, but otherwise nada. It’s particularly amusing because i kinda just stopped what I was doing and closed my eyes, and while I was in fact sitting on my bed at the time I wasn’t in it by any means. Hell I was fully clothed laying on top of it with a pile of work crap currounding me. In fact, here’s a short list of other things that were also on my bed within arms reach when I woke up this morning:

  • Mobile phone, battery dead. (I plugged it in and it instantly told me I had 27 new SMS messages. Will check them after breakfast)
  • U Lock
  • iPod and headphones
  • Laptop wide open with 19 blinking IM windows, everyone of the people who sent them currently being offline or away.
  • A fan that I don’t remember moving from my window to my bed. Yes, a fan. Turned on.
  • An open bag of Doritos, luckily not knocked over.
  • Sunglasses
  • A camera and related cabling to connect to the laptop.
  • Bicycle gloves.
  • Unopened mail
  • A few scrachy notes to myself of things to remember to do before going to sleep.

Even better, I leave for Seattle in about 24 hours and now have considerably less time to finish up a ton of crap before I leave. Eeeep!

Cray Zee

“I want you to be crazy cos you’re boring baby when you’re straight
I want you to be crazy cos you’re stupid baby when you’re sane”

– from “Cheap and Cheerful” by The Kills.

“Everyone tells me they’re crazy, Well crazy people are so fucking boring
Wake me when your through being cool, cause I’m snoring”

– from “Untitled” by Jawbreaker

What to do with old bike tubes?

This weekend I had two flats and later when I went back and inspected the tubes I found that one had such a small hole that I could easily repair it but the other was a total wash. I was about to throw it out and started thinking that there had to be a better option to some how reuse it. But what could I do that wouldn’t require a full weekend of work, or buying a bunch of extra crap? I’ve seen belts, wallets, and all kinds of things made out of them but honestly I don’t have the patience for that right now. Then it hit me, I’m always looking for a rubber band and can never find one, so maybe I could use the tube an make a ton of them. So I grabbed the scissors and got to work:

Old Tube Reusage

In about 10 minutes I’d sliced up the entire tube and now have a jar full of I have no idea how many cool as hell black rubber bands that I can use for any number of things. I already replaced the binder clip I was using to hold a stack of credit cards together in my pocket with one and love it. This was super simple, endlessly useful, and will keep this stuff out of the landfill for a little while longer anyway. Works for me!

Time for livin’

(That amazing photo was taken by alexbcthompson – you can see the full set from that ride here)

For more info on the above photo check out this post on LA Metblogs, and for a well thought out contrasting opinion check out Will Campbell’s thoughts about it here. I consider Will a very good friend of mine and like him I’m not going to judge anyone for their opinions of this, for or against, though as you might suspect I had slightly different take on it than he does and I want ramble on about some of those points. Will says that rides like these are

“stunts that have the potential to do more harm than good, not only to the bodies involved, but also the efforts that strive to legitimately bring bikes out of the gutter pan and into traffic lanes.”

And he’s not alone in that thought. A commenter on the LA Metblogs posts says:

“And you wonder why so few motorists respect bicycles”

However I just don’t buy it. I don’t buy the respect issue because, well I know how a calendar works and you can’t say you didn’t respect someone last week for something they did today. Motorists haven’t respected bicycles for a very very long time and it’s absurd to suggest that is valid because of something that happened yesterday. Motorists don’t respect other motorists which is evdent by how many accidents and fender benders happen every single day in cities all over the world. When you are in a car you are in a bubble and the fact of the matter is most people are happy with the isolation and don’t realize what they are doing until they plow into someone else. Or someone plows into them. When they hit a car it gets a dent, when they hit a cyclist the cyclist tends to get the worst of it so there’s a reason cyclists tend to be alittle more vocal about motorists not respecting them then other motorists. Not because motorists have any less respect for bikes than cars, but because the stakes are higher.

Without spending too much time on this point in particular I understand Will’s concern that these kinds of things can reflect poorly on a larger group of but I just don’t beleive that hold a lot of water. It’s a traditional arguement and it sounds good, but I think it kind of ends there. Also I know that there is no changing how people act, and how people perceive those acts so what you are left with is the realization that things are going to happen no matter how you personally feel about them, so your option is to ignore them, speak out against them, or join in. All vaid routes, just a matter of what you want for yourself at the end of the day. From what I’ve seen in person and what I’ve seen online, the people who were not there have much stronger, much more negative reactions than the people who were. In comments on Metblogs I’ve seen people called names and insulted, and these actions used to justify years of negative back and forth. In person I’ve seen motorists cheering on the bike riders, chidren standing up out of sun roof windows applauding while their parents smiled and took photos, and I’ve seen law enforcement amazed and amused and decline to give out citations. My point is the assumed gut reaction isn’t aways realistic.

Sure this is an extreme approach, but sometimes it takes an extreme approach to get noticed. People who nicely follow the rules are rarely involved with changing them.

But protest and rule changing aside, it’s fun. Everyone involved enjoyed themselves and has a great story to tell. Sure it’s risky, but so is everything else. We all have to decide what risks are worth while in our lives to make us smile. Some risks we can avoid, some we can’t. Some we can embrace.

It’s the end. And the beginning.

Wilde quote.

Depending when I click “publish” on this post it’ll either be my last day officially married, or my first day in about 9 and a half years of not being married. May 8th is the official end, even though it was really over early on last year. I keep wondering how I feel about such a milestone and really can’t come up with any kind of solid qualifier for it, though maybe I don’t need to. The truth is it’s more depressing than I expected it to be, but it’s also more exciting. In some ways I feel like I’m about to take the final step away from a massive part of my life, a part that honestly I do look back fondly on for the most part. While at the same time I feel like a kid about ready to embark on a funhouse ride for the first time, a bit scared but super excited to see what’s behind those doors. I mean in reality tomorrow is no different than today. It’s different than last year for sure, but not so different than most of the last 6 months so why does crossing an official date even make a difference? I dunno, but it does for some reason so I guess I just have to roll with it.

That said, I think I’ve learned a hell of a lot over the last year and while I’m not stupid enough to say “always” or “never,” here’s two general concepts I’m going to try and keep in mind in the future.

  1. Stop worrying / thinking about what happened yesterday. There’s no way to change it, and it’s not worth obsessing over. Learn the lessons and move on, try to make new mistakes rather than repeat the ones you already made. There’s no shortage of new mistakes you can make, why waste time on ones you’ve already checked off the list.
  2. Stop making any assumptions about what tomorrow will bring. It hasn’t happened yet and there is no guarantee it ever will. If you spend too much time thinking about tomorrow you miss today and that’s something you can’t get back. Don’t pass up things you can do today, in most cases missing out on doing something is much worse than doing it and wishing you hadn’t.

Basically there’s no changing what has happened and it’s pointless to think about how things might be if something had happened differently. And the way to do that is own the choices you make and keep moving on to the next one. What is important for me at this point is to not put myself in any situations where I end up wishing I’d [ done something / said something / met someone / kissed someone / at least tried ]. Things are too unpredictable and potentially short lived to take the safe and easy route. Of course I’m saying all this now and being all lofty about it but might change my mind and love the safe easy route tomorrow. Who knows. Anyway, here’s two quotes by folks much wiser than me to end this thing right.

“All God does is watch us and kill us when we get boring. We must never, ever be boring. ” – Chuck Palahniuk
“Do or do not, there is no try.” – Yoda