Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Sunday, December 28, 2008
The idea here was to show that I was just driving through an endless desert. Most people probabably don't think that the central valley in California is really a desert ... but it's a lot like a desert. Any way, I am in Twentynine Palms, CA for the night. Tomorrow, Joshua Tree, and onward to Phoenix.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Yawn. Now that I am free, I am going to run out to Arizona, for a few days. I'll spend the New Year Holiday in the Superstitions with the Happy Hiker Guy, and our friend Dale. We are going to Reavis Ranch for two days and I'll be in the Phoenix Metro for a few days. currently temps in Mesa are about like the are here, but promising to drop0 to freezing over the next few days. It will be cold at night in the superstitions at 3-4000 feet.
After a few days in Phoenix (looking for a job.) I'll spend about 10 days in Flagstaff, where it's snowing and the temps are ranging from 4 degrees F. to 25 degrees over the next couple of days. I am taking my bikes and gear and plan to try to ride a bit around Flagstaff while I am there. So I developed a little checklist for my gear for riding in winter with snow. Since I'll be a rodie in Mesa and a Snow Biker in Flagstaff, I'll have 2 bikes. The Trek mountain bike and the Marin San Marino.
- Spare platform pedals (so I can wear my boots).
- Gloves (2 pair)
- Cycling shoes (2 pair)
- neoprene booties
- rain pants
- long underwear (capilene or merino wool)
- Wool shirt
- Spare tires
- Water bottle
- patch kit
- bike bag
I'll be getting ready.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
2 eggs, whole
10 teaspoons sugar
10 teaspoons cream
Any flavoring can be used
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
... Spicy Currant Bread, to be exact. I used to bake a bunch of whole grain breads, which, as we all know, takes special voodoo magic. I haven't baked bread for some years ... but it seems like maybe it's a bit like riding a bike ...
This recipe comes from the Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book, which is a must read if you are interested in making good whole grain bread.
Tomorrow morning I will share it with some friends. Tonight, my place is filled with great smells and warmth.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
... what will gilby think. I have always been a strong advocate of a Brooks saddle as seen in this old post, Tearing Myself a New Asshole, so this must seem like an absolute reversal of great past wisdom. But it's not. When I got the Surly KM, I moved my swell Brooks Saddle over to it and returned my Selle Italia Trimatic to its original home on the San Marino Yellow Bar 20 lb. roadie. After last week's ButtRendering&trade on the Selle Italia; ride, I decided to look at a new saddle.
I let the bike wizard guy talk me into looking at the Specialized saddles with the hole in the middle, which I like to refer to as the assGap™. He had me sit on an assGauge™ to determine my bony butt wants a 143 mm wide saddle and then we picked out one with gel. A Specialized Phenom. Despite my original tirade against gel, with the assGap™, the gel won't be able to wedge itself up where the sun won't shine -- so maybe I can tolerate it.
So I put it on the bike -- and have so far retired the Selle Italia Trimatic ... 2003's finest and a very popular saddle. It has Manganese gizmo-rod things and is handmade of leather and plastic in Italy, by expert seat makers. It has a couple of signs of wear after about a 1000 miles of use, and is scuffed on both ends. If you're willing to pay shipping and a hundred bucks or so -- it's yours. It's well made and although I don't like it, many people rave about it.
If I don't like the new saddle, I suppose I'll have to buy a Brooks Titanium Swallow (wholly crap, I'll need a loan), and move The Specialialized Phenom Gel over to the trek -- which has a generic foamy crapSaddle™. It will be an improvement.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
It's clear that no one who actually knows me was involved in the decision. Hopefully that makes it easier for them. I know that makes it easier for me. I am probably an ok guy, and they just don't know what they're doing. After all, they don't even really know me.
When I was in graduate school at the school of Wazzu, we practiced being human. It was our job. There was 16 of us, grad students in art. We loved and hated each other, the faculty, and the undergrads. We were the face to classes and accesible for schlepping stuff around, or helping at the firings (ceramics, not people), or bronze casting, to lecture ad hoc, read papers, spout untested opinions, give technical advice, but most importantly, to find the way to justify and explain are own humanity. To find the big T truth, to explain our very meanderings, the real arguments for the being in human being.
I remember at that time I was reading an amazing amount. I was also hiking and exploring the Bitterroots, the Palouse, Eastern Washington, and Idaho. I was exploring. I was looking for myself in a landscape of farmland and hard work, wilderness, and my own acute philpsophical mind. I was making Congoesque objects from grease and wool, and barbed wire, trying to heal myself. I was reading Vine Deloria and Jose Sepulveda, and arguing the case for my own ideas in a great scholastic swirl. The freedom to chase these ideas was intoxicating.
Like I said I was reading a shit load. I was looking to Pablo Neruda, Borges, Terry Tempest Williams, Edward Abbey for the evidence of my humanity. Neruda spoke of love and injustice, Borges of an undefinable dream, of desire, Abbey of the absolute, of travel in the wild, and Terry Tempest Williams of the desire of people to become human.
The desire to become human. Just think about that for a minute. Why is being human so difficult that we all want to do it. You might be wondering about now what this has to do with being layed off -- seemingly less than humanely.
How do we get to the place we where fear life without our job. That we won't survive. That our kids won't thrive. That we won't be defined well. How do we get to the point where the conversation is about whether or not we're willing to agree to not speak disparagingly about the company that is laying us off, in exchange for the small bit of severence they allot us. How do we get to the point where we call our co-workers, our friends, "resources."
It's because we don't take enough walks. We don't go outside. We focus on our stuff and not our actions.
I know this because I did it. When I finished grad school, I set out to make art; teach art. I worked for two years, showed all over the west. Lectured, won prizes. I made no money. I took a job out of desperation and turned it into a great career. I just got layed off in the middle of a an economic disaster and I am so delighted and scared. Why?
One. I doubt myself. Two. I know this is just another opportunity for me to be a human being. I know I can travel, work hard, be kind, and get by. I am relieved because I feel abused. Pay doesn't make up for abuse, time does. I am excited because I have been planning a trip for a while. I just needed to get some time to go. Now I can. I can go to Alaska and look for a job. I can retrain for a new career. I can try to find a way to have more fun and ride my bike.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
The Mushroom Girl shooting God beams at Fort Funston.
A while ago, The Mushroom Girl scored a bike, a X-country Peugeot, possibly about 15 years old, all steel and set up to bring home the bacon. She has been riding it everywhere. I think she likes it. I would have bought it for myself if I could, but it was exactly her size, and it's the perfect bike for her.
So, the Mushroom Girl came to me and asked if I wanted to go for a thirty mile ride with her before she leaves for some Asian islands in about a week. She said -- well -- "I want to go to Lake Merced", and I am thinking -- oh, that's like a fifty miler. We'll need to start early, say -- 11:00. She's training for the ride for your life AIDS thing, where you have to raise a crapload of money, and then also ride your bike 450 miles (from SF to LA) or so in 5 days. So I am all for helping out.
Well, I haven't been on a bike since October 1 or so, but I figure, well -- I am in pretty good shape. I've been working out ... and so on. So we park up in Hillsborough by the watershed, but away from the trailhead at Crystal Springs, where so many cars (including the Mushroom Girl's) have been broken into, And head North. It's like 2:30. We tear down the first 6 miles, so quickly, neither of us believes it.
Seriously, we bounce down the bike trail and the crazy girl is pointing and calling out Mushrooms alongside the trail (it rained finally) and it's looking like a serious roll into the city. We break briefly and I ask if she has any lights ... No. I think, well I have lights. We hammer up Skyline road and gracefully descend past Fort Funston and into the city. At one point we found ourselves on the freeway so rode back to a Starvebucks™ and asked a Barristar™ if it was ok to ride on the freeway. He said it was, so we believed him and did. Zoom-Zoom.
We found the Lake. I looked at my odometer and it said 15 miles ... We briefly debated going around the lake, but decided we better turn back for fear of the approching darkness.
There's a HangGlider in This Shot.
Or Maybe the Hanglider's in This One.
At Fort Funston I discovered that I actually only had a headlight (the crappy Blackburn tailight has fallen out of it's holder) ... and we were probably going to be riding in the dark. I estimated 1.5 hours of useful light. We could make it, but we had to Go. Despite a fairly tough ride back, championed by the MGirl, we still were trapped by darkness, with the last bit being a bit challenging.
When I got home I ate like a horse. A roast beef dinner with a baked potato, cornbread, and green beans, followed by a 700 calorie protein shake and a pint of vanilla ice cream. Yummy. I love riding a bike.
There was this one spot during the ride where I had to stop and walk while climbing Trousdale Blvd., due to some cramping, but it only slowed us for a few minutes. I might have pulled a quad slightly. I suppose I'll know before long.
Any one care to have a guess at where today's ride really hurts?