Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Riding the Streetcar Named Desire

I noticed today that one of my customers had a stone pillar placed next to their driveway. It made me feel like Marlon Brando, "Stele, stele!"

As promised, or threatened, here's the final FW 400 link.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Trailing Clouds of Glory, Then, Green Blog Posts

Whither is fled the visionary gleam?
Where is it now, the glory and the dream?

That Wordsworth quote is recycled from an e-mail I wrote to one of my oldest friends (55) from high school. I was telling him that my sister is coming up here for her 40th class reunion.

In other news, on Wednesday we're going to a potluck dinner to learn about the MS Ride. It sounds like fun, but I'm especially impressed by the inclusion of EMT nurses and an ambulance. Less so by the Gold Wing Motorcycle rider team. Only because last week they were sheparding a ride and they were injured when a bear ran across the road in front of them. Why does a bear cross the road?

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Blue Screen of Whatever

I was going to report that I was finally done painting over the stairs, and then I saw a bunch of places that I missed so I painted them, and now I'm done.
Coincidentally, all the paint is gone.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Spoilers Spoilers, World Without End

Another video of J.K. Rowling. The beauty of it is, that I get a brilliant and moving post out of it without being brilliant or moving. I'm back in zombie mode, painting the other wall over the stairs.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Big Wild Scary Life Then Small Discreet HP Spoiler

This video was shot about 1100 yards from my front door this morning. The houses in the video back up to the bike trail that I ride every few days.
Granted that the bear is small, it had parents you know. I think Mrs. Weasley shows us how protective parents can be.

Nothing But HP Spoilers

Here's a link to the MSNBC video of J.K. Rowling's interview on the Today Show.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Join Us In Not Changing the World and Then Be Prepared for a Major HP Spoiler at the End of This Post

Months ago, I posted a link to a cartoon that I said explained why I hadn't gone to Smith College (apart from the obvious reason). The cartoon came from an article in the Stanford Alumni Magazine (I'm not an alum of Stanford either, so now I guess you know what we're doing with your mail all day). I forwarded a link to the article to a friend on the faculty at UAA. She read the article and then a book by the subject of the article, Carol Dweck. She says it has transformed her life and she wants to get to together to discuss it. Clearly she'll never be one of us, the underachieving fraternity (Phi Phi Omega). If we thought our lives were capable of being transformed we wouldn't need to read books about it, we'd be doing something besides sitting in our bedroom blogging.
For that matter, I'm kind of bored with myself and why things turned out the way they did. If I was going to discuss a book, I'd really want it to be HP and the Deathly Hallows. Is Harry another in the literary line that includes Aslan and Frodo?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

This One's For You, Horatio

Philosophy never really caught on in this country. It's just not America's game. Still we could try to raise the discourse above the din of talk radio and shouting TV. Does Bill O'Reilly (what an arrogant bully) really have to have a no Spinoza zone?
I'd hoped to elevate the conversation here, but I. Kant.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Burning Bright in the Forest of the Night. Then At the Bottom a Harry Potter Spoiler From Page 56

I was dreaming today about a time when the cat might sleep through the night. I would have dreamed about it last night, but the cat doesn't sleep throught the night.

Hedwig!? No, really, Hedwig?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Life's Been Good to Me So Far

Yesterday I was just so cranky. I was so frustrated working for (if you were allowed to use bad words on the internet, this is where I'd use one) managers.
Then, too late for all my customers* who had to listen to me, I remembered that lyric,
I can't complain, but sometimes I still do,
Life's been good to me so far
which is practically biblical in its wisdom. So, I'm on the overtime desired list, and the PO just mandates time wasting stupidity, and then they pay me extra to do it. Good deal.

*I tried to tell a story yesterday about complainers. The story went horribly awry, but here's one version of it.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

This Post Rated G for Guess You'd Have to Be 13 to Think It's Funny

When I was attending Wendler Junior High School (a brand new school at the time that has since gotten old, been torn down, and rebuilt) the funniest joke we knew involved two people walking abreast. At that age anything remotely titillating brought at least a titter or two (and apparently I still have a 13 year old living inside me).
Anyway, my point is, if you're on a shared use bike trail, I don't care what you're walking, a dog, a breast, whatever, leave some room for the guy on a bike.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

This Just In: Man Proposes God Disposes

In my last post I promised I was done talking about the Fireweed 400, but it turns out I'm not*.
Ambre finished first in her age group and I thought you should know. That seemed like it was newsy enough to break my promise, and I can tell you right now there's one more FW400 post to come.

*As I write this,** I'm wearing the pink and purple socks they gave us for participating. I'm planning on incorporating them into my gay dad costume.

**I just finished a book of essays by David Foster Wallace. He's a brilliant writer whose work is marred in my estimation by the overuse of footnotes, but in case that's what makes him brilliant I thought I'd throw a couple in here.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Little Helpers

I just got home from work. Karen and Leah went to a movie. The dogs have strewn garbage all over the kitchen and dining room, and into the living room. To be fair, though, they apparently tried to clean it up since there's toilet paper unrolled from the bathroom, down the hall and into the kitchen.
Oh, by the way, here's one last thought on the Fireweed 400. Can you imagine how the genuinely athletic David Hart must feel when his friends come up to him, all "Dude, it took you three and a half hours to ride fifty miles?"
It's the last thought I plan on posting since the amazing lack of response to the blog and to e-mails I sent mentioning that I was in the sports pages for the first time in my life have convinced me that no one is interested. I promise you though, it's not the last thought I plan on thinking about it.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Kafkaesque, But in a Good Way

he felt a sudden awareness that flying would be possible only if one were tied up in a special way... He felt a slight elation at having lost the fatal advantage of free limbs which causes men to be worsted. from The Bound Man by Ilse Aichinger
I clipped in and flew away on my bike tonight.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Binky the Bike

A few years ago an Australian tourist crawled into Binky the Polar Bear's cage at the Alaska Zoo. She escaped with her life, but not with her shoe.
A few minutes ago, I finally got my shoes to clip in to the pedals. I practiced clipping and unclipping and when I finally felt ready to ride, I fell right over. As I write this, I have an ice pack on my knee which is oozing a little blood still, and the bike still has my shoe clipped to its pedal.

Monday, July 09, 2007

It's a Poor Tool That Blames Its Workman

I finished the driveway yesterday. No, the driveway is a journey not a destination, a process not a static state; so I guess it never will be finished especially since I ran out of materials. The process was kind of exciting. I guess if they call something a weed burner, no one should be surprised if a bunch of weeds burst into flame. I was, though. As I was running for the hose, I was thinking I'm pretty sure I can stop this, but I know if they end up doing a news story, they reporters are going to be all condescending, "If this happens to you, call 911, don't try to fight the fire yourself," But if I was capable of that kind of high level reasoning, I wouldn't be doing the driveway myself in the first place. Right now, because of really flawed planning, the low spot in the driveway looks like a butte in a bowl.
After work today, I put new pedals on my bike. I wanted to practice unclipping before I have to ride in traffic, or just stop for that matter. They were easy enough to put on the bike, but so far, I haven't been able to clip in, better yet, unclip. What a tool.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

But Tomorrow the Bike Turns Into a Pumpkin

Yesterday it was cool and gray at the beginning of the Fireweed 400. Still, I felt warm as I sailed among the cloud kissed mountains, dashing up the hills and flying down the other side. I marveled at the shape I was in. The shape of a sail it turned out. After the turnaround point, with the wind in my face, my T-Shirt billowed out behind me like a spinnaker, at least it did until the cold rain started and it stuck to my back. Going back, I could go down hills only as fast I could go up hills with a tail wind on the way out. No bed has ever looked more raggled than I did when I finished.
And not just finished. Finished, and thought I had won (if you even can win) the non-competitive division. I was practicing a demure smile and saying, "I guess I'm just the least non-competitive person in this division." I was surprised and disappointed to find out that several people had come in before me. Surprised, because there appeared to be more finishers than starters. Then I was irritated to realize, or at least assume, that since our start time had been posted as both 11am and 11:15am, some racers had started with a head start. I calmed down when I realized that even adding fifteen minutes to their times would still make them faster than I, but not, obviously, by as much. I'm listed in the sports section as the second fastest men's finisher.
I'm not sure you can appreciate how huge that is. Until now, the only time I've been in the sports section was when I was standing on it to paint a wall. And not only in the standings, but Ambre and I were pictured on the back page of the sports section!
Ambre's ride was much harder than mine. With my new bike, going up hills was like riding an elevator to the top; for Ambre, it was like going up dragging an elevator behind her. She also had persistent mechanical problems that added time. She struggled, but she finished! Karen was inspired by Ambre's refusal to quit. Karen and her best friend Corinne worked as our support team, driving back and forth between us with water and trail mix. When I finished I joined the support team for Ambre. When I drove up, she said she didn't want to sound ungrateful, but she felt like she'd been abandoned for a long time. She did sound pretty ungrateful and I told her so. She was unmollified even when I explained that we couldn't have come any quicker because I was having a hamburger at the lodge.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Fire Working on the Fourth of July

In the martial spirit of the holiday, I attacked my driveway with a flamethrower today. I had a low spot and I wanted to take out the old asphalt and replace it with new. When I essayed my first attempt yesterday in the hot sun, the asphalt came out depressingly easily, but today in the rain, it was as hard as rock, or at least as hard as rock mixed with tar.
My next door neighbor, a professional asphalt installer who's going to Guantanamo next week, came out and offered me advice and a flame thrower (or weed burner as he more prosaically insisted on calling it). It softened up the asphalt enough to allow me to tear it out and also to tamp it down.
I've always been very critical of poor asphalt patching jobs, and I've seen many over the years, walking up driveways for a living. Now I understand how people can stop when it looks so bad. It's really really hard. My neighbor came out to check on my "progress". Kind man that he is, he was able to say it looked pretty good, and keep a straight face. Actually, instead of a low spot, now my driveway appears to have cellulite. He said he would bring his mechanical tamping device from work tomorrow and maybe with that and a little flame throwing action, it could be beaten down like the British at Valley Forge. Okay, he didn't say exactly that.
Tomorrow, Ambre and I go to pick up our bibs for the Fireweed 50 on Saturday. With my new bike I'm beginning to think it's possible that I might finish. That's the kind of optimism that makes America the sea-washed mother of exiles, the golden lamp-lit door.
Ambre and I have a team name and a logo. We call ourselves the Red Lanterns. We're using Green Lantern's logo (without permission, so please don't tell DC's lawyers) only colored red. And, it's on yellow T-shirts because that's the one color that Green Lantern can't affect. A team with subtle nuances that only other geeks would recognize. Oh, and a motto, too, "Because Someone Has to be Last."

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Beam Me Up Scotty

Just got back from a ride on my new bike. The only way easier way to the top of a hill would be to use a teleporter.