Tossing and Tortured 'Till Dawn

I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Diagnosis: Amputation.

At least, that's what the paperwork from the emergency room says.

Thankfully, it's not as bad as it sounds, but let this be a lesson: be careful with those fixed gear bicycles!

I wasn't even RIDING my bike. If you'd have told me my bike would send me to the emergency room, not from a crash, but from cleaning it, after a rainy ride, I would have laughe. I was an idiot, I'll admit it. Cleaning off the chain on my fixed gear on the stand, I spun the pedals way too fast, and wasn't looking when I went at it with a rag. I ended up taking off the end of my thumb! About halfway through the nail, all the way through, except for a little flap, was cut off.

Thankfully, the 'amputation' part was only a tiny section of bone at the very tip of my thumb, and the good doctor got the skin sutured back in a reasonable mock-up of the way it was supposed to be.

Thursday I'll meet with a plastic surgeon (they do more than rhinoplasty!) to have her examine the thing further and give me a more detailed prognosis, but odds are I should have full use of the thing, which is good; I use the thumb on my strong hand for pretty much everything except typing!

First thing I thought was "sh!8, now I'm not gonna be able to race on wednesday evening."

In conclusion, ouch.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The peals of not-so-distant thunder heralds a sudden summer shower, surprising Portland with its intensity. The rain is beautiful, massive drops gliding straight down, from the vague borders of clouds rushing into presence from over yon hills. It's as if the sky and the ground have simply met, that the city is inside the river rather than above it. In a city so famous for its drizzle, we're strangely unaccustomed to the downpours.

As for yours truly, five hours of classes a day in this compacted summer term leave me little time to do do much else besides academia and training, and I try to waste as few minutes as possible clicking aimlessly away on this "information" superhighway.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

"It's the way Italians live their lives. We have what could be described as an emotional approach ... perhaps it isn't always 100 per cent rational, but it comes from the heart, and it's how we've always done things."

-- Valentino Campagnolo

And THAT's why I have Campagnolo equipment on both of my bikes. You may call it an appeal to some outdated tradition, and that's fine. But in this world of McDonald's and Wal mart, I'm happy to pay the extra buck or two to buy something from a company that truly cares about its products, designed by people with passion for them. I'm excited by products that bear the name of their designers. Forza Campagnolo!

Thursday, June 09, 2005

The bomb has been planted.

Stick together, team.

Go, go, go!

I wonder if the FBI's attempt to follow people's actions on the internet to track down the terrorists of the world has led them to secretly detaining thousands of counter-strike players.

Or, perhaps they are spiriting away the best -- or, shall I say, 3l337e$T!, of them all, to participate in an intense "training simulation" that is, in fact, directing special forces teams across the world; a real-life "Ender's Game"

Monday, June 06, 2005

The disturbing, if predictable, results of a poll on religion.

Yet another reason why Europe, more and more, seems like the place for me, how my lovely hometown is the exception in this nation, and why America as a whole is a scary, scary place sometimes.

Some of the highlights:
  • 37% of americans think that religious leaders should try to influence policymakers. This is as opposed to 20% of Britons, 17% of Spaniards, 22% of Australians.
  • 84% of Americans say religion is "important" in their lives, as much as Mexicans, and double that of western Europeans.
  • And, the most frigtening: 2% of Americans say that they 'Don't believe in god," 4% say that they "Don't know whether there is a god and don't believe there is a way to find out. However,
  • 70%say that they "Believe in god and really have no doubts."
  • Only 1 in 8 Americans who say they "Believe in god" admit to having doubts as to their deity's existence.
  • Amusingly, fully a third of Americans choose "Other religion" as opposed to "Catholic" or "Protestant."

What IS this place?

Sunday, June 05, 2005

No matter how much I attempt to be a technophile, journaling on the computer doesn't seem to be as viscerally satisfying somehow as the physical use of pen and paper. The 'organic connection' to certain types of activities is something of great interest and confusion to me. Why should it be that a pen - no more a natural device than the computer - should feel so much more 'alive' than a keyboard? Is it merely that computers offer any of a dozen ways to distract my short attention span? Certainly I can type much faster than I can write, but, of course, I can think faster still. Is there some merit to tempering the speed that my thoughts are translated to the page? Is if the difference between the mobile, flat piece of wood pulp and the static, glowing LED? For certainly, something is satisfying about the shuffling of papers, the scratching of a pen, and, indeed, I have been known to use a fountain pen of late to write my meager memoirs of the day. Surely an outside observer must think this an intentional play to nostalgia, but for me, it's simply appealing, not as much in its conceptual romanticism as its "feel."

On Centuries, Cannonballs, and Reservoirs, my journal blog.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

I've started a second blog that's more of a journal, like I talked about below. I'll post a link here when I update it, just to keep you in the loop.

Good morning
I think in this nonsense, my friend, don't you see?
And that's why those such as you challenge my sanity.

the words may be simple, the rhymes not too long,
but at least it's more dense than some popular songs,
either way, I have found, it's a strange malady,
I can't help but plod along in this silly off-key

A meter with a name I've never bothered to learn,
even though, on their own, the pages still seem to turn.

And I'm stuck in this place, with my 'learning' and 'turning,'
YOU try to rhyme "Neoconservative Thatcherism."

Friday, June 03, 2005

Damn it all, Yertle, you've done it again.
A clever deceiver, I'll admit, you might win.
A frigtening place in a frightening time,
How many days are YOU asked for spare dimes?
Progress, it seems, has many a face,
Some giggle and chuckle, some smirk in distaste.
So many riches, all around you each day,
But you, O dear reader, best not stand in their way.
On the State of our Union, I have ... many things to say,
But read this text first, and without delay.


On the far-away island of Sala-ma-Sond,
Yertle the Turtle was king of the pond.
A nice little pond. It was clean. It was neat.
The water was warm. There was plenty to eat.
The turtles had everything turtles might need.
And they were all happy. Quite happy indeed.

They were... until Yertle, the king of them all,
Decided the kingdom he ruled was too small.
"I'm ruler", said Yertle, "of all that I see.
But I don't see enough. That's the trouble with me.
With this stone for a throne, I look down on my pond
But I cannot look down on the places beyond.
This throne that I sit on is too, too low down.
It ought to be higher!" he said with a frown.
"If I could sit high, how much greater I'd be!
What a king! I'd be ruler of all that I see!"

And Yertle, the Turtle King, gave a command.
He ordered nine turtles to swim to his stone
And, using these turtles, he built a new throne.
He made each turtle stand on another one's back
And he piled them all up in a nine-turtle stack.
And then Yertle climbed up. He sat down on the pile.
What a wonderful view! He could see 'most a mile!

"All mine!" Yertle cried. "Oh, the things I now rule!
I'm the king of a cow! And I'm the king of a mule!
I'm the king of a house! And, what's more, beyond that
I'm the king of a blueberry bush and a cat!
I'm Yertle the Turtle! Oh, marvelous me!
For I am the ruler of all that I see!"

And all through the morning, he sat up there high
Saying over and over, "A great king am I!"
Until 'long about noon. Then he heard a faint sigh.
"What's that?" snapped the king,and he looked down the stack.
And he saw, at the bottom, a turtle named Mack.
Just a part of his throne. And this plain little turtle
Looked up and he said, "Beg your pardon, King Yertle.
I've pains in my back and my shoulders and knees.
How long must we stand here, Your Majesty, please?"

"SILENCE!" the King of the Turtles barked back.
"I'm king, and you're only a turtle named Mack."

"You stay in your place while I sit here and rule.
I'm the king of a cow! And I'm the king of a mule!
I'm the king of a house! And a bush! And a cat!
But that isn't all. I'll do better than that!
My throne shall be higher!" his royal voice thundered,
"So pile up more turtles! I want 'bout two hundred!"

"Turtles! More turtles!" he bellowed and brayed.
And the turtles 'way down in the pond were afraid.
They trembled. They shook. But they came. They obeyed.
From all over the pond, they came swimming by dozens.
Whole families of turtles, with uncles and cousins.
And all of them stepped on the head of poor Mack.
One after another, they climbed up the stack.

Then Yertle the Turtle was perched up so high,
He could see forty miles from his throne in the sky!
"Hooray!" shouted Yertle. "I'm the king of the trees!
I'm king of the birds! And I'm king of the bees!
I'm king of the butterflies! King of the air!
Ah, me! What a throne! What a wonderful chair!
I'm Yertle the Turtle! Oh, marvelous me!
For I am the ruler of all that I see!"

Then again, from below, in the great heavy stack,
Came a groan from that plain little turtle named Mack.
"Your Majesty, please... I don't like to complain,
But down here below, we are feeling great pain.
I know, up on top you are seeing great sights,
But down here at the bottom we, too, should have rights.
We turtles can't stand it. Our shells will all crack!
Besides, we need food. We are starving!" groaned Mack.

"You hush up your mouth!" howled the mighty King Yertle.
"You've no right to talk to the world's highest turtle.
I rule from the clouds! Over land! Over sea!
There's nothing, no, NOTHING, that's higher than me!"

But, while he was shouting, he saw with surprise
That the moon of the evening was starting to rise
Up over his head in the darkening skies.
"What's THAT?" snorted Yertle. "Say, what IS that thing
That dares to be higher than Yertle the King?
I shall not allow it! I'll go higher still!
I'll build my throne higher! I can and I will!
I'll call some more turtles. I'll stack 'em to heaven!
I need 'bout five thousand, six hundred and seven!"

But, as Yertle, the Turtle King, lifted his hand
And started to order and give the command,
That plain little turtle below in the stack,
That plain little turtle whose name was just Mack,
Decided he'd taken enough. And he had.
And that plain little lad got a bit mad.
And that plain little Mack did a plain little thing.
He burped!
And his burp shook the throne of the king!

And Yertle the Turtle, the king of the trees,
The king of the air and the birds and the bees,
The king of a house and a cow and a mule...
Well, that was the end of the Turtle King's rule!
For Yertle, the King of all Sala-ma-Sond,
Fell off his high throne and fell Plunk! in the pond!

And today the great Yertle, that Marvelous he,
Is King of the Mud. That is all he can see.
And the turtles, of course... all the turtles are free
As turtles and, maybe, all creatures should be.

by Dr. Seuss

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

I think I might do this 'blogging' thing in relation to my recent pursuits as a competitive cyclist. You've seen two entries regarding my races below. I'm not sure if splitting my ego all over the place is a great plan, as it might lead me to just do none of it, but it's likely enough I'll start it into a whole new weblog. We'll see.

I raced this evening at the Mount Tabor criterium series, my first crit. I'm going to bed now, so I'll post a more detailed description in the morning. Basically, though, it was short, fast, and somewhat wet and slick. I was tired, and more or less sat in the whole race, trying to get a 'feel' for the course for the rest of the series. I took a few pulls up the steepish hill sections, and turned on the gas a little bit near the end to finish in the points, at least, though towards the back of them - 13th or so. I don't feel very great about this. Next Wednesday I won't be so blase.