Tossing and Tortured 'Till Dawn

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

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Gettin' working on another one, here.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

As of 01-01-2008, the following pending policies will take effect:
Medical : Routine Care PPO
Dental : Standard PPO
Vision: Standard VSP
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Thanks SBUX.

Now if I crash and get beaten to a piece of meat, I won't also be filing for bankruptcy. Or, at least, stuck with more than 20% of the retail price of bankruptcy, which I guess might still be pretty high.

I could even, like, go to the doctor at some point. If I felt that I needed to, you know. I could do it. It's been so long since that's reasonably been an option that the idea probably won't even occur to me.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Let the drama begin anew :

Seattle Post-Intelligencer cover article about bikes, sharing the road, et cetera.

Article here

Commentary -- warning! Lots of inflammatory crap! Here

Fully op-ed by Yours Truly to follow.

Monday, December 24, 2007

For years, whenever my head is stuck in one place for too long, I sing this little verse to myself:

"Man, how I need a new song
I've been singing this one for too long
And I don't even think I still understand its words
For though I'll always hear the tune
I won't be coming home so soon
Tell the truth, I'm not quite sure just where I'll land."

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Apparently, I am either supposed to write more, or, less about cycling. Take, you know, your pick.

So I took a look at my last dozen posts, and just over half are related to bike riding, at some level. But, like, my pictures of the rainy flooded ride don't realy have much to do with bikes.

Whatev.

This is why originally, when I started cycling, I created a seperate blog that's now mothballed, to talk about all of my presumably boring pedalling.


Then, I got the idea that I could have some kind of blog fusion, because no one wants to read just about my boring life, either. I tried, then, to create some kinda balance with it all, where cyclists would go "here's this other thing, this is not about bikes, but it is neat," and noncyclists would think, "hey, here is this bike thing, this is sorta interesting."

Well, I guess we'll see.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Share the road, and let everyone know you do:

Since many of you fine readers reside in the RoC (No, not that the other one. The GREEN one. The Republic of Cascadia, yo.) live in the Department of Oregon, I humbly ask that you check this out



Thanks, Kman and Jonathan, who does a whole lot more good for cycling than I do.

The short of it is: Pay $20 for four years, or $10 per year. Get a license plate that says "share the road." You can do it in Washington,, too, but that one's been out for a little while now.

Why should I do this?. Because you like bikes, right? And even if you don't cycle much, you know someone like your humble narrator who does, and who'd like to make risks to life and limb as reasonably low as possible.

How will this help? First of all, the dollar issue. You're contributing to non-profit causes that support cycling safety and awareness, like the Bicycle Transportation Alliance in Portland. But, and I think more importantly, you are raising awareness out there. They are kind of like Sharrows (little painted symbols that depict a bike in the auto traffic lane) in that they are passive, with no real effect on their own, but they might make people think for a minute the next time they think coming within inches of a cyclist is funny, or will somehow teach a lesson.

Why don't I put my money where my mouth is? I'm not getting one of these plates, for Oregon or Washington. Of course, what would I do with it? Put it on my head? On my messenger bag?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Aw, somebody get in my head, pull the thoughts out, and update my blog for me, m'kay?
---
So, here is a post on fruit, while thinking of summer. I never posted this pic on the 'blog, and I never really got a Seattle summer. Yep. I ate some of these berries in my oatmeal today, which is what made me think of it.



Today I also ate a can of diet peaches. Yeah, DIET peaches. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?
I didn't even know when I bought them. They just looked like the little cans of peaches, with a pull-tab, so you can take them for your lunchbreak at work and whatnot, which is what I did.

I ate them, and thought, these are kind of strange peaches. Then I looked closely at the label, and, apparently they are really great because they have "only" 60 calories, since they are sweetened with sucralose, aka "Splenda." Oh, but you see, compared with the gajillion calories in the "standard" peaches in heavy syrup, this is great!

Wait a minute. Can't I just have, you know, peaches? Without syrup, or splenda, or anything, just peach juice? I mean, they are quite sweet on their own.

Crap, this is what I get for going to the grocery outlet. Cans of peaches four for a dollar, but bonus cancer. I guess that is why they are at the outlet.



I see the little "sweetened with splenda" symbol now that I'm LOOKING for it, but it's something I did not think to look for whatsoever.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Wow. I baked something.




Now I know why there "scone mix" is a silly thing. This takes nothing. Flour, cream, eggs, butter. Baking powder, a little sugar, a bit of salt. Extra stuff -- blackberries on the one, lemon juice and peel plus poppy seeds on the other.

Partially this is because I am cheap, and partially because though my employer makes quality coffee their baked goods leave something to be desired. This makes me wonder: if I can make these, what do THEY do?
Someone recently asked me how it was going, and I said, of course, pretty good, how about yourself?

They responded, no, really, how's it going? How has your life been lately?

One day last week, I think it was Tuesday, I woke up at 5:00 in the morning and ate breakfast. A lot of breakfast. Steel-cut oats with chopped walnuts and figs, coffee, banana bread, an english muffin, some juice. A few pages of Cormac McCarthy's Border trilogy makes getting on the road seem like a great plan. Just past seven am, dawn just starting to do its thing. A gray seattle morning, drizzling what I'm told the Irish call "soft rain." It eases off in a hour or two. I ride my touring bike, with my work clothes in my panniers which thankfully are fully waterproof.

Hours and time get gone quickly. Just remembering all of the towns that one of these rides cranks through is a challenge: Milton, Fife, Puyallup, Sumner, McMillin, Alderton, Orting, South Prarie, then the reverse. A fairly flat cruise, and I don't put a foot down except my one water break.

At noon, I roll into work, lock up, and do my best Superman impersonation in the bathroom. I wish we had showers, but, what are you gonna do?

The hours slide by quickly in the fast-paced coffee shop, until midafternoon, when an eighteenish guy approaches me and asks if I know his sister. She usually orders and iced white tea?

"Yeah, sure, I know her. She's nice."

"Well, she wants to know if you've got a girlfriend. That's pretty much why I came in here. I guess, uh, I'll get a coffee, too."

I don't think I've seen that kind of asking-out by proxy since, what, high school? And apparently too many people seem to think that wasn't as long ago for yours truly as it really was, which is still only seven years but that's a pretty long ONLY when I think about it.

I get home about nine in the evening. The distant lights of the highway cut through the trees, drowned out by my icy blue headlight. It's peaceful, and mostly downhill on the way back.

At home, there's an email from the photography company who did the last shoot I took part in -- they are doing different shoot next week, would I like to be in it?

Pasta, the last of the sauce I made the week before, a salad, and a few more pages of the book. People say McCarthy is hard to put down and they might be right, but in recent years I've learned to savor books more than just plow through them, plus I'm really to tired to get through more than a dozen pages anyway.

Ten thirty is ridiculously early for bed for me, for most of my life, but I'm getting used to it, I guess. The maths say it should be nine anyhow, but that's just not going to happen.

And that's pretty much how it goes.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Nature Can't Decide and Goes for a Bit of Everything --

Most of November was unseasonably clear, cold, and dry. It was 26 when I left for a ride just before dawn on Thanksgiving morning, which I know ain't all that cold by the standards of people who live in, you know, snowy places. Trust me, for the PNW in November, that's pretty weird. Don't get me wrong, cold and sunny is a nice change.

On Saturday, 1st December, I went for a ride before work. At six thirty, I drank my coffee on the porch and watched a light dusting of snow taper off. By eight it was chilly, but overall fairly pleasant. As I rode into the parking lot at work at noon, it was almost what I'd call nice out. Then, two hours later, it had cooled considerably, and snow flurries blanketed the parking lot out of the windows. I worried about the ride home a bit -- there's a steep hill to go down, and I had a road bike. Never fear, though, it was all rain by nine pm on the way home.

So, the point is:
1st Dec, High 38 F
3rd Dec, High 59 F

I'm no major meteorologist, but something about cold air and hot air running into each other makes things like rain, doesn't it?

It didn't really stop raining between Saturday night and this afternoon.

I left for a ride this morning, and found that my street looked like this:



And like this



"Closed," it said, but I got through. Gore-tex cycling shoes are nice. The water came ALMOST up to my bottom bracket, at the shallowest part. Most cars turned back, as, amusingly, did one of those massive suburban pickup trucks with a lift kit, to I guess LOOK badass. But this guy got through:



I feel badly for these folks and their brand-new house. They literally finished a bunch of the landscaping last weekend. Then again, you would think that, living at elevation zero, on a flood plain, with the Hylebos creek about ten feet from your property, would be something of a give away.

Remember that Monty Python and the Holy Grail bit about building castles in swamps? Pdog and I were just talking about the wisdom of the new housing developments on the they are building as we speak on the Puyallup R's flood plain.





Eventually, though, I got outta town and headed southeast, to the Foothills trail, which was a serious effort in the headwind. I don't use a computer, but I swear I was running at just under time-trial effort to go, what, 16 miles an hour?

Here's the start of the Carbon River, just after it splits off from the Puyallup.