Apparently, I post a fair number of dashboard widgets these days. Here’s the latest:
The day this happened, I biked back home in the heat. The wind was up, and it felt artificial it was so hot. Odd thing: I biked past the five story Oak Street Ramp on the U’s campus, and there was this cool air wafting out of it. It had gotten so hot so quickly that the concrete of the parking structure had remained cool, and was cooling the block around it. It was really odd to suddenly be about 10 degrees cooler.
Tonight’s perfect weather let us take a bike ride to and from the Out On A Limb performance. During it, I discovered something quite interesting. See, I’m usually biking during the day when the wind is up and my forward progress depends on fighting against it. For this bike ride, however, it was dusk. For safety, we clipped a taillight to Mykala’s… tail. Coasting through the evening, the only thing impeding my progress was the occasional bug running into my face.
In the past few weeks, I’ve had some very near misses with some very bad things.
(Almost) Bike Death
Seymour Avenue winds down a very steep hill as it approaches Franklin Avenue. At the intersection between the two, there’s a blind intersection controlled by a stoplight. In the winter, I come down this hill on my bike and turn left onto Franklin. 99% of the time, the light is red and I slow to a stop, but I’ve made it through on a couple of green lights in the past.
Biking home, as I do everyday, is always more interesting during rush hour. A few days ago, I hopped on my bike, and started passing cars all the way down Washington Avenue. The weather was beautiful, so the ride was quite pleasant. During such unseasonably warm weather, drivers tend to open their windows. So, one driver had their arm dangling out, a lit cigarette held casually in their fingers. For more than a few seconds during my approach of the car, I thought about grabbing that cigarette and throwing it on the ground as I passed by.
I rode the West River Parkway up from the St. Paul Lifetime via Ford Parkway and WOW what a path! Darn thing is practically level for a few miles and smoother than an ice rink that’s just been Zambonied. More grip than ice, though.
I hopped on my bike to ride home on from school on this gorgeous evening. The sun illuminated everything in front of me, casting my shadow far in front of me along the bumpy pavement of Washington Avenue. I glided by Punch Pizza with its garage door up, looking at the people who were looking back at me, they dining halfway al fresco, me wishing I were dining on something. Snapping out of my reverie, I went through my compulsive check. See, ever since I began dental school, I walk out of the house the exact same way each day — wallet in my left pocket, keys in my right, phone in the change pocket on the right. I will do this check when walking, when idle, or when I’m leaving for anywhere. Turns out I unconsciously added a wedding ring check to the list.
We are coming up on my favorite season in the whole-wide world: street sweeping season. After getting gravel, rocks, and sand kicked into my face for a season, I finally get relief: a chance to ride the good bike without worrying about destruction of myself or the bike from street debris.
That’s what’s so great about Minnesota: everyone here knows what spring means: the awesomeness of room-temperature air. We really should have some sort of celebration or parade.
The freeze-thaw this season has produced an extremely large amount of ice. Our walkway in front of the house was covered in about 4 inches of solid ice after a few weeks of the cold-warm-cold cycles. These weather patterns have also created the worst pothole season in my memory… which is where this story begins.
I’m a lucky, lucky, lucky man. Dinner: homemade potato salad featuring farmer’s market fresh potatoes, stoneground organic mustard, organic sour cream, and Mykala’s special blend of herbs/spices. Fresh organic eggs in a tasty Rudi’s sandwich. All prepared by my lovely wife.
Mykala recently commented about the doping substance EPO… and I started writing a comment in response. Unfortunately, the comment got so long that, well, it turned into a full post. I recently revisited a first-person account of EPO and other chemicals for enhancing human performance — we now join this comment already in progress…
Today, online, I saw the most beautiful bike I have ever seen in my life. Before I link to that, a bit about the man who makes these bikes. A certain Joshua Muir in Santa Cruz, California runs a shop called Frances Cycles. He builds your frame. From scratch. By hand. From steel (or something more exotic). The results are stupendous. Consider his innovative Smallhaul design, allowing one to carry large amounts of stuff in a cargo hold between the handlebars and (rather distant) front wheel. Using that design, you can do things like carry your dog with you on your bike (also… click that last link, seriously).
Now we travel to this link: MoCo Loco: Anti-Theft Bike/Car Device. There, you’ll find that you can prevent theft of your new mode of transportation by applying fake rust, scratch, and dent decals that are stunningly realistic.
But then your new mode of transportation appears to be rusted, scratched, and dented.
Ok, here we go. Since one of the purposes of this site is to preserve things in which I am interested for posterity: I will now embark on an image-powered summary of some of my interests from the past week.
Interest 1: Vega4
This music group sounds like Snow Patrol; that’s a good thing. I like ‘em … I caught them on the radio (not on the television, though I must admit that seems to be one of the best place to hear new, alternative music these days); I’ve been thinking about getting their album ever since. A quote from a PopMatters review follows:
Hot on the heels of my extensive discussion on happiness, I must change topics a bit and point out a 2005 study by the American Chemical Society, specifically, “Senior Research Associate Janel Kasper-Wolfe of ACS’s Department of Member Research & Technology under the general guidance of the ACS Committee on Economic & Professional Affairs.” Fascinating, you say. Read on! So … what in this study could be so interesting, you ask? Well. This is an analysis of the starting salaries received by chemistry graduates in 2005. Possibly an ironic subject matter given my last post? Yes. Interesting? Without a doubt.