Saturday, December 31, 2011


I knew it would happen.  She is my bike after all.  Not that there's anything wrong with it.  And not that she has to choose.  I'm quite happy to enjoy her either way, said the winking bi-cyclist.

All it took was a new pair of tires and now she wants to be a cross dresser. My hybrid wants to be a cyclocross.  There, I said it.  It's not so bad.  It's actually kind of fun.  I rode it today.  700.  35.  Knobby tires.  Oh yeah, I rode her today.  And boy was it fun!

I was like a 10 year old on a brand new bike.  She's always been my favorite bike, but our relationship has been a bit stale the past year.  These new shoes with their beefy, fun, fun.  I really am that easy to please.  Grinning ear to ear in my mud colored glasses.

I'm no where near race ready, nor interested, really.  But if I got stronger I could throw the old road cassette back on this baby and have a real Xbike at the low low cost of $80!  Since I don't like a drop bar I'm 3/4 of the way there!

Imagine it.  Me and RF neck and neck racing for the finish.  She, on her new Cross, me on my 'Brid. Me...Rach...Me...Rach...who's it's gonna take last place this time...??

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

What a Rip Off

The good news is she stopped.  And she didn't give me a thumbs up, but then I did nothing to deserve it this time.  I was sitting there at the red light minding my own business with my foot on the brake.  And then it hit me.

The other car that is.  And here's the thing you already know, insurance is a scam....and so are the people on the receiving end.  And here we are in the middle, the victims, sacrificing our time, our life, our money to support these two monsters controlling our crumpled lives.

I'm just going to say this...I don't care if anyone knows I'm driving a Honda...if they can't see that they are blind (which maybe, they shouldn't even be on the road then, I'm just saying).  I really don't care if they know it's an EX, I'd rather they not to be honest.  What I do want, is to advertise my interests...climbing, riding, a political affiliation, a favorite vacation spot....It's MY bumper, MY prime advertising space.

But after the accident who is going to replace those bumper stickers?  Not the insurance company I'll tell you that.  And WHY the hell not I ask you?  They will have been damaged as a result of the accident, for which I bear no fault, and should by all means be covered by the policy.  Really, what are we talking, 5-15 bucks tops?

You know what is covered?  Honda.  Civic. Ex.  $20. $20. $20. I. Kid. You. Not. That's not including the labor to reaffix them to the repaired trunk. We're talking $100 bucks to replace corporate advertising to MY space.  Shoot, I could use a Sharpie to replace that.  On second thought, shouldn't THEY be paying ME?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Me and My Shadow

Daddy Look!

It's a girl!  She's insane!  That's SUPER Man!

Yes, my new and improved Santa Helmet is....well, awesome.  It's a little on the top heavy side.  Not exactly aerodynamic.  I am a bit of a reverse bobble head, especially in wind.  Definitely give me all 3 feet.

There are smiles, giggles, honks, but most importantly traffic does STOP.  I mean you could buy lights and batteries and hope OR you could grab one of these babies and know.  They WILL see you!

And I have been called a bit of a Grinch this Christmas.  See, it's him not me!  But if you are going to spend a holiday alone, you might as well spend it with your shadow.  Always there (even at night in a city!), dependable, consistant, attentive...and if he's as fun as mine....!! 

So Santa if you are listening, I'd love a best friend to fall in love with.  To laugh, to cry, to listen, to talk, to compromise, to RIDE, to share the holiday and every day...but if that's too much to ask, maybe less wind on my commute?  You don't even need to stop by the house, I didn't make cookies and I'm out of beer.  GRINCH!

Friday, December 23, 2011

What's Black and White and Read All Over?

There is something to be said about good old fashioned in paper, newspaper.  Not to mention the handy little bag it comes in every morning, the challenging crossword, and various biased reports from around the globe masquerading as fair and balanced...but there is the newspaper itself.

You've heard the rumors.  Sterile....well, not exactly...but it does work great to clean windows, protect ice cream, insulate clothing, make paper hats.  WHAT ABOUT PAPER MACHE!?!?  Have you ever tried to make some indiscernible object out of an e-mag??  And what about that paste....what will our youth of tomorrow stick in their mouths and attempt to digest when we walk out of the room for two seconds?

It's not ALL good that we've thrown newspapers to the wayside.  Take last night for example.  I went out for a delightful dinner, stunning conversation, bouts of joy and laughter....unbeknownst to me outside it was pouring.  And I'm not saying it's a bad night when a date ends wet,'s better with protection, right?  And it wasn't that kind of date, if you know what I mean.

So I got wet.  Pants, shoes, bag...surprisingly NOT my hair, go figure.  But when you ride every day- wet anything is not good, especially in winter.  Enter the newspaper.  Perfect for stuffing wet shoes...alas, not a page of paper in the joint! 

In a pinch, I tried stuffing my mouse in there, but as you can imagine it didn't help.  Thank god for hairdryers.  And the seat....well, let's just say, it's good to have a spare.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Midday Fallies

And you thought riding through the city was dangerous and challenging...Have you ever tried circumnavigating a strip mall parking lot three days before Christmas?  It's worth the prime parking spot however!

And yet, it was the trail that put me on my ass.  Like a sheet of ice on a super slick tire....leaves, mud, you name's why they call it FALL.  Not once.  Not twice. But THREE times I almost fell.

And there I was checking out some Xtires at the REI.  Nothing against REI, but it's not the place I expected to be looking at Xtires, alas online shopping is often challenging. And there just happened to be a sweet set locked to the same bike rack.  So I measured, and checked it twice...I wanted naughty AND nice.  Something with some teeth, but still manageable...You know a little winter grip...come to think of it that fender may have to go.

The thing about brick and mortars are you get it NOW, which is apparently exactly when I needed said tires.  If third time's a charm, fourth time's some harm.  Yes, indeedydoo I put her down on the fourth tricky pass.  I put her down hard.  My own little version of the ditty, Hit the Deck Falls.

At the time I thought all was well, I mean there arose some clatter, but nothing amiss.  I worked, the bike worked....up, up, and away...but time would bring visions of black and blue plums on my head.  Okay, that was holiday licensing.  It was really my thigh. And my ribs. And my shoulder....Bah Humbugger!

Monday, December 19, 2011


Man, times are tight.  I can remember the days when Santa came to your house.  Sleigh, reindeer, the works.  Now apparently he has the mail carriers leave 'we missed you' slips at the door.

Really?  At. The. Door?  I finally have a working chimney and no red felted fat man is squeezing through it?  But I had it cleaned!  I'm making cookies.  There is beer.  There is always beer.

Come to think of it I don't remember ANY chimneys in the old trailer park.  How exactly did I expect Santa to get those toys under the tree every year?  Then we moved to a house with a chimney but no fire place.  WHAT, Santa is STUCK in the interior of the house?  Start chipping at the drywall! Well, who would put a fake chimney on top of a house anyway??

I was a little worried about picking up an undisclosed package at the post office.  And this, the busiest day of the year.  It was certainly not high on my WANT TO DO LIST.  But the least he could do was give me some idea of dimensions...I do ride a bike after all. 

I realize you have a big sleigh...or perhaps a UPS truck I'm thinking....but all I have is a handlebar.  "Bigger than a breadbox." "Heavier than a bowling ball."  You don't have to ruin the surprise, but can a girl get a hint?!  The slip of paper didn't play the Lexus ditty so at least I knew it wasn't a car.  Do you know anyone who has ever gotten one of those big red bowed cars??

There was a sigh of relief when the postmaster brought this.  There could have been an early Christmas at the Woodmoor Post Office.  But really Santa?  It's not like you have to worry about high gas prices!!  Bring back home delivery!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Say Llama Calcetines

Yikes!  There is a Snuffleupagus in my bike shoes! And here I thought I didn't have room for a second pair of socks!  I stand corrected...and WARM.

They are actually Alpacas.  And FYI these creatures are a bit like Gremlins...or more accurately Mogwai with a slight twist.  You can get these babies wet...just don't put them in the dryer.  I'm talking clothing products here, but I wouldn't recommend putting an acutal Alpaca in a dryer either.  It would have to be a commercial dryer and I still wouldn't recommend it.

But that's how I got these socks.  My grandparents felted them.  That means they now stand up on their own and good luck passing your toes through the ankle.  But on the flip side now they are smaller and fit in my shoes...I just have to take my feet off first.  Okay, so my toes don't get cold on the way home Perfect.  Truly a win, win, win.

I've got another pair I sleep in.  OH. MY. GOD. That's all I'm gonna say.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Coming Clean

The truth is I'm stuck.  I've been stuck for a chocolate box of years now.  Gump was right, You Never Know Whatchur Gonna Git.

It's just like that.  I've been picking out sweet treats for the better part of a decade only to bite into them bitterly disappointed and then toss them back into the box.  I've got a case of gnawed off desserts and a hunger for something more.

I guess the key is not to be fooled by the chocolate covered outside.  It's what's on the inside that matters. It all looks so good on the exterior but the surprise know what I'm saying.  We've all confidently chewed into that little square delight only to find strawberry coconut nougat when we really wanted caramel. 

Take fruit cake.  Who really likes these things?  It's the season of giving, however. Giftee Beware. You take all your rotten cores and disguise them with  fluffy white cake hoping no one will notice.  The problem with tiny chocolates is A) they are irresistible and B) you can't slice them open to find what you have before committing.

Fair enough.  Since it's always about the bike....I'll keep my single speed thank you very much.  I have one gear, it always works, I know what I'm going to have to put in, and I know what I'm going to get out.  You can keep your 21 speed where certain combinations don't work, a sliver of crumpled leaf can throw a chain, and the constant upkeep is overly demanding.  That relationship is too high maintenance  for me.

Simple is as simple does.   I don't want gears I don't really need.  You might have to work harder but there's no need carrying around excessive baggage for a one or two time use.  I'm ready to get unstuck; it's time to pull that stick out of my spokes and really get moving!  Besides, spoke cards work much better than wood...even with a bamboo frame.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Dude, Where's My...Seriously

Unfortunately I like sketchy photographs...graffiti, boarded up buildings, broken windows.  It's not the ideal place to wander around.  With an expensive camera around your neck.  Alone.

But given my recent lack of fear I wandered down the back alleys of Baltimore searching for subjects.  It occurred to me at some point this wasn't the time or place to be artistic.
When you are in these situations alone...eyeball in a viewfinder, focused on a meter and light and Fstops and such it's hard to be aware of your surroundings.  Shutter speed and focus ought to be left to the camera.  Point, shoot, or get shot.

But here's where it takes a turn for the worse.  I lost my car.  I'm not saying it was stolen.  I'm saying I lost it.  I rode down too many alleys, in too many circles; I was like a toddler who just spun himself silly.  I had no idea where I parked it. 

I remembered intersection A and intersection B and they were within two blocks of each other.  I circled this same area upwards of 10 times.  Several Civics. None with bike racks.  More importantly, none that were mine.  Must. leave. bread. crumbs....or...dumb ass, use your camera to take a picture before you go wandering off like a child.

There was a good possibility I parked it on a main road and it was almost 3pm.  Yes, I was actually hoping my car would be towed.  Then I'd be able to find it!  My friend wanted to help, but I had nothing to offer.  Yeah, I parked it next to a....a curb.  Underneath a....a tree.  Beside a.....a parking sign.  Anything like that you've seen in the city?

Finally I stopped trying to remember and decided to think.  I worked my way backwards from Intersections A and B.  See I thought I had driven through Intersection A and ridden through B.  Putting C (the car) between these two points.  It seems I had been on bike through both Intersections A AND B...indeed NOW I remember.  C is precisely....YES, there's my car!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I Should Have Got a Pink Flamingo

Here's a little update on my car. So you know it wouldn't start the other day.  Turns out it was the distributor.  Also turns out this is a $700 fix.  Ouch.  Well, I broke even, go figure.  My back pay comes in...right around this figure.  And I turn around and hand it over to the mechanic.

When I get the estimate, which changes by the way, I call my dad and say, really?  Really, should a distributor cost that much?  To which he responds, "do you want your car back?"  Fair enough.  I was in a pickleroo.  It was after all DITD (dead in the driveway).

Stepping back a few days can I just tell you when I walked into the garage there was a dude standing in there.  Just hanging out.  I couldn't tell if he worked there or if he was waiting on his car or what.  Mind you I just called to say my car was OTW.  Now, outside my car is being dewinched off the back of a tow truck that has monopolized the entire gas station.  And this guy looks at me and says, do you need something?

So fast forward to now.  Car's all fixed.  New tires, new spark plugs, new muffler, and now newish distributor (yeah, I think that price was for a used part!)  Obviously I've made a commitment to this car this year.  And why not?  It's a Civic.  Even the tow dude said, yeah, that's a great car; lasts forever!

Define forever.

Today I finally found a replacement battery for my clicker.  It's only been about a month.  Everywhere I went that particular battery was sold out.  One kid at the Lowes tried to sell me another number.  "I know the number doesn't match but that's cuz there's two of them in the package."  Really?  That's okay Baby I'll wait, stay in school, study hard, learn a trade.

You won't believe this.  It's not the battery.  Ah....that would explain why both clickers died at the exact same time.  I believe it might be the receiver in the car.  Perfect.  So now the car runs great, but the locks don't work, the volume button on the radio is jacked, the windows might go back up if you put them down, and I'm afraid to put anything of value in the CD player.  Oh, and biker beware if you mount your steed on top of my vehicle; it melts forks for fun.

Have I mentioned I don't even use my car?  So yeah, I just spent $740 on an ugly piece of rusted lawn art.  I would have been better off to leave it sit, save $700 bucks, and buy $40 worth of lights to decorate the damn thing.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Merry Crossing

What flies through the air, is puffy and round, and red all over?  Mustn't be Santa.  But it might be a distracted holiday shopper flying through town in a red mini cooper.  WATCH OUT!

Have you ever been driving down the street and seen a pedestrian on the side of the road standing in or around a clearly marked crosswalk?  And you know the law is to stop, but you hesitate, thinking, if you wave this person on and the other speeding traffic doesn't stop....well, indirectly you may be responsible for killing some poor schmo?

Yeah, my day was like that. There I was at the newly designed intersection, you know the one, over on Little Falls.  Zig-zag trail, paint, signs, make the passage safer. And there I was obeying the law like all the drivers want...waiting my turn, in the crosswalk, stopping in the center...

You know this intersection right?  The trail is five inches from the red light.  And yet cars manage to careen around that 90 degree turn and accelerate into 45 mph neglecting the speed signs, trail signs, pedestrian and bike signs, and striped crosswalk.  Clearly it's the bikes causing the problems.

Like when I stopped in the center face to face with a black SUV.  Who stopped.  And waved me on.  Into the intersection.  Onto my death.  See, I didn't trust the teeny red car I saw duck behind the SUV so I hesitated at this front passenger bumper...

I had a front row view to what death looks like right before it  hits.  And all I could do was stare at both bumpers.  I wanted to see the driver's face.  I wanted to turn around to see the horror in the SUV's face.  But all I saw was my front wheel and two steel bumpers.  I missed the whole thing. 

I guess I had to.  Since I was already paused in my track stand waiting for it to happen there wasn't much to do except, well, actually turn my wheel to avoid the collision.  Yep, it was that close. She hit the crosswalk at a good clip, caught sight of me, panicked, and slammed on the brakes.  There was a momentary loss of control as her car skidded even closer and then the hands that flew up as a sort of, "I know that was my fault I'm so so sorry"

It was a bit like my dream.  The one where I die.  Since I've had that dream I've had two of these unbelievable close calls.  The first the pedestrians on the sidewalk screeched in horror and I'm sure this one brought on adrenaline rushes across the street.  Neither one did a thing to me.  No, that was close, no heavy breath, no missed heart beats.  Just, ho hum, here we go again...

Paint that's Red
Almost dead
Crosswalk White
Fight or Flight
Wasn't Santa, Wasn't Santa

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


So the mechanic says, what's it doing?  Me:  it's not printing.

It all started yesterday.  That's when my printer and my laptop started this ugly feud. First the printer wasn't speaking to the computer.  Then the computer stopped talking to the printer. They both worked fine just not together.

I gave them a moment to think about the ink. But the computer thinks it's just fine on its own as does the printer.  It was a tennis match of it's-not-me-it's-you and we were stuck in deuce hell. Those independent all-in-ones are difficult to deal with you know. And computers, well, they would just rather get the latest, greatest model and be done with it. Who wouldn't?

So today I gave in.  Clearly if these two couldn't get along and communicate the relationship was over.  I don't have time to deal with the bickering. ERROR ! X ! Fine.  The printer would take custody of the ink and the computer was welcome to stay.  I would find it another colored partner (can we say that?)

But here's where it gets complicated.  Apparently the car sided with the printer. So when I introduced the key to the car the Civic stuck out its tongue and said ppttthhbb.  It did, it sounded just like that. ppttthhbb  Huh.  So how do I get a printer home now?  I wasn't really looking for a fits-in-my-backpack-variety printer.

So I call AAA.  I'm fairly certain it's not the battery...everything seems to work fine in the car; I know it sounds like the printer.  Really, WHAT is going on?!  Back on the phone, maneuvering through the automated menu proves too much for the phone and it dies.

I finally get confirmation that it's not the car battery and the tow truck comes.  My shop went out of business so I'm heading to a gas station. I throw a bike in the car and hitch a ride with my tow.  That is AFTER, I find a bike with two air filled tires.  YES, that too.  How's that for funny?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

More Signs

It was that kind of day.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Pee Careful

People always warn you about doing certain things alone.  "It's not safe!" they scream.  Camping, hiking, biking....but the thing is if you sit around waiting for someone to play with you get old waiting.

Here's the other thing...people never warn you about other things, like stepping off a curb, getting in an elevator, or peeing alone.  In fact they even create little stalls to keep the other people out, for example, while peeing.

And would you rather get hurt freestylin' down a singletrack mountain bike trail or relieving yourself in a public restroom?  How'd I get this scar?  Well, that one I got when the locker room stall exploded like a transformer onto my head.  Mmmm....lacking a little je nais se quoi, no?

Besides, I'm careful.  When I ride solo, I ride cautious.  I don't go all out.  True, today was a little harder riding hurt AND solo, but when your friends are all at work what can you do?  Yes, the doctor earned his degree...I AM hurt.

My fingers are dragging.  Good news is driving is harder than riding because of the position of my elbow.  However, braking...problematic, on the bike that is.  You see, I brake with two fingers while holding on for dear life with the other two.  Those other two...somewhat unresponsive. C'est la vie.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Nerve

So the bike did fine today, finally.  I even drove the crank into a rock and she stayed solid.  The rider...not so much.  My crank is a bit tingly, but you probably already knew that, it's not new.

What's new is the diagnoses.  Yes, my work injury RSVPed diagnosis plus one.  I'm sorry doc what? Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex AND Ulnar Nerve Entrapment?  From a bathroom door?  You know I've always seen those women who use a paper towel to open the door...I. Had. No. Idea.

He's good.  I wanted to talk about my right wrist.  The cracking concerned me.  Yeah, yeah and tingling in the left hand.  Can we get back to the right wrist?  He threw big words at me to shut me up.  I said, huh, that sounds bigger than the culprit.  He said, you're no dummy.

Now tell me about the left hand...Does it hurt when I do this?  This?  How bout this?  No.  But will my wrist lock when it pops like that?  Clearly, I'm still obsessed with the wrong extremity.  He points out that he's way more concerned about the left.  Yeah, that's what everyone says.

He tries a few party tricks with me.  Cute.  He causes my arm to go weak.  Neat.  Tingly.  Wow.  Numb.  Cool.  Can you stop please? I never mentioned the funny bone theory, he found it all on his own.  Told me, that's what he's trained to do.  He's no dummy either.

Really?  Really, really?  I'm really hurt?  I might not need surgery? Whoa, slow your roll there doc. This was just a check in; there was nothing really wrong.  I feel fine. See, fine. It was just a door!

So to recap....I've got Carpool Tunnel in my elbow.  I don't even drive a car! Oh, and some torn cartilage in my wrist.  From a bathroom door.  But the bike is fine. And I am officially scared of public restrooms now.  Thanks.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Left Humerus

There I was doing my business...relax, relax, they aren't bullet holes.  And I wasn't shot, but I was injured.  Now where was I...

Right, there I was with my drawers in one hand and a door in the other.  It's not often you come out of a public restroom with your underpants in your hand, but it's even rarer that you come out with the door on your head either.

That's right!  The door was in my hand and not in the I'm-going-to-exit-the-stall-now kind of way.  More like don't-let-this-freaking-heavy-door-land-on-my-head-neck-or-toe kind of way.  I'm not entirely sure how, but I sort of  'caught' the door and 'placed' it on the floor.  All while standing there in my underpants!

Makes a girl think about wearing long pants to and from the actual locker in the locker room when visiting the wash closet.  Imagine getting knocked out by a stall door and having your boss come in while you're lying there out cold in your panties on the nasty bathroom floor.  But then, who expects to get attacked by  a stall door anyway.  Could scare the shit out of you....sorry couldn't resist.

But this is truly no laughing matter.  And you can clearly see, the hinges are still in tact.  This wasn't me pulling the door off the hinges, the damn anchors came clear out the wall!  So this was the door AND frame crashing in on me as I was exiting the bathroom, yes, yes, IN my underpants!

And it still hurts.  There is some tingling in my upper arm and hand.  I've got some pain in a couple fingers when I grasp something in a certain way.  Nurse Judy says tingling ain't good. But I don't think it's that bad.

There's just this spot on your elbow, you know the one, it drives the ill-named funny's a bit sore.  When you push on it, as is normal, it causes a pins and needles sensation down your arm.  Well, that, is on steroids! It's more like pitons and railroad spikes.

The ride home was a tad uncomfortable.  My arm was tired and sore.  Tweaking and twisting a handicapped stall-sized door is no easy feat.  But a girl's gotta get home.  Where it's SAFE to pee in private. Phalanges still tingling...

PS....HAPPY BIRTHDAY DR J! (from me and Nurse Judy)

Monday, October 31, 2011

To Tell the Truth

Who am I to argue with God?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Fool Marathons

Winning Tshirt of the day:  Running Sucks.  Runner Up (so to speak):  I don't do marathons, but I do do marathon runners.

It was nice to get back on the bike for the annual MCM this year.  For the past several I've been running my own personal mini marathon.  And yes, I do get a medal for it.

Chasing Marathon Bob around the course on foot is beyond my athletic ability.  Riding with him by bike is almost beyond my athletic ability.  Oh, I wish I was exaggerating.

I must say, I've become a huge fan of riding marathons.  Not a typo, riding, was intentional.  Running them, not so much.  I gave it a go...once.  That was enough.  Since then, my body rules.

See, turns out we had a conflict of interest, me and my body.  I thought I wanted to run 26.2 miles.  It knew it didn't want to.  I was clearly out of my mind, but unfortunately there's no out of my body. And for that one very long day, very long, we agreed to disagree.

Since then we have come to a mutual compromise.  I'm allowed to run HALF marathons, but FULL marathons must be done by bike.  We couldn't be happier.  Me and my body and my bike!  Closed roads, no traffic, inspiration around every corner, NO entry fee.

Helmets off to those who try.  Especially those, like me, who spend the day pounding the pavement...Five plus hours, running more miles than many people can bike!  Think about it.  A 25 mile bike ride for many is unimaginable. And these folks are running it!  Cue the tears....

Friday, October 28, 2011

Pure Ecstasy

This morning I woke to the most amazing 40 minutes in bed.  Eventually that is.  I even gave up my morning commute to draw it out just 20 minutes more.  I thought about it all day hoping to pick up tonight where we left off.

But I don't really feel like drinking again tonight. Not that it was that much, but apparently it was enough.  And it's not like I didn't consider the consequences; I passed out clutching a bottle of Gatorade.

I know the importance of hydrating throughout the night.  Dehydration is a bitch, like detoxing the toxin. But I only had two beers.  Two.  Okay, twoish beers and twoish near beers. That's not really four. No cause for alarm.

But a friend told me later you have to alternate. Beer, water, beer, water. You can't just catch up mid-night. I thought that's what I did? Near beer, as you well know, comes with a water chaser, right there in the same glass! But I still chugged the gator as I slept, just in case.

Didn't work.  Still woke fitful and tossing as the headache engulfed my vice. Fine.  I slugged myself downstairs and grabbed the magic elixir.  The amen in a bottle.  The pill in my pillow. And oh what a pillow it was. I can still feel it pulled close nuzzling against my groggy face.

The Excedrin did its job; did it real good. It washed out the ache like a tide pulling back to sea. In 10 seconds flat.  Like Percocet with an E. Just five more minutes....prrrrrrrr

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tightening the Belt

My Giant bill is turning into, well, a GIANT BILL. And extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures.  I hate to say it, but I might have to stop biking. There, I said it.

I just can't keep up.  Feeding my 'engine' just got expensive again. What once was gas now comes in a plain brown paper bag (and btw we are going to be paying for that soon too!)

In the beginning I had hefty start up costs for sure...gear, bags, lights, bike was expensive. Eventually, however, commuting by bike made me money.  My insurance rates dropped, I never went to a gas station, and I hadn't seen the inside of a Jiffy Lube in a lot longer than a jiffy. It was like a 5% raise, which unfortunately still left me 5% in the hole, but whatever....

But now I'm upside down like a well intended home owner in an unfair, mismanaged mortgage. My grocery bill is thiefing my wallet! I dread the necessary routine of watching the register roll faster than a gas pump.  And I just can't figure out how to exist without food. But if I rode less, I'd eat less, and bingo bango have more money.  My starving food bill trumps my gas budget like a cribbage Lurch.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Did Someone Say Grace?

It was, in one word, amazing.  What once was lost, now is found.  Twice in the same day!

While on vacation, my mother lost her car keys.  On a trail. While hiking.  If you ask her, it was my fault.  You see I was on another trail with a busted chain and I made the mistake of calling her so she wouldn't worry.  My mistake.

Her version from here goes like this:  I called.  She pulled out her phone like a rabbit out of a hat TADA!  And she says this must have been when her keys made their daring escape.  Hurtling amongst the woods, foliage, and wildlife.

Like a needle in a haystack.  She says, but a key is much bigger than a needle.  To which I responded, yes, and the WOODS much, much bigger than a haystack!

Meanwhile in the out of towner experiences a parallel universe.  Well, it wasn't her keys, but a license.  And the woods were cars, the wildlife people, and the foliage...well that was still foliage.  And my chain...fully in tact, thank god.

And I rolled up on her license and threw it in my pocket.  This wasn't my first ever find but the easiest reunion I ever made.  Consult facebook.  Match name and picture to license.  Confirm hometown.'s a match!  Send message.  License and owner reunited.

Back in the woods....Ranger Nick was making the rounds. And you'll never guess what was found... Now my mom says her keys must have been stolen by a cheeky chipmunk.  See, it's never her fault.  Still, in her defense, those chipmunks were a bit unruly. 

Whilst I was reading one afternoon, one jumped right up on my arm and stared me in the eye.  It may very well have been the same one that kept jumping in my crate and chirping around my digs.  These crazy critters were worse than a cat cruising an ice cream bowl.

But like the one staring me down on the edge of my sleeve, they wanted food, not keys. I can't imagine why they'd shove a key to a Toyota in their expandable cheek. you think they knew it was stashed with food?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Core of the Problem

Welcome to DC’s only CycloX race. We have no BMX tracks, no pump courses, no mountain bike trails, incomplete bike paths, and ONE CCX race. Do you really want to ask WHY we ride on the road?

Chris Core is constantly on the attack for why cyclists ride on the road, “when there is a perfectly good trail RIGHT there”. Now I’ve met Core, he’s a nice guy. We even had a nice long chat about bikes on the road. Most of what he says is reasonable.

Most. Some of what he says is ridiculous. Take his Share the Road, Share the Rules rant. He wants cyclists to behave like every other vehicle on the road. Well, I wish we could. But until EVERY vehicle on the road treats EVERY vehicle on the road equally that’s just not in my best interest.

He also believes we should wait our turn at a traffic light. Meaning, if there is a line of cars at a light we, as cyclists, should not proceed to the front of the line. Here’s the obvious issues with that…you push me all the way right on the road and then take it away at the light? Why shouldn’t I proceed in ‘my lane’ if no one else is in it? I will respect your turn signal if and when you use it.

Even if I arrive first at a light, cars don’t respect the fact that I am standing there. I have been honked at, cussed out, cut off, turned into, and even hit while waiting for the light. If we are treated equally and I am in front NO vehicle should be allowed to turn right on red IN FRONT OF ME. That would be like making a right on red from the left hand lane in front of other cars…it’s not legal. But perfectly okay, if said vehicle is a bike.

Lights are not timed for me. I cannot trip the sensor on some lights. I am not yielded the right of way at four way stop. I am afraid when I enter circles, pass by on/off ramps, travel some high volume roads.

I am cut off by buses, taxis, and drivers turning right. I am pulled out in front of. Pedestrians step out in front of me. Parkers open doors into me. Drivers park in my lane. There is debris on the shoulder. The trails are unplowed.

I am unprotected by a thick coating of metaled armor. Preyed upon on poorly designed trails. I am refused service in drive thrus. My speed is misjudged and drivers continue to make poor decisions that affect me.

Sometimes I choose to ride on the road and sometimes I have no choice but to. No matter which, I always have a right to ride on the road. And let’s be honest, we all break the law, riders and drivers alike.  But believe me, when I do it's for the sake of my safety not to spite it.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Thems the Brakes

You are not going to believe this, but I can't make this stuff up!  On my second attempt at a mountain bike ride this October my bike turned up lame.

And again, I was out on the trail without the proper tool.  So I thought what the hell, I can't ride, how 'bout a game of Operation!?

Yeah, the childhood stresser a little like Perfection.  In Perfection you put odd shapes into teeny tiny holes.  In Operation you took odd shapes out of teeny tiny holes.  As a child I played with both.

Good thing cuz now I needed a little bit of both.  So I borrowed a friend's needle nose...I know, who brings needle noses (I think that should be needlenice right?) anyway, who brings pliers on a ride?  Smarter people than me that's who.

So I borrowed some pliers and went to work on my personal version of Cavity Sam.  Take the brake pads out.  Remove the spring I just learned all about from Patapsco Pete.  Bend, twist, flatten, bend, twist, squeeze. Place pads in spring.  Replace pads for rotor.  BUZZ.  BUZZ.  BUZZ. Minus the red light.

I was desperate.  I'm just really not good enough to be flying over Patapsco with only a front brake, you know?  Not interested in joining the OTB club. That's Over The Bar and it's not good. It usually ends in a broken collar bone.  They weren't odds I was willing to take.  I didn't want to become Cavity Sam.

Yes, I realize you shouldn't need to adjust brakes on a ride, but you might. You shouldn't really break a chain either, you know what I'm saying....? So if brakes aren't seated correctly and they jostle and twist, and you end up shredding metal and then bad things happen.

Shredding metal.  I like.  How was your ride?  Yeah, dude I was soo smokin the trail I was totally shredding metal....

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fun Bust

The Ford Giveth and The Ford Taketh Away.

Riding the high of last night's lane discovery, I was sideswiped at the bank.  Figuratively...literally would prove the money mongrels right.

For 6 months I've been taking the trail to the bank, going through the drive thru, and making deposits.  Without incident or accident.

Today my streak struck out.  Oh, they took my money, but then refused to serve me.  Ask the guy in the pickup.  In between hitting on me he noted the rudeness of the teller.  He asked about my socks.  Oh watch this, I'm about to go Alpha Bitch all over their Benjamins.

They said something about the use of a vehicle.  I looked down at mine and said, yeah, and?  Your point is what?
No Shit,
No Car:
No Service

Liability, my sweet biking ass!  You've got three relatively unused lanes and a parking lot spilling into the trail.  Not to mention I ride in traffic.  The drive thru red tape is crap!  And if your business abuts a bike trail I think it should be a law that your establishment is bike friendly.

You can take that to the bank!  Just leave your bike at home.  Next time I'm saying it's a scooter. SunTrust.  Kemp Mill. Lamberton Drive.  Silver Spring.  Biker Beware.

Monday, October 17, 2011

HOT Lanes

I can read between the lines and it says BIKE!  Maybe this is old news, but I've been on vacation.  Right there down the center of my commute is a brand new spanking bike lane!  So new it doesn't even say bike lane yet.

At first I thought I was mistaken.  But it's striped, newly striped, from the top of the hospital to the bottom of the hill.  Right there on the dangerous part of my commute, right outside the ER.  Holy Cross Batman! A lane just for me.  Me and all the other bikers.

Maybe that CYCLE sign really was for motors and pedals alike.  This is a much needed addition, a welcome change.  First the lights were timed differently, now this!  What the hell is going on?!?

There I was trying to be cranky about my miserable day and the most amazing day of the year silently crept up on me!  Silver Spring is showing the bike love!  What's next?  A bike rack at the gym?  Yeah, I know, probably NOT.  That's okay, I'm still grrlcotting them.

But thanks for the lanes!  And the lights.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Not Enough Cents

I have my moments.  This was one of them. I hadn't the sense to come in out of the rain, so the saying goes.  Really.

The thing about rain on a bike is, you get wet.  Really wet.  Really, really wet.  It attacks from above and below.  And this was one of those rains.

Oh, you think I'm kidding.  Take a look at that picture.  That is what your phone looks like as it's about to fritz.  It didn't exactly die right there in my hand, but it might as well had.

It rained so hard was it? 

Ha, it rained so hard it turned my phone into a vibrator. No more calls, no more texts, no more pix.  Perfect.  What I needed was a phone, what I got was a no frill, cheap thrill, sex toy. I always thought the wet part came last.  The first pun was intended, the second accidental.

With a phone that did nothing but vibrate, I searched for a public pay phone.  They are obsolete dinosaurs now you know.  Back in the day I always kept a dime in my shoe.  Then a quarter in my Roos.  I knew numbers and I had the change to prove it.

But this day left me high and not so dry.  I finally found a pay phone and was itching to use it.  Problem was, after seven separate searches, all I found was forty-six cents.  Four cents shy of the inflated fee for a local call.

I guess I'll just take my vibrator and ride....intended.

Monday, October 10, 2011


I should have answered those emails about joining LinkedIn. I'm so glad my mom brought me a small pump to carry in my trusty side pocket today.  That should fix everything.

Except maybe a broken chain link.  What am I gonna do, blow air at it!?  YES, my chain broke.  There I was skipping over a stormy rock garden when *PING* like a hamster on a wheel...  Not a toothbrush in sight.

This is the second time I've scared a chain right off a bike.  The third will come later today... A friend told me a vice grip will get them back on, but not so much off.  It's all good...I can get them off *PING*,  I'm just not so good with back on.

Color me fantastic!  I actually had a chain tool with me on the trail.  What are the odds?  Oddly enough, no allen wrench...again.  I didn't guess I'd need it to change a flat, I had no idea I'd be performing an emergency chainlinkectomy right there on Stony Trail.

I quickly surveyed my surroundings and made a mental inventory of supplies.  I considered my teeth more than once, but even the thought made my root canal ache.  I tried a tire lever, like that's gonna fix anything.  A stick.  But the darn chain tool ain't gonna twist without an allen wrench.

Don't think I didn't consider dental floss.  I thought, if only I could tie the links back together...just to get back to camp. A tube.  Those chainless bikes are looking a whole lot more appealing right about now.  If only I had duct tape, that cures everything.

Thanks to a well marked map, I quickly bailed on the trail and hoofed it on the street.  That way I at least had the downhills.  And boy, did I coast them like it was my job and I worked on commission!  I blew right past my family parked at the trail head.

The day didn't go exactly as I planned.  A little later on we'd be playing a new version of an old classic...Dude Where's My Car Keys? At least I can push my bike when it's not running.

How many links do you think I can remove before it's too short? Four and still counting...

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Grunge Grrl's Version Of F@*# Me Pumps

Previously....there was mention of a blown tire, questionable air pressure, and a savior pump in some bag....

All dressed up with somewhere to go.  There I was with my 'don't shoot me tires'...really, please don't shoot my tires!  Been there, done that, don't have a pump.

What did I say about should?  That pump that should have been in my commuter bag was not.  And my options are now this:  don't ride.  Not.  Strap a floor pump onto my camelbak and head out to the trail.  Pause for mental image. Perhaps Not.  Make like I'm 10 and just go.  Done. 

What do I always say...never camp, bike, or boat alone.  Well, I'll be sitting here waiting another year if I wait for that! What could go wrong, really? It's a holiday weekend, there are tons of people on the trail.  If I need help I'll just ask.

I've got the tube, tire levers, tools....I can change the tire I just need to stop someone for a pump.  Or use my pen casing to blow the air into the tube directly.  I've seen it whisk patients away from a flat line on TeeVee, surely it can revive a simple flat.

Turns out none of that stuff made it in my pack.  Oops.  I had a pen and a knife. I could either carve petroglyphs in the pine trees depicting the saga of my ill fated trek...or Specialized as the bike may be (should something happen) or I could take notes for my blog, on my arm.

OR perform a tracheotomy, should the occasion arise...maybe in exchange for a pump?

Saturday, October 8, 2011


THAT is definitely not a snake bite.  Definitely NOT.  THAT is a full blown blow out.  For reals.  That tear is longer than my femur!

You should have heard it go.  Maybe you did?  There are rumors they heard it all the way in Japan.  Thought it was a nuke. My neighbors had no idea what it was.  Maybe a drive by?

Sounded just like a shotgun to the temple.  Well, I assume that's what it might sound like.  I've never had a shotgun to the temple.  I don't know maybe you don't even have time to register a sound like that before, you know...

So I was getting ready for my next big adventure and decided it was time for the noticeable red tires.  They were free, mine were shot, the price was right.  I wasn't overly keen about turning my bike into Ronald McDonald but did I mention they were free?

I changed them out, repumped the tires, and let it sit.  In the sun.  Getting hot.  Expanding air.  KAPOW.  (And not the yummy thai dish I'm crazy about.) Now in my defense, it shouldn't have happened.  According to the gauge I was well within range.  On the high side for me but still around 50 PSI.

Should and did are the stuff blogs are made of.  So they should have been fine, but they did blow up.  Must be the pump.  The tires did feel overly inflated at a mere 50 PSI, but just to be safe I'm going well under this time.  Don't need them blowing  up on the freeway doing 75mph.  (On top of the car silly, not on the bike! geesh.)

I thought I might double check with my fancy car gauge, but as it turns out even with the adapter the gauge  doesn't actually engage the presta tip.  Maybe my portable pump?  That has a nifty gauge attached.  Well, I'll check it at the campsite, it should be in my bag.

This is what writers call foreshadowing...go on you should really keep reading the blog...

Friday, October 7, 2011

Pile of Beans

We've been making the rounds in the bullying badgering blogs again.  Breaking news....the drivers still hate us.  They hate the traffic AND the solution.  They are just angry; there is no solution.

So they attack us.  Because they can.  I'm not sure if or how it helps.  But I'm learning how to ignore it.  It's rather easy when it lacks sense.

Have you heard about one in ten?  It's a term used to describe homosexuals.  You know, one in ten people...well you can figure it out.  My point is that's 10%.

Now I just read on one of these bully the biker blogs (and it's on the Internet so it must be true) that bikers only make up 1% (of what I'm not exactly sure).  And I was thinking if one in ten is gay and one in one hundred is a biker, then someone is clearly LYING.

Think about it.  1% of road users are bikers?  Just ONE PERCENT?  Are you sure?  The economy is in the toilet.  Jobs are hard to come by.  Brick and mortars are closing.  Small businesses are failing.  And there are over 15 bike shops INSIDE the beltway. 

Christ on a Kestrel...another one of those headache causing word problems.  Tell me how you get one percent?  Wouldn't some of those shops be bankrupt?  Who is spending money in a bike shop if not cyclists?  That's a whole lot of Energy Beans fueling 15 shops. Or a handful of cyclists frequenting a shit ton of shops.

I believe maybe 1% drive Arks.  Oh and LOOK, you can stash them at the Whole Foods in Georgetown, perfect!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Lunch Seen

Cutie Patootie
I see you're single....CALL ME.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Can We SAY It Was Terrorism

I had the silly notion to drive today.  To save time.  That's the funny part.  Driving to save time. 

If car C leaves the home at 7AM and bike B also leaves the home at 7AM what time do they both pull into the station?  Exactly 4 minutes apart.  That's the answer, 4 minutes.

What's 4 minutes get you?  FAT.  Sure, I saved 4 whole minutes, but got zero work out.  So essentially I LOST 40 minutes. Grand.  I was never good at word problems.

It's cool, it's been a long day.  I'm deliriously tired.  Not a good idea to teeter on two wheels to get home.  I thought I might get a nap today.  That's also why I drove.  Sleeping on a bike makes sleeping in a car feel like bunking at the Venetian (minus the second floor).

I knew it was going to be a long, hard day.  In the business we have our tip offs.  This morning I quickly noticed the hovering helicopters circling the city, like guard dogs.  Us TV geeks are tuned into that. Oh man, that isn't a good sign, I thought.  Must hurry to work.

For a city known for its terrorism, I couldn't help but notice all the cars still moving TOWARD the impending danger.What is wrong with these people?  Have they not had enough drama in the workplace?

Turn around!  Go home young man!  Run.  Flee. Be Free.  Don't you see those helicopters dotting the horizon?  There beneath the clouds.  The F16s are probably just above, waiting for word.  To attack.  The copters watching patiently, perched on the edge of the city like....oh, right, n.e.v.e.r.m.i.n.d....

Us TV geeks sent them there.  Traffic choppers.  Right.  Of course. That's all it was.  Every day, ordinary, morning activities.  Things I usually sleep through.  Here I thought it was terrorists coming to destroy our day, and disrupt our lives, and cripple our city.  Roger that.

The copters dangling in the sky like a participle.  Like a Miami-Dade chiding chad. Shooting menacing, gruesome pictures of a typical morning commute.  Like you haven't already seen it.  Like you want to see it right before you walk out the door.  Like you won't see enough of it sitting in it. Thanks for that!

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Drunk Dude in the road will jump out in front of you and scream at you.  I guess all that didn't fit on the sign.  USE CAUTION does cover it, but I thought they meant the grooved pavement.  I was somewhat unprepared for Drunk Dude.

"Call 911 Sir, I've just been assaulted"  Now it was my turn to do something.  And I swerved and pedaled on.  No, I never looked back.  This wasn't a comatose guy on a tricycle.  I did nothing.

He was lunging into the street demanding I take action.  Now I'm not up on my liquor bouquets, but I strongly believe that basenote was octane.  Or at least flammable.  And he didn't appear assaulted, but I'm no expert.

Lucky for him those guys on the right are.  I hate to point out the obvious, oh who are we kidding I LOVE that, you might actually get a quicker response on your left.  There, that brightly lit building...I'm fairly certain it's open.  And I bet they have phones.  They might even have a direct line, bypassing 911 altogether.

Yes, there, that one, the one that says HOSPITAL.  Really.  If you go around to the side they can dial 911.  In fact, if you were truly assaulted, they are uber trained for that.  There, under the EMERGENCY sign, the doors should open when you walk up.  You may have to wait, but the phone call, immediate.  Best of Luck.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Tally Whoa!

I don't mean to be picky, but this is getting ridiculous.  I got off the trail, tried to enter the roadway, and was pushed up on the sidewalk.  Traffic.  I found traffic in my lane.  FACING ME.  Since when did Chevy Chase become Jolly Ole England??

I was recently attacked, perhaps you saw it, on my own facebook page by a friend claiming I was 'one of those bike commuters'.  And by those, I think I mean always wrong.  Everyone else is always right, but bikers are typically always in the wrong.

So yesterday, I was almost broadsided by a hummer who failed to completely stop at the four way stop that I had just stopped at and wrongly continued through.  Last night a car at a stop light turned right into me without choosing to use a turn signal.  I wrongly assumed it was going straight.  Then I almost got hit by a silent ambulance screaming through an intersection.  I wrongly assumed green means go.  And then today I was run off the road by a black vehicle of which I was unable to obtain the plate number on because did I mention I WAS BEING RUN OFF THE ROAD.  I wrongly assumed we were sharing it.

Then, I wound up in England.  Say what?  I don't think I need to point out these cars were on the wrong side of the road.  But I stand corrected.  They were forced to use this side of the roadway thanks to one of 'those bike riders' blocking the other side.

It's true, there on the other side was a guy on a bike sitting in the middle of the road.  Just sitting there.  Blocking traffic.  The nerve of him.  And so who can blame these poor drivers trying to rush into their neighborhood and into the safety of their plushly furnished homes??  Of course they had to drive on the other side.  How would they get home?

The guy.  Still sitting there.  I counted five cars as I rode past on the sidewalk.  Five cars drove on the wrong side of the road into their neighborhood to evade the inconsiderate, arrogant biker taking up an entire lane of their street.

No one seemed to notice or mind that he wasn't moving.  Oh, I guess they probably noticed he wasn't moving his bicycle, but he himself wasn't moving.  Not his feet, not his hands, not his head, not even his eyes as far as I could tell.

The bike, it was an adult tricycle.  No one I know rides one of these because they want to; they have to.  This signals to me that maybe the man has some type of physical or mental ailment or handicap.  And there he sat on a tricycle, in the middle of the street, not moving, ALONE.  And no one bothered to question this, they just drove around instead.

Really?  A handicapped man on an adult tricycle....and no one recognized him?  In a neighborhood.  Tell me do you think he was out training for a century and just got tired?  I don't suspect he could have been far from home.  And yet no one stopped.  And I'm inconsiderate!

Someone finally did.  Someone blocked traffic for him and eventually got out of his car to investigate.  I suppose everyone else was too busy, or in a rush to get home to watch The Talk on CBS.  I can only hope someone was dialing 911 at the very least. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011


I take back what I said about cameras.  If I had had one mounted on my bars today I wouldn't have behaved any better and I might have had some good video.

Today was carfree day in DC and to that I say, Bring Back the Cars.  I am entirely safer swallowed by vehicular metal.  The sea of walking flesh another story entirely.

Let's cut past the chase (and the boats, right? they should really be more specific when labeling an event 'car'free).  Today, I hit my first pedestrian.  WHAT!?!  Pedestrian.  Hit. My. What, you know he deserved it.  My ex says people can think for themselves.  She thinks intelligence still runs rampant.  I think it was phased out somewhere in the 90s.  And today I may have proved it. 

I know there's some law about pedestrians in crosswalks, but tell me you haven't wanted to hit one or two or ten.  And depending on how tight he was in his loafers I technically may have not even pinched his skin, but I most definitely scuffed his fancy footwear. 

Yes, he was in the crosswalk, I think we established that, but I had the green light.  There were tons of them crossing against the light.  You know you hate it.  I hate it more. Howard students, these are even the brighter ones.  Maybe not so much.  HUH?  Ex-act-ly.

I scooted behind him and at the last second he picked his head up out of his hand.  Of course he was texting.  And not looking.  And walking.  In traffic.  Just like our mothers taught us.  And in an effort to prove my ex decidedly wrong, he then 'decided' to change directions and step back INTO me.  Would now be a good time to point out the phones are smart, the owners, not so much.

I slammed on the brake and wiped half my tire across 7th Street.  I kept the bike upright, barely, as the offender quietly backed up on the sidewalk, where his fellow co-eds were laughing.  At me or him?  Who knows, but I hope the treads I left on his shoe remind him to look up every now and again. It's the Hamburger Generation.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Yes, Deer

Be a Hero, Not a Zero.  Who wants to watch video of a bike commute?  It's boring, mostly.  And long.  Tree, tree, goose.

If I'm mounting a camera on my helmet or handlebars, I want something to happen.  Anything.  Shoulder brushes, swerving lushes, "GET OFF THE ROAD" cusses.  Something.

Without, it's an uneventful hour of a straight, white line.  Yawn.  Boring. BooTube.  I can count the hits now, ZERO.

I'm just skeptical, that's all I'm saying.  Tape can lie.  Video can be taken out of context, edited, skewed to fit a need.  Trust me television does it all the time.  And I'm not saying it doesn't happen, the bad things to bikers...they do.

We are run off the road, cursed, bumped, intimidated, harassed.  Bumper Bullying should be outlawed.  It's dangerous.  This isn't shoving a pimple-headed pubescent in a gym locker.  It's just as adolescent and completely unpunishable.  People, it's a bike and a car...with a life pinned between!

The disregard for life astonishes me sometimes.  Do you hear what you are saying? least I'm not a deer.  The solution for getting them off the road...Let's SHOOT 'em!  Duck, duck, bush.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


I couldn't help but notice the severe lack of personnel in Vegas. Even Vegas? Yep, it seems even Sin City is not immune from the crumbling economy.

I haven't been to Vegas in about a decade. The sentiment is the same, but boy how times have changed. The buildings come and go, the neon lights still a-glow, but the casinos...much less flow.

10 years ago I slipped in and out of the aisles plunking quarters as I went. Occasionally they hit. $5.00, $25.00, $80.00! I easily dropped as much. I flirted and teased the one armed bandits. They never got the best of me, but they ate up all my change.

Quarter slots ruled the floor. Nickles were big. Pennies rare. Good luck commandeering one of those machines. A 68 year old, leathered skinned, smoked soaked corpse had likely set up base camp with a gin and Misty menthol.

Today, Penny Slots are the rage. At least my rage. They are neither Penny nor Slot. No need for a slot when there's no greed for the penny. It's all about the paper. Redeemable ticket, that is. There's no coins in Vegas, not on the strip. Or change babes, money fillers, or even watchful eyes....they've got cameras for that...oodles of them.

So I left with a pocketful of change. Change I would have otherwise left behind. All tolled, I guess I lost about ten bucks. I was poised to lose a hundred. Oh well. I also only won about 63 cents. Cents? That's not even a character on a keyboard.

Change for the Homeless? That's where all the coins go! Do you take redeemable tickets? Yeah, ten to one I bet you do. And the shows still rob you blind, so you know, they're getting theirs one way or the other.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Hail No, We Won't Go

The Washington area has been hard hit by a bout with Mother Nature. Hail storm, hurricane, tornado, earthshake. Nothing widespread BAD, just Mom Nature being a tease.

I mean, my neighborhood lost a few limbs, but no major trees were down. Basements weren't flooded. No significant damage to speak of. But it did RAIN, ergo, the power went dark.

I can't imagine it was a force of nature. I heard a rumor the electrons simply walked out. In the middle of a storm! Their contract was up and negotiations had been slow and tedious. Upon reaching an impasse, their union rose up and decided to take advantage of the weather to send a clear and direct message to the members, company, and the public.

To make matters worse, in a show of solidarity Freon also walked out. Yeah, you know, the frigid gas: refusing to work...go figure. It's a well known fact they are extremely cold and lacking in ardor; I think they may be making a mistake.

But I guess with the introduction of Tetrafluoroethane the writing is on the wall. With several grievances left unanswered, and the recent development in their negotiations, basically talks went cold, Freon joined the likes of Current and went out on Strike. They too, are at odds with the Company over two main issues, most notably the constant lack of power.

On the flip side, the Company, staying away from the HR nightmare of compaining about their warmth of personality, cites public pressure to protect the environment. Something about a hole in the ozone or some nonesense (according to Freon Sources). But CFCs do endanger the ozone layer of the entire planet, I'm just saying...

Meanwhile back in my freezer, the natural chunk of ice I rescued from the summer hail storm was left to sweat the consequences of the striking labor forces. No power, no Freon, no freeze. I heard Dry Ice is willing to cross the picket line, but fortunately they all got back to work before I had to decide.

Monday, August 29, 2011

American Portrait

....ironically, does not begin with a photograph....

Picture it...I was damn near doored on the way to work today. And...? Yes, yes, on the left. I was almost doored from the LEFT! I was not on the sidewalk and the car was not parked.

"What the FUCK is wrong with you!? You have a brand new baby in the car and you're slamming the fucking door?!!"

I could hear the screaming from the front seat over the door slamming in the back. Oh good, the pill is still regulated, drinking age restricted, and a license still required to operate a motor vehicle--babies, still popping out-- no responsibility necessary.

They do suggest a Mozart concerto for zygotes marinating in the womb. I'm not sure about post-popping, but I'm guessing door slamming is not so soothing to the cooing newborn. But really Mom, let's talk about your relationship with the shouting, cursing asshole in the front seat.

The beauty of the bike is it gives me a personal tour of Americana up close and personal like. And I hate to burst your bubble, but it's not so Norman Rockwellesque. Sometimes...

A few miles away, we have a puppy story, and who doesn't love puppies? In one corner we have Senor Perro Owner, rein in one hand, rein in the other. Two dogs stretched in either direction.

In the other a mirror image of Mademoiselle Chien Owner, leash hand, leash hand, dogs...intermersed and betwixt t'other...


Sunday, August 28, 2011

One Less Cop

I felt like the winner of the Tour de Crescent, except no one shoved a flute of Honest Tea in my hand at the end. The escort--not exactly necessary

I don't mean to be disrespectful, really I'd rather see cops on the trail than not, but don't they have bikes for that? Motor or pedal I'm not overly picky. I just don't feel like we should have to rally for One Less Car on the bike path!

And here I was worried about the deterioration of the plastic on their bike helmets when they leave them in their stifling hot cars. I had no idea they were that 'for show'. FYI, if you're looking for downed're going the wrong way!

But where were you 'bout a half mile back? Air Rights Tunnel. You've heard of it...can't so much see it, but could have used an escort there. Yeah, it's a wee bit dark.

I got to be someone's Hero...okay, maybe just 'Ro (it wasn't that great). Lights can come in handy, especially after Irene. "we'll just ride behind you".

Friday, August 26, 2011

BreEZy Pass

Yo G'burg Ear Up! There's a new trail in town and it's currently a critical path to nowhere. And it's up to you to make a difference.

I'm not entirely sure how it happened but a multi-use trail sprung up alongside the ICC. Citing financial concerns last I heard it wouldn't be built. But it's there now!

Unfortunately Gaithersburg doesn't care. It's no Rockville. If LAB offered a Bike Friendly Community-COAL award they'd be up for it.

Okay, it's not really that bad, but it's close. There's no noticeable bike routes, the sparsely lain bike lanes are about a foot and half in width, and the cops are pulling over cyclists for riding on the sidewalk. Apparently it's illegal in their city limits.

The ICC is like Gold in a down economy...for drivers and cyclists. It's a flat, straight, uncongested shot from GA to the Pike. As a driver you need an EZ pass to use it, and I can ride it for free. The irony of that is, I would likely pay to use it, it's that cool. But G'burg's gonna have to lane up first!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Business Casual

Really more business than casual. AND kicking my ass! I ain't too proud to put it out there. This chick in 9 to 5 wear and heels cleaned my clock on the CCT.

That's nothing. On the way home I was...going to say neck and neck with a caterpillar...until I considered, "does a caterpillar have a neck??" No matter, I was...S...L...O....W......

Here's the good news: the light at East West? Fixed. No need to push the button anymore, we are back on a regular cycle. Yeehaa. And the light at Georgia? It's unconfirmed but I believe it may have been adjusted so that a regular human being can cross the street safe and legal.

So go ahead lead the way in your heels and chenille...nothing can brake my happy cycle.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Gary Gnu Would Have Done It

What a long and interesting day. It begs an answer to the question: if the earth shakes while you are riding a bamboo frame, would you even feel it? And sadly, I may never know.

I was picking mail up off the floor when it started. It sounded like an attic fan rumbling to a start. I didn't feel a thing. I heard someone saying, "what was that?!?" as I walked around the corner to find my boss straddling the door jamb mumbling something about an earthquake. I heard it in stereo as someone else echoed the sentiment.

And then I definitely felt it as things around me fell to the floor. I still didn't feel the urge to bum rush the doorway, but it seemed important so I did. I would have rather been outside. But I'm afraid I would have missed the whole thing.

What was my very first comment? Really? You have to ask? Something about a night of suck I'm sure. I wonder what it's like to have something like this affect you and just think about YOU. Instead of, I have to get to work, or oh god, I'll be stuck in audio all night, or guess I'm having pizza for dinner....

I have to admit approaching the station and finding a congregation on the curb did make me slightly pause before driving up to the garage door to gain entry. Did I really want to drive into an underground parking garage when the majority of Wisconsin Avenue was standing outside and a 5.8 earthquake just rumbled up the east coast 15 minutes ago? Is this really wise? Necessary, maybe not wise.

I'm finally home, after 7 full hours of news. And I use that term generously. The finials were still damaged at 11:42pm, no new news there. My neighbor described the scene like this: I thought I was having a seizure. Then I looked around and realized everything was having a seizure, it wasn't me.

Parker is fine. Glad to have me home. The earthquake damage is minimal. Not unlike the white chairs on the internet. You see that stick lying on the ground in the picture above? Bottom right. It used to be on the 1x4 above the fireplace. It fell down. That is my earthquake disaster. It might not make the news.

And thank you #Washcycle for finally posting the CaBi map I've been trying to see that all night! No one thought it was a big enough story. That also didn't make the news. Even after 7 hours! I personally think it should have.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Deer Bike Blog:

They are hard to see here, but it's a cute little family. On the right we have momma and two tiny twins. On the left three more little leapers.

In a car I may not have seen any of them. I found the ones on the right after turning around to watch the ones on the left. I've been watching them grow over the weeks.

They are so cute and trusting. The wee baby came right up to me the other night like a little puppy. It really was knee high to a grass hopper. Or 2/3 of a bike wheel, whichever is taller. That's about 460c.

Soon they will become toddlers and then teens. And they really do. Once the boys start getting their racks...teehee...isn't that interesting and somehow when the boys start developing their racks, they act a little like inner city thugs or maybe richie burbies trying to be inner city thugs.

No, they aren't flash mobbing the local denim store...they usually do that alone and although they do a ton of damage they don't actually steal anything. But the boys all circle up and take turns clashing antlers. It's the most amazing sound. A cool, foggy night, with the echo of deer testosterone bouncing off the trees.

Yeah, it's awful riding in DC after dark...