Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Dromedary Podiatrist

WANTED: Dromedary Podiatrist to examine, treat and cure a problem of the most delicate nature.
For the first three thousand miles of my greenpea bicycling life, I wore shorts and a T shirt on my rides. As I was dressed in civilian clothes and not in "road nazi" uniform, I wore under my shorts the appropriate under garments: bebbadees. For those of you not versed in the local vernacular, BVDs. For those of you in the military: briefs, cotton, white.
As my mileage and time in the saddle grew, so did something else. Actually fester is the word I'm looking for. No, I didn't grow an uncle Fester, I raised a saddle sore. My own little saddle sore. How cute! Does it talk or do tricks?
I began to seriously contemplate bicycling shorts. I spent months of laborious research on the internet, reading everything I could about shorts, bibs and chamois. What I didn't get was the expense. How could I justify spending eighty plus dollars on a pair of shorts? A pair of shorts that I could only use while bicycling no less. To make a long story even longer, I succumbed to the wisdom and intermittent pain and bought a pair.
Holy Mother of the Bicycling Gods! My life had been changed forever! Forever! I tell you!
I felt like a kid with a new pair of skates. Everywhere I pedaled, I marveled at my new found comfort and sleekness. This, I was sure is what bicycling is all about. Oh, the joy of feeling the wind on my legs and no pressure on my derrier! Then the sickness reared it's ugly head.
If shorts made such a huge difference, what would a real life honest to goodness bicycling jersey be like? I had read about the moisture wicking coolness and comfort. Was cycling nirvana just a shirt change away? Armed with my trusty laptop, I clicked on that evil nestled within the favorites section of my web browser. Oh my! Jersey heaven!
When the tyvek package arrived in the mail, I eageraly opened it up to inspect the last piece of the puzzle. Oh! So smooth, so soft, so shiny. Mmmmmmmmm
Yes, I was now a true card carrying cyclist. No more would any mere mortal dare doubt my abilities. Being larger than life, I put another ten pounds in my tires.
There I was happily pedaling, no, hammering along, completely absorbed with myself and my raging ego. Whew, all this mashing sure does work up a sweat. Luckily my jersey and shorts wick the foul moisture away. Ah, but I can still admire my glistening arms and legs. I stopped at my regular watering hole to cool off.
I dismount my ride, step onto the sidewalk and stop dead in my exaggerated gait. I can see my reflection in the glass door. I stop to gloat.
What stares back at me is a finely tuned pedaling machine.
With camel toe.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Law & Order

I watch way too much television.
You know you watch too much TV when you can tell the time by the show that's on. Okay, maybe I'm not that bad, but I do spend time in front of the ole tube. And yes, I still have a tube TV. I was looking at the LCD and plasma sets, but I don't think I'm ready to step up to the plate yet. I only have basic cable.
The television is on as I write this. It's background noise for the most part, but if something catches my attention, well, it catches my attention. I blame it all on Law & Order. In fact, Law & Order is what's on right now. Sometimes it seems like it's always on.
I believe I have seen every episode of Law & Order ever made. More than once. Sometimes more than twice. Thanks to USA Network, that includes CI and SVU. I'm excited to see how Jeff Goldblum does this season, though he still gives me the creeps after seeing The Fly.
Besides being a well written, well acted show, there are other factors that keep me watching Law & Order. I like to see how many actors I can spot in different roles. They may appear as judges or lawyers on one show only to be victims or witnesses on others. Mostly I like to watch the criminals. I mean, if you can get Robin Williams to play a psycho or Roy Schieder to play a serial killer it means the show has some big draw. Maybe it's like a cult thing with actors. You have to have appeared on at least one episode of Law & Order or you haven't really arrived. DeNiro is DeNiro but has he ever been interrogated on the stand by Jack McCoy? Julia Roberts has been on the show for Pete's sake!
While I like all the main characters, my favorite by far was Lennie Briscoe. Jerry Orbach is missed by me and I would suppose legions of other Law & Order fanatics. By the way, I'm not a Law & Order fanatic. I just happened to have watched every episode ever produced.
I also enjoy the rotation of assistant D.A.s. Angie Harmon is my favorite. I don't think I have to say why. If I did there would by just too many things to list but let me just say that I wouldn't mind if she read me bedtime stories every night. Jill Hennessy would be second as I have a fondness for brunettes. I didn't like her so much in Crossing Jordan.
Chris Meloni also gets a nod as cast favorite, especially after his role in the movie Bound where he played a whacked out mobster and that movie where he played the kookie gym teacher. The guy has range and a fondness for quirky roles that I admire.
Vincent D'Onofrio has got to be one of the all time creepy TV detectives of all time. CI also has Courtney B. Vance. I liked him in Hunt for Red October, and he also played a criminal in the original Law & Order.
As you can see, I'm not at all obsessed or fanatical about Law & Order. It just happens to be on all the time and besides Chuck(that show rocks, I hope it's back next season), it's about the only thing network television has going for it. Conan is off the air for now so I can't really count him.
I have to hand it to USA network, they are truly evil. If I know one networks programming it would be USAs. I can't wait to see the last season of Monk, and continuing episodes of Burn Notice, and Psych. Oh and did I mention USA shows Law & Order all the time?
There are a couple of other shows I like too, like The Closer and In Plain Sight. The one show I am really digging though is AMC's Breaking Bad. Unfortunately it sometimes runs opposite Law & Order so it's a difficult decision for me to switch stations. Seems like once Law & Order starts, it's against the law to change the channel.
If Law & Order was on everyday all the time, maybe I wouldn't spend so much time on eBay.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

American Pie Revisited

When Don McLean wrote and sang about "the day the music died" I wonder if he ever imagined the state of music today. I like to think that the music I listen to mirrors my personality. In my collection from A to Z: Aha to Zero 7. In between is a mix of rock, alt, jazz, contemporary Hawaiian, pop, adult contemporary and just plain strange. I'm sure I could list more categories, but they (whoever "they" is) keep changing them so I'm never quite sure of what I'm listening to anymore.
Now the forecast is that the CDs demise is on the horizon. Replaced by digital downloads. Notice I said digital downloads and not MP3s. Seems that they keep coming up with new ways to import and store music too, so I'm not sure the MP3 format is even used anymore. I may be the only one still using it.I bought a Cd off of Amazon last week: The Cocteau Twins Four Calendar Cafe. If I think real hard I sort of remember buying a CD a couple of months ago from Best Buy. The point is that I don't purchase a ton of new music. If I do get something, it's usually something that came out like ten years ago that I had forgotten about and remembered that I liked it.I have bought one digital download. One.
Looking at my computer, I find that I don't even have it on my drive anymore. I believe after I got it, I went out and bought the CD.I haven't downloaded music since the days of the original Napster. For those of you who don't remember it, the original Napster allowed one user to download any music from another users collection. In other words, if I happened to have my complete CD collection on my hard drive (which I don't) you could have accessed my computer and downloaded any of my music files. A copyright nightmare for sure. Funny, no one ever threatened to take my cassette tape recorder away.
I don't dislike digital music files. In fact I have about 4 gigs of music on my portable player (iriver clix!). The fact is that all of those music files came from CDs in my collection. MP3s or whatever it is they are using today allows me take my music with me while I ride my bike. It sometimes amazes me that most of the music I like to listen to is stored in a device about the size of a credit card.I like CDs. I like shiny bling (see below). I enjoy reading linear notes and having record cover art. Hell, I have two books dedicated just to record art called the Album Cover Album. I like my music to be tangible.
I also like my music to sound good. I like my music to sound so good that I actually spin vinyl on a stereo powered by vacuum tubes. Three and half watts per channel of to my ears, listening bliss. Compression be damned.
Part of the problem I think, is that all music is beginning to sound the same. Yes, I have heard the same thing about the music I enjoyed in the eighties, but I swear I turn on the radio today and hear the same stuff I was listening to two years ago. Perhaps ten years from now, I'll listen back to todays music enjoy it as classics. That may very well be the case since I've seen videos of Radiohead covering bands like The Smiths and Joy Division.
I have to wonder if music is progressing or regressing. Hip hop seems to be more about sampling than originality. That's not a knock on hip hop, just me wondering what direction music is taking.
Music is about the sound right? We went from portable radios to boom boxes to massive gigawatt home stereos and now back to small portable devices again. The compact disc was supposed to offer the ultimate sound. Yet I believe that Norah Jones sounds better on vinyl than she does on aluminum. Then again, what do I know? I listen to my MP3 player with three hundred dollar headphones.
Meanwhile, I still need to find a clean copy of The Eagles Greatests Hits album.
Did I mention that eBay was evil?

Saturday, April 25, 2009


eBay is evil.
If you ride your bicycle with any sort of frequency then you will probably agree. Why is it that bicycle enthusiasts are also obsessive compulsive personalities? Wait. I take that question back. Make that some enthusiasts.
When I purchased my first bicycle ten months ago, I never imagined where it would lead. Wait. That's a lie. If there is one person I know well, it's myself and knowing myself as I do I should have foreseen where this would end up. So I buy this bike thinking that I'm just going to ride around to the store and stuff, you know to buy bread and cigarettes, but instead I end up riding all over the creation like some psychotic nomad that is hell bent on getting nowhere as fast as he can. I literally ride around sometimes telling myself that I'm going somewhere when I don't have any destination at all. Well, I do have a destination. Home.
I start off at home and end up at home so it's like I haven't really gone anywhere, right? I mean I just rode around for two hours so I must have gone somewhere, right?I know I left home, but now I'm back home so....I think I went somewhere.
I'm not compulsive about riding. Really, I'm not. I think about it alot and I guess I do ride alot but it's not like I have to ride. I don't ride when it's raining and I don't ride when...when it's raining. No I am not obsessive about riding.
I am obsessive about my bicycle.
When I bought by first bicycle, I told myself that if I put X amount of miles on it then and only then would I think about upgrading. I will be truthful here and say that putting on all those miles were basically an excuse to buy a new bike. In fact all my riding now is basically an excuse for me to purchase new bike bling.
When I first got my bike I wasn't employed so I basically rode everyday it wasn't raining. I also spent every night raining or not on the internet researching bicycles. When I finally decided on my current bike, I would pull up the website and stare at it until my screensaver saved my brain. I still go to the website sometimes so I can look at the picture and marvel at the fact that that very same bicycle is now right in front of me. Well, it's not really the same. I've changed some stuff on it.
Now when I finally got my 29er, I was still unemployed so how I upgraded had to be planned out very carefully. No, I didn't wait until no one was looking, I paid for my bling. What I mean is I couldn't just make wholesale changes. My upgrades were based on performance and not aesthetics. I had to justify the changes. Okay, I'll admit, I really can't feel any performance difference but my ride looks pretty nice.
Now that I am gainfully employed, I find myself obsessing over my bicycle differently. Now, I don't pretend to justify the upgrades at all. I don't really need that anodized seat post collar now do I? Hmmmm...Yes I do.
The thing is, if I am going to be speeding around Kailua aimlessly I might as well look good doing it, right? And to top it all off I went ahead and bought another bicycle (see below)!
Oh, yeah. eBay is evil.

Flat tires

I am not sure what I dislike the most: getting a flat at the beginning of a ride or getting one on the last leg heading home.
I suppose that if you flat in the beginning or your journey, it's considered out of the way and for the most part you can continue on without worry. On the other hand, if you only had one tube or if you used up your last patch this could mean more trouble.
Flatting towards the end of a ride always bums me out. Upon my return home, I never feel as though I completed what I started off to do. The interruption I incur when finishing up that last leg of my route makes it feel as though I did not accomplish my journey. Flat tires ruin what usually are nice relaxing rides.
Of course if you ride enough you are going to get flats. I try to put in eighty to hundred miles a week on my bike depending on the weather. My old MTB had accumulated about three thousand miles before I gave it to my brother. My current MTB has about a thousand on the odometer.
My rides consist of mostly paved road. If you call what I sometimes ride on paved. It seems as though Kailua has been going through a non stop battle with roadwork. What they fix and where seems to be some kind of military tactic for there never seems a way to evade and escape the seemingly endless battlezone of traffic cones and detours. Sometimes they fix it, then come back and fix it again just when you think they were done fixing it. Road repairs have been going on so long here I don't quite remember when the streets were completely clear of it.
All the contruction and road repair makes it inconvenient at best to ride a road bike here. And I just bought a road bike.
I think I've put about twenty miles on it. I just can't bring myself to take it out.
I sure like looking at it though.