Friday, April 29, 2011

Climb every mountain

Last fall I bought a bunch of t-shirts from the North Face store in Georgetown because they were on sale. I'm all about the on sale.
One of them is blue with a list of mountains in big white letters. Climbers mountains - Everest, Kilamanjaro, Denali and 4 more I've never heard of. 

Now, I've looked at mountains, mostly in pictures, because they're there. But I've never thought of climbing one and don't intend to think of it any time soon. The idea of sitting about for weeks on end with nothing to do except to eat and read and walk around and melt snow while I become acclimated so I can walk down and repeat the process so I can walk up higher and repeat the process just doesn't appeal.

So today I'm off to get a hearing test (wearing my very blue tee with the list of mountains) because I'm going to need a hearing aid real soon. First I went to the wrong building and then had the wrong room number cause that's what was in my calendar and after that got sorted out I got to the right place and I go to the desk and the lady looks at me like I'm crazy and says my appointment was April 1. My calendar says April 29. So I explain to her that when we were on the phone setting this up and I'm writing all this down and managed to get all this stuff wrong then that should qualify as an emergency cause obviously I can't hear shite and she should get me in asap. Apparently it's not an emergency to them cause my next appointment is May 27.

As I'm leaving a bloke sitting there asks me how many of them I've climbed. Huh? He points to my shirt. I haven't climbed any of them because I'm not an idiot. I explain the on sale concept and I don't know nuttin about no mountain climbing. I guess he's here for hearing issues also because he pretty much acts like he didn't hear a word I said as he starts listing the ones he's climbed and tells me how it's a great life and he's spent 22 weeks in a tent in the Rockies and he's going to climb this one next and then that one. I'm trying to get out of there because I have no interest in any of this but he won't have any of that 'cause I'm wearing a frickin t-shirt with the names of mountains on it. 

There's a certain point in life where every second is precious and it happens when you know they're in the count down phase. I had stood there silently nodding my approval of his exploits when it hit me that this was wasting precious seconds so I turned my heels and left him. 

I decided to ride up to capital hill to check out the new bike store. 

It's a pleasant day save for strong winds, still good day for riding. I get there and walk in and a bloke comes over and asks me how many I've climbed! He then proceeds to tell me he hasn't climbed any either, just some smaller ones, but he's making plans. Wants to get to Everest in a couple of years. 

So I'm all nice and nodding my approval like I'm almost interested as my time slips away. 

I think I'm onto something here. If an iPad can convince people I'm cool when the closest I came to cool was in the 70's and there was nothing cool in the 70's, and if a t-shirt can make people think I've lost my mind and am willing to climb up the side of some mountain then I should think about getting a road bike and a costume to go with it.
Instead of getting yelled at to "learn how to ride!" I would be given that knowing nod of brotherhood, like I've just finished an "awesome" ride and am cooling down on my way home.
No more second class citizen for me! I'm going to look like I ride with the big boys. I don't know why I never thought of this before.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Max Cranky

The thing about being a cranky old man is you have to be cranky even on days when you don't feel it. If an opportunity presents itself you have to reply. It's part of the package and image and I'm all about the package and image.

Take yesterday. The weather has not been very springy but it's getting there and more people are out and about. I was tooling around (yes, I can do "tool" too) early on a beautiful morning and before I knew it I was heading home all pissed at the world. Ah, people.

It started just a few miles from home. I was tooling along early in the morning and there were few of the dreaded cars and life was good. I approached an intersection and the light was green and just as I was about to enter a slew of the costumed RB's (real bikers) came up on the side street and gave a quick look for traffic (and apparently straight through me) and proceeded through the red light with nary a tap on the brakes. I kept my pace figuring they would brake to let me through but that was just silly. I was no threat and besides it was obvious I was tooling, right of way or not. They had times to beat and paces to keep. Words were exchanged.

Now I'm cranky.

So I head on down town and I'm going though an intersection, again with the green light, when some big ol' tool in a big ol' truck comes racing up the side street, gives a quick look left and proceeds to turn right on red right in front of me, barely slowing down. Words were exchanged.

So now I'm crankier. 

I decided to pull over to see if I could see my reflection in a shop window. Yep, there I was alright.

Now I'm in the middle of Pennsylvania avenue in the bike lane and behind a couple of other folks out for an early morning ride and we come to a stop light and we're queued and some tatootool comes up from behind and edges out to the front of us so he's first in line 'cause he has, you know, tattoo's. Words were exchanged.

I'm pretty cool. I have an iPad and a "lifestyle". I'm starting to think that don't amount to much. What's the point of being all that and more if you don't get a little respect?

The next couple of hours went without incident and I was again enjoying the good life.

On my way home I decided to go to this restaurant in Georgetown U for some light lunch, it has a big buffet and lots of choices and is usually only packed during games and I like it.

Today there were like a busload of people in there and so I joined the queue. Four little old ladies came walking by, muttering something about "ridiculous", and proceeded to the front of the buffet.

No words were exchanged. I'll get cranky with a bunch of costumed tools, a tatootool and even some big ol' tool in a big ol' truck but there are some times when you're simply out crankied.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


As I'm going along I often wonder how it is we stay up on these things. I've read a bit on this but even what appears to be the simplest of articles soon turns into headache inducing jibberish. Words like centrifugal and angular momentum and rake and gyroscope and planar and vector appear. These are usually followed by things that some people on the planet can understand.
Things like:

0 = Cfriction x V x P + Cair x v^2 x v - Cslope x P x% slope x V

And they go on for pages with illustrations and graphs.

I don't know any of those people.

When my mind contemplates these things I usually get disoriented and wobbly. Not the old kind of disoriented and wobbly but the kind that strikes you suddenly like you've just walked into a bike shop and two tatootools are having a conversation and you notice that neither are using words like "sick" and "dude" and "awesome".

There are few things worse than the wobble. Only two things can happen, you either regain control or you don't. So it strikes me as peculiar that someone would build a bike so they can get on with their wobble.

They say it only takes a couple of minutes to get used to. My question is how many fall down go boom's are included in those few minutes. I'm not fond of the fall down go boom way of riding and as one of the Laws of Old states, once you reach a certain age if you fall you're not allowed to get up without the aid of a good samaritan (are there bad samaritans?). I haven't reached that age yet but it's unclear at what point that kicks in so I see no reason to push my luck.
After you master the wobble bike you'll be able to ride it anywhere. I can ride my regular bike anywhere and choose when to wobble. All I need to do is think about angular momentum and vectors.

Friday, April 1, 2011

As the comedian said...

"You can't fix stupid".

TheWashCycle links to another brilliant piece from a know it all right wing nut job. Yeah, I said it. 

Lance was here in DC objecting to some republican recommendations for budget cuts to the NIH. This didn't set well with this "brilliant" person.

"It takes one to know one. Therefore, one must assume that professional cyclist Lance Armstrong is among the world's "brightest" people."
Yep, that's how she starts off.

"We all understand how brilliant you have to be to peddle a bicycle for a living."

She's such a clever one!, So, miss smarty pants (two can do this clever thing), what does riding a bike have to do with intelligence? Ok, if we're talking about riders of the fixed gear bicycle (aka tatootools) then I'll give you that one. But if you got, say, a 3 speed, then you're just as likely to be "brilliant" as the next person, or, uh, not. What the hell are you talking about?

She says Lance and his "liberal" pals think government funding is the answer to every ailment. She's just making that up. They never said that.
At what point did name calling become some kind of valid arguing point? Throw out "liberal" and "left" enough and you don't have to actually support your argument.

Speaking of stupid...

This article in The Washington Post talks about the law they're trying to change in Maryland to make drivers who kill people more responsible for their actions, like send them to jail.

I admit that "brilliant" and me ain't likely to cross paths anytime soon, but it don't take a whole lot of functioning brain cells to see that if you are the one and only guidance system for a 1 to 3 ton missile and you can't be bothered to make sure you guide it away from other human beings so as you don't kill them then your ass should go to jail.

The state senator, a left wing nut job, there I said it,  said "If it's not intentional and it's not grossly negligent, do we really want to send somebody to jail?".

Well, yeah.

If you just had to take that phone call or turn around to grab something in the back or whatever other distraction you have handy then you are intentionally disengaging the guidance system and when the guidance system is offline it don't take long for that missile to veer off course.

The legal-dictionary definition: Gross negligence is a conscience and voluntary disregard of the need to use reasonable care.
Disengaging the guidance system sounds like gross negligence to me, but hey, I'm not some state senator.

You lost control of the missile you're supposed to be guiding, the other person lost their frickin life. When talking about loss it don't get no bigger than life.

I say put 'em behind bars.