Tuesday, April 30, 2013

30DOB - And It's Done

I have fulfilled my pledge to ride my bike thirty days in a row. How many miles did I ride? What was my fastest speed? How many calories did I burn? I have no idea. I don't use a bike computer, a heart monitor, a power meter, or any other gadget to measure my cycling. There are far greater benefits derived from riding a bike.
Sometimes I flew like the wind. Sometimes I struggled against it. People walking on the sidewalks returned my "Good morning" or "Good afternoon." Every whiff of morning bacon and afternoon barbecue was mouthwatering. Other cyclists returned my greeting. Countless vehicle drivers gave me my space and shared the road. Every once in a while I backslid on eating healthy. I climbed some long and steep hills in a higher gear than before. I rode all over north Spokane and discovered new and interesting things to see on streets I chose at random. Little kids on bikes smiled and waved as I rolled by. I saw lots of wildlife. I splashed through puddles after the rain. People sitting on their front porch nodded back at me. My breath puffed like a steam engine and my eyes watered on cold mornings. I had the freedom to choose my route, change it on a whim, and enjoy every mile of exploration. I found myself cruising on the big chain ring and a smaller cog on the rear cassette.

Try experiencing that in a car. If cycling doesn't float your boat then maybe you should get a different boat.
I've been pondering a change in direction for Shallow Cogitations. You'll find it becoming more bicycle oriented. I will still include the occasional post about social, political, legal and other issues, but I need to focus on something and I've chosen cycling. There will be more coverage of cycling events, including more photos and videos. Out of respect for the general public and with a sense of common decency, I will not include my made-for-radio face and made-for-American-Sign-Language voice in the videos.

In yesterday's post I risked jinxing myself. I had a flat when I left work today. There was nothing to indicate fallen branches did it, but I'm sure they were behind it.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Upcoming Bike Happenings

This Saturday, May 4, Two Wheel Transit is hosting a free kid's bike fair and rodeo from 1:00-4:00 pm right outside the store at 817 S. Perry. This is a great opportunity, especially for residents of the South Perry Neighborhood, to help your children learn about riding safely and build up their skills. The Gonzaga Cycling Club is volunteering their services, but help is always appreciated. If you'd like to help with the rodeo, give Two Wheel a call at 747-2231. Better yet, bring your kids and their bikes.

Also happening this Saturday is Beacon and Legs, the third mountain bike race in the Fat Tire Revolution series. The course consists of a 7-mile loop. Park at Camp Sekani
Cat 3 (one lap) race is at 10:00 am. 
Cat 2 (two laps) at 11:00 am. 
Cat 1/Pro/Open (three laps) is at 12:30 pm. 
There's a free kid's race at 3:00 pm.

Parking is easy and cheap if you ride your bike to Bloomsday. The Spokane Bicycle Club will keep your bike and your stuff safe in a bike corral from 7:30 am-2:00 pm. It's in Riverfront Park in the meadow just south of the (blue) Howard Street Bridge. So right after you impress your friends with your Bloomsday PR, you can top it off by telling them how you rode your bike to and from the race. 

Back to mountain bike racing. The first of the Wednesday Night Mountain Bike Races happens on Wednesday, May 8, next week at Riverside State Park. Don't forget your Discover Pass.

Bike to Work Week is May 13-19. Register for the commuter challenge, which includes riding to work, riding to school, errands to the store, and all other non-recreational cycling. On Monday morning, May 13, breakfast will be at Riverfront Park again right across from City Hall. Mountain Gear will be cooking up pancakes and Roast House Coffee will provide coffee.

30DOB - Day 29

Is it me or are we having a lot more days with strong winds? It's a little unnerving to ride in traffic and have a huge gust of wind push you to one side or the other. Residential streets are less worrisome except for the branches strewn about. At the risk of jinxing myself I will say I never suffered a flat from a tree branch, but I understand it can happen.
The petals blown from the flowering trees provide a cool The-Last-Samurai-ish look at times. It is perfect....They are all perfect. But we know how that turned out so maybe that's not the best reference to use for cycling. It's a shame the blossoms are ripped away like that leaving the cherry and plum trees to reminisce like former beauty queens.

This was a lucky find.
You don't see many tall bikes in Spokane. I caught this one when I got off work today. Looks like fun.

Okay, what's wrong with this picture?
Yep, it's a car salmon going upstream through traffic. Car salmon are very dangerous. You never want to tackle one head on, especially if you're on a bike.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

30DOB - Day 28

Today was a maintenance day. I broke out the Pedro's Bio Degreaser and gave the chains on my Trek and Elephant a good scrubbing.
That's not a new toothbrush, but it is new to cleaning chains. I get a new brush during my semi-annual dental checkup and cleaning. The old brush does not go to waste. See? Your dental plan can benefit your bike.

After cleaning it was time to lube the chain. Some time ago I read about long-lasting Chain-L so I thought I'd give it a try. I was warned to watch out for "strands" because this oil is so thick, especially when it's cold. To warm it up and reduce the viscosity, I let it sit on the dashboard for 30 minutes. That worked really well.
The only riding I did today was up and down the road making sure the shifters and brakes were working properly. But it's not like the day went to waste.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

30DOB - Day 27

It's wasn't the worst wheel I've ever seen, but it didn't work any better either. Pedals2People held a free bike tune up for the sixth consecutive year at the West Central Neighbor Day Festival. I left the house early and rode to P2P where I hooked up a trailer and helped haul gear to Cannon Park. (More useless trivia: I learned to swim in Cannon pool back in the 60's. Well, good enough to make it across the pool.) 

Bikes showed up. Wrenches were turned. Punctures were patched. Streamers streamed. All but two bikes were returned to service. The extremely-out-of-round wheel was beyond repair. Another bike had so many bent parts about the only thing worth salvaging from it was the adjusting screw on the front derailleur. John Speare made a trip back to P2P and brought the kid a replacement bike. We didn't have as many customers as before, but they all left happy...except...yeah, the guy with the trashed wheel was a bit disappointed.



The first Kidical Mass was held at the festival, too. The purpose of Kidical Mass is to teach kids how to ride safely in traffic. Erika Henry demonstrated hand signals and proper distance while riding in single file. Bill Bender, Spokefest founder, lead the 3.4-mile ride and used the stops and turns reinforce what Erika had taught them. Parents and volunteers rode as escorts. It was probably the longest ride those kids had ever completed. And they did great.
Bill sporting his cool biking glasses.

After all the festivities were done, the ride home was great. More so since the wind was blowing so strongly in the direction I was going. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

30DOB - Day 26

This was the first morning where it was warm enough to preclude wearing a hat, fleece pullover, and gloves.

I left early and opted for the long way to work via the Children of the Sun Trail and what a pleasant surprise I found there. The grit and gravel I had noted before was gone.

A sweeper this way came. Nice! 

The southern end of the trail alongside Freya has yet to receive this treatment. But progress doesn't always happen overnight, right?

Since the morning ride was going so well, I thought I'd tempt fate a little and stay on Freya until it reached Upriver Drive. I wove through the two roundabouts that terminate the south end of North-South Corridor and put my head in the lion's mouth after crossing Francis. This is an industrial area so large trucks are frequent. Plus, there's no shoulder and the road surface is crap. But we all shared the road without sounding a horn, yelling a swear word, endangering anyone's life, or using any insulting sign language.

After crossing Wellesley the road widens and it was clear sailing to Upriver. Then it was a simple matter of following the Centennial Trail to downtown.

Take Your Same-Sex Business Elsewhere

The Revised Code of Washington, section 49.60.030, covers freedom from discrimination and begins with this statement: 

(1) The right to be free from discrimination because of race, creed, color, national origin, sex, honorably discharged veteran or military status, sexual orientation, or the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability is recognized as and declared to be a civil right. 

Washington state senator Sharon Brown, and at least eleven other senators, including Spokane's Mike Padden, have offered up a bill to create exemptions in the state's anti-discrimination law.

It leads off with...

AN ACT Relating to the right to engage in commerce free from discrimination;

It sounds good so far. But here is the text they want to add.

(4) Nothing in this section may burden a person or religious organization's freedom of religion including, but not limited to, the right of an individual or entity to deny services if providing those goods or services would be contrary to the individual's or entity owner's sincerely held religious beliefs, philosophical beliefs, or matters of conscience. This subsection does not apply to the denial of services to individuals recognized as a protected class under federal law applicable to the state as of the effective date of this section. The right to act or refuse to act in a manner motivated by a sincerely held religious belief, philosophical belief, or matter of conscience may not be burdened unless the government proves that it has a compelling governmental interest in infringing the specific act or refusal to act and has used the least restrictive means to further that interest.

It doesn't apply to any protected class under federal law, which includes race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, familial status, disability, veteran status, and genetic information.

But it would apply to a same-sex couple wishing to get married and wanting to buy flower arrangements from a florist for their wedding ceremony. The right to commerce free from discrimination would not apply to them. Such is the value--and danger--of sincerely held religious beliefs, philosophical beliefs, and matters of conscience of a business trumping those of the customer.

And such would be the effect of those beliefs when they are forced upon the citizenry by legislators.

The World's Most Exclusive Club

Yesterday, the Presidents gathered to dedicate the George W. Bush Library. At least Bill Clinton had the nerve to say it was the "latest grandest example of the eternal struggle of former Presidents to rewrite history," although in friendly, humorous tone.

President Obama's remarks reminded me of a performance evaluation you'd give an underwhelming worker whom you don't want to go through the trouble of getting rid of and are hoping will just go away. You struggle to find something good to say and exaggerate that as much as you can to fill in your allotted space.

Perhaps he recognizes that he will have his own library some day to deal with his legacy of not closing Guantanamo, expanding drone attacks to include killing American citizens, prosecuting whistleblowers, and being just as secretive as his predecessor.

Indeed, it is an exclusive club.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

30DOB - Day 25

Bicycles are coming out in force with the weather becoming so nice. It is still a couple weeks away, but I hope we get a warm and sunny morning for the Bike to Work Week Breakfast on May 13. In the past we did get riders if it was cold or rainy, but fewer of the fair weather folks. A crowded breakfast at Riverfront Park that morning would look good for the cycling community.

Today's Public Service Message:
Friends don't let friend shop drunk.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

30DOB - Day 24

The best  thing about living as far from work as I do is the many paths I can take to and from work. Interesting, different, pretty, ugly, whatever. I enjoy cycling on different roads because I never know what I'm going to see.

Coming Up This Weekend

The West Central Neighbor Days Festival is being held at Cannon Park this Saturday from 10:00-2:00. Pedals2People will be there offering free bicycle tune ups and repairs. I remember the last time I helped Pedals2People.

"Why would you sign up for this, Hank?"

"I wanna fix flats, sir!"

"You can forget it! You're out!

"Don't you do it! Don't! You...I GOT NOWHERE ELSE TO GO! I got nowhere else to g...I got nothin' else."

"Alright, Hank. On your feet."

I might have a couple details wrong.

There's something new happening at 1:00 at the festival. It's the first Kidical Mass. The Summer Parkways organization is holding three of these this year. Bill Bender, Spokefest chair and a man well known for getting cycling-related things done in Spokane, stumbled across the Kidical Mass website and thought the idea would be great to encourage kids to ride bikes and exercise.

View Kidical Mass West Central 2013 in a larger map
It's a three-mile route and parents are invited to ride along. Volunteer ride leaders will escort the young'uns.

Trivia note: The northern loop of the ride was my paper route some forty years ago.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Modern Day Snake Oil

New York City Mayor Bloomberg thinks we need to change our interpretation of the Constitution.

“The people who are worried about privacy have a legitimate worry,” Mr. Bloomberg said during a press conference in Midtown. “But we live in a complex word where you’re going to have to have a level of security greater than you did back in the olden days, if you will. And our laws and our interpretation of the Constitution, I think, have to change.”
“It really says something bad about us that we have to do it. But our obligation first and foremost is to keep our kids safe in the schools; first and foremost, to keep you safe if you go to a sporting event; first and foremost is to keep you safe if you walk down the streets or go into our parks,” he said. “We cannot let the terrorists put us in a situation where we can’t do those things. And the ways to do that is to provide what we think is an appropriate level of protection.”

So called reinterpretations--considered by many as violations--of the Constitution have been going on for quite some time now. Enhanced interrogation, indefinite detention, warrantless surveillance, and ridiculous security theater at airports, all in the name of fighting terrorism and keeping us safe.

There is no keeping us 100% safe. Efforts made in that direction are a salve to soothe fears heightened by the speed and distance bad news travels these days. Twitter feeds and breaking news constantly interrupt us: "Have you heard? Have you heard? Have you heard?" Compounding our fears even more is the repetition, the echo chamber known as the media. Look at the flash, the smoke, and the carnage. Look again. And again. Have you seen the carnage? And they continue to show it until the next one happens. Have you heard? Have you seen?

But we don't concern ourselves with that because fear is foremost in our mind pushing rational thought aside. Something bad happened there. Could it happen here? Stay tuned. Hence the increased security planned for Bloomsday--just to be safe.

"Just to be safe," we say, rubbing the liniment on and hoping nobody asks, "Does this shit really work?"

30DOB - Day 23

With the weather getting nice this week there are many more cyclists on the road. And that's good thing.
But there are also cyclists who give the rest of us a bad name. I know it's completely illogical. When you see a vehicle driver going the wrong way on a one-way street, do you automatically think that all drivers are traffic scofflaws? Of course not.

But when a bicycle does that, many people start knocking cyclists for violating traffic laws all the time.
Sorry for the poor shot. I had to unsling my camera, turn it on, and point it down the road as I went through the intersection. No doubt the guy on the motorcycle is thinking, "What the hell...?"

Monday, April 22, 2013

30DOB - Day 22

Each breath trailed behind me like a plume of smoke puffing from a steam locomotive. My shins reddened as the pedal-induced wind chill got to work on the bare skin lacking body fat for insulation. My lightly gloved fingertips and thinly covered toes feel the cold sooner and to greater effect. It's only 30 degrees! During these last few months my body's tolerance for cold has noticeably diminished. It must be a function of age.

A quote about pry this bike from my cold dead hands seemed appropriate by the time I arrived at work.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Freak Out

I find it interesting that the lockdown in Boston during the manhunt for the remaining bomb suspect did not result in finding and arresting him. It took a citizen who noticed something wrong and reported it.

And can someone explain to me why some Dunkin' Donuts can remain open despite the alleged danger that shut down everything else? If it's safe for them, why isn't it safe for anyone else?

Spokane River Run

I was feeling apprehensive about today's run. I haven't been running much, mostly to rest my nagging left hamstring. It's funny how tripping has injured me more than running.

I wore my Vibrams and had my timing chip attached to a velcro strap around my ankle. I started out towards the back of the crowd to avoid the demoralization of watching everyone pass me by. Not long after the start John stopped by, said hello, and moved on ahead. I caught up with him between the 2- and 3-mile marks and chatted for a few seconds. I noticed I was doing about an 8-1/2 minute mile pace so I backed off. I wanted to keep it around 10 minutes a mile especially since I hadn't trained for this.
The first eleven miles went great. My hamstring was nagging me a bit but it wasn't affecting my stride. I made it through that nasty basalt section with only one rock stabbing my arch. After getting through that the trail was open and comfortable, the sun shone, and a beautiful view of the river was below. I reveled in the moment. I felt I could run forever with my eyes closed, but I knew better. I noticed my foot-eye coordination was top of form so I ripped down the downhills. I imagine I looked like a madman with my arms flying in different directions, counterweights helping me with my foot placement. But it works for me.

I had a small world moment around mile eleven. Another runner caught up with me, and I don't know if it was the Vibrams, my running style, or my gray hair, but she asked me if I knew Barefoot Ken Bob. Barefoot Ken Bob lives in San Diego and he's one of the original barefoot runners. He has countless marathons under his belt. I told her I didn't know him, but I knew of him and I had his book.

"I'm in his book," she says. She used to live in San Diego and ran with Barefoot Ken Bob and he included her. She came here by way of Seattle. So why is this a small world moment?

"Cool," I said. "I'm in his book, too. I wrote a story about running the 25th Bare Buns Fun Run barefooted. He included it along with a couple of other stories other people submitted for his book."

She didn't remember it but she's going to check that out. In the meantime, you can read it for free with the link I provided. (If you know me, I apologize for any visuals.)

I told her to have a good run and backed off on my speed. My hamstring was starting to affect my stride so I shortened it and kept plugging away. To top it off, the soles of my feet were paying the price for the lack of training on trails. You can only get to the finish so I focused on relaxing thoughts. I plugged in an earworm of All Right by Toad the Wet Sprocket. (I have never run with ear buds cutting me off from the world. It just doesn't feel right.)
I estimate I finished around 2:34 which is faster than last year and pretty close to what I did two years ago. So in comparison to the past two years I think I did pretty good. But my soles were really sore and I was ready take off the Vibrams and put on the bike shoes to cut back on rocks poking into my feet. On the bright side, I only have a couple of bruises.

30 DOB - Day 21

It was a decision I fortunately did not have to regret. I was reviewing what items I was going to carry during the 25k River Run. Hmm, house key? Nah, Kathy or Steph will be home so I'll leave it. I loaded my pannier, put on a wool cap to keep my ears warm, rolled the bike out and close the garage. I turned off the driveway, heading towards Highway 2, and I noticed I couldn't see behind me. That meant I didn't have my helmet on. And I just locked myself out. I could ride without or I could ring the doorbell for who knows how long before someone came to the door. I chose to do the 20-mile round trip without a helmet.

Since there is so little traffic early Sunday morning I had no traffic-related problems while taking Country Homes and Francis to Nine Mile Road. 
As usual, I arrived well before my start time. And here's a lesson I learned, which proved that once again learning has not occurred for Hank. For the past couple of weeks I noticed that my shoe clips into my left pedal on one side only. I kept thinking I'd check it once I arrived at my destination but I'd always forget to do some. This morning, after scouting the start area, I started to ride over to the bathrooms. I noticed the pedal problem and decided to check it since I had nothing better to do. It's a loose screw problem, but not as serious as Pat's. I have plenty of pedals so I'll swap that out at home. 

The lesson here is that you should check whatever is wrong when you notice it. Maybe one day that snippet of wisdom will be permanently embedded in my feeble brain, but don't bet money on it.
I was going to leave my bike at one of the tents when Jerry Lynch, one of the race organizers, asked me if I needed a place to put it. He offered to let me lock the bike to his trailer and I accepted. He said he'll look at bringing a bike rack next year since mine was the second bike using his trailer. That would be cool. I locked up my bike and left a sign should a worst-case scenario happen during my run.
There was a lot more traffic during the ride back. Once I reached where Nine Mile Road intersects with  Francis, I turned left on Assembly and then followed Woodside to Five Mile Road. That kept me out of the worst traffic. I notice there's still a lot of crunching from studded tires 20 days after they were supposed to come off.

Now to fix that pedal. And always take my house key.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

30DOB - Day 20

I accompanied Kathy for one more long run. Today she did 20 miles. We started at the Harvard Road trailhead, went east for a while, then turned around and made a bee line for downtown Spokane. Today was the designated cleanup day for the Centennial Trail. Tons of volunteers were on the trail for the first few miles. It was pretty crowded in places and fast movers had to slow down, especially when little kids were present. As usual, there were plenty of other runners and cyclists to chat with and put on the OTM Facebook page. But today provided something different. I stumbled across two kayakers putting in to the river.
She's flyin'!

Headed for Sullivan Road.

 This tree always catches my eye.

Hey, wait for me.

Brings to mind song lyrics
about catching you when you fall. 

 A training day for others, too.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Mark My Words

They're everywhere and the police are powerless to stop them. You find smoking areas within 25 feet of a door or window in many places downtown. At first they stand around acting all innocent and throw their butts on the ground before heading back indoors. And then, confident that authorities will overlook them, the scofflaws begin to get comfortable. They start homesteading. They acquire milk crates to sit on. They use tin cans for an ashtray. From there it can only get worse. It would not surprise me to find one with a Barcalounger, an end table, and perhaps a tablet for writing stories and making stuff up for the enjoyment of others. And poison in the air.

30DOB - Day 19

The warm and dry ride home was a welcome change from the wind and rain this morning. I stopped by Mountain Gear and picked up my Spokane River Run race packet and t-shirt. From there I took the easy way home following the bike lane on North Addison. Looking up ahead I spotted a vehicle parked in the bike lane.

"Oh, you're gonna get a letter," I thought.
As I got closer, I noticed the other cars. I don't think that's going to buff out.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

30DOB - Day 18

I spotted an osprey on the way home after work. It expertly adjusted its weight, keeping its balance on a gently swaying spindle of a perch. It kept a sharp eye on the river below for something lower in the food chain, a pisces no doubt, hoping it made the mistake of exploring the top of its world.
How far away from downtown Spokane was I? About three feet.

Vertical Video Syndrome

I have learned my lesson. Don't be a member of the other group.

Close Your Eyes And Pretend It Didn't Happen

The Constitution Project released a report on detainee treatment. Don't expect it to change anything. Here are a couple of findings:

U.S. forces, in many instances, used interrogation techniques on detainees that constitute torture. American personnel conducted an even larger number of interrogations that involved “cruel, inhuman, or degrading” treatment. Both categories of actions violate U.S. laws and international treaties. Such conduct was directly counter to values of the Constitution and our nation.

The nation’s most senior officials, through some of their actions and failures to act in the months and years immediately following the September 11 attacks, bear ultimate responsibility for allowing and contributing to the spread of illegal and improper interrogation techniques used by some U.S. personnel on detainees in several theaters. Responsibility also falls on other government officials and certain military leaders.

There is no firm or persuasive evidence that the widespread use of harsh interrogation techniques by U.S. forces produced significant information of value. There is substantial evidence that much of the information adduced from the use of such techniques was not useful or reliable.

Concerning Congress:

It is now evident that Congress did little to fulfill its primary obligations in addressing how the United States treated prisoners from Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries during the first few years of the Bush administration. At the very least, the first job of Congress in such a situation is oversight, finding out what may be going on and informing the public, through hearings and reports. This was in notable contrast to two previous periods in U.S. history. In 1902, regarding Filipinos, and 1949, regarding Germans, it had confronted the unpopular issue of prisoner abuse openly. But this time Congress stepped aside, effectively ceding that task to the press.

Concerning the Obama Administration:

The Justice Department’s rules for cases involving classified information greatly restrict prosecutors’ ability to act without the approval of the original classifying agency. Without CIA approval, classified information about the circumstances of a detainee’s death could not be discussed while interviewing witnesses, or presented to the grand jury. This may have been a formidable obstacle to prosecutions for detainee deaths in CIA custody, though it is impossible to know if it was decisive without public disclosure of the reasons DOJ declined to prosecute.

In a number of other civil and criminal cases, the Obama administration has robustly defended the CIA’s prerogative to keep information about its treatment of detainees secret. Obama’s Department of Justice successfully argued for the dismissal of Mohamed v. Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc.,142 a suit by five rendition victims against a Boeing subsidiary that allegedly participated in flying them to torture overseas, on the basis of the state-secrets privilege. It also successfully opposed Supreme Court review of another rendition victim’s suit, Arar v. Ashcroft.143 

The Obama administration has also criminally prosecuted more individuals under the Espionage Act for providing classified information to the press than all other presidential administrations combined. From its passage in 1917 until 2009, the Espionage Act was used in three criminal prosecutions. It has been used six times under the Obama administration, most recently to prosecute CIA officer John Kiriakou for unauthorized disclosures to journalists about the identities of CIA personnel involved in the interrogation and torture of Abu Zubaydah. Kiriakou was sentenced to 30 months in prison for these revelations.

Why won't this report result in anything more than a short article in the local paper? Because the people who are outraged by it already were in the first place. The media was just as complicit as it was compliant. The last thing Congress wants to do is revisit its shameful role of abdicated responsibilities. And the Obama administration is hell bent on keeping everything secret.

There are a number of possible reasons the United States will not be judged by the same standards it applied to war criminals in the past who committed the same offenses. Exceptionalism. Avoidance. Denial. Hubris. It doesn't matter. The details may be kept secret by the Obama administration, but it's a contemptible secret privy to us all.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Young On The Inside

I ran during lunch today. I wore my Vibrams and caught some of the trails around the Sandifur Bridge area trying to get in the right frame of mind for the River Run this Sunday. I took the Vibrams off for the trip back downtown going up Riverside. As I passed by the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture running on bare feet, a group of youths stepped out of a Central Valley school bus. One of the kids caught sight of me.

"You go, old guy!"

Old guy?

About twelve years ago I was ice skating at the downtown rink during lunch. A friend of mine, a teacher, was accompanying her students. School days at the rink make it practically impossible to get any good skating in so I was fortunate to get some rink time before they filled the place. My friend pointed me out to a couple of her students.

"You mean that old man?"

I remember when I considered people my age as old. Now here I am at that age and I feel nothing like I thought they felt when I thought they were old. I refuse to surrender to time despite the futility of doing so. It's what you do in between the beginning and end that matters. Some people waste away. Like Shaw, I want to be thoroughly used up.

So, yeah, kids. This old guy is gonna go.

Today's Episode Of "Yer Doin' It Wrong"

30DOB - Day 17

Neither snow nor rain nor baseball bat nor squash.... Give me a minute and this will make sense.

This morning I repeated my ride over Five Mile, but taking A Street south instead of Ash. (Sorry for not giving you a head's up, Scott. It was a spur of the moment decision while leaving my driveway.) What caught my eye this time around were mail box protection schemes.

Four or five years ago, my mailbox was the victim of a drive-by squashing. Traditionally, according to the movies, young men lean out car windows or stand in the bed of a pickup truck wielding a baseball bat with which they swing away at mailboxes. This was different. Someone nailed the side of my mailbox with an acorn squash, which was a waste of a perfectly good acorn squash. It dented the box, cracked the vinyl post, and left squash parts on my driveway and yard.

The post hung in there but time, gravity, and the winds wore it down. A month or so ago I replaced everything with an all-metal assembly. My postal carrier even complimented me on it. He also told me that hitting a rock solid mailbox with a bat can break the bat holder's hand or wrist. I guess he would know these things.

I noticed a trend in the mailbox fortification on Five Mile Road.
There's rock.


 Heavy metal.