Not again

It's time for another biking post! The Biking Commute Challenge Thingy is almost over, and I've biked 15 out of a potential 19 days of work thusfar. (I felt something pull or tear or tweak just above my right knee starting out in too high a gear right at the beginning of the month, so I took a little break, until I realized that it actually hurt more to work the gas pedal.) There are a few people with 100%, but I think I'll take the total mileage crown, which I am hoping involves an actual crown, but which probably consists of nothing. I got some raingear, but so far I've only needed the gloves, as it's been surprisingly dry, if foggy and windy. That reminds me:

Pete's List of Bicycling Things What Suck (Amended 9/27/08):

So here are yesterday's numbers:
Total Miles: 534
Total Peddlin' Time: 42 hrs. 50 min.
Trip Dist.: 18.58 miles
Trip Time: 1 hr. 25
Avg. Speed: 13.15
Top Speed: 31.94

Yep, 32 mph coming down the 33rd ramp over Columbia. I'll have to try again on Monday, though, 'cause I swear I hit the exact same speed at the same place on Thursday.

The End

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So I thought I had a nice little idea for a retarded post about Sarah Palin, and her being the first ever VPILF. Turns out not only am I too late, there's a goddamn website: vpilf.com. There's even a post about the foresight in setting that site up two months ago.
Aha! No google hits for LOLVPILF. My niche!

Comedy gold.

PS Yeah I know, I can't figure out how to do a black outline.

Here's Syd's submission, and she's right, it should just be LOLVP:

And here's mine:


We're puerile

Highlight of the 'lympics thusfar: the opening ceremony, beating France's ass in the relay, or the fact that Bulgaria has a male volleyball player called Gaydarski? It's a tough call...

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So my shoes were shot to hell and I actually had some spare cash, and I was tired of playing basketball with my students in running shoes, so we willingly engaged in shoe shopping. I’m pretty finicky about every possible aspect of shoe purchasing, which makes for frustrating times. I eventually settled on some Adidas that didn’t look totally retarded, which I find to be an issue with 95% of shoes, but the weird thing was that the whole time I was worried about the opinions of my class. I’ve always been surprised by the lengths they go to to keep their “kicks”* nice; getting a couple sizes too big and stuffing socks in the toe; avoiding grass; meticulously scrubbing... I should be glad that they take care of nice things, given their often dire financial situations, but it’s so unexpectedly prissy. So along with my concerns of retarded shoes and shoes that didn’t feel right, there was a little voice saying “get some Jordans, or some Forces.” The trouble, of course, was that I had no damn clue which were tight and which were swap. So it was not without some small measure of apprehension that I wore my new shoes to school today, and as should come as no surprise, nobody commented on them at all.

*Slang for shoes.
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Mo' bicyclin'

I bade the MAX farewell this week, thanks partly to the cyclometer-facilitated realization that it only cuts the ride roughly in half, and takes no less time than riding the whole way. Monday and Tuesday I rode, tagging along with a couple of coworkers some of the time. More painful, but good to have impetus to keep going, and go faster, as they're in better shape than I. I was developing this habit of stopping when things got difficult. Took a break and drove Wednesday, and rode again Thursday (I have Fridays off in the summer. This only slightly mitigates my job's sucking.). 18-19.5 miles all three days, avg. speed 12 mph (it doesn't count time spent not moving toward avg speed or trip time), max. speed 25.71 (riding the brakes down the Alameda ridge), total odometer 78 miles, which doesn't include, obviously, distance traveled before I got the thing. Whee, geeking out with basic telemetry!
Syd rode some too, but was stymied by insufficient panniery, so I'm gonna slap a basket on the front of her bike today.
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Woo Bicyclin'!

So here's this week:
  • Monday: MAX in the morning, rode back from work via 33rd.
  • Tuesday: MAX in the morning, rode back via Vancouver.
  • Wednesday: Legs were not interested in bicycling. So very not interested.
  • Wednesday night: went to REI, got super-cushy seat for Syd, water bottle holders, and a cyclometer for me, since I needed a clock, and it tracks a bunch of other interesting stuff, like current, average and max speed, distance traveled, time traveled, and odometer and total time.
  • Today: MAX in the morning, turns out I still bike about 4 miles with MAX, so it cuts the biking in half. Rode back via Vancouver, stopped to get a little Allen key kit because it turns out I didn't tighten Syd's new seat enough and it shifted angle quite significantly halfway through her morning commute, rode to Syd's work, fixed her seat, and we rode home. Total distance almost 16 miles, how crazy is that? My legs felt a lot better, too. I still had to stop a couple of times partway up some hills, but I think that's partly 'cause I wasn't picking a good gear, 'cause when I started back up it went much more easily.
Things I still suck at:
  • riding with weight off my arms, or hands off the handlebar, which is to say:
  • signaling, and the faster I'm going the harder it is. I would like to be one of those cool people who can ride with their arms at their sides all cool-like.
  • Inclines. You win again, gravity!

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Vegas! Sorta.

So, I was gonna post my impressions of the Summer League games, for the benefit of Beau and Ben and anyone else without Comcast, and who might be desperate enough for information to rely on my uninformed meanderings. But you are all deprived of said ramblings, as I only watched the first quarter (conclusion: the Blazers can't shoot!) and then S and I went on a bike ride to try out her new bicycle. She likes that it's green, and has swept-back handlebars for the upright-sittin', and I like that it's assembled and sold by godless communists. Also, I rode all the way back from work today! It's 8.5 miles! It took an hour! I carried my bike up a hill to avoid an uphill cloverleaf and almost fell back down it! It is probably not the best idea I have ever had!
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Support local business

I heartily recommend the dude with the big beard selling cherries out of his pickup. $3 a pound for those pinky yellow ones, $5 for bing, and he welcomes bartering, and his truck broke down today so AAA towed him here, and that sucks, so anyway, if you need some tasty organic cherries, and you're in SE, I'm assuming in the afternoon/early evening, you might could buy some from him.
Also, I'm riding that bike I've been trucking around for the last few years! How about that. It's a lot easier than last time I tried to start. In retrospect, that's probably because NW is not the best place to break oneself in, what with the living a little way up a hill. So I've ridden down to and around the waterfront a couple of times, and the ambition is to commute once school starts up again next week, which is around nine miles each way. And then maybe one day I'll be as cool as Katie and Joseph.
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Holy cats!

People! Micky Dolenz was the voice of Arthur in the first season of The (animated) Tick! He also claims to be the current voice of the Snuggles bear. I have no cause to doubt him.
SeƱor Llama did a--uhh, what's that word for teaching?--pedagogy post or two, so I feel like I should chip in, but the catch is that Joe's students want very much, as paying clients, to learn, and my students very much do not. I'm getting better at algebra; their gains are less apparent. I even did guitar lessons for a couple guys as an incentive a few months ago, but they weren't interested in learning; they wanted to be able to play or, failing that, dick around. So after a few lessons and still no E chord retention (and then the other teacher's aide getting injured and us being down a staffperson) the lessons petered out. It's not all bad news though: I've gotten a lot better at basketball. I can beat some high school students, some of the time!

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Candy...for breakfast?

So we got some Indiana Jones promotional cereal, 'cause now we don't have to see the movie. The front has a guy who sorta looks like Harrison Ford 25 years ago:

On the back we find present-day Harrison, failing to not look ridiculous, collecting his check, wondering what the fuck happened.

Here's what the Temple of Akator looks like.
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So when you're at the cineplex, and Indy gazes upon the splendor of a building that looks like a Dorito, now you'll know.

Oh, the cereal. Almost forgot. Cocoa Puffs with Lucky Charms-ish "marshmallows". Not that bad, really, if you're looking for some empty breakfast calories, and don't mind the subconscious impression that you're eating dog food.


Fred Meyer's Experience

So last week I was in line at Freddy's, at the entrance near our place, which has one checker who runs a checkstand and three self-checks. We at the checkstand were held up by some dude trying to buy a pack of Beyond Seven prophylactics, whose coupon wouldn't work. I relay this to you because Syd ordered me to, as she found it amusing. The guy handled it well, didn't turn red or pee himself or any of those other embarrassing, common condom purchasing mishaps, no doubt because of his apparently above-average wang. I know, this can't compete with the majesty of Joe's bonerstravaganza, but it's the best I could do.
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Thinking of the children

FYI, this post probably won't have a logical flow or come to a conclusion.
Grand Theft Auto IV comes out on Tuesday. I am extremely excited; it looks amazing, Rockstar is said to have fixed the crappy aiming system, and everything I've read says it's superawesome. Syd is not; she doesn't think there is a story, and doesn't like all the prostitute killing, and would rather I get Mario Kart instead. Before we all mock her for her love of Mario Kart's finely crafted narrative, I think her complaint stems from my habit of driving around blowing shit up if I'm stuck on a mission. The ability to do this was what made GTA different and great, but apparently it is not so great for the spectatin'. Anyway, it's got me thinking about mores and generational differences of perception and so on, so here are a few random thoughts that came to mind.
  • GTA San Andreas came out while I was at guitar school. I was watching this guy Cameron who was a few years younger than me play, and one of the other guys was like, Dude, do that one thing! So Cam obliged and stealth-snuck up behind a random pedestrian on a crowded sidewalk and slit their throat. Everyone thought it was hilarious but it just seemed a bit too much for me. Of course, my roommate and I in college thought the greatest thing ever was cranking up the enemy endurance in GoldenEye and turning off their threat detection, and then shooting them in the butt over and over to watch their agonized, but comical, animations.
  • One of Syd's brother Aren's friend's favorite activities was gettin' it on with a hooker for the concomitant health boost, then killing her and getting his money back. There isn't really a penalty in the game for that; I'm surprised Rockstar didn't throw in vengeful pimps.
  • I clearly remember that while driving back from some lake in Missouri when I was 11ish, an impromptu sing-along to GnR's Mr. Brownstone broke out with my sisters and the kids from the other family.
  • The Paris Hilton South Park was on the other night, and it struck me how bizarre it is that the fact that at the end Mr. Slave crams Ms. Hilton entirely up his butt doesn't bother me at all, and aside from a significant surprise the first time I saw it, has neatly settled into my concept of the world.

So yeah, the game's rated M, but plenty of kids will play it, including any kid in my class with the means, because ultimately it's the responsibility of the parent to regulate what kids are exposed to and my students have bad parents. I don't think it'll adversely affect them, just like Aren's friend doesn't, to the best of my knowledge, frequent prostitutes and then kill them for his money, Cameron didn't walk the streets of Nanaimo throat-slashing, I've never shot someone in the ass to see them clutch their buttocks and dance around, and my sisters aren't riding the White Horse. I don't know about the Atkinson kids. And if Cam is cutting citizens' carotids, I'm sure he would be with or without the game's influence. I guess my point is that I don't think video game violence is a big deal, but I'm really more interested in this huge shift in what is and isn't socially acceptable. Is it a linear progression? Will our kids think nothing of their virtual reality vivisection game? Maybe it's logarithmic, and there's some indecency asymptote we can never quite reach.
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My new favorite thing

I stuck around to watch the basketball team of the pseudo-highschool I work at play a month ago, and got roped into running the clock, and it turns out it's really fun. There are two officials, who I assume are paid, and are really good, and a scorekeeper, and then I kept track of the clock, score, and team fouls. So there was another game today, and I stuck around to support my students, ostensibly, but I was really in it for the clock operatin'. I find it oddly satisfying; it's sorta like a videogame. Our team lost, but I got my fix. I tried to find out how one becomes a professional clock operator/time keeper, but all I found was that in 1989 the Atlanta Hawks clock guy made $25 a game, so apparently I can hope for about 15 hours of minimum wage a week if I reach the highest level of the profession; maybe they unionized in the last 20 years. I think I'll send my resume to the Hawks anyway; Science knows I couldn't do a worse job.

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My Dark Secret

I am currently enjoying my private shame, possibly the most disturbing candy one can buy. (Prove me wrong, Joe! Prove me wrong!) Behold!

Shitty gummi bears coated in "chocolate," simultaneous racist and sexual overtones, teddy bear facial...I can now never run for elected office.


Attention, Fat Losers!

Syd and I are taking in the Blazers-Kings game on teevee, and their Steal of the Game tonight is, for $88, one club-level ticket, and all you can eat in the "Private Lexus Club." Because apparently the lonely obese demographic is their target, and they're not interested in subtlety. No word on whether it comes with a can of Chef Lonely Hearts' Soup For One.

And now, Sydney's Komedy Korner:

A rabbi, a priest and a duck walk into a bar. The bartender says, "What can I get you fine gentlemen?" The rabbi says, "What do you have that's kosher?" The bartender shows him a lovely selection of Manischewitz wines. The priest says, "What do you have for someone who gave up wine for Lent?" The bartender shows him the bar's long list of microbrews. He then turns to the duck and says, "And for you, sir?" And the duck says, "Quack!" and craps on the floor.


My New Favorite Thing Ever

He just sounds so bored by the end. I have this mental image of a classically trained actor reduced to doing voiceovers for some stupid American cartoon. He'll say 'fishing', but he'll be damned if he'll sing the Batman theme.
I wish I had a cool update, but not much is going on, as usual. I don't have any awesome home remodeling pictures, I'm not drinking in foreign lands, I'm not frequenting immigrant nightclubs...I did learn to play Dio's Holy Diver today, but that took all of 20 seconds. I'm not trying to brag or anything, if you can play guitar, it's really really easy. Here are my instructions: It starts on C.
[Edit: fixed last stupid link]



S: "I'm gonna have some ice cream, do you want some?"
me: "That would be lovely."
S: "Chocolate, or do you want your Ben & Jerry's?"
me: "Ooh, there's some left?"
S: "Yeah!" [checks freezer] "Oh wait, it's a lump of bread."