Monday, August 24, 2009
On the other hand, why wouldn't Monroe suggest that you buy new shocks at 50,000 miles so your car will be more maneuverable and stop better - so you can avoid hitting one of those cute cyclists? Or motorcyclists?
Squirrels are cute, no doubt. Monroe's squirrels are super cute. But squirrels don't have a monopoly on cute.... People can be cute too.
According to Superbikeplanet.com, nearly every intersection in downtown Indianapolis sports a banner like the one in the photo. Numbers of Indianapolis streets have been renamed - after great racing motorcyclists!
No telling from here in Denver if Kevin Schwantz Street intersects Freddie Spencer Avenue....
Last year, Hurricane Ike pounded Indy with wind and rain, shortening two of the three GP events and canceling the third. Even in the awful weather, 90,000 fans showed up to watch Valentino Rossi and his adversaries. This year? The Motor Speedway holds 250,000 spectators....
I plan to spend tomorrow night visiting friends in Hutchinson KS, near Wichita. I should spend Wednesday night somewhere in Missouri or Illinois and ride into Indiana on Thursday, stopping that night in Bloomington, where I started college and motorcycling.
I'll stay with my nephew in Indy. We'll go to the races with my niece and her family, constituting a reunion, I believe. I should be back home at my computer on the 4th of September or thereabouts.
If I have computer access on the road or in Indianapolis, I'll try to post a report or two.
Thanks for reading, as always.
In treating that battery so callously, I played right into the hands of T-Mobile, who have never wasted an opportunity, no matter what my phone complaint may have been, to upgrade me as a solution, charge me more per month and extend my iron-clad contract.
I chose T-Mobile because they sponsored a fine cycling team. I am sure that the other "providers" do business in the same slimy manner, but I'd have to pay T-Mobile serious money to find out for myself. I'd hate to pay them good money for permission to jump from the cell service frying pan into the cell service fire.
I've found a cheap online source for batteries. I promise I'll be better to the next one.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Tamar and I have T-Mobile phones. We started by paying in front, so many minutes cost so many pennies. Worked out great, except that if you leave your metropolitan area and drive for an hour, you have no phone. Weirdly, coverage for pay-as-you-go plans is far worse than for monthly, on-going, this-is-a-holdup plans.
But you know all that. Probably. Here finally is the reason for my rant: The battery in my year-or-so-old phone, little used but never shut off, charged all night every night, is holding less and less charge by the day. It's on its way out.
T-Mobile doesn't sell batteries. T-Mobile, again, doesn't sell batteries. They don't feel the need. All their phones are powered by batteries but they don't sell them.
If you say you need a battery, they sell you a new phone (with a new battery in it) CHEAPER than a replacement battery - and they sign you up for two or three more years of their service.
Look on the T-Mobile web site. Look for replacement batteries. Click around there. Look, as I did, in Accessories. No goddamn batteries. Before you suggest it, yes I called Batteries Plus. No batteries for my phone model in stock. Come in and order one. Takes two weeks. Forty bucks.
To T-Mobile, the failure of your battery is not a loss, it's an opportunity! Why should they sell you a boring battery when you can buy a slim, powerful, omni-featured new phone? And more years of good service from T-Mobile? For less out-of-pocket today than a battery alone....
Are the cretins behind this con the same guys who give away printers and sell short-lived $100 ink cartridges?
My PHONE isn't broken, dammit. I don't need a new PHONE. Why is it okay for cell phone companies to mislead us and upsell us? If our local merchants did it, we'd never stand for it....
Saturday, August 22, 2009
The mountain bikes are loud and the motorsickles are quiet.... Uh, have I got that right?
Lovely day, fine lunch at Zoka's. Wish you'd been there with us....
Tamar took her digital camera and shot a few photos from the moving motorcycle. As you can tell from the clarity of the shots, the motorcycle wasn't moving too fast. Here are a couple of shots from today's lovely ride.
We think Pine is at about 8,000ft of elevation. It's 80 miles round-trip from our elegant digs in metro Denver.
Evidently there was a fire out there at some point before we moved here. The home you see above all those burned trees couldn't have been there then, could it?
The river in the lower shot is the South Platte. It runs through Denver about a mile from our place...and like us, enjoys its journey to Pine.
Friday, August 21, 2009
A nice story from an elderly gentleman forwarded by my buddy Jim in the Springs (that's what Coloradans call Colorado Springs):
Yesterday I was at COSTCO buying a large bag of Purina Dog Chow for my loyal pet, Biscuit the Wonder Dog. I was in the checkout line when the woman behind me asked if I had a dog.
What did she think I had, an elephant?
Since I'm retired and maybe a little bored, on impulse I told her that no, I didn't have a dog, I was starting the Purina Diet again.
I added that I probably shouldn't start that diet again because last time I ended up in the hospital, but that I'd lost 50 pounds before waking up in Intensive Care with tubes coming out of most of my orifices and IVs in both arms.
I told her that it was essentially a perfect diet. The way it works is that you load your pockets with Purina nuggets and simply eat one or two every time you feel hungry. The nuggets are nutritionally complete - so it works well and I'd decided to try it again.
I have to mention here that practically everyone in line was now enthralled with my story.
Horrified, she asked if I ended up in intensive care because the dog food poisoned me.
I told her no, I stepped off a curb to sniff an Irish Setter's ass and a car hit us both.
I thought the guy behind her was going to have a heart attack he was laughing so hard.
Costco won't let me shop there anymore.
For a business to say they are bicycle friendly, that they accommodate customers arriving by bicycle, the business needs to have secure, indoor bicycle parking. That business should provide a space inside, out of the elements, devoted to receiving and storing my bike when I'm shopping.
Why do I need to carry an unwieldy lock? Why do I have to worry about banging the frame on a piece of galvanized pipe stuck in the ground? Why do I need to worry about which bike I ride to go to the store? Why do I need to have a clunker to get around?
Why can't I just stop on my way home from a ride and grab some groceries - without worrying about where I'm going to stash my nice bike for a few minutes? Wouldn't it be cool to ride in and hand the bike to a concierge who hands me my claim ticket? That's bicycle friendly, to me.
I rode into Gregg's Cycle yesterday to check out the new Ultegra group, see the stuff in person. Every slot of their indoor bike rack, the one right next to the door, was filled with repair bikes. I had to find a spare wall to lean my bike against. I stood there for a minute wondering what the hell.... Then I remembered- oh yeah, I'm just the customer. Who do I think I am?
The Ultegra stuff looks okay, by the way. The levers are great with both cables routed along the bars. The finish is nothing to write home about. Makes Dura-Ace stuff look spiffier than it already does.
From the Economist.com: How long does it take the average worker in these cities to earn the price of a Big Mac
PS From a comment to this post by Anonymous: They should do another chart showing the relative healthcare costs resulting from a diet of BigMacs in various countries!
Thursday, August 20, 2009
But when I tell folks from Michigan that I'm tempted to do that, I'm warned away. It's a wasteland these days, they tell me. You've seen Roger and Me. You've read about the unemployment and crime. Don't go. You'll only be disappointed.
And maybe they're right. Probably they are.
In the early '60s, a buddy and I on two motorcycles rode from Indianapolis south into Kentucky, intending to ride east to Harlan County. That's infamous "bloody Harlan," where the violent labor unrest and a good leaving-alone by law enforcement created a badlands, a xenophobic area like the OK Panhandle. We were middleclass white boys from Indianapolis; we were curious.
In a civilized hotel near Louisville, the proprietor warned us away from bloody Harlan.
"Couple of strangers like you two, college boys on nice motorcycles, you ride over there and you're liable never to be heard from again," he said, shortening our journey considerably.
As you will see in this NY Times piece and slide show, not everything about Flint is bottomed out and still sinking. A neighborhood called Carriage Town is doing just fine.
I'm going to Indy next week to see family and attend a couple of bigtime motorcycle races. I can spend a day riding to Flint. I can have a coffee in the Good Beans Cafe and I can stand in front of my father's little market. Or whatever's there now.
I never did visit Harlan County. And I don't know a soul in Flint. I suspect I'll never have a better opportunity to visit if I pass on this one.
Will I go? I'll let you know....
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Friday, August 14, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Maybe after she got hit by a full Big Gulp, the driver did get upset. Do we believe the writer when he tells us that Critical Mass is a family event, wiener roasting and kids in bike trailers, celebrating bicycle awareness? Or that the overreaction by the cops provoked the melee?
Do we trust our narrator?
What's the statement CM is making? If you ride in a (Friday evening rush hour) minefield, how surprised can you be when you hear explosions?
I'm sure CM is one of the things that's not too loud; I'm just too goddamned old. I flat don't get it.
Gun to my head, I sympathize with the woman motorist. Who'd have thought that a buncha cyclists would act so badly that I felt sorry for a driver...?
Monday, August 10, 2009
It troubles me that Alexi's not better known here in CO where he lives. He won the Olympic road race in southern Cal; hence the media attention, I suppose.
I've seen Alexi behave badly and heard stories about his stubborn weirdness, but I've always liked him. I don't believe he does any of the outrageous things he does for effect. He's totally himself and nothing like anyone else. If he says he feels called to minister to his flock...I believe him.
"Chapter One says you love her.
You love her with all your heart.
In Chapter Two you tell her,
You never never never never ever gonna part.
In Chapter Three remember
The meaning of romance.
In Chapter Four you break up
But you give her just one more chance."
About the same time Mickey and Sylvia sang:
"Love, love is strange
Lot of people take it for a game
Once you get it
You'll never wanna quit (no, no)
After you've had it (yeah, yeah)
You're in an awful fix."
In 1938, W.H. Auden published "O Tell Me the Truth About Love"
Our history books refer to it
In cryptic little notes.
It's quite a common topic on
The Transatlantic boats;
I've found the subject mentioned in
Accounts of suicides,
And even seen it scribbled on
The backs of railway guides.
Does it howl like a hungry Alsatian,
Or boom like a military band?
Could one give a first-rate imitation
On a saw or Steinway Grand?
Is its singing at parties a riot?
Does it only like Classical stuff?
Will it stop when one wants to be quiet?
O tell me the truth about love.
My left middle and ring fingers have never shrunk back to pre-crash slimness. Tamar and I exchanged comittment rings; I wear mine on my right hand. Won't slide over my knuckle on the left.
I have good mobility in those fingers but not nearly what I had before. When I curl my fingers back into my palms, my middle finger cracks audibly, reminding me more than my leg does of that day.
My left leg, the one that was broken, looks like the right one now. I can't see the scars from the surgery and I never sense the presence of the titanium rod or screws in my femur. Weather changes do not announce themselves in my leg. Good as new, I'd say, or good as old-but-sound.
I'm spooked now by sand on the bike path, even sand of insufficient depth to cause a bike going straight to crash. Our paths here in Denver run alongside the South Platte River and along several creeks, so after a rain the water covers low-lying sections of the paths. When the water recedes it leaves gravel or sand or silt, making passage difficult for the fearful - like me.
We've had an extraordinarily rainy summer. It rains in the evenings typically, and the paths are dry by morning. But the sand remains. Most riders intrepidly blast through it. I can't do that yet.
I still owe a few hundred dollars on my medical bill - for the ambulance ride. I got help from the government and from the hospital with almost all of it, I'm delighted to say. Ruinous otherwise.
I'm enjoying my motorcycling despite a love/hate relationship with my Kawasaki, in many ways the worst executed bike I've ever owned. I enjoy my bicycling but I don't enjoy every ride. I feel sure I'll have to stop using bike paths on weekends until the weather turns cold, when many fair weather path-users return to their caskets in the darkened cellars of boarded-up Victorians.
What do I remember about my crash and the months of recovery? I remember an orderly, a black guy, offering to clean me up after one of my first forays out of bed and onto a toilet, an offer I hope never to have to accept. I remember my first shower on my own - able to climb into and back out of the tub.
I remember Tamar's visits and the good coffee she'd bring with her. I remember when she pushed me in my wheelchair to DazBog for coffee - how scared I was at the speed, how rough the ride up and down the access ramps and over the sidewalk joints. I remember how every person with a crutch or wheelchair or cane would say, hi, howya doin'?
I remember learning how to get around on crutches - first two, then one, and how mobile I was on them - eventually. I remember lying on my back and trying to lift my leg off my bed (even an inch) for my wonderful physical therapist.
I remember favors from friends, lifts here and there, taking me to coffee or picking up my bike at the firehouse where the EMTs took it after the crash. I remember the humankindness and efficiency of the Veteran's Administration Hospital here in Denver and at Denver Health Hospital where I spent eight unreal days beginning a year ago tomorrow.
Maybe I will, as Peace Nique suggests in his/her comment, ride out there to where I crashed and look the devil right in the goddamned eye - see if that sumbitch blinks....
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Monday, August 3, 2009
Seldom (in Sturgis) is heard a discouraging word, 'cause you can't hear sh-t over the exhaust noise.
Neither the administration, nor our political system in general, is ready to face up to the fact that we’ve become a society in which the big bucks go to bad actors, a society that lavishly rewards those who make us poorer.
Here's a link to the piece....
PS Thanks, Anonymous! Gulp....
Saturday, August 1, 2009
It is not incendiary, I'm happy to say, but it's not kind to Plaxico Burress or South Dakotans who insist that arming strolling tourists would bring SD-style safety to Central Park.
I do not carry. I think of myself as a shooting sportsman. I have no wish whatever to turn my blog into a Second Amendment forum. There are plenty of those already. Feel free to comment, but post civilized comments or post elsewhere. Thank you.