Friday, June 30, 2006

blunt trauma

Finally back on the bike after a much-too-long 2 day hiatus. Perhaps two days isn't huge but we inside of a week from the Pacific NW's summer solstice and it's time to *be* outside. Rolling past the accident scene I immediately worked out how the crash went down. It's wierd how I reacted when it occurred with a sense of urgency to get back on the bike. It's as if jumping on the bike quickly lessens the perceived significance of the crash. It must be, if I *can* get on the bike then it can't be too bad... right? The odd takaway from that is that *I* am your guy for any sort of outback adventure as I'll push through whatever crazy injuries and process them later.... but I digress.

It went down like this... cresting into the steep and soft sandy section, the front wheel gets stuck in the sand and I land squarely on the ragged prickly stump. I originally thought the stump was the obstacle and I was thusly confused why I didn't fly *over* it. So there it is then.

So here I sit and my arm is still inflated with blood from serious blunt trauma. The leg suffered seemingly similar damage but it's normal save a few scratches. What that tells me is there's some serious carnage going on under the skin. I'm so surpised by the severity of this mayhem. I suppose I hit pretty hard directly on that stump which, as I think about it, is really ugly {laugh}

It's the venue that's confusing. This is my *commute* so what am I doing incurring a mountain bike injury. The real backstory to all of this is not what happened here but what *didn't* happen during every other crash. I've blazed off trail. I've had my front tire disappear at speed along wide open velocity sections and I lost skin but nothing that actually hurt post bandage. There are a million stories like that. I can look at the various scars and recall their history. The one crash that I always think about when I think about the luck which pervades goes like this:

The classic Downieville CA downhill route. Riding the 3rd divide which is not the technical route but the "holy crahp I'm going super fast" route on wide-as-your-hand singletrack. So there I was at said velocity when a stick meets and arrests my front wheel's rotation. Generally front wheels don't skid, they more or less can't. Locking the front wheel = over the bars without hesitation. In this instance where my body position was loose and aft the front wheel skidded something like 10 feet before I was catapulted through the air. By the time I made contact with earth, I had made a 270 degree rotation, missing my front, head, and finally landing right on my back. Instead of the 1mm of protection I have on my front, my back sports a padded backpack full of fluffy clothes and a flexible bag of water that unintentionally protects the spine. So that was my landing mechanism. I was inches from a huge tree to my left and there I was in this softish spot taking inventory and testing each body component like a pilot's pre flight check. Even with this miracle of a landing I had a crazy yet painless internal bruise that started on my back and proceeded to leech forward through my abdomen before the greenish blue color faded. There was no better way to dissapate such energy and force better than exactly how it went down. LUCK

So while I'm certainly not beaming with joy as I nurse my throbbing arm, I am grateful that I've been so lucky for so long.

fancy fone

retain for your records>>>


and then 927 587 don't forget the 1

I avoided the email blast on the this and am going for the pull approach of the blog. I have no idea whether there are some blog spiders that find telephone numbers and send IM message spam (yes I understand the redundancy there...dtt dtt) & I don't want to learn. Hence the innane text intertwined with my #

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Customer service

This is why you buy stuff from Nordstroms. They rock. I'm never buying anywhere else.
Excerpt from their customer service LiveChat follows:

Tim H: Hello and welcome to Nordstrom, Charlie!
Tim H: I see your question: I have 2 shirts & pants that are over a year old but are in near new condition with the minor exception of having been ruined due to laundering them with some wax lip balm. Can I exchange these?
Tim H: Were these items ordered through, or in the store?
Charlie: In a store
Tim H: Charlie, do you still have record of the purchase?
Charlie: I'm guessing no..:^(
Charlie: It is nordstrom brand stuff if that's important
Tim H: One moment and I'll look into your question.
Tim H: Charlie, you will not have any problem exchanging your items at any Nordstom store. I would suggest giving one of our Personal Shoppers a call at 1.888.282.6060. We could then try and find record of your purchase. I ask that you call due to the fact that this forum is not secure and for your protection, I can't ask for specific personal information.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

red meat

For all of you avid readers out there who have been disappointed by the lack of images here at the cafe... well, you're in luck. This tasty looking arm meat looked much more knarly covered in dripping blood and dirt. This is the cleaned up, medicated version. {yawn} I know.

So there I was JRA on my bike commute. You see, there's this little piece of skinny trail that bypasses a gentle arc of a turn on the paved section and instead goes in a straight line, effectively cutting out two sides of a loosely defined triangle. It peels to the right of another turn so it's a natural route, i.e. the bike *wants* to go on it. The trail begs, "ride my dirt!"

It's totally flat and then rolls down the face of a berm. Upon first dropping into the steep downhill bermy bit, there's a soft loose bit of sand and... as I recently discovered, a partially buried stump. I've successfully navigated this section 75% of the time ( i.e. wiped out once scratch free, made it twice) until now. I'm down to 50/50 :^(

The crash was spec[tacular], complete with puff of smoke/cloud of dust and a captive audience of car commuters waiting for the metering lights to go green. I quickly remounted and rolled a few feet until ...

... it hurt.

I kept going but realized that real output from my right leg = pain. That's the interesting thing about bike commuting. It's not riding-as-entertainment although I certainly entertained a few people today. It's treating the body as machine, as engine. If there's a green light, lay it down (i.e. "floor it") and be on your way. So when the motor is damaged but still at say 60%, it's still time to keep creeping along. I'm commuting. I'm going home. I have a list of things I want to do, first of which is get a coffee from the Albina Press.

Not realizing that I was covered in dirt, the barista queries the reason. I thought that I had cleverly positioned my undamaged side to the counter. {embarrassing}

So here I sit, battered and limping after pulling two significant pieces of wood from the nastiest scratch and getting everything clean and medicated. Overall the ride was pretty good: I was out in the sun & hell, I had a delicious espresso. I'm thinking that i'll take the gently arcing paved bit from now on.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Hell yeah

For all the time, all the money, all the sleep deprivation, all the bikeless weekends*... It's still really [expletive] cool to be a dad. When little Max gives over one of his goofy grins or bounces around in giddy unplacable [sic] enthusiasm it's just awesome.

& When Ben decides to snuggle in with daddy or insists that I hold him while making a cappucino because, "I want to see." it's marvelous although the cappucino is difficult to execute.

So I hope all you dads out there are enjoying today. Crack open a beer for a job well done. But don't have too many because there are only a few precious hours before you'll be back at it again.

** OK OK so they're not really bikeless but dragging the trailer with the kiddies to the farmer's market or going for an early morning road ride in lieu of a 7 hour epic singletrack ride through aspens and around alpine lakes just isn't the same. It's crazy to think that our lives used to consist of such riding more weekends than not during the summer.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

we win

I wrote a long rambling blog entry and then deleted it. In its place, I will pose a multiple choice question.

Supposing you're throwing a wedding reception on the beach and there is another wedding party nearby. You have a sound system that handily outclasses your "competitor" by about 500%. For this example, assume that there's no chance for any of your "competitor's" music to spill into your soundscape. Would you:

a) Point your speakers in the opposite direction or somehow tune your setup to minimize musical overlap?

b) Drop your volume from ear searing to just really [expletive] loud as a compromise?

c) Crash their party because they look to have cool live music?

d) Use all of your 20,000 watts and declare victory with a celebratory scream, "WoooHooo!"?

Going Coastal

This is something I already knew but often forget. And that is the conditions found in most towns & cities across this country.

It's bleak

I visited mecca, otherwise known as the "Great Mall of America" in Minneapolis, MN. Why I did this I'll never know. I avoid malls with a frequency of visits averaging less than once per year. The GMA is huge and there is a roller coaster and a log flume which is, of course, pretty sweet.

In other news, when at corporate HQ I asked where a "Whole Foods" might be. They were unfamiliar with the genre of retail. I instead visited a "Cub" grocery. While the mall was an exercise in excess, it was actually a civilized experience as far as malls go. If I could knock it down I probably wouldn't. (( Unless of course it would be turned into a giant urban greenspace.)) Meanwhile at the Cub, things were different. I did find the tiny organic section where they separate out the food and triple the price. The rest of the place was downright scary. Slabs of fading meat, lots of brightly colored "food", puffy breads and pastries. There wasn't a single loaf of anything that wouldn't digest at the speed of pure refined sugar outside of the cubicle sized organic section. Business was bustling. I added to the commerce with a handful of Luna bars and some amazingly unsweetened and untainted green tea. Miracles indeed.

Do I sound like a snob? Good, I intend to. I *am* offended by the crap that people are selling and am offended that people are buying it. One might argue that it's cheaper than Whole Foods and I completely agree. WF has highway robbery prices and I buy stuff there on occasion because I can. My point of contention is that organic and healthy foods are expensive here in middle America SOLELY because it's an oddity from their point of view. It's way more expensive to grow/process/modify/refine/market/package/& ship versus grow and deliver a short distance. And I know that pockets of enlightenment do exist so the coastal metaphor isn't exactly fair.

This brings me to Monterrey Market in Berkeley California. Armed with a $20, it is difficult *NOT* to fill two bags full of fresh, organic, and bountiful groceries. We're talking about amazing fresh and delicious stuff... man do I miss that place. There's nothing preventing such a store's existence right where I'm sitting (ouch) except that the people here don't seem to demand it.

Alas I will kiss the coastal ground upon my return to the sunny Pacific NW where it rains leafy goodness.

Sunday, June 04, 2006


Next week begins my first real week of work. Last week started with one day at work followed by the rest of the week taking sick leave. Yes I've set a new record for burning up sick time but this bug was not negotiating. I head off on a plane in 10 minutes to show up bright and early for class in Minneapolis. So X your fingers that nobody's got the Dengue Fever on the plane.