Friday, October 31, 2008

Broken People...

After I lost Rosa, I felt broken. There's no other word for it. Broken. Irreparably.

It took me a while to write but every time I thought about writing, I thought about how I wanted to write about broken people, because I know. I know what it's like to be broken and I know there are a lot of us out there.

I never did write it. Granted, everything from then to now featured plenty of broken people, from my books to my plays, but they were always window dressing, always in the back. I never took my broken pieces, my broken qualities, laid them out on the ground and wrote a book about them, about being broken. You would think that death is the worst thing but being broken takes all the pain of death without the payoff - you have to keep going. Being broken drove me to some awful limits. Being broken drove me to the Grand Canyon. You think you heal but you never really do. Once you're broken, that's it. You're broken. You can try to mend the pieces but they remain broken, you remain broken.

I'm not talking about a broken heart, either. A broken heart is nothing. You know this if you've been broken. When you've been broken, it feels like someone's taken a bat to you, run you over with a truck, ripped out your guts, and laughed the whole time. A broken heart is passing but being broken just fucks you up.

Some readers at this point will already be thinking, maybe saying, "Yeah, but you have to keep going. You have to go on with your life." You're right. That's true. And that's what's so insidious about being broken: it doesn't matter. If someone broke your legs, you'd at least get a day off work. But when you're broken, nobody cares, nobody gives a shit.

It's taken me eight years. I gave up on writing about it a while ago.

Then, on Tuesday, I decided to just write whatever my fingers wanted to say, just to let my body say what it wanted to say. I had no agenda. I had no plot. I had no idea what was going to come out. And the story that was told was about a sad, beaten figure of a man who comes out of the Arizona desert, enters the train station in Kingman, and doesn't move. Across the terminal, a woman with a broken spirit and a body bought for her watches. She's sick of being a commodity. She's ready to take herself out of the world. And when the man falls to the ground, she's enraged that anyone can be more pathetic than she and she gets up to beat him but her foot's asleep - so she falls, too. Two ludicrous figures beneath the world's attention...

Broken people.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The more they stay the same...

I hit the gym this morning - looks like the sun refused to get up early enough for a bike ride in the morning, for a while at least. So, I'll have to start hitting the gym pretty regularly. It was nice, though. All this cycling has kept me fit enough to start jogging and cycling in the gym with no trouble at all. It's nice not to wheeze and pant.

Anyway, they had Fox News up on the screen - the biggest reason NOT to go to 24 Hour Fitness if you can help it. I already have a membership, which is so cheap I basically just have to suck it up. Still, I hate watching Fox News.

That said, it's nice to know they are still running as far from truth and honesty as before - which leads to my political comment for the day.

The Republican Party and their ilk have been going so amazingly out of control, I'm surprised no one speaks out. George Will, where are you? First, they claimed that Obama was the most liberal member of Congress, which put the joke on Kucinich. Then, they claimed he was a Socialist, which is laughable when you see how centrist his politics are. But then, they made the jump to the "most liberal politician ever" (a quote yesterday from McCain) and claims that Obama is a Marxist.

Marxist? As in "Proletariat Revolution"? Nyet, Komrad! Say it ain't so, Joe! Seriously, has anyone asked the Communist Party how they feel about this? Most likely, they see Obama's politics as positively oppressive! Anyone who claims Obama's a Marxist just learned the word and obviously does not know a thing about Marxism.

But this goes even deeper, I think. That they believe they have to make their claims against Obama more and more extreme, taking headers into claims that he is on par with terrorists, shows a basic distrust of their party's message. Think about it. The Republican attack against Kerry was that he couldn't make up his mind. Against Gore, it was that he was too liberal and tied to Clinton. Against Clinton, it was that he was too liberal (it's a popular refrain). Against Dukakis, it was that he made hasty decisions. But go back as far as you want and you won't find such absurd claims made by a major party's candidate. You won't see one candidate saying of another that he "pals with terrorist" or that he "is a terrorist". You won't see a candidate embracing race baiting to create fear of the other candidate. It's not enough for them to say "We're the party of small government" because it's obviously not true. They can't say "We're against special interests"; look at their energy policy.

The Republican Party has become the party of war, of tax cuts for the rich, of squandered opportunity, of economic turmoil, of lies and deceit, of creationistic denial of science on a scale not seen since the flat earthers, of hypocrisy on a grand scale, of Orwellian NewSpeak, of intolerance and hate. And I am left to wonder how anyone could call themselves Republican. How could anyone who believes in the right to life because of religious faith call themselves Republican when the Republican Party is responsible for a war against a nation that never did anything to harm us? How could anyone who believes in fiscal conservatism call themselves Republican when the Republican Party squandered the surplus, giving it away to the wealthiest one percent? How could anyone who works for a living call themselves a Republican when the Republican Party platform provides tax breaks to the rich and increases taxes on the middle class? How could anyone with a conscious vote Republican?

You probably expect me to end this with an endorsement for Barack Obama. Okay. I won't let you down. But let me begin by stating that I am not a Democrat. I'm a member of the Green Party, having left the Democratic Party when they sided too many times with the Republicans, when they allowed themselves to acquiesce to those ethically lesser and drive our nation into a far darker place. So, with that said, why am I supporting Obama? Necessity. I told Vicky when the primaries began that I would vote based on a simple criteria: truth. During this election, only one candidate remained true. Only one refrained from telling the most outrageous lies to win a vote. Only one stayed true to the American people. Only one stuck by his principles of decency and refused to make truth the first victim. McCain and his Hockey Mom have found themselves caught in one lie after another. They laugh them off with contempt for truth and for the American people. But Barack Obama passed my criteria: he told the truth.

Those of you who know me know that I am passionate about politics and I know what I'm talking about. I take it very seriously and would never endorse someone I did not believe was the best person for the job. It's never an issue of "who has the best chance to win" because that is the fastest route to pandering. It's also not a matter of "who is the most popular", though Obama is; I won't deny that. Vicky believed in Obama long before me, believing in him the way some people find religion. But I stayed back, watching as lie after lie was cast upon him and as he brushed them off and refused to let them tarnish him.

Will he make mistakes? Undoubtedly. All people do. But I believe he will face every challenge with an honesty and decency that his Republican opponents couldn't find with both hands, a map, a sherpa, and a GPS. He'll face them true to the American people, something his opponents have shown they are not capable of. Finally, he'll face them with a spirit of honesty that has him prepared for the worst without sinking to the worst. That's what matters most. That's why he has my vote.

That is why I am asking you to join me in supporting Barack Obama and Joe Biden. Thanks for reading.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Seven miles... no waiting... and all you can eat...

Sunday turned out to be an interesting day for me.

I shouldn't let Saturday go without passing. Saturday was my World Cinema mid-term and, as I got out of my car to head to class, I realized almost too late the I'd pack a USED scan-tron for the test! The scan-tron from my last test, by the way. So, while that looked up at me with a score of 89 - look at how well you did! - I was faced with the horror of having no scan-tron for the test! So, I ran across campus, which is all kinds of ankle-icious fun in my Chacos, and got to the store with four minutes to spare. The scan-tron was a quarter, which was a quarter more than I had - seriously one of those days - so I frantically looked for something I could buy to make it enough to put on my debit card. (There's a limit.) But the girl behind the register - I don't know who she is but I feel eternally indebted to her, like I should send her flowers or a pint of blood or something - said, "I've got a quarter. Don't worry about it."

So, I ran to class and got in just as the instructor was finishing handing out the test. I sat down, sweating (cause I'm a fat fuck) and trying to collect myself, when I looked down at the test... and, wow, it was a really easy test! I will be surprised if I don't get an A, which is good because I'll be surprised if I do better than a C in my philosophy mid-term. (Here's an update: I got an A on my philosophy mid-term!)

Anyway... Saturday... mid-terms are over. Whew!

Sunday morning, I woke up - and woke up - and woke up - and finally Vicky was all, "Are you going for a ride today or what?"

"Fine! Fine, woman! Let me lift my distended gut from the bed and pack it in some obscenely tight clothing!"

I got on the bike and began to head up the trail. I started the morning with the same headache I had for a few days, so I wasn't expecting to break any records... or anything, for that matter. Then, as I pass Imperial Highway, I saw a big CLOSED sign on the trail. It seems someone is doing more work on it - you'd think they'd work on the San Gabriel River Trail... that needs it! Badly! Oh well, So, I turned around and decided to proceed up Imperial Highway into Anaheim Hills - and I mean UP! But I need to do some hill work. It's good exercise. And I'm a sick fuck.

I pull out onto the street, lean my foot down into the pedal - and slam my foot down as the chain pops off the gears!

... ouch. Nearly lost my balls.

I came so close to crashing - or looked like such a lame-ass - that a guy on a recumbent bike actually stopped back at the trail to see if I was okay. He wouldn't have been able to hear me through the distance and traffic so I just upended my bike and fixed the chain, just like when I was a kid. Then, I turned the bike over again and waved at the guy. He waved and me - and I kept going.

But something was wrong with the chain. I could feel it; it wasn't coasting right. It was pulling. It felt wrong. But I kept going. Up, up, up, I rode into the hills. I went less than half a mile when I reached Nohl Ranch Road. I won't kid you. I had to stop and pant and wheeze for several minutes. I felt like, if I didn't, I was going to throw up. Now, Nohl Ranch turns into Lincoln, heading back towards my neighborhood; I knew I could just take that back. And the way the chain was pulling, I figured that might be best. So, I started pedaling again, building up speed, ready to take the first hill, when... the gear shifted by itself - very disconcerting - and then the chain popped off, all in about five seconds or so.

And, there I was, in the cool morning air... I could keep trying to ride the dead horse, or... I pulled out my phone and called Vicky. I'd always warned her it might come to this. She was okay with it. She told me she'd be there soon... and so... I waited...

And the cool morning air began to grow pretty dang warm. This is Southern California, after all. I stripped off my cold gear and backpack and began to wait.

An asian couple walked by, the gentleman saying, "You taking break now?!" Scratch that - a couple of stereotypes walked by...

On Saturday, I'd seen some people protesting in favor of Proposition 8 with signs that read, "Prop 8 = Free Speech" and "Prop 8 = Parent's Rights". Funny. I thought Proposition 8 restricts human rights. How little I know. Well, as I stood there, waiting, I saw an SUV with a huge placard drive by that read, "Prop 8 = Religious Freedom". You bet. Freedom to be just as hateful and intolerant as you wanna be!

I was surprised, though - pleasantly so - by a jogger who came by. This guy jogged right up to me and asked, as he approached, "You okay?" "Yeah, I'm fine," I said. "Bike problems?" "Yeah, it died. I'm waiting for a ride." "You sure everything's okay?" he asked. "Yeah, but thanks."

I guess the world is filled with intolerant assholes but there are also plenty of nice people ready to help you out.

Vicky did come by and we packed the bike into her car - Vicky moaning painfully the entire time - she hates when we put the bike in her car. Later, I brought it to the bike shop and they fixed it, no charge. Zak, one of the guys at Orange Cycle - the official bike shop of One Path - thanked me for having a sense of humor about it. These guys are always so appreciative I wondered, not for the first time, what kind of assholes they get in there. Seriously, how can you blame something like that on someone. I just figured it was part of the "break-in" period... I just didn't think something would actually break!

Well, I ended up with more free time than I expected, so I offered to cook dinner. I shredded some leftover chicken and chopped up some andouille sausage. Then, Vicky and I hit the store for some bell pepper, onion, and rice. Coming back home, I bitched and moaned about the kitchen being a mess - but cleaned it anyway. Then, I browned the pepper and onion with some celery, let it caramelize, and tossed in the sausage and chicken. That all cooked for a couple of hours, all told. Then, I dropped in more than three cups of rice, WAY too much rice! I mean WAAAAY too much! But... oh well. I covered that all up with six or so cups of water and let it boil, boil, boil. Oh, and I hit it with a shitload of spice. These things you don't need to measure after you've done it a few times but I keep my recipe out just to remind myself. I found out I was out of bay leaves, so the recipe suffered a little but, all in all, it was good and hot and spicy and hot... okay, I put in a little too much chili peppers...

We'll have leftovers for several days now. Yikes!

So nice I had to post it twice...

Monday, October 20, 2008

66 for the weekend...

This weekend wasn't all bad. After all, I wasn't at work. (Insert laugh here.)

Saturday morning, Vicky got her gumption up and agreed to go on a ride with me. So, we took the mountain bikes out and hit the trail. Vicky still needs some new tires; she's riding on these stubby, mountain tires that look (and probably feel) really weird on the trail. (Now that we have to pay for tables and tubs and tickets, though, I have no idea when we'll do that!)

I let Vicky lead and she took us up the Santa Ana River all the way to Yorba Regional Park, to what I call the "Rest Stop", because it looks like a rest stop on the side of the trail. This was the farthest Vicky's gone and she was feeling it. So, we relaxed, ate some beans, and enjoyed the shade before heading back. All told, she rode about 16 miles, which is really good for her. Heck, that's how long it is to the beach from our place - I don't know if she realizes that! I think if she enjoys cycling enough and gets herself motivated, I might actually have a riding partner one day. Well, I hope so, at least.

As for myself, I took the Giant out Sunday morning for it's first "long ride". The idea is to take this one out for a Century one of these days and I figured it was time to begin building to that. So, I hit the Santa Ana River Trail again, this time heading south. I left at 7:10am. I was going to leave earlier but the sun just wouldn't come up! So it wasn't too bright out or warm out when I left. I exited on Chapman Avenue and rode that west for a while. Riding with traffic is something I'm just going to have to get used to if I ever want to do a Century and I think I managed it pretty well. At Valley View, I headed north to Katella, where I turned west again and rode into LA County. The plan was to take that to the San Gabriel River Trail and when I hit it, just past the 605... I was a bit surprised. The San Gabriel River Trail is like the Santa Ana River Trail but not nearly as swank or well kept... which ain't saying much, believe me!! But this was the route I'd mapped out, so I took it despite the worn and broken pavement, despite the lanes as narrow as the bikes themselves, with daredevils passing in between. It wasn't that far before I hit PCH and exited onto a wide, well-paved bike lane.

Fortunately, I hooked up with a group of cyclists almost immediately and rode in a pack all the way to Warner. I felt like a real cyclist; it was a lot of fun. If I ever join a cycling club, I'm sure that's what it's like - except that I lucked out and these guys were in no rush. But we made some pretty good speed. We were doing nearly 20mph for a while there. Then, the strangest thing happened. Listen, I used to roller blade (check out my arm sometime) but I never clocked myself so I don't know what kind of speed I hit. So, I was shocked when, as I was doing 20mph, the guy on roller blades just zipped past me! He was crazy - wore no safety gear - he was in his 60's easy and just sped along like he was born to it. Then, just as quickly, he cut to the right in a blur and was gone down a side street. Amazing!

Well, shortly after that, I left the street and rode along the beach. I took a break at the same spot I'd stopped the last time I did 50 miles. I had thought my route would take me 60 or 70 but it looked like I was doing another 50 mile ride... dammit. It was about 9:30 and the weather was icy cold! (Maybe my sweaty clothes weren't helping, either.) Surfers were coming in from the water and showering, stripping off their wetsuits like it was nothing - and I was shivering! Enough of that, I got back on my bike and headed south towards the Santa Ana River. The speed limit for bikes is 10mph but I was passed by (and soon fell in line behind) a blonde girl on a beach cruiser doing 13mph. I let her clear a path and used her as an excuse to speed. (So, no, I didn't learn my lesson when I got my ticket!) Soon, I hit the Santa Ana River Trail. The Giant took me up pretty fast and I was shouting "coming up on your left" pretty regularly.

One major difference with this bike as opposed to my old one is the way it works my arms. The handle bars aren't in that mountain bike style and, even though I had the handle bars adjusted to I could ride with my hands on the brakes, I found myself lifting up my tired arms as I rode back up the trail. Did I saying "lifting up"? I guess I should say "trying to lift up" because my arms were so weary I could barely hang on. The bike is easier on my legs but I'm definitely going to have to strengthen up my arms - something you just don't expect from a bike. That's not a bad thing, though. I'll get used to this. I won't hit 100 miles next week but you'll see the number ascend and before too long, maybe you'll see Vicky and I doing 50 miles together and me taking the Giant out on Centuries.

I just gave Vicky a heart attack. LOL!

All together now...

Table. Tub. Ticket. Theater.

Where to start?

It's been a pretty fucked up weekend.

I won't tell you how are kitchen table collapsed - but it did. Crash. Goodbye kitchen table.

And then, driving home from school on Saturday, just as I get on the freeway, this cop pulls up right behind me - tailgates me all the way until the exit, where he pulls me over. (Listen, I understand he doesn't want me to get away but - damn - this ain't Al Capone!) He yells about how I passed him when he was doing 80 and won't even let me tell him I had just got on the freeway. In fact, he won't let me talk at all. "I don't want to hear it," he keeps saying. Then, he tells me he's letting me off easy by only giving me a ticket for doing 75. Hold on. If I really did do over 80 (dick said I was doing over 90 easy), why not cut me a ticket for that? Why not use your dash cam to show me blasting past him in court? Why write a ticket for 75? I'm a little lost and a little fucked, cause there's a reason Vicky and I both drive like old people: we're poor and we can't afford tickets. God-dammit.

Vicky asked her brother, who is also a CHiPie, why this guy was such a dick. He said, "A lot of them are." At least, he's honest.

Fortunately, I got home just in time for a rejection notice. I'd written After You Fall after a theater had requested I submit something for the new season - in a way, I wish they hadn't because they ended up rejecting it. But, at least, it means I can submit it to other theaters... I guess.

Then, Sunday, after I took a long ride (more on that later), I came home to find Vicky washing Shipoopi in the tub. Downstairs, I found something on the floor - I thought Shipoopi had Shipeepeed. After I cleaned it up, though, I found more on the floor. It was water. Lots of water! Leaking from the ceiling!! It was our tub! Leaking through the floor!

... great weekend. Lots of fun.

Let's hope it's not a lead-in to tonight's mid-term...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

More reasons not to drink from a bottle...

As many of you who read me frequently (with my humblest thanks) will know, Vicky and I do our best to avoid drinks in plastic. Especially water!

After a while, you learn just how wrong it tastes and it's not so hard to avoid.

For those still indulging, however, take a look at this:

Laboratory tests conducted for EWG at one of the countryʼs leading waterquality laboratories found 38 contaminants in ten brands of bottled water purchased from grocery stores and other retailers in nine states and the District of Columbia. The pollutants identified include common urban wastewater pollutants like caffeine and pharmaceuticals, an array of cancer-causing byproducts from municipal tap water chlorination, heavy metals and minerals including arsenic and radioactive isotopes, fertilizer residue and a broad range of industrial chemicals. Four brands were also contaminated with bacteria.

Happy Birthday Ken

I know that all of our One Path fans have been reading about the new bike Ken got for his birthday. I took a picture of it as soon as we brought it home and was supposed to email to Ken. He thinks that I forgot to email the picture to him (as would be typical Vicky fashion), but I've been purposely holding onto it so that I can post it for his birthday...Ha! I got him good.

Happy Birthday's to you!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Santa Ana Windy Trail...

Okay, first off, these Santa Ana Winds. Not my fault! Honestly. I know I'm from Santa Ana and I am a blow hard but, honestly - the winds - didn't do it.

But it's a bitch if you're into biking. Those gusts would blow me on my ass faster than I could say "Hey, it's really windy out here, don't you think? It sure is windier than in any time recently and, in fact, I believe it's very windy, which is saying something if your whole point is to show that a hefty gust of wind might knock you down from atop your bicycle."

(It was funny to me!)

Saturday, I took the Giant, the new bike, out to my mom's house for a ride. I brought her the DVD copy of my dad's memorial service because, really, it's like those pictures they give you after the roller coaster - actually, I don't know why we would ever want to see that again. All I knew was that I had my mom's copy and I needed to drop it off. I hadn't done a ride, yet, that day, and Vicky was looking for a way to get rid of me. "Drive? Why drive when you can get there so much slower on your bike? Heck, while you're at it you might as well take in Maine. I hear the leaves are just beautiful this time of year. Would you like to work your way to Murmansk? I hear that's fun!"

On Saturday, the wind was coming from the coast and with a healthy gust. Actually, I don't mean healthy for me. I was panting and huffing and puffing, trying to pedal against the wind. I kept my speed over 13mph, not too bad considering, but there were a couple of times when my bike literally got out of the wind's way. It's so light (that's the bike - not me!) that it just hopped over a few inches, leaving me to worry... a lot. And that taught me to just steer clear of these Santa Anas.

By the way, I made it the 22 miles to my mom's and back in less than 90 minutes, didn't take in Maine, didn't go to Murmansk. Vicky was a bit disappointed.

Friday, October 10, 2008

That's how the cookie crumbles...

Holy fuck balls on a hot shit biscuit! My favorite all-time most wonderful cookie in the world is no more!!

Mother's Cookies has gone out of business!!!

No more circus animals! No more yummy-tummy circus animals!!!!

Why must the universe hate us fat people so???

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Winter came early this year...

Don't worry. I'm not going to write about Global Cooling (yet another attempt by idiots to obfuscate the climate change issue). Nor am I going to write about my morning rides... although I pedalled over six miles this morning and realized my seat is just way too high. It's adjustment time!

No, this morning the issue is these morons at work and the damned Air Conditioner!!!

This place is usually a sauna. The folks in charge are so cheap they never crank the AC below 90. This morning, however, something new has happened. Someone's hit the AC, and they hit it HARD!

And we're freezing. Frost is forming on our coffee cups. Roaches are ice skating in the urinals. Idiots.

I'm at my desk right now, waiting for lunch and the possibility of sitting outside in the warm afternoon sun. As I have to sit in this ice box, though, I thought I'd write about the things that are keeping me warm. You see, I'm thinking about warm things today. Here's my list:

1) No list could start without my lovely Vicky. She warms me up, even when she's cold. I'm her personal furnace and when she's cold she snuggles against me and the world can be damned because ours is perfect. All I need to do is picture Vicky beside me and I instantly feel better.

(But then I open my eyes to type this and get cold again... dammit!)

2) Suki's belly. This morning, when I came home, Suki was very lovey dovey. She gave me her belly and rolled on her back and as I rubbed it she gave me very warm kissed on my arm. I should mention, however, that my arm was salty with sweat... so...

3) Shipoopi's belly. What can I say? You can't beat puppy belly! And Shipoopi has the sweetest, little puppy belly in the world. It's soft and warm and i just want to gobble it up!

... yes, I'm a freak.

4) Alacrity. My gentleman cat is still right there by my side, ready to loyally warm me up at a moment's notice. He laid down with me on the sofa the other night and we had the first snuggle in a long while. He is pretty much the perfect cat when it comes to being loyal and loving and true.

5) Blackrock Depths.

6) The Sunwell.

... what? It's been a while since I've played WoW!!!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Happy Birthday to me... Two whole weeks early...

Vicky spoils me - but I don't mind.

Yesterday, we went out looking at bikes. The intent was not to buy - but you know how that works, right? Seriously, why the hell look?

Our first stop was Jax, a southern California chain. We walked in, it was nicely laid out, not crowded or overrun... with help or service... In fact, no one even spoke to us. On top of that, they appeared to sell only one brand of bike, Trek, which I've read a few less than flattering things about. Out we walked...

After that, we went right to Orange Cycle. This place is right by the Orange Circle and although they're always busy there is a reason for that. Bottom line is they're a good shop and they know their stuff. Vicky and I have brought both of our bikes down there. My bike got a cheapo tune-up - they don't throw in stuff you don't need - and I got set up with some lights and a cycling computer. I also got my kevlars there; they just slapped them right on. Vicky's bike got a cheapo tune-up, too. They didn't charge her much; her bike was in pretty good shape. You have to wait a bit but that's because everyone brings their bike there; I'd worry if they weren't busy.

So, when we went in they were busy, as expected. Al, one of the guys, came right up to us though, and asked, "What do you need?" Now, listen, I've been reading a lot of stuff on bikes but I'm still basically a novice. I gave him our price range, told him what kind of riding I was going to be doing, what kind I've done, what I'm presently riding - and just like that, bam, he found one for me. It was over $100 below my limit but it had more features than I thought I'd be able to afford. I asked him if I could take it out for a test and he said, "Sure. Let's go." They're no-nonsense attitude works well because they're not gonna waste your time, either.

Outside, we were put in Zak's hands. He fitted the bike for me. We talked about the different kind of riding I should expect and he said, "Take it around the block and tell me what you think." Allrighty, then. Off I went. Now, the bike that has served me so well for these past seven years is a 15 year-old mountain bike. Heavy with kevlar tires that make it more heavy - so this new one took off like a sleek weasel and I was out on the road before I knew what hit me... and speaking of things hitting me, only then did I realize I was riding sans helmet. That kind of freaked me out a bit. But, too late for that, I decided just to take it in and enjoy it. The block zipped by in what felt like seconds and I was back.

"What did you think?" Zak asked. I told him about a couple of problem areas and he made a couple more adjustments - and out I went again. This time, I rode for two blocks, relishing in the very different gearing and the unbearable lightness of biking - I swear, I could have lifted the bike and myself right off the road! It felt really good.

The bike, which in case you haven't guessed already is now my new bike - my early birthday present - is a Giant TCR2. It was priced at $1250 but I got it for $899. In case you're wondering, yes, it really sells for $1250. A little web searching brought up prices exceeding that. Better still, it comes with Michelin Kevlar tires, not stock tires. I was shocked at how light they were, compared to the Armadillos on my other bike. So, better tires and a cheaper price. It was a pretty fair deal. I had them hook me up with lights for those late night and early morning rides and a cycling computer - because I'm taking this one on my first century ride: 100 miles. I don't know when but it's just the bike for the job.

This morning, I took the bike out at 5:30am. I didn't know how far I'd go but I wanted to get some time and miles on it. I didn't even make it to the river before I realized two important things: First, I went fast. Very fast. This was good. Second, I was cold. Very cold. This was bad. And sadly, they were both related, because I wouldn't have been so cold if I hadn't gone so fast. I'm going to need to adjust to this new bike in more ways that I expected.

Give me time.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Crappy day syndrome...

You ever have one of those days that starts out bad and just continues to get worse? Even when you think, "Well, the bright side is it can't possible get worse," it gets worse still!

Welcome to my day.

The worst part about it, though, was that I rode my bike into work. Now, if you think a crappy day can really bring you down, imagine how stripped of gumption you'd be if you had to bike home! Got that? Now, imagine how hard it would be to bike ten more miles on top of that - because that's generally the plan for tonight.

I'm writing this down so you know you're not alone. I'm on the Crappy Day Express, too... the one that's busted an axle and gone off the tracks and is waiting for Pete's sake to get moving and FUCKING END ALREADY!!!!

... and if it sticks around for the weekend, I'm really going to be pissed...

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Desperate Louse-wives...

It's generally acknowledged (in my house, at least) that Desperate Housewives has gone nowhere but downhill - fast - since its first season. Vicky and I have still watched it, though, hoping it would get better.

After watching the 5th season's premiere episode last night, however, I can assure you it's just not going to happen. Vicky and I were relieved in a way, thinking it was the show's final season... um... it's not!

After last night, I'm going to hate watching this show, but I will... for Vicky, because I already avoid several other shows she enjoys. I'm going to hate watching it but it'll give Vicky and I something to hate together. I'm not going to hate it because of the actresses or their characters; Vicky and I have rooted for them all. I'm not going to hate it because of the history; we've stuck it out through thick and thin. You want to know what I hate? I hate how obviously bored the creator, Marc Cherry, has become and how he's grown to detest his characters. That's the only explanation I can come up with. Take a look at the run-down:

Susan Mayer fell in love with Mike. Then, she lost him. Then, she got him. Then, she lost him. Then, she got her hair done. Then, she did some other stuff. Then, she got him, again... and again... This season, there's not even a pretense as to why she lost him. She dumped him because... of no fault of his own... But you know that by the end of the season she'll get him again.

Lynette Scavo has parenting issues. She always has. So does her husband. Every fucking season. I'm sick of it. Now? She still has parenting issues. The family needs to be locked up.

Bree Van de Camp isn't happy unless she's made everyone in the world feel like shit on her heel. We all enjoy watching her machinations - but this season, she's basically asking for pity because... she sucks... and not even in a way that would make Olsen look slightly less pussy-whipped.

Finally, there's Gabby and Carlos. Vicky and I have loved Gabby and Carlos. We couldn't wait for them to find their way to each other. Now, they're happily together (and you know Carlos will see again by season's end) and they're the Scavo's in year 4 of parenting, lousy at it and getting worse every day.

The thing is that Cherry can't find a story unless people are unhappy, which is fine in season one but he keeps returning to that well. He's returned so often, he's digging the well deeper and deeper and digging himself deeper as well. I can't imagine the actors finding a whole of fun in playing out the same storylines and if he really enjoyed the characters he'd give them something interesting to do!! Give us something interesting to watch!!

This isn't like Jericho. Vicky and I watched Jericho BECAUSE it was bad. We enjoyed how confused they were about basic science. But these lousy spouses aren't even fun to watch. They're the pathetic neighbors people talk about in disgust but never want to have to talk to.

So, let this serve as a warning: You have better things to do. Meanwhile, I'll make this sacrifice for my marriage.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Bigger than a breadbox, smaller than a house...

Milestones to report.

I passed 16 miles this morning. It hurt a great deal and I really had to push it but I did it, which will make the 13 miles to work this Friday that much easier! It'll be nice riding to work again (and getting a day off from the 22 freeway!!!).

When I got home, I jumped into the shower to wash off the bugs - ick! After, I thought I'd step on the scale and listen to it scream in agony... but it didn't. In fact...

... I went downstairs to the Wii to confirm my findings on WiiFit.

Holy crap! I've finally dropped beneath 250 pounds!!! It's a shock because I've been working on this since before May! And I've been riding pretty regularly since July, waiting for something good to happen. I've been feeling healthier (okay, except for the recent cold!) but haven't found any luck on the scale at all. Finally, I can see a change!

Mind you, I'm far from my target weight... really far... really fucking far, but it's a step in the right direction.

And about time!