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!

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