Category Archives: Bicycling

Welcome to the New Year: 2015 Reconciliation, and 2016 Goals

Yeah, a new year. So… what did I set out to accomplish a year ago, and how did I do?

  1. Be nicer, kinder, and more engaging with black people. I tried, but I don’t really know how I did. I think I did better, but I have no real feedback mechanism. A black Twitter correspondent told me that wasn’t enough, that I had to be courageous and provide real pushback against my white racist compadres.
  2. 72 hours footbag. I completely lost count, but I know I’m way up over 100 hours. SUCCESS! I had a good year. I used footbag as my therapy to recover from chronic ankle problems. That therapy has worked infinitely better than anything the Medical Industrial Complex had to offer me.
  3. 5,000 Km on the bike. Final tally: 8,285 Km. Like footbag, I had a really good year on my bike. SUCCESS! This is farther than I’ve ridden in a single year for at least 12 years, possibly 15.
  4. Bring online. 2nd year in a row FAIL. Still a faceless pipe dream. Dream on…
  5. Get another new job. Again, a major FAIL. I’ve applied for everything I can find that I’m even remotely qualified for. But, I’ve only landed a couple interviews, and only one that to final candidate. That one, I go so close. But, in the end, nothing.  Too old, too specialized a skill set at this point. This has been by far the biggest disappointment for me in 2015.
  6. Complete my blog analysis project. Yeah, just another pipe dream FAIL, thinking I’d do this, or thinking anyone might care if I did.

Realistically, these are the exact results I should expect: The things I love, the things I can do by myself without any significant interaction or reliance on other human beings – i.e. footbag and bicycling – I did really well at. Excellent, in fact. Two of the three great conflicts – Man vs. Self, and Man vs. Nature – I’ve got those, and I know it. The other things I can mostly do on my own, but take a lot of time and work and don’t give me the immediate joy and satisfaction that the bike and the bag do, I just… didn’t get to.

Then, anything that requires significant interaction, cooperation, or any kind of any reliance on another human being – Man vs. Man – almost always ends in dismal, miserable failure for me. The evidence is obvious, I’m just not a team player. Instead, I’m an exceptional individual. I have a lot of “near spectrum disorder” social behaviors, which tend to manifest around food, and dealing with other people. Don’t expect me to apologize or try to conform; I’ve long since come to the conclusion that I’m perfectly fine. It’s the rest of society that has the problem.

This is one of the reasons I like being out in nature so much more than being around other human beings. Other human beings always have some bias, some hidden agenda; that ever-present back-stab somewhere, to someone. In contrast, nature is completely open and honest. It can be brutal, and sometimes even very selective, but… it’s not personal. It’s never personal. Nature never consciously decides to treat one person better or worse than another. Humans do.

So, what do I want to achieve for 2016?

  1. 8,000 Km on the bike. I did it last year. I want to do it again this year. Ironically, it’s a somewhat hollow “victory” to have ended up riding that much last year. Many times, the only reason I’ve ridden my bike is because when I get angry about all the bullshit in my life (almost all job-related), it’s often the only activity I can do that takes enough use of my body to keep me from committing some kinds of destructive or violent act. But, if I have to ride because it’s my anger therapy, I will ride. I will ride a lot. I will ride more than ever. I LOVE TO RIDE MY BIKE! 
  2. 120+ hours of footbag. I’m almost certain I did that much or more last year, and want to be way over 120 again this year. Hacky Sack is my personal well of emotional and spiritual refreshment. Barring injury, I will kick a LOT this year. I bought a winter membership to the Rec center, and I’ve been kicking 3-4 hours a week this winter so far. Prognosis looks good. I LOVE TO PLAY HACKY SACK!
  3. Get a new job. Failure at this last year was by far the biggest disappointment in my life, and continues to be the source of virtually all my unhappiness, anger, sorrow, and likely a lot of the chronic health problems I’m experiencing. I used to love my job, but… I don’t any more. The atmosphere has become poisonous: all negativity, reproach, poor communications, misunderstandings, persistent conflicts and turf wars both internally and externally, way too much chaos and last-minute crises, willful disregard of company policy, and a host of oppressive, unevenly applied, seemingly psychotic reactions and policy implementations, almost all of them either punishment-oriented towards employees, or turf-war conflicts with other business units. I fully admit to being an integral part of the poison at this point; you can’t spend your life swimming in the shit without absorbing it and becoming poisonous yourself. I Just. Want. Out. I’ve gotten lost, and I need help finding my way out. Please? I’ve come to the realization that my current skill set – everything AudioVisual – is a dead-end. There’s exactly one job in this town that needs that skill set, I’ve got that job, and… I don’t want it anymore. Not that I don’t like the work, but having such a unique skill set makes me way too vulnerable to changes in the workplace I have no control over. I’m planning to get as many other more commonly sought networking, database, and server admin tech skill certifications as possible this year, and bring those to the table the next time I can land an interview.
  4. Continue to believe, and state, that Black Lives Matter. Do my best to live up to the challenge laid down by my Twitter correspondent. There’s no set goal here, and little ability to measure effect of effort, but this is important to me.
  5. All the other same crap as last year, but… realize they aren’t really that important, comparatively. Priorities are footbag, bicycling, and job. If I get to anything else, I’ll call it a bonus.

Sorry I can’t be more positive and upbeat. My cycling and footbag are such incredibly joyful, happy, fulfilling things in my life. I plan to focus my time in 2016 doing those things that bring my joy, happiness, and a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. My job, in stark contrast, has become such a disappointing, depressing, demoralizing nightmare. I will continue to work towards, and hope to find, a new, better job.

I’ve got a lot more stuff to blog about soon. In the meantime, thanks for tuning in!


Year End Review: Achievements and Goals

I turned my bicycle ODO past 5,555.5 Km on Sunday. I even haz da pictures!

Saturday, I achieved 75 hrs total for the year with a footbag session in the Homie Hole. Here’s how the scoreboard looked after that:

..Plus 30 more minutes Sunday 12/28: 24×2, 23×3, 77 toes, 345 1st rally. Sitting at 75.5 hours Footbag for the year. I had to fight for this one but I got it! Here’s the 2x & 3x graph so far:

So, how DID I do on my goals for 2014? Here’s the tally: 

  1. 75 Hours FootbagI did it! Just barely, had to put in some serious time in the Homie Hole to do it, but… I did it.
  2. 4,200 Km on the bikeBoy did I blow through that! I’ll end the year with 5,600+ Km, more than 25% more than my goal. A new bike and a desire to ride have done wonders for my cycling. I also wanted to do a century ride tho, and failed that. I twisted my ankle, couldn’t really train, and only got a metric century.
  3. Try to bring onlineFAIL AGAIN. I’m working on it, but not very hard. I feel like I’m scared shitless that it might actually take off (and consume all my time), or just fail, and consume some of my money.
  4. Get a new jobI did that, but… I remain very frustrated with a number of issues where I work. So, while I technically filled this objective, the result has left me very unfulfilled.

Now, for my 2015 goals. Same old, same old… 

  1. Be nicer, kinder, and more engaging with black people.After Ferguson, Kaijeme Powell, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, etc., I can’t look away anymore. And, I’m just as guilty as anyone seeing blacks as… less. Less human, less deserving of a smile and a hello. It doesn’t seem like much, but I’ve gotta start somewhere, and I’m going to try to be kinder to black people.
  2. 72 hours footbag. I’d think I’m crazy to set this goal with as many problems as I’ve had with my ankles, knees, back, etc. But, I’ve got the Homie Hole and the ability to put in 2 hours a week for the first couple months of the year. That will be a better start than I’ve had in several years.
  3. 5,000 Km on the bike. Yeah I’m bumping this one WAY up. I did great this year, and want to ride as much or more next year. Planning another century, or metric century if I can’t do the real 100 miles, again for 2015.
  4. Bring online. No further comments here at this time. Wish me luck.
  5. Get another new job, this time a completely new job, not just the same pig with some lipstick smeared on it.  It gets harder every year. Age discrimination is already steering me towards Wal-Mart Greeter land. I swear I’ve poured as much of my time and energy into my job and career, as I have footbag or bicycling. But while I’ve succeeded more than I ever could have imagined with footbag and bicycling, my career has always been a miserable POS failure.
  6. Complete my blog analysis project. Scoring all my videos is slow and demeaning; watching and detailing, down to every contact, just exactly how shitty and limited my footbag game really is. I keep not doing the scoring. Gotta get it done tho. Despite the fact that I already know exactly where all the project data is going, I’m hoping some good might come of it. Maybe the data will prove to healthcare providers (who don’t believe me when I tell them I’m in pain and can’t perform) that there is indeed a loss of performance.

That’s it. 2014 is done, 2015 is just around the corner. Best wishes everyone, I hope 2015 is a prosperous year for us all.

Thanks for tuning in,

Eulogy for a Bicycle

my old bicycleMy purple, steel frame Fuji Roubaix of 24 years died October 4th at 5:15pm of a broken down tube. 
I loved my bike. 
It, my bike, my steel steed… We’ve shared over 150,000 miles. Epic journeys, and cold, lonely, scary nights. Miles of hot pavement and crushing traffic, hard sprints, hard braking, hard corners. We’ve explored endless trails, rocks, dust, gravel, and dirt. We’ve ridden places maybe we shouldn’t have. We’ve seen almost everything together. 
My bike was my best friend. 
24 years, two complete drive trains, a dozen wheels, countless tires and inner tubes. 150,000 miles. Every day, day in, day out, I rode it to work. Two different cities, five different jobs, six different houses, each route worn so familiar we could do this in our sleep. As tens of miles, hundreds of miles, thousands of miles added up, my bike was almost always just THERE for me. 
My bike was an amazing workhorse. 
On long, lonely rides, my bike gave me solace. The rhythm of the pedals gave a reassuring pattern. The balance, steering, direction, melted into my being, becoming my thoughts. My spirit moved forward with my body, all carried by this simple, magical machine. At the end, I feel cleansed, refreshed, and whole again. 
My bike loved me, too. 
Goodbye, my best friend. I will ride you again in my heaven. 

Year-End Reconciliation, Goals for 2013

Yes, New Years Resolutions. No, I am not immune. After all the crap that’s happened to me in 2012, I am resolving to put the year behind me, and put even more hope, more importance, and more emphasis on a better 2013. 

But first, a reconciliation of last year’s goals. What were my goals for 2012 again, and how did I do? 

1. Play at least 60 hours of footbag. This is the same goal I have set for myself for the last several years. I came roaring out of the gate in 2012, racking up over 50 hours of play in the first 5 months, with freakishly warm weather. I was on pace to double my goal. Unfortunately, I got taken out in turn two, with chondromalacia, and in turn four, with a twisted ankle. The last 7 months saw less than 30 more hours; I finished with 79-1/2 hours in 2012. 

In one sense, it might look like my goals were way off. I was pacing 120 hours for the year. But in the other sense, it’s obvious my goals are, in fact, very realistic, taking into account the unknown, but almost inevitable hiccups throughout the year. 

2. Ride at least 2,400 Km on the bike. My bike goals have fluctuated a bit; the previous year I had set a goal of 3,000 Km, but missed that. I lowered my goal for 2012, but ended up riding 3,125 Km this year. I’m pleased with my final distance, and very pleased that these are mostly “car displacement” miles, too. That’s another 1,500 pounds of CO2 not released into the atmosphere this year. 

3. Do something kinda crazy, to be determined rashly. Um… I think getting hit by a bus and getting fucked over by insurance companies on the deal is pretty crazy. Maybe not something I actively did, but… definitely crazy, and has certainly created an irritating rash of disappointment in my life. 

That’s it. Those were my goals for 2012, and the final reconciliation of achievement. 

So, without further ado, here are my goals for 2013: 

1. 75 hours of footbag. Yes, that’s right, I’m finally bumping up my goal a bit. I’ve done 75+ the last 2 years, despite setbacks, and I’m just gonna turn the heat up on myself a bit: an average of an hour and a half a week, every week, all year. I’m actually planning to change my kicking habits just a bit, too: I’m going to try to kick more than once a week, but for shorter periods of time per session. I believe this will help keep the chondromalacia at bay. Although I’ve come to the disappointing realization that my ankle may take 6 months to a year to really heal, and I’ll still be feeling the pain this spring, I am determined to recover.

2. 3,000 Km on the bike. Another aggressive goal, but I believe I can. I might even get a new road bike for my 50th birthday! That might give me a reason to pound out a few more kilometers. 

3. Bring my business online, and ship product by fall 2013. This is a way new and different goal for me, but I’ve been developing and testing these things for years, and I have a plan to make it a real and legitimate side business. 
4. Go on a rip-snorting canoe trip for my 50th birthday, hopefully with my brother. I did a canoe trip with the Bro & some friends for my 40th, it’s time to do this again. Not on the Big Piney though; I don’t like that river anymore. Whoever wants to share an epic birthday canoe trip with me at the end of August, start making plans, because I’m doing it. 
5. Take a “Picture a Day” series on Flat Branch Creek. I’m hoping to take the exact same shot from a camera jig almost every day of 2013, and develop it into a photo series detailing the seasonal life of the creek. 
6. Take the Wilderness Ridge Resort owner to small claims court for loss of my minivan. This will take a lot of work and effort, and some legal advice, but I have a plan to get a real legal ruling in a court of law (as opposed to just a bullshit insurance determination), assigning liability to the  bus driver, and awarding monetary damages for loss of my vehicle. If I can win this case, I will use any money awarded to fund my reflectives business venture. 
That’s way more goals – larger, and more complex – than I usually set. But if 2013 is even a fraction as good, as 2012 has been bad, it’s gonna be an awesome, excellent, most wonderful year. 

Here’s wishing you a most excellent and wonderful new year too: