4.29.2016

China Block is officially no longer Chinese... Hooterstown... Potbellytown... Verizontown... but not Chinatown... The Kung Fu Gift Store is closed which is one of the last throwbacks to Chinatown being Chinese


Chinatown's Kung Fu Gift Shop is no more!

say it is not so...  please say it is not so

earlier this week my younger son Grant said he wanted to go to Chinatown so that he could buy something at the Kung Fu Gift Shop
he wanted some sort of weapon... not nunchucks or a knife... but something more
so when passing this shop on my bike headed home from work I saw the 20-50% off sale on the window

well... I did not realize that the shoe would drop so fast


EVICTED!

US Marshals and a large crew of movers
evicted... evacuated... cleared out

GONE!
DONE!
the last Chinese soldier standing is no more
Chinatown has very little Chinese left... maybe not enough to call it Chinatown... not even enough to be known as Chinablock


oh no... say it is not so
change
not all change is good
but change is inevitable 

bummer...
the Gift Store was associated with a Kung Fu martial arts studio
my guess... that is no more... maybe it will move... maybe it folded
sad to see it go

also bummed... I could have bought some stuff at this fire sale
I had wanted Chinese slippers... I could have stocked the house with slippers on this clearance sale


the loss is great
great for the family that owned this shop
then also... a great loss to the community
the city is losing its character

CAPITALISM KILLS CHARACTER!

CHARACTER CAN NOT COMPETE!




Money talks... the old school shop owners walk
no more Chinese markets...
no more Chinese weapons store...
fewer Chinese restaurants...
MORE ANYWHERE USA THAN WE NEED


ah... not a good way to start this rainy day
wish I had responded to that sale sign sooner
if for no other reason to make my last pass through that store
and to put some money in the store owner's pockets

chase those links below

Chinese


Chinatown and Chinablock on the Gwadzilla Page


SHIT ON THE SIDEWALK!
my understanding... the low dollar shit will stay on the sidewalk
the expensive stuff will be taken away by the marshalls



4.28.2016

Minority Status... CARS ARE THE MAJORITY... but that does not mean that cyclists do not have rights

I am tired of cars telling me to get out of their way

I am not creating traffic... I AM TRAFFIC!

my rights to space and safety are just as great as yours
nothing about my actions on the bike put you at risk
but your car driving style? cell phone.. speeding... failure to make complete stops at stop signs
well...
you are putting the world around you at risk

if you think minorities deserve rights
give minorities rights


car drivers are bullies... it is that simple... if adults want the bullying in school to stop... they need to stop bullying others

You are a Bully

Why do I ride the way I do?
Because you drive the way I do!

Why do I respond the way that I do to the way that you drive... because I do not want to be bullied.

YOU ARE A BULLY!
JUST BECAUSE YOUR CAR IS BIGGER THAN MY BIKE IT DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU HAVE MORE RIGHT TO THE ROAD THAN I DO
IT JUST MEANS THAT YOU ARE A BULLY
PUSHING ME AROUND WITH YOUR CAR... BECAUSE IT WOULD KILL ME IF I DID NOT BACK DOWN

I arrived to work yesterday dehydrated... too much spitting on the windshield of drivers nearly killing me because their focus is on their phone rather than driving

Yesterday was a tough day...

there were moments where I resembled Robin Williams as Garp in the World According to Garp
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVT46mh22iw

the day started with my standard 6 mile urban commute

just blocks from my house I nearly got flattened by a woman more focused on her phone than me in the bike lane to her right
then blocks later when she caught up to me after my flipping her off she tried to discuss things
and when I say discuss... she tried to tell me how I was wrong...
listen bitch... you have two ears and one mouth... that means listen twice as much as you talk
and it is talking that started this conflict
you have noting to say that I need to hear unless it is, "I am sorry... I will be a more responsible driver in the future... you are correct I am a dumb bitch and I should not be on the phone while I drive no only because it is dangerous but because I am boring and have nothing significant going on in my life worth sharing with anyone else"
but no... she had to tell me how I should have signaled
well... back it up lady!
we need to understand that I do not need to signal... I need to hang on tight and have my fingers near the brakes because you are not the only loser behind the wheel on these roads


then the way home was more of the same...

after rushing home to get in the car to cross town and pick up my boys I encountered more of the same

only this time... I was in my car... not on my bike... the poor driving habits are now less about threatening my life but denting my car

on Rock Creek Parkway a car did an obnoxious U-Turn
I let them slide
but then they were driving at a sub 20 mile hour pace in a 25MPH zone
safety is cool... I was not so irked

maybe this person is not comfortable with the curvy road
maybe they are just trying to be safe...
so I backed off
until the driver passed a cyclist a little close on a blind turn I then realized... their driving style is not about safety
they are not talking to their toddler in the kid seat
THEY ARE ON THE F-ING PHONE

I was livid... what an asshole... I wish I was in the Batmobile so I could launch a Polaris missile their way

then when picking up my son my heart was racing and I had no patience for anyone
when I got out of my car I made notice of the gravel in the bike lane
there are Bike Lanes on 2000 Block of Park Road because of a traffic calming initiative that I spearheaded when I lived on the block
there is gravel in the bike lane

but... the white line and about 18 inches into the bike lane there is no gravel...why?

the gravel is missing in the Bike Lane on the 2000 Block of Park Road because so many cars can not keep it in the lane

so when I got out of my car with the do I looked down hill
the two cars coming up hill both had their passenger side tires inside the bike lane... cruising close to the parked cars

F-ing F-ers!


I waved for them to move back into the lane...  as they passed I saw that the first person was on the phone
really people... I am pro-Choice... I wish your mother had exercised that choice
not only do I cross this street... but this is a residential neighborhood where my kids and other kids cross this street
keep up your side of the bargain... keep in the lane... be alert... drive sensibly.. stop being such a F-er!

sorry... rainy days and assholes piss me off


4.26.2016

RACE REPORT: EX2 Adventures at Rosaryville

as the weekend approached I took a glance at things...
I knew that I would like to get on the bike and that I would like to get my boys on bikes as well
with the marriage separation leading to divorce my ex and I are working a shared custody situation
this weekend would be the start of my week

my time with the boys
in addition to getting them to school... making lunches... making sure they do their homework... making sure they get dinner... having them brush their teeth and go to bed at a decent hour
I also want their time with me to be positive

there was a measure of what was going on bike related and what was going on kid responsibility wise
Grant had soccer practice on Saturday and a soccer game on Sunday
Dean had rowing scrimage regatta on Saturday morning and then nothing else for the rest of the weekend
then there was an Alleycat and then a race at Rosaryville

What is an Alleycat?
What is Rosaryville?
http://gwadzilla.blogspot.com/search?q=alleycat

hmmmm.... what to do... what to do?

my 14 year old son Dean has gotten into the FIXED GEAR
there is a youth bike culture in the city that emulated the Fixed Gear Courier Culture
and well
this has an assortment of high school age boys racing in the various Alleycats

Dean had heard about this Alleycat and expressed some interest
well... the father side of me could not help but offer up some hesitancy
sure Dean can pedal fast... but can he stop fast
and
how can this kid race an Alleycat when he has very little understanding of the layout of the city

it does not sound like a good idea... I have my hesitancy

Friday after work I met up with Dean in Dupont Circle
Dean had his bike so we met up to ride home
normally I have Dean take a somewhat longer route home on the Bike Path in Rock Creek Park
it is good for him to ride in an area where there are fewer cars... I feel it is more safe
as well as it being less like for him to get lost
as the bike path sends him by his mothers house and an area that he is more familiar with
while the city streets... I am not sure of his understanding of the lay out of the city

so we rode home togheter
while we rode I tried to verbalize what I was thinking and why I was riding the way I was riding

up New Hampshire Avenue from Dupont in the bike lane
as we approach a 4 Way Stop I could see that there is a series of cars all taking a right
most certainly one or all will enter the bike lane to take this turn
none of the car drivers will anticipate the fast moving bicycle
my guess... these cars will drive into the bike lane without a glance for a bike and use the bike lane as a right turn lane

so I explained to Dean how I would avoid that potential collision by passing these cars on the left rather than on their right

then through the intersection and back into the bike lane... only to pull the same maneuver at the next intersection
all the while verbalizing why I was doing what I was doing

the ride home went that way...
trying to alert the boy to watching the timer on the walk signal to know how much longer a light will remain Green or how long until a light turns Green

DEAN IS FAST!
SCARY FAST!

too bad I did not Strava our pedal home 
I would have certainly had a few PRs for our Efforts
 

we got home... Dean left out on his fixed gear to visit his friends across town
while I left out to walk the dog

then I looped in the car to get Grant and then Grabbed Dean and we went home to watch TWILIGHT together
all with an early bed time to get ready for rowing and soccer in the morning
not to mention we were tired from our early rise to get dean to the boat house by 5:30 AM

it was decided... No Alleycat for Dad... No Alleycat for Dean
we would race the EX2 Adventures race at Rosaryville
but first... I needed some help with Dean's bike.. the chain was loose and I did not have any luck getting this set up
to my pleasure Chris Merriam was willing and available to take a glance at my bikes
to my discredit...I did not realize that when he said 1PM he meant one and not sometime after one
my morning tasks with parenting had me show up a few minutes later than Chris has expected
I hate taking advantage of his generosity
I am not one of his four children... even if I behave like it
\

Chris was able to resolve the bottom bracket issue I was having on Dean's Juan Solo
while also turning a screw or two on my bike

thanks...  really thanks
Chris... I would love you either way... but your mechanical assistance is so valuable to keeping my family rolling

chris also raised the handlebars and replaced the flat bars with a slight riser
Dean is huge
his is outgrowing his bike 
he is outgrowing his bed 
Dean is larger than life

Dean took a spin around the neighborhood on the freshly tuned up bike
it took a minute of adjustment for him
the mountain bike is very different than the fixed gear in so many ways
but in a matter of a minutes he developed a recollection of hand brakes and the ability to coast
to my displeasure Dean got onto his fixed gear... crossed town... and spent the night at a friend's house... not without asking and not without arguement
I wanted him close for the departure to the race
but with the 1PM start I thought the sleep over would not be that big of an issue
as it turns out... it was not


I packed our gear...
Dean has inherited some DCMTB gear
I packed a DCMTB skin suit... and then some DCMTB shorts and a MORE button down shirt made of breathable fabric along with helmet... shoes... socks... gloves... water bottle
times two
just as I had to pack for Dean I had to pack for myself

DCMTB and MORE




morning came and before my coffee was made I was slapping tubes into my slowly leaking STANS tubeless set up
then walked the dog as I drank my coffee
I crossed town anxious about the race
racing makes me anxious
I am competitive... I want to do well

where is my fitness at?
how will my body perform?
how will my bike hold up?
how fast will my competition be?

it was not clear if I would race single speed or Clydesdale
in the end... I decided to race Clydesdale on the Single Speed
Clydesdale

Dean had breakfast at his friends... I drank a coffee... ate a banana and a few other breakfast bars that I grabbed when heading out the door

we made the short drive from downtown DC to Rosaryville in PG County Maryland

the drive was trouble free.. but as we got close I thought it odd that I did not see any other cars with bikes on top on the road around us
when we pulled into the State Park it was interesting... there was no sign... no race arrow... nothing
before we even entered the park I voiced to Dean, "it does not look like there is a race today"

we drove past the old lot... then past the turn off for the new lot... then over to the Pavillion

no cars..
no sign of cyclists swarming around trying to warm up...

at the turn around I pulled up the EX2 Race info on my iPhone
sure enough... the rescheduled event was on Saturday not Sunday

I was 24 hours late to register and race
no race today
photos from EX2 Adventures Rosaryville Race?
I don't think so

there was a moment let down... Dean wanted to race... I wanted to race
but...
it was a beautiful day and we would get to ride
as we suited up I laughed to myself about my botching the father son Rosaryville Race
we made small talk with other riders
sharing with them my misunderstanding about the race schedule

then a familiar face rolled into the lot
Eric Lever from NCVC and Ed Sander's cyclocross fame pulled up
Dean and I were nearly ready... Eric asked which way we were going and used us as a rabbit to push his pace

Dean and I took to the loop
taking a left to run our first lap Counter Clockwise
we shared this plan with Eric so that he could chase
immediately into the woods we ran into a cluster of entry level cyclists heading our way slowly
then there were horses... more horses... and more riders

it was not crowded
but it was not clear

we rode and we talked
maintaining a good pace
rocking it pretty hard
but not going ballistic
not getting hypoxic


the first lap with Dean went well...
Dean was riding strong in my shadow
on the one long downhill at Rosaryville I ran into MORE Roasaryville Trail Liaison Jim McNeely and another man working on new reroute of that downhill
instead of a bullet straight up\down
the trail now dips in and out of the woods a few times

Jim and his assistant were reworking these reroutes so that they flowed a little better
thanks Jim and friends... your efforts are awesome... your efforts are appreciated 

Jim
first has good randomness
this link has a shot of Jim

Dean was patient as I chatted with Jim
as we talked Eric caught us
then as Eric and Jim exchanged hellos I heard some chatter about MABRA come up
I feared that there could be a long conversation about cyclocross race promotion so Dean and I pushed on
we finish our first lap... back at the parking lot Eric caught Dean and I again 

we discussed our desire
Eric was cool with riding a second lap with us allowing Dean to set the pace

DEAN TOOK OFF LIKE A ROCKET!
my fear that he is strong for the short sprint but lacks endurance was inaccurate on this day
the rabbit has legs and lungs

Eric and I caught up as we tried to catch Dean
any time that Eric and I accelerated into Dean's shadow he was able to lay down the hammer and pull away
it was really quite impressive
his speed and control was impressive to watch
I can not deny that this moment was making me proud



Strava Data for this Ride

lap two flowed better than lap one
no horses... fewer cyclists coming the opposite direction... and no social stop
DEAN ROCKED IT!
his pace never faltered
any time I threatened him in his shadow he was able to sprint away

that is not to say I was ever trying to catch him or pass him
but if I had tried
I fear I would have been denied


FANTASTIC!
our ride was better than a race
(maybe I am just saying that)
we got to spend some time together
we got to ride more miles than we would have raced
and 
we saved the entrance fee

the lap time for the lap at Dean's pace was under 50 minutes
a solid pace for anyone
a fantastic pace for a second lap
and then
an amazing lap time for a 14 year old boy who has not been on a mountain bike since the fall




4.21.2016

ah... life... and then bikes

ah...
me and my boys on top of the world
that is where we were
that is how it felt

vacation in Colorado

but really
you do not need to go out west to live life and ride bikes


there are all sorts of excellent local trails
so many are buff and fast... perfect for family riding
the above shots are from Rosaryville
there is a race at Rosaryville this weekend

Dean has a rowing race on Saturday
Grant has a travel soccer game on Sunday

I may try to get Dean on the bike for this EX2 Adventures Race


those shots are from NOLA
we did a trip to New Orleans a bit ago
the boys are so much bigger
still just kids... but big kids

kids that are better at saying no
kids that have their own plan on how to spend their time

the boys love video games
they also love hiking and riding their bikes
but the fight to get them away from the screens
it is a battle that has worn me out
almost ready to give up... but not yet

there is often a sign of hope
I hear the boys from time to time ask about Wakefield
a few years ago when I was working part time and handling the kids part time I was able to work the Wednesday at Wakefield with the boys

it would be great to see if I could get one or both of them to at least one Wakefield race
in the summers the boys will not have rowing or soccer
but they will have camp
and other such summer activities




a family vacation to someplace cool
someplace with mountain biking
well... that is something to consider
we have done Asheville... we did Raystown Lake
we could repeat those... but where else could be a good family destination for similar such activities


more photos of Dean than of Grant
hate to have the scales tip in one way over the other
love them both more than I can measure
they are different people
neither of them is loved more than the other

then the last photo
me racing... who am I racing... I am racing myself
on this day my brother was in my shadow
it has been a long time since I have had the legs or lungs to finish in front of that guy
but there was a time...

ah brothers...
siblings and their rivalry

Dean Grant Marc Joel
heck yeah!





4.20.2016

I should be ashamed that I am not currently practicing yoga... a glance at an image of Black Cat Bernie brought back some memories!



BERNIE
aka Black Cat Bernie

Bernie on the Gwadzilla Page

the semi secret secret show... DAG NASTY at the Black Cat Tomorrow Night 4-21-2016

yes... it looks like Shawn is throwing a tantrum

yes... Dag Nasty tomorrow night... thursday
April 21 2016 at the Black Cat
CHECK IT OUT!

http://gwadzilla.blogspot.com/search?q=dag+

and then
Black Cat


not all car drivers are bad... today a car honked at me and then gave me a pie! thanks SOL!

Sol of Acme Pies


Tour de Fat Announces their Music for DC... and of course... who wants to Volunteer at the MORE run BIKE VALET a the 2016 Tour de Fat


Tour de Fat DC May 21st 2016

email me if you are interested in volunteering the bike valet at the DC Tour de Fat
gwadzilla8@yahoo.com

TdF on the Gwadzilla Page

4.18.2016

CNN Decades Series on Netflix is FANTASTIC! so much to learn... so much to appreciate... so much to try to understand...

CNN the 60's

this weekend I watched the CNN documentary series THE SIXTIES


this documentary was FANTASTIC!

sure... just like any documentary it possesses as much perspective as it does fact... but wonderful just the same


loved the segment on JFK... great information especially after a conversation earlier this week with a co-worker who was a strong believer in the conspiracy theories... after seeing this... how could we not have our doubts... it is suspect to say the least

then I really found great appreciation to the Civil Rights Segment... WOW! the struggle... the wonderful happenstance for Kennedy to be president and to have Martin Luther King as an activist at the same time... what SYNERGY... then LBJ did some good work after the Kennedy assassination... our country has come a long way... we still have a ways to go... 


and then lastly the episode that focused on the British invasion really amused me because I had recently had a conversation with a millennial about the Beatles




it was a funny conversation...
in short... as our dogs sniffed each other in that dog sort of way we made small talk
this young man roughly 30 was wearing a t-shirt with a target
I was curious if he was aware of the MOD movement
or MOD MUSIC in general

Mod on the Gwadzilla Page

he had not heard of Modism or the use of the target as a symbol of that movement... but he did have a strong opinion on the Beatles

although he knew very little about the Beatles he wanted to refute the stand that the Beatles were the greatest rock and roll band of all time
he did not think their music was cutting edge or original

to me... I felt he needed to have a better understand about the time line of music and the creation of Rock and Roll
their greatness is not as important as their impact
WORLD IMPACT

well.. that is difficult for and I to understand
as neither of us were born when the Beatles were a band
the Beatles were broken up before I was born
John Lennon was dead before this kid was born

I tried to have him understand the time line
where the world was culturally
and how Rock and Roll was at its inception
he did not really get it

this CNN documentary series would be helpful for this kid
give him some background on the world and how certain things unfolded

I recommend to him and to you this CNN Series
my parting thought to this kid
"hating the Beatles is not an original thought"



Gwadzilla Beatles




amusing sidebar...
I was curious when I saw Abraham Zapruder... that name jumped out at me
I was curious... is this man related to the Zapruders that I went to high school with
sure enough... they interviewed Alexandra Zapruder who was Abraham's grand daughter
then who else was there 6 Degrees of Separation from?
there was one other... but forgotten