Rants on Cycling and on Life


Revenue or Changed Behavior?
and our system

It is clear to me that our system is not working!

What aspect of "Our System?" you ask.


Our Education System....
I have two kids younger than school age....
will I have to send them to private school?
maybe so...
where are my tax dollars going?
The problem here is that the people in the position to make a difference send their kids to private school. Never even considering public school. Knowing all the while that public school is sub standard.

Justice System?
innocent people going to jail?
guilty people walking free?
people with enough money and the right lawyers beating the rap?
those without the funds to hire a lawyer getting the misrepresentation of a court appointed attorney...
prisons filled?
guilty people sent to walk free without serving their time and not being rehabilitated?
prisoners leaving the system only to commit more crimes and then to eventually return again

A much needed system to aid in giving a HAND UP
ends up giving a HAND OUT
our welfare system is being abuses and misused
the welfare system is enabling joblessness and breeding the next generation of welfare recipients
something needs to be reworked

here in DC we can not even drink our water
our recycling goes in the trash
call the police? save your 35 cents...

Parking Tickets?
Traffic Violations (speeding etc...)

you name it! what does it do?
collects money
but is it effective in changing behavior?
more than likely each recipient of a speeding ticket accelerates to a speed above the speed limit in less than 5 minutes from getting that said speeding ticket
was behavior changed?
someone was pissed off
and not they feel like they just bought a right to speed

is the goal in issueing tickets to change behavior or to generate revenue

people need to start stopping at stop signs
and traveling at a reasonable pace
if the laws and the tickets can not control the masses
there needs to be a revision of certain things to force people to travel in a more safe manner

Poverty and the Poor?
our president talks about freedom
while their are poor in this country who need to be liberated from poverty
why are we spending millions and millions to liberate people who do not want to be liberated
spend our money on fixing up our country
let us lead by example
let us bring up our literacy rate
educated people have greater options

enough on this rant
distracted by the blog
when I should be working

guess I am still feeling crippled by the results of the recent election
and the reality that our country is comprised of a bunch of retroactive bible thumpers who would prefer to crawl back into caves then use thought to travel into the future

The original purpose of this post was to write about the failure of our system to correct behavior.

Do speeding tickets change behavior?
How about Parking Tickets?

Every morning when I head to work I see countless cars blocking the flow of traffic by double parking, being illegally parked in Rush Hour No Parking Zones, and the people dropping off their significant others (sometimes waiting for 10minutes to a half an hour before having them get out of the car, why would they bother to go into the office early?)

I am suspicious of the aim of the DC police and their ticketing.
It seems that they are more prone to ticketing and towing in the more affluent sections of town. As these people will pay their tickets and pick up their cars, while in "da hood" cars are parked illegally around the clock without notice. Take it and tow it, recycle it and get it off the road. The signs are not that hard to figure out.

Bikes and Drafting...

I do not believe in the Draft....
I feel that it is not needed for Iraq
I feel that it is not needed when on the bike

often when out on a post work ride I find myself on the local bike path (either the Capitol Crescent Trail or maybe the Mt Vernon Trail)when out doing my thing I try to be cautious and considerate
sure I pedal fast (perhaps too fast at times, which gets me to wise up and use the single speed for commuting....takes some of the ability to compete out of the game)
make my pass here and there
do a little weaving between walkers and roller bladers
I try to be considerate to all
giving people that little, "excuse me, on your left" as I pass
it is a little piece of respect
the warning is usually administered on the pass, so it is too late for them to move
I am not asking them to move
I am already passing and on my way
what I am really saying, "I am in control and I respect your right to have a placid time on the trail, hope my fast and close pass did not startle you, have a nice day and enjoy your trail experience."
that is a mouthful
so the "on your left" will have to be interpeted for what it is

there are times when I close ground on another cyclist and after I make a pass this rider is shaken awake
like my passing was some sort of a challenge
then some of these cyclists hop onto my rear wheel and try to "draft" off me
did I mention

especially on the multiuse hiker biker paths
as the people in the pace line are so involved in the pace line that they are not alert to on coming traffic
the people following the lead rider are force to trust the decisions of the leader
since they can not see over or around them
this make for a dangerous day on the trail

I hate when people draft!

my feeling....

When you follow this closely in a race the action is legal and considered DRAFTING
if you do this same action on the road or the bike path, that action is called TAILGATING and is not legal or appropriate

I have tried to shake these guys, but they seem to think that is a game of cat and mouse
often I am already going near my threshold and going any faster will not lose them
have tried to go so slow that they have to pass me, but then when I regain my pace, they try to draft again
more than anything....
I have tried to ask these people not to draft off me

there was one time where this fellow commuter had his flashy road bike hugging the rear wheel of my mountainbike with knobbies
I slowed and asked him not to draft
asked several times
he would not get off my tail
he said (and I quote) "I know what I am doing, I am following in a safe distance."
my heart was racing....he did not know me....he did not know what to expect...he could not see what was in front of me....
so when we got onto the bike lane of the 14th street bridge I acted impulsively
I slammed on my brakes
luckily no one was hurt
he rammed square into my rear wheel and went toppling
I managed to stay upright never leaving the clips
I asked if he was alright (retorical question)
informed him that I thought that I had seen a snake on the trail
then went into work

immediately I felt aweful
felt like a real asshole
felt bad the whole day

looked for him on my route on the days that followed
a week or so later I ran into him
rode up and introduced myself
made an apology
told him how I felt like an asshole
he accepted my apology
but never once did he realize that he was in the wrong
and that I proved to him that he was infact not following with safe distance behind me
but....I had realized on our first encounter that it is not my job to teach lessons
so I kept my discussion with him about my apology
and not about his drafting
we went our separate ways
him having his story
me having mine

part of this whole drafting thing is my feeling as a biker
if you are sucking someone's wheel, then you are getting less of a work out
if you think you are matching them by drafting off them you are are hanging on for the ride
I am a mountainbiker
not a road biker
drafting is a road bike thing
I am also 6'4" tall, most riders are not large enough to create a windslip for me
I am large enough to provide a windslip for many

enough on this
maybe the comment section will inspire me to continue this rant about riding

this image goes with my trail issues

that comic was borrowed from here; The Stupid Studio
go there if you want to see a larger version

this comic also from The Stupid Studio is also quite clever

But worth a look just the same....

Doing some random internet searching on the topic of BICYCLES
With Election Day and the Election Results dominating my mind and my blog over the last couple of days I thought it was time to TAKE IT BACK! TO BRING IT BACK TO THE BIKE!
I stumbled upon this article....Tire Slasher.

I must admit that I have felt like this
there are many days where I have felt like this
there are mornings where I have not completed my short little 15 minute pedal into work and I felt like there were a dozen people who deserved the death penalty

(but remember....I think that the Death Penalty should be extended to snuffing out idiots and assholes for what some may see as minor infractions, but if these people commit these same ignorant or selfish acts each day then they are detracting more than contributing to lets be done with them!)

no would I ever own a gun
as I feel that if I had a gun I would use it

gotta run
more later


the morning after the morning after
yesterday was a grey day
not outside
but in my head
the literal weather was unseasonably warm; over 70 degrees
the skys were clear and crisp
the snap to the air was matched by the vibrant fall colors of the blanket of leaves on the ground and the remaining leaves on the trees my mind it was a dismal gray day
by midnight I was going through the last steps of the emotional acceptance process
to aid in killing the pain I ate anything that stepped in my way and drank Beam and Cokes till I did not care anymore
this morning I woke to the day that had existed in my head the day before
the loss to President Bush was not a bad dream
it was my nightmarish reality
the weather of the my psyche was the weather of the day
the skies are dark and gray
the earth is cold and wet
there seems to be little hope on the horizon

our presidency may soon form into a dictatorship


from the looks of our election
the president may not represent me and my views
he may very well represent the conservative faith based america

back to work

good thing I opted to take the dirt trail alternative on my home from work yesterday
fall is such a great season for mountainbiking
the slick leaves offer an additional interesting variable
the ride was very refreshing, nearly invigorating
but clearly not enough to releave my post election result blues


Kerry is speaking right now.....

this sucks.

not sure what else to say



in times like these it is important to step away from the CNN BREAKING STORIES
and lighten up a little

check out this little animation piece
it is really quite fascinating!


you decide!


In these times I must admit there are certain issues that I remain conservative on...
Plastic Surgery being one of them.....

turn your POP UP BLOCKER OFF! and make sure your boss is out to lunch and head to
LIQUID GENERATION and select WHOOSE BOOBS from the section at the bottom
a well designed sight with some fun flash stuff
these quizes are fun for the whole family
I am sure my breast feeding son would enjoy some of these quizes
although he is not so pop culturally hip to know who most of these people are
actually...I did not know who many of these people are...but the quizes still kept me entertained! Go figure!?!


the age of the performer and the age of the fan

it amuses me
washington dc was so advanced in its musical evolution
the dc hardcore thing was so ahead of its time
in my mind it aided in the legitimazation of the brain of punk rock
the music of the 8o's on into the 90's that was released by Discord and other 'indy' labels really moved me and entertained me
but there is something odd....
the bands and the fans were the same age
now I wonder...
many of these people are still in bands under different ages
20 years ago they were 17 year olds playing for 17 year olds
are they trying to play to other 37 year olds or are they trying to play to the new breed of 17 year olds?
Ft. Reno is an interesting study
I went to Ft. Reno on Mondays and Thursdays in the summer for years
when I was young and the hometown house band The Slickee Boys played I kinda thought...WHO ARE THESE OLD FARTS!?!?! and WHO IS LISTENING?!??!??!
Is that what the kids say when FUGAZI takes the stage at Ft. Reno?

I do not know the original mission statement of the Ft. Reno summer concert series was, but I think it may have been created so that kids could have a place to perform since Clubs and Bars may prone to hosting acts that are of the legal drinking age.

Which leads me to my point.....

When these thirty something Peter Pan types with their multi colored cordaroy pants, their golf jackets, MSI t-shirts, and their wispy bangs get on stage and play at Ft. Reno are they missing the point? Should they step aside and let the kids have Ft. Reno? I know that it would have been a completely different vibe at Reno had The Slickey Boys had all of their other aging local "rock bands" playing at Ft. Reno. It would have attracted an older crowd and stolen the youthful atmosphere away from "the kids."

this post was inspired by something I stumbled upon at IWANTAMONKEY's Blog

Good Morning...or is it?

as I anticipated....
too close to call
no I did not blog about uncounted ballots
but we all knew that these would be an issue
we all knew it would come down to a few states in particular
Florida's value certainly had me with my suspicions
the brotherly ties and the events of 4 years ago should be enough to have all eyes on Florida

so we wait.....

we refresh our web pages and check for the updates to our maps
and we wait
this year we wait most specifically for Ohio
the fate of our country rests on the home state of two bicycle mechanics who sent this country soaring
okay....not sure why...but thought that I needed to bring it back to the bike
the Wright Brothers have very little to do with this I end that tangent

we wait...



this morning I was energized by the notion of being an American
the news broadcast title America Votes sounded so appropriate
even with all of our errors
there are some aspects of this flawed system that the world looks on in awe of

this morning Soledad, Grant's three day a week baby sitter, arrived 20 minutes early so that I would have time to VOTE before work this morning
dropping three year old Dean off at Rosemount Center and walking the Roscoe and Brutus (the dogs) added up to be too much time for what appeared to be an hour long line at Bancroft Elementary; the local school hosting the Mount Pleasant polls
so I am pedaling my 29 inch single speed down the virtually car free roads through Mount Pleasant, Adams Morgan, and then on towards Dupont circle
the sidewalks surrounding various schools and churches were packed with people each holding coffee in one hand and newspapers in the other
all waiting to get that oh so coveted I VOTED TODAY sticker
it made me proud to be an American
there were impulses to shout crudely VOTE KERRY OR DON'T VOTE AT ALL
I refrained
I grew introspective on the whole voting issue
a tear developed in the shape of a star and I started to see things in Red, White, and Blue
okay, that did not happen
but I did start to feel less like a member of a country divided
instead a person lucky enough to be born an American (well,
so I celebrated that it was great to see all these Americans voting, no matter which party they selected

gotta hope
one of the producers needs the ELECTION SOFTWARE on their machines
talk about waiting till the last minute

an yes
no I did not get one of those handsome stickers
but I did have a glorious line free Polling experience
my wife lisa got off work early to vote
had her access the polling situation and call me; "no lines"
so I wrapped up some things at work
told the assignment desk that I was running an errand
suited up and mounted up on my rigid karate monkey single speed
and spun through the carless city streets on this unseasonably warm fall day
again energized
arrived at Bancroft
shook hands and shared thoughts with a few of the local canidates
then went in and did my civic duty
it was liberating
I felt alive
also felt that I should not trust these machines that are counting our ballots
but felt that it was out of my hands
left the diminutive school gym and got back on the bike and headed back down to work
I felt a great unity with all those that had their I VOTED stickers
even if I lacked the sticker
was gleeful when asked, "did you vote"
several non-citizen friends asked if I had voted, again I was fueled by the power to have my voice be heard

then back to work where I would watch the states to close thier booths and count their votes
Bush drew first blood
I tried not to let this symbolic victory effect my feelings
I was confident no matter how the early hours measured out
that in the end it would even out
and end with a narrow split; 280 to 250
but who would rein triumphant?

I could only hope that security was ready to show up with a cardboard box to help George collect his things
pad him down to make sure he is not stealing any Presidental Pens or Presidential Handtowels from the White House bathrooms

what a great thought to think of the redecoration of the White House!



More Scary Stuff!

so close
it scares me that things could be this close
what scares me more is "what is middle america thinking?"

Wednesday may be a long day.....


a few images from this Halloween Season


More on Frank and the Red Bean

Here in Mount Pleasant Washington DC (just 2 miles from the White House) there is a main street with a strip of businesses to service the community. Like most urban strips there is a disproportionate number of liquor stores and "bodegas." There are also a few too many Salvadoran restaurants for my taste as well, but, I guess that there are enough Salvadoran in this area to keep each business afloat, one or two good ones would suit my occasional needs, but 9 bad ones and a few okay ones makes a trip to the strip more like a trip into the third world. At times it can be a "roll of the dice," even my stomach of steal has lost the intestonal battle with what day old slop was sold as today's fresh meal. In addition to the multiple "bodegas", Salvadoran Pupusarian joints, there are also a few too many "JUNK STORES." Don't get me wrong, I love The Dollar Store more than the next person, but these places are one step lower, thus creating a disservice to the community. Selling substandard knock off products that may not last the trip to the car. The future TARGET that is planned to open a few blocks deeper in Columbia Heights will aid in giving the people a higher quality option. I am all for "mom and pop" but I am also for a better product.

In addition to all of the Laundromats and nail places there are also a few other establishments.

On Mount Pleasant Street there is the Mount Pleasant Building. A beautiful 100 year old apartment building, said to be the first apartment building in the neighborhood. This building was beautifully restored some years ago and has been well maintained, in addition to its appearance it has opted to change with the neighborhood. On the ground floor there are two restaurants; Tonic (formerly known as Bella Roma now under the Tonic name and management) and Red Bean (which formerly housed the small little organic market, The People Garden, which just could not compete with Whole Foods stationed just a few miles away in two opposing directions) Red Bean is newest on the scene. It is a project that involves local character Frank Connell. The Washington Post Magazine has been covering the saga which is Frank's life. It is all very interesting while also being very sad. Personally, I would have to say that the Post is pulling their punches. If they are telling this much, I fear that it may very well be much worse.

Here is today's posting in the Washington Post Magazine on THE MISADVENTURES of FRANK CONNELL

Mt. Pleasant also lost its neighborhood Baker a few weeks ago. The poorly run Heller's Bakery has closed its doors. Not sign of any changing of this bakery has changed hands several times and has changed very little on each new owner. A bakery could do well in this neighborhood.