Archive for May, 2008

cycling

Posted in hit bull win steak on May 30, 2008 by samsondoggie

We got Rosie her bike and she loves it.  “It’s pink,” she says, if you insist on asking her about it. “Also, it’s purple.”  Both important colors.  To have both in the same thing, well I guess enough has been said.  It must make be great.  (Like Super-Why.)   

What I love about it is that she takes care of her bike, and that she so readily finds time to use it.  We had breakfast out on the court this morning, for example, and it wasn’t more than half way through my excellent cereal before Rosie had to get up to ride her bike.  

The other thing I like is what she does when she is done riding.  Rosie likes to park her bike.  She puts her bike against the wall of the house, near the water faucet.  Its the same place every time.  Lately, parking is big.  She parks her cars in a special place in our living room, too. 

John never fell off his bike.  He just took his training wheels off one day and went down the alley. Maybe that confidence will rub off on Rosie.  

I can’t help but remember my own Schwinn Sting Ray. I wore that bike out!  We lived on a cul-de-sac in a sleepy new suburb on the Southern outskirts of Kansas City.  There was not a lot of traffic.

Almost every home in our neighborhood had been built and purchased after 1970, usually by a young couple intent on establishing a family. Some called it Suburbia.  It’s what someone might call an “architectural pastiche” in the anecdotal experience of the children of baby boomers.  You know, Big Wheels, Pintos, and red-white and blue sweat bands. 

I’ve been back there.  It didn’t age very well.  But that’s another story.  What is important is that it was a great place to ride.  There was a steep hill to get to the top of the cul-de-sac.  At the other end, there was a roundabout.  

Our game was to ride from a standing start at the top of hill, reaching as high a speed as possible in order to propel down the straightaway.  We passed our house, the Stonebreakers’, and the Grunden’s house still feeling the momentum of the hill.  The real race took place in the corners, of course, where we ignored safety and crossed traffic lanes in order to get the first position into the Savin’s driveway.  It was a c-shaped concrete slab, built not unlike a pringle’s potato chip, so it was possible to safely take the driveway without much fear of losing your grip because of a melting asphalt puddle.  Having maximized that advantage, we slipped back into traffic.  I actually don’t ever remember stopping, but it must have happened.  

I think things were a bit different back then.  We didn’t wear helmets.  We didn’t have shin guards.  It was all part of a different safety regime.  I remember playing bumper brothers in the back seat of our Pontiac Firebird.  I don’t think that car had seat belts.  It definitely didn’t bear any car seats.  Oh yeah, did I mention that it was OK to climb on top of the roof of our A-Frame house?  

 

Tuesday

Posted in telling it like it is with tags , on May 27, 2008 by samsondoggie

What did you have for dinner? Er, not so good. Two slices of pizza and a diet coke.

Gross. Why did you eat that? I guess because I only had twenty minutes to eat before I went to Chapel Hill for a board meeting.

John, how was your day? Oh, it was good. We didn’t go to the doctor. Instead, we stayed home and went swimming.

How much did it cost Susie to fill up the Sienna today on her way to Salisbury? Seventy-two dollars. My little Volvo thirsted for sixty-two dollars of petrol on Saturday.

Whose fault is that?

  • NC DOT, for its totally excellent use of five roads, when just two would do. When it comes to traffic, supply creates demand.
  • Elizabeth Dole, for voting against light rail in 2003? The triangle project would have hooked up to Amtrak. We would have had a station 1 mile from our house.
  • Macroeconomic forces that aren’t going away.
  • I guess some would say its our own fault — nobody has to drive, and if your mother is sick, let the free market take care of her health care, right?

Although we were not looking to reduce her auto dependence, we did take Rosie to look at bikes today. She’s ready, she says, for a pink bike.

The market for pink kids bicycles (with basket, tassles, and training wheels) is funny. You can get a reasonably priced steel bike with training wheels for $40. If you want one without Barbie or Disney Princesses, though, it’ll be at least $80. It might even cost as much as $129.

When a smart person tells you that they are never going to let their kids get inundated with commercial stuff, ask again. Yes, they might tell you that they will never allow brands to seduce their offspring. The place where I most imagine that they might tell you that is at a Whole foods, as a matter of fact, Nalgene SIGG water bottle in hand.

Do me a favor, ask this especially insightful person if they are also going to pay twice as much for everything that they buy. That is really the rub. Not just with avoiding costs for unwanted brand dependence, but also more easily imagined ones like protection from Lexan. There is a long-term cost that weighs upon decision-making at the time of purchase. I think people vary greatly in just how much they value those long-term costs.

It’s why some groups of people buy Big Macs or GM cars or cheap microwave ovens, and other people don’t.

Miles ridden — 4.3

Motions carried – – 2

Memorial Day Weekend

Posted in telling it like it is with tags , , on May 26, 2008 by samsondoggie

What did you have for dinner? Corn on cob, canteloupe, cabbage and onion stir fry. (Vegetarian dinner!)

How are you spending Memorial Day Weekend? It has been two days of steady yard work. Saturday, we rented a gas powered tiller and cleared about 300 square feet of ivy in the side yard. It is a five horsepower tiller from Best Rent – All. Three days for $45. Gotta love that. I also did about six feet deep along the length of the front retaining wall in the Urban Ave. portion of our yard.

We built two boxes for the side yard space. One is seven foot by four foot, and six inches deep. The other is 4 by 4 by 10 inches. I like to create some vertical variety in a garden. The eye notices. We already have two that are 8 foot by 4 foot by 8 inches.

I took John to the Home Depot to get the wood.

I had to tell him about me, and the smell of saw dust. For me, saw dust matters.  It always brings me Continue reading

The rains came today

Posted in five questions with tags on May 20, 2008 by samsondoggie

What did you have for dinner?  Well, when strong winds and heavy rains swept through Durham County at 4:40 today, it canceled our picnic at John’s new school.  We had a make-do:  fried eggs and waffles. Maybe there is some beauty in a simple meal, anyway.  

What’s going on in Durham?  How was the ride home?  I fled my office as the rains grew.  Although I am a part of the Smart Commute Challenge, today would have been a better day to drive.  How Continue reading

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