instant gramming

July 31, 2008


Today is my last post forever. Not really--I'm going on vacation and plan on not spending any appreciable time at a computer. Instead, I'll be learning how to surf at the beach, or getting my stank-on at Uncle Pauly's. While I'm not sad about not posting for 10 or so days, I am sad to be leaving Alden in Ohio, and my bike (which is not nearly as dear to my heart as my dog).

One or two positives is that my time away from a computer will hopefully break me of my latest habit of obsessively checking Craigslist and Ebay for bikes and bike parts. It's a ridiculous phenomenon, these 24/7 auction houses available on the internet. I've seen some really great deals come and go on the computer, and it's enough to drive a greedy man insane. I need to face the fact that my "lucrative trading business" just won't get off the ground and wasn't meant to be. Anyways, I hope to return to the Midwest cured of this and many other vices.

Another positive will hopefully be the quality time spent with C, where we can talk, not about work and not while fighting with Alden to stop eating one thing then another.

Until then, enjoy the new (and temporary) background color. Soak it up like you would the penetrating radiation of the sun. Better yet, go outside (if it's daylight when you read this) and soak up the real stuff, and pretend you're at the beach.


July 30, 2008

Driving Report

Almost every day in the past two months I've ridden my bike past the intruding gas station marquee that advertises the current price for a gallon of gasoline. It has become my morning news; my ticker-tape for the state of the economy. As prices have been increasing, I've felt an increasing sense of pride that I've been driving less and biking more. The fear of economic depression and insecurity is looming, but hasn't gotten under my skin, yet. I was also proud to hear that driving has declined across America. Yesterday, Atlanta Business Chronicle reported this:

Federal Highway Administration data released Monday [shows] Americans drove 9.6 billion fewer miles this May than in May 2007, the third-largest monthly drop in the 66 years the data has been collected.

The May decline was 3.7 percent from a year earlier and continues a seven-month decrease in driving that has amounted to more than 40 billion fewer miles traveled since November 2007 compared with the same period a year earlier.

It is apparent that Americans' driving behaviors are changing dramatically and quickly, in response to increasing gas prices. This will have interesting effects in a society whose infrastructure has evolved in the past 50 years to accommodate almost exclusively the privately-owned automobile.

Very recently, gasoline prices have begun to recede slightly--presumably due to the decrease in driving (i.e., demand). I am wondering, if dramatic increases in prices will modify behavior as we are seeing, will the opposite be true, and in just as little time? My suspicion is that is will not. People's behaviors are also changing because our future is becoming less certain or predictable. Driving less is a result of economic fearfulness and we won't be quick to peek our heads out from under the comforter. [Any thoughts or comments on this?]

Perhaps driving less will force us to stay within and move around our neighborhoods, by bike, or on foot. Maybe this will at first feel like a trap or prison, with limited breathing room. I'll admit, I'm worried to think that traveling to Cincinnati or Cleveland, let alone North Carolina, will become increasingly difficult. But it's also exciting to think that maybe our communities will be better because of this new (potential) situation. Of course, new technologies and alternative options will become more available. One day we might find ourselves catching a solar powered (?) train traveling between Cleveland and Porkopolis, right down the middle of empty ol' Interstate 71.

July 25, 2008


I've been drinking too much coffee lately. This fact was confirmed yesterday at the dentist's office during my not-so-routine cleaning. When asked if I have been experiencing any problems of the oral variety, I mentioned a nagging pain in my jaw. Turns out that pain stems from the more-than-usual teeth grinding I've be doing lately. Turns out, that grinding is likely the result of "a lot of coffee." I interpreted that as I am addicted to coffee and have been grinding my teeth during withdraws. Shit! Oh well. If I can stop grinding, then I'm good to go, right? Maybe I need to mix my caf' with a little bit of de-caf... Also found out that my poor flossing routine has resulted in a minor gum infection that should clear up if I start flossing regularly. Groooooss!

In other news, I just bought some bike-specific pants that will hopefully fit and look good from a company in L.A. called SWRVE. I'm not talking about the painted-on spandex you'll see on many-a leisure trail. These are like semi-stretchy capris (a.k.a. knickers, shants, or man-pris) that add a little function to form. Anyways, I always feel a little uneasy about spending "a lot" of money on one particular thing, and this purchase was no exception.

Will you go to the prom with me?

July 24, 2008

What the dizzle?

Do you know what is a "bull pizzle"? Well we didn't either until after we bought one for Aldy--his reward for walking to the pet store to get a new type of leash. This "pizzle" smells as gross as it probably should, so tonight it's going in the trash! Sorry pup. But you should've seen him; he carried the thing all the way home from the store and was walking with the proudest gait I've seen.

I think C is gonna puke.

July 23, 2008

Gas Problem

After suffering through exposure to numerous lists of how to survive the current gas-price crisis, through local news programs, newspaper articles, chain emails, and radio sound bites, I decided to write an entry expressing my frustration that I wasn't hearing what I thought should be the number one tip: don't drive! A quick internet search and it seemed like my frustration was going to be validated. In this list of "30 Gas Saving Tips," there is not ONE mention of "not driving" as a way to decrease one's spending on gas! I expected that if a list of thirty tips wouldn't provide the answer for which I was hoping, none of the more popular "top ten" lists would. Interestingly, the thirty-tip list included a link, immediately under its own article, to "45 Professional Tips to Cut Big Gasoline Bills." This would be the clincher--if I couldn't find a recommendation that not driving was the answer, I could rest (un-) easy that our society was mentally screwed by the automobile industry. Alas, the TOP TWO suggestions were these:

# 1. Before getting into your car, ask yourself "Is this trip necessary?"!
# 2. On short trips, try walking or bicycling. It's good exercise.

What a relief! This is the promotion I was hoping to see. To figuratively "pinch myself," I decided best-out-of-three would afford me real hope. Back in the search engine, I clicked the link to "Top Ten Fuel Saving Tips." After each tip, my heart sank a little lower. Was our country destined to be enslaved by the automobile? Finally, seconds left on the clock, in overtime, and the hail-Mary pass was received in the in-zone:

#10. Don't drive. Not a popular thing to say on a car site, I know, but the fact is that if you can avoid driving, you'll save gas...

It's not too often when I feel okay about being wrong. I'm glad to know that at least some journalists--more than I expected--are willing to slip in an endorsement that really tackles the bigger issues at hand. I'll admit, all of the lists--whether they promote alternatives to driving or not--are useful for helping to conserve gasoline and make driving more efficient which is relatively better for the environment. However, I "personally believe" that it's essential to promote alternative forms of transportation and really revolutionize the way our towns and cities are structured--to benefit communities and the environment, rather than cater to out-dated, out-of-scale industries.


July 18, 2008

Birthday No. 25

Sorry for letting that last relatively negative post stink up this blog for two entire days. It's Friday, the sun is out, and I'm completely refreshed after a wonderful 25th birthday.

First off, I need to publish to the world (wide web) that my wife is the greatest, most generous person I could've fallen so deeply in love with and married, and the only with whom I want to spend the rest of my life. She has spoiled me rotten, even more than normally. She showered me with presents that I don't deserve and then organized a really wonderful night with some family and close friends to end it all right. I enjoyed a quality dinner at Cornerstone Deli, downtown, with C, J&M, Liz, and Ben, which was followed by decadent cake (made and decorated by C), candles, wishes, and The Birthday Song, all in the deli. Then we spent the evening enjoying great seats at The Crew soccer game. Also: shout out to J&M for the really great "Urban Gardener" shirt (it fits!) and my sister, Amanda, for sending me a badass lunch box made from recycled billboard vinyl! What great surprises!

Not sure what's going on this weekend, but I know it wont be work for me. Maybe a little time in the garden, some on my bike, and hopefully all of it will be with C and Alden (who just got neutered, earlier this week). Two weeks and counting 'til we get packed to go on a Galicki/Love/Ferguson-style vacation in the O-B-X, which I'm more than excited about.

Chin up

July 16, 2008

Let Downs, All Around

[This post has been slightly modified]

So, yesterday it seemed like I had been hit with a cluster bomb. Just some really "bummer" things happening all around me, with friends and family, not to mention across America. And all at once. Seriously! One day. Well, since most of it is not my business to talk about, I will write about the recent and second admonishment I received at work for my choice of office attire... I'll admit my clothes--which have for a long time been an integral part of my self-identity--are a part of my motivation to get dressed everyday and leave the house, with pride and confidence, to come sit and write a report, or to go get a sunburn in a tick-infested field of poison ivy and thorn bushes, at the same time ankle-deep in mud and constantly battling mosquitos. [I also realize that after clothes comes dictation of my hair style, etc... When does it stop?!]

With the economy in this state, I understand I don't have much wiggle room and should care to keep what is truthfully a great job. Oh well. If I didn't have this job, what would I do? I don't think I'd be hired to do anything very similar, and I'm not sure I'd care for anything that is. In that regard, I am inclined to prefer working as a bike mechanic or tattoo artist and spending more time at home growing a bigger garden. But I'll let that happen when it happens.

July 11, 2008

Self Portrait [edited 07/24/08]

I just submitted [a] photo for an art show hosted by Blue Moon Brewing Company here in Columbus, Ohio. If my piece, "Summer Night Sasquatch," is accepted for the show, it will be hung with the other finalists' (up to 40 of them, I think) and could be judged as one of the top three, or audience choice, and receive a favorable cash prize (my motivator).

[My piece has been accepted as a potential finalist! I need to fill out some paperwork and jump through a couple of hoops of fire, but it looks like I'm a step closer to 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place!]

July 7, 2008

Senior Will

This is the page I submitted at the end of high school for the compilation of my senior class' "Senior Wills." I suspect the whole student-organized publication was more relevant to the high school fraternity and sorority which both included underclassman members to whom advice and inside jokes could be passed. Either way, I felt like I could leave a mark or make a lasting impression on my peers by listing out goals based on certain ideals I had been cultivating during my last years in high school. I realize now my page comes off a little self-righteous, but that wasn't my entire intention. Maybe I hoped more to inspire others than I cared to publicize my pretentiousness. These thoughts were fertilized by the writings of authors such as Wendell Berry (esp. The Unsettling of America) and the Nearings' Living the Good Life. At the time I was getting into self-reliance, subsistence and sustainable living, and voluntary simplicity. Real hippie shit. I also wanted to create a page that stood out from all the other boring pages of inside-the-box, word-processor typed paragraphs.

Long explanation short: I found my copy of Senior Wills whilst cleaning out old stuff from my mom's house. I decided to keep this as a measuring stick of what goals or ideals I've kept with me over the past 6 years, and what I might keep as future goals. Click on the photo for a bigger version you might be able to read.

There are many goals on that list I haven't accomplished yet, but I was pretty impressed that I had completed several, including the ability to touch my toes [periodically].

If I could I would change this sentence: "If anything, find LOVE, PEACE, and HAPPINESS" to say "If anything, make LOVE, PEACE, and HAPPINESS." As I've been told, happiness is not an end, it's a path.