Archive for October, 2008


October 23, 2008

I have been riding my bike to work lately.

As the days get colder I have become slightly concerned about icy roads at 5 in the morning; I have these mental images of me wiping out as I round a corner in the dark of the morning, showing up to work all bashed up and stuff… I am not too excited about that idea.

With this possibility in mind I have started walking, timing myself, to see how long it would take me to walk from my house to work.

A guy has to look at his options.

As I was driving home from the library late this afternoon I saw a younger man that I have met previously riding a 3-wheeled bicycle down the road. Hmmm, a three wheeled bicycle would keep me from wiping out.

Do they make an 18 speed three wheeled bike?

A three wheeled bike? Is this really an option worth considering???


telling it like it was

October 23, 2008

When a person dies their obituary usually mentions a few significant events in the person’s life….

My wife brought to my attention an obituary in this evening’s paper. A portion of this obituary read:

He liked to smoke; especially cigars and never forgave the State of Washington for making him a pariah – forced to retreat to his car after banished from everywhere else, including his favorite bar. He liked to drink in moderation. He liked the taste and how it made him feel. He liked to eat whatever he enjoyed without being made to feel guilty by self appointed health zealots. He loved to travel by car. He loved the freedom of the open road – as long as he was driving an American car, preferably made by Chrysler.

Above all he loved his family – his lovely wife of 53 years, his three sons, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. In short, he loved life and just wanted to live it and leave it in his own fashion. In this he pretty well succeeded. What more could you ask for in life?

“mistakes” that enriched my life, pt. 1

October 21, 2008

This “mistake” occured while I was in elementary school; attending Eugene Tincher Elementary School in Long Beach, CA.

I had gone to the school library to check out a biography on President Harry Truman. Instead I accidentally checked out a book on Harriet Tubman.

I read the book.

This “mistake” enriched my life. It introduced me to this great woman, and to the Underground Railroad.

sunflower plants in the early fall

October 12, 2008

The weather is getting colder, some of our plants were hit by last nites cold–I didn’t realize it got that cold. As I was in they garden this evening I noticed some of our sunflower plants; they inspired the following haiku.

Like a skeleton,
your dry stalk rules all alone.
Waiting for harvest.

is that the sound of Bono crying in the corner?

October 8, 2008

I keep waiting for this to turn into a Saturday Night Live sketch… but no such luck.


October 5, 2008

Saturday evening I was the guest of a friend to hear a Master Piano Trio. To my recollection this was only the second time that I had really gone to hear classical music play; which means that I am a neophyte when it comes to classical music.

The trio performing was: Gerald Robbins on piano. Mayumi Fujikawa on violin. And Richard Markson on cello.

The first part of the evening featured music by Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky.
Many thots went through my mind as I listened to the trio perform ‘Piano Trio in A mnior, Op. 50’:

At first it seemed to me like the cello and violin were telling a story. I began to see the cello as a man who seemed to me large, clumsy, playful, and good intentioned. The violin seemed to me like a woman. As they would play their perspective parts it was like a relationship of sorts. –This was kind of humerous when I was reminded later that the violinist and cellist were married.

I thot about Bl. Hieromonk Seraphim (Rose.) I have recently continued reading the book ‘Father Seraphim Rose: His life and Works.’ There is a part in the book where Gleb Podmoshensky (the future Fr. Herman) writes about Eugene Rose (the future Fr. Seraphim):

“…. That night I learned much about his soul, not through what he said about himself, but through what he said about his appreciation of music. There was a language–a link–between him and the world of music, which he was reluctant to share. Monetverdi, Telemann, and Corelli were the subject of his talk. As we walked I almost heard the music, and somehow associated this with his soul’s deep dissatisfaction with the way the world operates.”

There were parts in this piece that seemed so emotionally heavy. This was interesting to me that this sense was conveyed without words, but by just the music.

The music would be heavy, and then change… with a lighter feeling. It reminded me of Lenten Services where you might be a bit tired; be it from the standing, the hymns, length of Service, or whatever… and then something would occur to refresh you, to uplift you.

Their was a part in the Tchaikovsky piece that seemed to keep coming back around. The way this piece would come around reminded me of the recent Service for the Elevation of the Holy Cross where a hymn was sung that was like the one sung around Pascha. A hint of the connection to Pascha.

Following the intermission the trio performed the ‘Piano Trio in B-flat major, Op. 97 “Archduke”‘ by Beethoven.

It did not seem as emotionally heavy as the Tchaikovsky selection. It almost felt lighter….
I shared this thot with my wife. She explained that Beethoven’s work is more airy, whereas Tchaikovsky’s work is more complicated.

The trio ended the evening with an encore featuring a piece by Mendelssohn.

This was a good experience, I am appreciative for the opportunity to have attended. I experienced classical music in a new way.
Another reminder of the power of art.

don’t mess with bicyclists

October 4, 2008

About two weeks ago, as I drove home from work ,my car stopped running… no warning, it just stopped.

So I pushed it off of the road, walked to the YMCA where I called my wife and she arrived and pushed me home with her car. Since that day my car has not moved.

I am not much of an auto mechanic so my efforts to get my car running again has been pretty much limited to walking outside and seeing if the car will start. Since we are in Fall and Winter is approaching I am going to have to take my repair efforts up a notch. But until then I have been riding my bike back and forth to work.

This has not been too bad of an experience, mostly because the weather has been okay and no free running animals have tried to maul me, although I keep waiting for that one morning when a possum jumps out as I peddle my way to work in the darkness.

As I have explored the bike riding world that I have recently entered via the Internet I came across the following ‘bike self defense’ video… looks like bike riders can be a tough breed:

October 3, 2008

Earlier this Summer our 12 year old daughter, Tansy, introduced the family to the song ‘Handlebars’ by Flobots. From her introduction what I knew about this song was limited to the chorus: “I can ride my bike with no handlebars….”

I thot the song was pretty much one of those no-brainer catchy songs which I did not pay much attention to. Although I did find it amusing to watch our 4 year old son sing in his little voice, “I can ride my bike with no handlebars….” as he rode his bike with training wheels on the dead-end street next to our house.

Recently I was re-introduced to Flobots and their music. Because of this I learned that their song ‘Handlebars’ had more to it than a catchy little chorus.

“The song is about the idea that we have so much incredible potential as human beings to be destructive or to be creative. And it’s tragic to me that the appetite for military innovation is endless, but when it comes to taking on a project like ending world hunger, it’s seen as outlandish. It’s not treated with the same seriousness,” Flobots MC Jonny 5 (a.k.a. Jamie Laurie) said.

“The lyrics came to me as I was riding a bike home from work with my hands in the air — I had just learned how to do it — and I felt triumphant, but at the same time, I knew there were people at that moment who were being bombed by our own country. And I thought that was incredibly powerful. We have these little moments of creativity, these bursts of innovation, and every time that happens, that innovation is used to oppress and destroy people. So it struck me as beautiful and tragic at the same time.” source

Flobots- ‘Handlebars’