Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Zen Cycling

From the CBC Blogs...."Favorite Bicycle Quotes"

Zen Koan:

A Zen Teacher saw five of his students return from the market, riding their bicycles. When they had dismounted, the teacher asked the students, "Why are you riding your bicycles?"

The first student replied, "The bicycle is carrying this sack of potatoes. I am glad that I do not have to carry them on my back!" The teacher praised the student, saying, "You are a smart boy. When you grow old, you will not walk hunched over, as I do."

The second student replied, "I love to watch the trees and fields pass by as I roll down the path." The teacher commended the student, "Your eyes are open and you see the world."

The third student replied, "When I ride my bicycle, I am content to chant, nam myoho renge kyo." The teacher gave praise to the third student, "Your mind will roll with the ease of a newly trued wheel."

The fourth student answered, "Riding my bicycle, I live in harmony with all beings." The teacher was pleased and said, "You are riding on the golden path of non-harming."

The fifth student replied, "I ride my bicycle to ride my bicycle." The teacher went and sat at the feet of the fifth student, and said, "I am your disciple."

Monday, May 26, 2008

Back In the Saddle, Again

So, after a bit of a layover, got back on the bike again this week and did about 55 miles, including a commute, more of that to come, given the price of gasoline, and a Sunday excursion around North Seattle.

Visited C who was sitting on a house on Sand Point (lots of good ideas there for the downsizing to come in several years), then went over 155th to Greenwood, headed into Blue Ridge and down to the road to Golden Gardens. That road is still closed because of the slides last winter. Made it into Sunset Hill, down to Shilshole, BGT extension to GG, and then back home. 745 miles YTD.

Decided to bag the STP this year. Not really up for it, haven't been training, schedule conflicts, etc, and will concentrate on RSVP instead. Life gets in the way of the cycling adventures, but that's fine.

BTW, the M's suck, and maybe Ross Anderson says it best.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sunday in the Park

Wonderful to hear so many different languages in NYC. Truly an international city, maybe more so now because the dollar is much cheaper now. In the hotel, lots of French, German, Spanish, Portuguese (Brazilian) along with the great New York accents (cawfee, poipus….) In the elevator, I say Welcome to the German couple (Deutch? Ya, German…) and they are so pleased that an American is friendly. I offer to take picture of a family while touring MOMA (the 5th floor pre-1940 collection documents Western Civilization’s descent into madness, the victory of the machines in the Industrial Revolution, all the while the French enjoy the finer things in life….) from Argentina….again, so pleased that Americans are friendly…

MOMA 4th floor (post-Modern) not so much for me, but then the 3rd floor design stuff is way cool (Airstream trailer!).

Sunday in the Park with George ----- What we leave from this life, this blank canvas that we face, kids and art…so fitting with the weekend, with our kid doing art, the best American art form, jazz.

And, what did Gerald Early say were the three contributions of America to civilization? The Constitution, Jazz and Baseball. So, Sunday, after getting the award winning, national champion RHS Jazz Band on the bus for their return to Seattle, I strolled up to Central Park to the baseball fields and watched New Yorkers playing in their weekend softball leagues. Great venue, enthusiastic competition, beautiful backdrops, and so appropriate. I stroll back to the park entrance, C calls from Denver, “RHS won!” Finish the call, and then the nerf football from a crowd of kids comes in, over their head, and I make the catch. They are duly impressed!

And, one more international encounter on the way to lunch. A young Asian woman asks for directions in broken English to Park Avenue. A quick map orientation, interpretation and clarification. Thanks and then, “Where are you from?” Tibet. A deep welcome, enjoy your stay and lots of smiles from the young woman, her parents and family.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Roughriders Win!

So, the photos are here.

And, the music is here.

The reason for the trip was for C and I to be here for RHS Jazz, for Max, to watch our son play at Lincoln Center in the Essentially Ellington competition held by Jazz at Lincoln Center, Wynton Marsalis, Musical Director. Unbelievably cool. Saturday a.m., up early (for us) with breakfast at the Wellington Hotel coffee shop, another great NYC waitress, but distinctly different from Monica (think Lewinsky) at the Carnegie the night before.

Monica (not Lewinsky) told us that she’d been there for 50 years, and when C asked if she could change her order (I’d like to share my husband’s pastrami sandwich!) responded that “It takes an act of Congress!) Great food, cole slaw, pickles, latkes…(Don’t tell ‘em you shared, it’ll cost more.)

Saw Max in the Wellington Lobby after breakfast. He acknowledged us, but flashed a look that said, "Don’t get within 50 yards of me." The band sure looked uptight, not the relaxed confidence we’re used to. Walked to Columbus Circle, up the escalator to Rose Hall in the Time Warner building, RHS up first at 10:00 a.m. (An unlucky draw says Roslyn, the Donna Reed vision of hard work, competence and conscience). First the intros of the judges then sound check, and then Scott walks on, no intros, the boys kick off with the Theme from the Asphalt Jungle, hit all the notes, swinging and rhythm section driving. Blue Serge is slow, melodic, soloists understated, but Wyatt, Corey and Sean all do their parts well, and then the finale, the big show stopper, led by Ethan and Alex D tap dancing the intro to Jam-A-Diddy, big flourish of a finish and a standing O. What could be better?

To this untrained ear, the next three bands could be better. Clearer solos, great style, swing, great ovations…..sheesh…hope that RHS even makes it into the finals, so Ba, Duff, Nick, and the Kanes can see them….

Returned to the Wellington about 4 to wait for Kanes, dropped C at Columbus Circle so she could be there for the announcement. C called at 4:10 to tell me that the announcement would be in ten minutes. I’m resigned for a let down, but the next call is from Kanes who are later than they thought, and that’s okay. Then, C calls back from inside, I can’t hear, although she says ‘Garfield,’ then she calls again from outside, and RHS, Garfield and Sun Prairie have made the evening show. Wynton says, “If your band didn’t make the finals, you need to think about how your rhythm section performed. Can’t have the bass going one way and the drums another.”

RHS is up second, after Garfield’s usual high-power blues and swing that always is a crowd-pleaser. Scott gets to do his great job of contrast, “We’re going to slow it down a bit…” and introduces Wynton who the band backs on “All Heart.’ Never better, but they conclude with the best version of Asphalt Jungle to date. (Andy C says later that this is the best they’ve played all year)

The last band performs, JALC rocks and swings through a selection of next year’s selections, and then it’s award time. First the sectionals, Garfield seems to dominate, when Sun Prairie is not, although RHS trumpets are recognized. Individual awards again focus on others. Wynton tells the winners to savor the moment, to thank their directors, “You’ll never forget your director!’ He ad-libs, he talks about playing with soul and humanity (We use that when we can’t decide who to give awards to) and the trade-offs between solo and ensemble work, plus the importance (again) of the drums and bass. Lots of life lesson reinforcement.

And then, what? Sun Prairie is third? And then, Garfield is second? And that makes Roosevelt #1, the winner in what the Band Directors have all described as the Best High School Jazz Festival in the World! Big Whoops, Standing O’s shouts, high fives, Max seeks me out and thanks me for everything, hugs, kisses, and disbelief, biggest smiles ever, flash bulbs and OMG. Scott later says that this may be his best band ever.

C had to be there for this. Wish Tony had been there. But Ba and Duff were there! Bob, Jen, Jack and Frances were there. And, Nick Hersh was there, so we’ve got witnesses…

Thursday, May 15, 2008

To New York, after the adventure of the incompetent

Nice to have settled into Ba and Duff’s comfortable home in Bronxville (actually Yonkers) New York. Lots of greenery, birds and trees in Westchester County, where I walked this a.m. and took a few pictures.

Yesterday was a harrowing day of travel beginning when the alarm sounded (KPLU Jazz Overnight) at 2:45 a.m. C decided just to stay up all night, and we got on the road to Seatac after about an hour. Flight was due to board at 5:15, but by take-off time it was apparent that all was not right with Frontier Airlines. Several minutes later, the supervisor (Ehren) announced that a light had been left on all night on the airplace and that their battery was dead. Charging was taking place, but if that was not successful, that they would begin “reprotecting” passengers at 6:30 a.m.

Sure enough, the call was made and the process began. When it looked like there would be a line, C told me to go get in there, and that was the right thing to do, because we were third in line, good because it took over an hour for Ehren to take care of the first two passengers. We got bumped out of line, because our connection was 10 minutes later than the cutoff, but then the announcement was made all passengers would be ‘reprotected.’ So, we got back in line, just behind the couple traveling to Cancun. Two hours later (!) after leaving the wife in tears, reaching different air carriers by personal cell phone, Ehren got back to us. We were easy, going to NYC, with three airports to choose from, and got seats on a Delta flight leaving a bit after noon. For our time and trouble, Frontier gave us $150 each toward a future flight, plus $9 dinner vouchers.

So, we sat down at Africa’s lounge, just across from the Frontier counter to have breakfast, where the waitress told us that breakfast would only be served for twelve more minutes, and that they couldn’t accept dinner vouchers for breakfast. No, I am NOT making this up. The folks at the yogurt stand and the wonderful Filipina grandmother at Dish D’Lish had no problem accepting the money. She sat down next to us on her break, told us about her children and grandchildren, and mentioned that raising kids in the Phillipines was easy compared to the US, where there was plenty of trouble to get into. Her co-worker sat down, and the wonderful Grandma asked if she had been to the doctor. A nod, and Grandma said, “I knew you were pregnant!” Lots of life in that one encounter.

The flight after that was uneventful. Flew over the old and new Yankee Stadiums, and then drove past the old Shea and the New Citifield on the way to Westchester County. We arrived and breathed a sigh of relief.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Bicycles on the Freeway

Looks like they got on the Santa Monica Fwy and took one of the World's Highest Overpasses to the southbound 405. I've been stuck in that traffic too many times.........

Check it out.....

And, check it out here as well....

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

More Bikes to Africa Pix

Kent Peterson has posted more great shots of the Bikes to Africa loading party at his blog.

I visited Bike Works down in Columbia City last weekend, the rainy day, to check it out, thinking about a replacement bike for Zach's Specialized Allez that was stolen from the Gage Towers garage.

Of course, I saw several steel-framed bikes that fit my needs for a commuter, but that may be for another time in the near future.