Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year!

Last day of 2011, but first ride after Winter Solstice and 6 weeks off the bike, for holidays, sick, tired, recovering, antibiotics and reaction thereto. 26 miles on the familiar Magnolia Loop, now upgraded with the extension of the Ship Canal Trail under the Ballard Bridge. Took things nice and slow, and the Bleriot performed well after the annual tune at EBB.

Saw another Rivendell, a Rambouillet, and then met up with Russ from the loosely formed Seattle Rivendell Riders group for the last few miles up the BGT. We pledged to make some of those rides happen again soon, another great resolution for 2012!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Fall Rides and Thinking Beyond

Great easy ride on Sunday a.m., as fall closes in and winter looms. The leaves, colors and the wet make for much to see and enjoy in a quick loop through Downtown Seattle, out to the Locks for lunch, and then back on the BGT.

I tried out Cyclemeter on the iPhone and uploaded the route to, a site I don't like because of the adds and superfluous nonsense, but wasn't working and Google Earth didn't come to mind, so will go with that for now. The Cyclemeter app is easy to use, intuitive, but something of a power hog on the iPhone. Once again, the handlebar wireless Cateye wasn't working, despite battery changes, and will need replacement or a hammer treatment to coax the unit into performance.

Given that Winter is just around the corner, and with travel and holidays, the coming weeks probably will be low mileage, but once again, the idea of riding more and enjoying the rides more keeps coming back. Goal setting for 2012? Maybe the same as 2011, but with follow through this time!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ghost Busters

Weekend trip to SF, and arrived in a glorious warm October afternoon, with sun too bright to not have the shades. Lunch and the a long walk up Dolores past where Judie, Eric and Barb S lived after The Farm, during my dark phase, post Farm. They were cool, and better jobs, were figuring out their futures, and I was lost, post bad relationship, need more medicine, always or so it seemed and on the downward spiral. Even now when I come to SF, there are always the ghosts that come up.

Loss, addiction, uncertainty, insecurity, will I see some of the Ghosts, why was the attraction so strong, is it still or is it curiosity, and I don't need more shit in my life, feeding into that crap and tsuris, but I've really got it all, more than enough anyway, so like why bother? Shouldn't really. Instead let it go. Dig up the past and get dirty. Real dirty.

Let it go. What I've got is pretty doggone good, and I'm a lucky kind of fellow.

Sam D is a supremely, quintessentially nice guy who continues to draw a bad hand, special needs daughter, son now with health problems and his own special needs, but Sam is genuine, the pizza is good, and the Pie and the Big Lank and I have a great walk home, after some of the best ice cream on the planet at Bi-Rite. Overheard, "I'd be down with Big Mouth Burger", an announcement to the Big Hipster's date, and SF is almost one big hipster amusement park, and a great town, but then there are the Ghosts for me to deal with.

Coffee in the neighborhood in the morning, listen to this morning's Techno Hipster conversation, "So we got about six month's more money before we go back to San Jose to get more, or have layoffs. We need to build revenues and then go least that's the plan..." How different is this from the 49ers' conversations about hitting the Comstock Lode, or the Lost Dutchman's mine, overheard on the Barbary Coast 160 years ago? Who were their ghosts?

Going to the farm brings more of them back. Beautiful, idyllic setting, under the eucalyptus trees, great BBQ tailgate picnic, but it's the Farm, and wouldas, shouldas, couldas, there is SO much money and they are all so beautiful and smart, too smart for their own damn good, Judie would later say while we reconnected about friends who won't ever attend the reunion. Was is snooty? Not according to Rob. My friends weren't! Look around! He's right, but other ghosts are there. Medicine. Want one? When did you stop? I've got a card. A license to buy retail. One wouldn't hurt. Wonder if he can share? Top of the proverbial slippery slope. "I'll send Otis back to the car....". No, really, it's okay. More than okay. Been there. Play that movie all the way to the end.

The new stadium is beautiful, the Incomparables, well, incomparable, Thunderchickens humiliate the Dawgs, and afterwards, O-Burgers. Goodbyes, let's do this again next year in Oregon.

Ghosts exorcised? Somewhat.

Next day, coffee place and overheard, "That's why I go to meetings!" with her fat fingers pointing. Okay then!

Brunch at the great Mexican place, with chiliquilas con huevos, que rica, but at the end, a large rat scurries out of the corner and out the front door, causing much alarm, grown man with sandals on climbs a chair, and I offer a helpful, Necessitan un gato!

After offering the perspective of the ages, and helping the nephew deal with his own ghosts, we all got 'em, an absolutely wonderful walk over the hill though this charming part of the city, into the park with the smell of eucalyptus, coyote warnings, flowers and hawks circling, realization that the daughter is doing quite well, that the ghosts are that, just ghosts and part of all the memories, not to be ignored, denied or sublimated, but are just a small part of a much larger whole, and perspective, time and health all serve to put them in their place.

It's a good place to be here now, looking back, looking around and smiling, and looking forward. Not necessarily self-satisfied, but recognizing good fortune and self-aware.

Thanks for the help, Pie.

Ship Canal Trail - Part II

SDOT says that it's coming soon!

Can't wait to ride the Missing Link under the Ballard Bridge and avoid the nonsense on the bridge over Interbay once and for all!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

First Real Fall Ride - 2011

30 miles today in the first full-glove, long johns ride of the fall. Eastlake to downtown to Westlake Park, where I stopped to check out the rag-tag Occupy Seattle crowd. Maybe 100 - 125 people, plus lots of gawkers and photographers, were in place, and the Seattle Police, on bikes, were circling the crowd, taking cell phone pictures, and seemed mildly amused by the group. At least while I was there, they were unremarkable, chanting 'Ommmm,' carrying handwritten signs that seemed to lack a sense of humor or much else of note, save that they were mad as hell, rightfully so, and not going to take it anymore. Grant's views of the NYC crowd seem more noteworthy.

Zeitgeist, then a trip around the stadiums, out to the locks, up the Golden Gardens road, and then back to Green Lake where the sun finally came out and it warmed up a bit. Toward the end, I bonked a bit and that only reinforced my lack of training and low miles this year.

Still, it's going to be a long time before I'm riding in shorts and short sleeves again. But, the goal is to keep riding through winter to be able to ride more in 2012.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

First Snow of the Season

My car route to TLF takes me up I-5, and then to the 220th SW exit in Mountlake Terrace. There were storms overnight, but the morning sun revealed snow on the Olympics as I headed west.

We're only a couple of weeks into fall. Is it going to be a long, long winter?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Wet Half of the Year.

47.5 miles around the south end of Lake Washington, and I'm feeling it this a.m. I'd like to build miles during the wet half of the year, having not ridden as much in 2011, despite the best of intentions at the start. I rode down through Leschi and over the I-90 bridge, which is still the treat that it always has been, glassy water, mountains and freeway noise, but safely separate from those in the metal cages. Then, it was a right turn onto Lake Washington Blvd, past the spot in Factoria where the commuter was shot with the pellet gun, (they're out there) and began to look for the turn to the May Valley Road.

Pedaled past what I thought was the turnoff, and pulled out the map to check, but decided it couldn't be, and then was alongside Seahawks Headquarters,a and kept going down to Gene Coulon Park, for fish 'n' chips at Ivar's.

The return through Seward Park and the Arboretum was uneventful, save for the detour to Madison Park, but as I build the miles, and perhaps with more thoughtful planning, alternating workouts with rest days and stretching, the rollers won't hurt as much and I'll have more gas in the legs as I build distance.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Scenes from the last few weeks

I'm reading Marquez, 100 Years of Solitude…..‘Time put things in their place.’

It’s Shofar time, Days of Awe, time for renewal, changing of seasons, back to school, end of baseball season, beginning of new year, reflect, get right with the universe and all the rest...

I'm growing into a new job/role as dean, administrator, with few carrots and sticks, but power of connection and communication. The task calls on talents, skills and abilities that are surfacing or below the surface, to deal with ambiguity and uncertainty, to let it go, to focus on big picture while getting caught in the details, and to manage the humanness of The Learning Factory. Who are these people who stand in line to pay for their education? Why don’t they pay on line with a credit card? Because they can’t! Because they live on the margins of the society, not mainstreamed into jobs, careers, home and family financial equity, and they believe that the college will help plug them into that network. These are who the institution serves, and will serve, in 20/20. We need to focus on them, organize our systems, delivery, content and network on them, and will be successful to the extent that we can bring resources and opportunity (how to plug into the network) to them, while our resources continue to contract.

At end of summer, served on Seattle Municipal Court jury duty, and so spent several days commuting to downtown and to magnificent facility for jurors, with spectacular views of Elliott Bay and Seattle. But, very odd, telling and even emotional to be there downtown, to walk where I first came to Seattle, to walk by MORS, now completely changed, no more mezzanine where I landed after bailing on First Hill, such a sense of passage of time, and having that in the distant rear view mirror, first showing up for interviews with Clute, Carey, and later, Sheeley, Carriveau, Maguire, and others, square peg and round hole stuff, "A kind of idiocy that had no past," and instead now grateful for being with ‘those in line who are not mainstreamed,’ and those who help them.

Sure, I missed going to lunch at Three Girls (it's not as good as when Jack and Zelda made the sandwiches!) with fellow bankers Chamberlin, Politakis, from Central Branch, or even from 5th and Union, but that was so long ago, and a little Googling to see what they are up to (still taking care of the wealthy, privileged, selfish and narrow-minded), and nah, no real need to get together and catch up. Time marches on, evolves, and much healthier, albeit older and wiser, perhaps.

Being downtown and a public transit user for a bit, I noticed that many, many of the fellow travelers watched their handhelds, listened to their pods, talked on their phones, and ignored or pretended to, their surroundings. On the bus, in the buildings, on the street, in the Bus Tunnel, in their cars, at their desks, everyone seemed to be plugged in to their iPhones, iPads, Kindles, Nooks, other Smart Phones, and distracted from the immediate world and the people around them, They wore their Muni Faces on and kept silent as a result. Are we that fragmented? Are we that distant? Are the barriers up that high?

Audrey, a sweet old dog who became a strong part of our family, protected us from intruders and passers by, who learned to make a beeline for those at the Dog Park with treats, and who was on a never-ending quest for the tennis ball (and usually found one in the bushes!)

Here’s how I told the family…

‘We had to put Audrey down this evening. When I took her and Brownie for their walk at the dog park this afternoon, Audrey was not able to keep up nor to make it more than halfway to the lake. Her breathing was labored and she was very tired. At home, she wouldn't eat.

When we got to the Vet, they immediately gave her oxygen and medication, diagnosed her with congestive heart failure and probable pneumonia, and suggested that the best thing for her was to put her down, rather than start an extensive medical intervention with limited chances to make her feel better. I was with Audrey the whole time.

Needless to say, we are sad and it's a little quieter here. Plus there are all these tennis balls around the house and in the garage.

Auntie Susan and I talked, and she was quite upset, but thanked us for taking care of Audrey and welcoming her into our home. ‘

But, more needs to be written. When it came time to do the deed, the nurse brought Audrey into a small room with a metal table, and laid her down. The pup had oxygen from a tube, but was clearly anxious, struggling and in distress. I put my hand on her head, spoke to her, stroked her face, and tried to speak reassurance and comfort, and kept my hand on her as the doctor administered the drug, injected her with the poison through the IV, gave her the calming medicine, how do you describe what they did? Put her down? Killed her? Put her out of her misery? Ended her suffering? Or just, the medicine entered her body, and the anxiousness ebbed, the struggling quickly stopped, and the distress ended. She was something, breathing, panting really, nervous, and not happy, and then that was over, and she was for the ages, with the Angels, with Tony as he lay there in his suit and tie, like he was ready to go to Temple Hollywood, and she was no more. An absence of life is death. The doctor said, ‘She’s gone.’ And she was. Still warm, but still.

I left the room quickly, thanking the staff for their kindness, but was not prepared for the emotion that swept over me. I remembered the paw print, and returned to the desk, where the nurse told me she was sorry and then said that it would be in the mail. The Print is here, and I’ll take it to Susan. Then the Doctor came out with Audrey’s collar and tags, gave it to me, and then followed with a much-needed hug. I said, “Life is precious,” She said, “And, it has to end.”

And life needs affirmation. It needs the dinner at the Greek Festival, once a year at this time, seeing new and old friends, listening to the loud music, feeling the first of Autumn. It needs the return of students and faculty to TLF, to get on with helping those in the payment line. It needs the end of the baseball season, the last trip to Safeco to watch them play out the string, a long, long season that began for me in the desert with Brad, “Willie Mays picked up the baseballs, and he’s in the Hall of Fame!” Killebrew, Kershaw, Lincecum and Huff, Ichiro, it just continues and is a constant. And, a thing of beauty, grace, silliness and the serious and solemn. Wait until next year, again. But, pleased to do so. Maybe life has to end, and it does, but maybe it goes on as well, and what we do is move it a little farther along, better for those around us, especially if we unplug the headphones and look up and talk to those around us and help make better connections to each other and the Big Network.

Biking With Brad: Snoqualmie tunnel

Note comment, "Blogger is Stupid..."

Biking With Brad: Snoqualmie tunnel with two stylish women and four awesome kids:

Tara Alan and Tyler Kellen Came Slowly Home | The Bicycle Story

Note link to American culture is completely insane.

Tara Alan and Tyler Kellen Came Slowly Home | The Bicycle Story:

'via Blog this'

Us vs. Them

So, who are they? Them? Administration? And why do they control us? Why do we let them control us? Why them vs. us?

Them was a great '50s Sci Fi apocalyptic movie, radioactivity, giant ants, Los Angeles destroyed, and metaphorical for the Red Menace.

But, when we use language like 'them,' when faculty refer to administration in the objective and singular, the writer or speaker separates their humanity from the other. They relinquish responsibility for the collective. They become the 'wicked child' who isolates themselves from the group. They embrace victimhood and then can easily blame the others. Us vs. Them leads to 'it's not our fault,' and 'it's not my problem/job.'

The 'Us vs. Them' perspective is a passive/aggressive way of not having to do the hard work of communication, compromise, understanding conflicting goals, mutually exclusive options, weighing alternatives and accepting and supporting imperfect solutions in an imperfect world, while trying to do the best we can with the information we've got and the resources we can muster, knowing full well that circumstances will change and that there will be unforeseen consequences.

Us vs. Them is a cop out, it's immature, and it's destructive.

It's not them. It's us. I am he as you are he as you are me
And we are all together.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

41 Miles - Boeing Field Loop

OK, gotta keep doing this. 41 miles on a late August foggy then sunny day, around Boeing Field, back up Alaskan Way, where the detours are a bit of a mess, given tunnel construction, but nice new stretch of bike lane below the ferry dock.

Lots of fishermen at the Duwamish Fishing Dock, where the river meets Elliott Bay....

And, SDOT is scheduled to complete the Ship Canal Trail in the next couple of months.

I'm back on track after the medical stuff this week, getting ready mentally and spiritually for the fall quarter at TLF, and putting a premium on going with the flow, being Zen about things, as well as maintaining perspective, sense of humor and place before the craziness ramps up.

I'm going to need the two-wheeled therapy.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Bike & Build

Bike & Build - Home

Rode with a few of these good folks on the BGT yesterday as they arrived in Seattle from Providence RI!


Sunday, August 21, 2011

One Down, Five to Go

One Down, Five to Go | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Stopped at the Dahlia Bakery on a drift downtown for some Sunday errands, and was in need of some sustenance. The apricot preserves hit the spot.

Weekly mileage back up to where it should be, given the nice weather and a couple of commutes to TLF.

On the way home, passed the memorial for Michael Wang on Dexter:

This one is still haunting, with the killer on the loose.

Be careful out there, folks.

Friday, July 8, 2011


Once again, it's back in the saddle after a lay off. What with schedule changes, weather, and a myriad of other excuses, I haven't been putting in the miles like I used to. (Plus, truth to be told, I get tired more easily!)

But, that may change, after yesterday's return to the bike commute option to TLF. Fine ride up in the summer drizzle, about 70 minutes, and arrived fresh for a day in the life of MMM. But, the key was the ride home, pedaling to digest the impending tough conversations on budgets, reporting requirements, etc. Longer hours may mean less gym time, for which I should substitute the saddle time.

IPad helps with staying plugged in. Maybe I should get one of these.

STP Packet-pick up at starting line tomorrow. Decided not to RSVP this year after being online forever and dealing with the CBC hassles, and am comfortable with that decision. I'm not in shape and was not looking forward to the ride or the weekend away, especially after Minneapolis, LA, SF and now a trip to Ashland next week for OSF.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bike Snob in Seattle

Bike Snob NYC visited the Bike Expo last weekend, and lived to tell about it.

BSNYC's descriptions are on target, especially his observations about riding in the rain. After freezing my toukas on Chilly Hilly, I drove to the Expo. After meandering for about two hours, gloating at the classic bikes, visiting with the classic Leo, getting my fill of Cascade Bike Club drama of the election of the New Board, and picking up a disappointing collection of SWAG, enough was enough and I left.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Chilly Hilly 2011

42 miles, and 324 to date this year, after a Chilly Hilly that lived up to its name. It's been snowing and cold this week, causing the Learning Factory to delay classes, among other things. Still, I had committed to doing the CH again this year, bought my ticket and was going to go, come hell or high water, despite the cold and the snow.

Missed the first ferry by about 15 minutes, so waited at Colman Dock for about a half hour in the cold, and that may have been my first mistake, if the first wasn't deciding to do this! Temperature in the mid 30's, stiff south wind blowing off the water, and I tightened up plus added nasal and lung congestion to the mix, and never really got through that.

The south wind propelled us up the east side of Bainbridge, heading north, and made that part easy. There just weren't as many riders as in year's past, and the nasty weather is sure what held down the numbers. Still, it's the Chilly Hilly, so many riders were out of shape, riding several abreast, many kids and parents riding, and the Bainbridge Islanders do a good job of turning out and providing encouragement.

Once you reach the north end of the island, the route turns to the west and then heads south, directly into the cold wind, now augmented by what the weather forecasters love to label a 'wintry mix,' cold rain and snow. By the time I arrived at Battle Point Park for the Bainbridge Rope Skippers food stop, I was hacking and cold, and made the decision to take the short-cut at the next stop, the American Legion Cider Stop, cutting about ten miles off the loop.

At the ferry dock, I ran into the only other Rivendellian I saw all day, Rob with the Rambouillet from Wallingford. Rob had caught the early boat, as had been planned, but reported that he hadn't seen the others, despite all of our best intentions. Given the cold and the rain on the way back home, no one can blame them!

Can't wait for warmer weather!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

WTS #2

50 Miles around Camano Island today, all the while wondering when the rain was going to start. The course was advertised as hilly with rollers, and lived up to the billing. We had gone to the Crest the previous night to see Never Let Me Go (great movie, disturbing!), so with the late night and early start, I wasn't in the greatest shape for the ride. And, I'll admit to the classic mistake of waiting until hunger set in to eat, so was gassed in the 2nd half of the ride. Forgot my cue sheets as well, but the ride leaders (Ralph and Carol Nussbaum) had plenty of extras to share. They do a great job with these rides.

Still, the ride was dry, although the headwind at the end was tough, as was the road crud on the side on Hwy 532, but I arrived back at the start before the rain started, which it did as I finished my sandwich and headed for the car.

136 miles YTD, accomplished in the first two weeks of 2011.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Winter Training Series #1

Rode 40 miles with the Seattle Randonneurs in their Winter Training Series, co-sponsored by Cascade Bike Club, on a chilly and damp morning. The
loop started at Sammamish Valley Cycles in Redmond, went south on E. Lake Sammamish Pkwy, up to the Plateau, and then out to Carnation. The meteorologists threatened snow showers throughout the day, but all we got was a bit of drizzle during the descent into the Snoqualmie Valley. We returned past the historic Carnation Farm, via Union Hill Road. Many of the Randonneurs were on their first rides of the year after an extended lay off. But, that didn't stop them from leaving me behind and causing me to miss the promised cider and cookies at the finish, probably due to my normal strategy of stopping to take pictures, a tune-up at SBux, and various lolly-gagging on the hills.

Good ride, good group to ride with, lots of classic cycles (including plenty of Rivendells!) and friendly folks.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

First Ride of 2011

44 miles and change for the first ride of 2011, a Boeing Field loop with an extension to Alki, then back past the Stadiums and up Lake Washington Blvd. It's been dry and cold for several days, and today was in the 30's with a brisk north wind. The sun felt warm, but in the shadows, it was cold, causing me to change to the warmer fleece gloves. Where there had been standing water and no direct sunlight, there was ice! Brrr...