Friday, September 28, 2007

Blogger Resorts to Nudity for Increase in Hit Ratings


The reason I don’t know who ended up with the nude pictures was that it was a group situation. And I don’t mean “group home” or whatever other phrase might leap to your particular mind. It was wilderness gathering that unwittingly turned into what you might call – if you were a poetic and/or romantic person -- a convention of wood nymphs. To summarize: A bunch of women camping in an obscure wilderness area in the scorch of summer were suddenly struck with the question of who needs clothes, anyway? To which the quick and unanimous answer was: Not us!

Who has not encountered such a tableau at some point in their lives -- preferably during the more presentable years. (It’s unfortunate when things that should have been done in one’s youth are postponed until an age at which one looks foolish doing them.)

Anyway someone took a few snapshots with one of those prehistoric little boxes full of rolled up celluloid. Weeks later when we met again at some point, the photos were being passed around, but it didn’t occur to me to suggest that copies be made. It didn’t seem like a good idea at the time.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Bike-Head Rising

I don’t know about you, but I’m thrilled that Sam Adams will be running for mayor. A gay bike nut for mayor – what could be better?

Of course I’m a gay bike nut too. No doubt you’re wondering why I don’t run for mayor. Maybe because I haven’t been in charge of Portland’s transportation system for the last x years, like Sam Adams has. Maybe because I don't feel like it. Maybe because I loathe polititcs.

I can think of only one good reason to run for public office and that is that somewhere out there are some nude photos of me and if I ran for office whoever has them would step forward. God knows I could use some nude photos of my former self right about now. The former the better.

I know you’re wondering how it is that I don’t know who’s got the nude photos. I was just getting to that part but it’s dinner time. I’ll have to continue this tomorrow evening. I’ll have to squeeze it in somewhere between my bike commute – which will include the gym on the way home -- and tomorrow’s dinner.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Somewhere a village is missing its idiot

Recently I was out in my car, driving down Hawthorne toward the river and this bike gets in front of me. Meaning, I came upon a bike going the same direction I was going. As Portlanders know, there isn’t a speck of room to ride a bike on Hawthorne. There’s absolutely no room for error at all – it's heavily used and the opposing lanes are separated by the width of the yellow line in the middle.

So here’s this suicidal maniac tooling along in my lane, going five miles an hour when the flow of traffic is about 25, and even though he’s sort of at the edge of the lane, there’s no way to pass him without risking a head-on with another car.

Is this really allowed? You often see cyclists “taking the lane” as they say, in other words pretending they’re a car and occupying the middle of a lane. Usually these kinds of cyclists, however, are wearing some type of spiderman costume and are riding almost as fast as the cars. They’re kind of making a statement, such as, If the car-heads haven’t made me a lane, I’ll just bloody well take a lane,” or the like.

That’s not what was going on here. Clearly this guy was just stupid. No doubt he was completely oblivious and didn’t even realize that cars couldn’t get around him. He’s riding over toward the edge, as if that helps, but no one can pass him, which anyone with two brain cells to rub together would be able to see. Not only that, he’s further increasing his chances of annihilation by riding directly in the path of any and all hypothetically opening car doors.

Does anyone know what the rules on this really are around here? I’m curious. This can’t be right. Anyway, he gave the car-driving me a huge bad attitude, that lasted till he went away.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Hope for Biking in the Burbs

Did anyone see the Oregonian article on September 13th ?
Transit alternatives: progress slow but sure:
Cycling, walking, busing -- all can be tiring or plain dangerous in the suburbs, but that's changing, if ever so gradually

If you were wondering what one person can do, or whether you’re making a difference, give it a look. As conditions get better for biking (and walking, and other alternatives), more people will bike. But those who aren’t waiting are the ones making it happen. The powers that be follow the demand. The demand is measured in bikes on the road. If they see enough of us out there, they eventually have to pay attention.

The article is about people in the car-designed suburbs starting to demand a car-free alternatives as well. Here’s an excerpt.

"We're at a tension point right now," Hill Graves said. Accidents in the suburbs often happen "because drivers aren't used to seeing bicyclists out there," she said. "But more bicyclists are on the road now, and as that happens, the more acclimated drivers will be to seeing them and the safer everyone on the road will be."

Walking and biking have become much safer in Portland since more people began traveling that way, said Greg Raisman, traffic safety specialist at the Community and School Traffic Safety Partnership, a group that includes the city transportation office, pedestrian and bicycle advocates, Portland State University and others.
In fact, as bicycle traffic -- measured over four city bridges -- increased to 12,050 bicyclists a day in 2006 (from 4,520 such trips in 1996), the rate of reported crashes decreased from 17 crashes per million trips to 10 crashes per million trips, Raisman said. And, based on an average number of bikers, bike trips and fuel efficiency, Raisman estimates that bike trips in the city of Portland save it from 166 million pounds of carbon emissions.

Like those numbers? Yay Portland. Go, burbies.

Friday, September 21, 2007

More Train Life

I’m still taking the train out to Gresham. I leave my bike at the transit center, so that when I’m on the train I can engross in my book without having to worry about some kook stealing it. [Can “engross” be an intransitive verb? I’m not sure…]
I try to exude a “don’t bug me” demeanor, but it doesn’t always work. This morning, for instance, some guy wants to talk to me. No, I take that back – he wants to talk, period.

He sits in the seat in front of me and turns sideways. Bad sign already. He draws me in by commenting about someone trying to use the emergency communication button. I should have ignored him from the start, but the fact was that I've actually been interested in the emergency driver communication button for some time. I began to notice these buttons a few weeks ago, and have been wondering what kind of scenarios would warrant using it. Can you use it if you forgot to get off in time, or do you have to have your leg stuck in the door? I’m still not sure. This morning was no help, since whoever pushed it would not step forward when the driver’s “how may I help you” voice came through the little speaker.

As for me, it was too late – I had unwittingly signed up to be a listening post for the duration of the ride.

New Rule: If someone plunks themselves down directly in front of you and they’re wearing an Eskimo hood and polar expedition sunglasses on a beautiful 60 degree fall day, do not exchange even the most token comment. [Duh.]

I have exactly a half hour on the train which I reserve solely for studying Spanish, and I wasn’t about to let Admiral Perry take that away from me. So I continued studying. And he kept talking, alternating with mumbling and rambling. As it turned out, it made no difference whether I responded or not. So I kept on studying, he kept on talking, and we were both reasonably happy.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

More Portlanders Ditch their Cars

I’m back. I won't bore you or myself with explanations.... other than to say I’m the Little Engine that Could but Just Didn’t Feel Like It. [a concept invented by cartoonist Roz Chast]

I am amazed by the frequency with which the Oregonian is publishing articles about biking. The latest one is called
Giving Up the Family Car

Did you know that
"While the rest of the country is flooded with cars, Portland boasts a higher percentage of no-car households than the state and national averages. By far."

Yay Portland. That's us.