Thursday, April 21, 2011

learn where you can

The title of this post may be misleading to any long time readers.  This post is not about homeschooling or school or anything like that, and it isn't about children learning.

It's about me, and you may already know that I've joined the dark side and purchased a pair of Crocs to wear to work.  If I'd gone to the cool shoe store in the mall first I could have saved some other store visits and some time spent at the mall, a place I generally loathe.

I've been anti Croc for some time now.  When the damn things first showed up a few years back I hated them and swore I'd never darken a pair with my feet.  Having worked in kitchens I'v been around my share of clogs, and then Crocs started showing up there as well.

I swore by a good pair of boots for years as my kitchen shoe of choice, and then I realized that a stout shoe worked as well and that I didn't miss the whole ankle support thing.  I've been through my share of both over the years, wearing out more pairs of shoes than I care to remember.

And then recently I may have spent some time pacing in circles in a sort of detention facility, and my current home county may provide inmates with orange, fake crocs to pace circles in.

And while I hate to admit that my epiphany happened here, I didn't hate the shoes.  In fact I started to understand why so many coworkers wore these type of shoes.

And then I had some foot issues for the past week and change, and my latest kitchen shoes made the problem worse.  They are also slowly falling apart, wearing through at each intersection of stitching that holds the different pieces of leather together.  I've been in the market to be in the market for new shoes for a couple of months at least, but I've put off actually looking because of time and because I can be cheap and want to get every last bit of wear out of a pair of shoes.

The shoes I'm currently wearing are old Converse that, when new, were my all time faves, and which have been worn solely while mowing the grass for the last four years.  They're also loose and forgiving of the aforementioned foot issue while my newer non work shoes will likely be the last pair of narrow Converse I ever buy.  I just can't deal with them anymore, and they were also not friendly to the foot issue.

So that's my story.  I work at nine in the a.m. tomorrow, and I'll take the Crocs on their initial run then.  I may hate them seven to eight hours later when I get off work, or I may have fallen in love with these things I so derided such a short time ago.  Maybe I'll bore your asses off with that tale tomorrow night.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

wouldn't it be nice

The following was posted on Facebook as a friend's status.  I started to make my own points about each of these fond memories, but I don't have it in me to be that guy to this particular person.  So I'm calling blog fodder and bitching it out here.  Also, it's not about bikes for the most part.
If you grew up on home cooked meals, you rode a bike with no helmet, your parents house was not "child-proof" , you got a whippin' when you misbehaved, had 3 TV channels you got up to change or went outside to turn the antenna, school started with the Pledge of Allegiance, stores were closed on Sunday, you drank water out of a water hose and still turned out okay, re-post this and show that you survived.
I grew up on home cooked meals for the most part.  My mother's repertoire was varied somewhat, and for the most part I'd say it was basically  basic American (USA edition) with a strong southern bent.  I may well know how to cook a lot more things than she ever needed, but what she cooked was always good.  Her own mother apparently was never much of a cook, so my own mother was essentially self taught.  Other than liver night I have no complaints about her cooking.

Yes, I rode a bike with no helmet, and though I've begun to wear one there was some small amount of wanting to fight it on my part.  I hate bike helmets that look like some sort of alien's skull on top of your own.  I feel like I look like a douche in them, and I put off buying a helmet for some time.  Big Brother had a helmet in time to start riding his bike to school, and I'm glad he wears it.  I'm not sure how I feel about the law, but where we live the helmets-on-bicycles law applies to those sixteen and under.

But I do wear a helmet.  I finally visited the skateboard shop and bought a helmet I don't loathe.  I even put one of the stickers the shop guy gave me on the side to attempt to get back some coolness points.  I can heal from a broken arm or leg, but impact induced loss of what little mental accuity I still have because I chose not to wear a helmet is likely a slightly worse blow, no pun intended.

As well as I remember the house I grew up in was not especially child proof, but sensible precautions were taken to care for any children and to guard against the likelihood of dangerous items reaching their hands.  And my own house has been the same way.  I don't have any intention to leave harm lying around in the path of my children, but I also understand that some lessons will be learned the hard way, so I make sure those lessons aren't the truly threatening ones.

You got a whippin?  How do people still glorify this sort of behavior?  I certainly got plenty of them myself, but I've worked really hard not to bring that into my present.  That I've turned out as well as I have in spite of being struck as a child as punishment for misdeeds does not make it okay to continue the tradition of striking kids.

We had more than three channels, and for a few years we did have to get up to change channels.  It involved turning a knob, and sometimes you had to adjust the rabbit ear antenna while barely turning the UHF knob to try to find the kung fu movies.  I appreciate technology and am more than happy to change channels by pushing a button while staying comfortably on the sofa.

Most people I know don't have a problem with the pledge of allegiance, but I do know people who have a problem with the phrase "under god" being a part of it.  I have a problem with that phrase.  It's a way of excluding people, and I think that it's unAmerican.  I don't like it, and I don't think it should be there.  

Stores can close on Sunday or any other day.  The place I work at closes early on Sunday, and a restaurant down the square closes early on Monday.  No one should have to not open on Sunday, and I'll go so far as to say that blue laws should not exist that require certain businesses to not open on Sundays.  The only reason this exists is as a vague nod to religious traditions that many people don't necessarily follow, and it feeds into the system that allows exclusion of people based on religion.

I would probably still drink out of the water hose unless it tasted like water hose, and if I were thirsty enough even that wouldn't matter.

Other things that I like about progress is that there aren't colored water fountains and white water fountains, and you sit on the bus wherever you damn well please.  I like multiple television channels as well as the internet and smart phones and off buttons.  I like that I don't pretend I'm not gay any more.  I also like bobbers, decidedly low tech, as well as vintage bicycles, even older tech.  I like Sriracha a whole lot, which I haven't talked about lately, but I could easily do a blog post on that lovely little bottle of chili sauce.

There's nothing new there really for anyone that actually knows me or has read here for a while.  It's all standard stuff, and I do get why that misty eyed view of the past is so powerful.  I also get that progress for the sake of progress isn't always worth shit.  Maybe it's just me, because this little paragraph shows up periodically, and I hate every time, probably a little more each time than the last.  Hell, why don't we just go back to when we were banging rocks together, when our only real fear was getting gored by the wooly mammoth we planned to hunt as soon as we found one.  That's the life, no traffic, no screaming kids in restaurants, no tail winds from the Mexican we had for lunch, nothing but banging these here rocks and wondering whether I'd ever see the sun again every time a cloud covered it for a moment.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

adding to the list

At some point last night I wrote a post.  As is my usual habit I walked outside to smoke before editing and fixing and posting, and I never got around to posting it.  And now I probably never will.

But I will tell you some of what it said.  Also, are you tired of bike talk yet?

Leaving work yesterday I stopped in at the downtown bike shop to learn that my new stem will be in today, that I can bring the bike in today and likely pick it up tomorrow with new handlebars.  They didn't have any helmets that I like.

I rode a few minutes down the road to the next nearest bike shop and also didn't find any helmets that I liked, but I did find the bike that I thought might be just right for Big Brother, so I continued riding to Momma's house where I locked my bike to her front porch rail and took The Boy and Momma's car to go pick up Big Brother from school.

From there we went back to the bike shop so Big Brother could voice an opinion and perhaps choose from the available models within our price range.  The one road bike they had was really sweet looking and too small for me and sort of pink looking.  It actually looked like it had once been red but had faded to pink, as Big Brother pointed out, also mentioning that he nonetheless still didn't want a pink bike.

He did like the Schwinn mountain bike that looks an awful lot like a slightly smaller version of mine but in black, dark gray, and yellow.  While the back tire is knobby, the front tire is the type I'd considered looking at for my mountain bike before letting the mania talk me into the road bike.

Our next shopping adventure was to Kmart for a helmet and bike lock and a pair of inner tubes for the bike we already have that I hope The Boy will learn to ride on.  He has a pretty cool big wheel that he's loved riding the past couple of years, but the bike mania is at least a little contagious it seems.

This morning, as the boys were eating breakfast, I handed Big Brother the instructions that came with his helmet so that he could adjust it properly for his head.  He was working on that when I drove The Boy to school, and was wearing it and ready to go when I arrived back home about ten minutes later.

The weather was a bit chilly, and though he rode the bike a bit both before we bought it and after we brought it home, it's a bit new to him still.  It's a great fit for him, but he's used to a BMX bike and also hasn't ridden since before winter.

I trailed him to school and did that thing I do where I probably talk to much and try to help too much.  He was a little skittish facing downhill and didn't want to go too fast.  I kept having to slow down and not run him over.  And overall it was a really nice way to start the day.  Google maps is telling me it's 1.3 miles and should take me six minutes.  We easily doubled the time, but that's fine of course.

And now I'm off to run errands.  Deposit a check, bike stuff, something to eat, home, laundry that needs to be folded, pick up The Boy from school, look out the window for Big Brother riding by himself.  I'm sure I've forgotten something.