Thursday, September 20, 2007


I threw up on my way to work today. I've never thrown up on the bike before. A new experience. I can't remember if it feels better to throw up in a car.

I got left behind in a conversation today because I don't watch TV. Apparently there's an iPhone ad with a song. Apparently I'm the only one who hasn't seen it. I'm ok with that because if I saw an iPhone I'd want one. I don't want to want one. Right now, I don't want one. (It's working.)

The TV was on this morning long enough for them to switch to the weatherman who was on the street saying how he loves to give away Crest Whitener mouth strips. Yeah, me too buddy. That's what I went to weatherman school for. Today's crappy weather was sponsored by Crest. Click.

I'm supporting No Impact Man as he swims around the southern tip of Manhattan. You can too. Don't know No Impact Man? You should.

No too long ago (but not yesterday either), my friend The Prairie Progressive bestowed on me The Pissant Provocateur Award. Thank you very much Tim. He also wrote a few very nice sentences about The MinusCar Project. I like to encourage that sort of behavior so I'm linking to it.

Last and not least, in the mail today I received my Facility Bike Club Mojo Bag. It's hanging off The MinusCar messenger bag. Thanks Jeff (MinusCar essay #17) & Kristy.

Have a happy Friday.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

It's Bloggerrific

I had great fun reading the internets today. Starting first with Curt at Can't See the Forest who quoted Alan Watts:

"I find that the sensation of my Self as an ego inside a bag of skin is really an hallucination. What we really are is, first of all, the whole of our body. And although our bodies are bounded with skin, and we can differentiate between inside and outside, they cannot exist except in a certain kind of natural environment.

Obviously a body requires air . . . in order to occur, the body must be on a mild and nutritive planet with just enough oxygen in the atmosphere, spinning regularly near a certain kind of star. That arrangement is just as essential to my body as my heart, my lungs, and my brain.

So to describe myself in a scientific way, I must also describe my surroundings, which is a clumsy way of getting around to the realization that you are the entire Universe. However, we do not normally feel that way because we have constructed in thought an abstract idea of our Self."
Later in the day I found this quote from Will Braun of Geez Magazine. It's published in The Idea Factory Magazine, online here:
"I am a Mennonite farm boy from the Bible Belt of Manitoba. Sometimes Mennonites drive me nuts, but I claim my heritage and identity. I don't really see it as a choice – it's who I am.

I believe it is okay to have a love-hate relationship with the church. I don't have to decide if it is all good or all bad. It is both – like me – and I can be part of it anyway.

I believe in being connected to other people. It is popular these days to say ‘I am spiritual but not religious.’ I say bunk to that. I am worried that that leads to the individualization of belief – we all just pick and choose our own little beliefs and do our own thing. It can be a rather arrogant, me-first approach. I think the individualization of belief is the end of belief.

Faith is about connecting to that which is larger than ourselves, and doing so in humility, recognizing the value of relating with others who have varying beliefs and lives. I believe in organized spirituality. I want to be part of a collection of people that includes different generations, people of widely varying backgrounds, and people with whom I disagree."

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Walk This Way

I went for a lunchtime walk the other day. I do this often. When my company moved the changing room situation degraded and I’m no longer comfortable changing clothes for lunchtime rides.

(goof - cameraman is clearly visible in the frame)

I don’t mind the walking thing though. It’s two or three hours a week to further minimize the number of man-made things around me. It’s paths by green pastures...

and quiet waters type stuff.

The sky was blue.

I took my camera this time. I once saw a piece of tree bark...

with legs moving through the water with purpose. Another time I came across a turtle the size of a quarter.

This time I was looking for signs of fall. Sure it’s early, but there are a few more leaves on the ground than usual at home .

I didn’t find any signs of fall.

The next morning I found this. I hope it didn’t fall too far.

Apparently mammal extinction is in the news lately.

I'm hiding my nipples.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Adventures In Saturdays

The Boy 5 had a soccer game today. The Wife had to work.

Load up the messenger bag and a supplemental soccer bag…let’s make a day of it. Emergency allergy medical supplies, check. Blanket because it’s cold out for soccer, check. Soccer gear, check. 700 page Harry Potter #3 for The Boy 9, check. Water, check. Treats, check.

Begin at 11 with a walk to the bus stop. Arrive early to kill time looking for calories at the convenience store. Had a conversation with The Boy 9 about the word ain’t. I pushed him on its lack of appropriateness. I softened when I told him it became a word in my lifetime. I backed off completely and told him if anybody ever tells him not to use that word, tell them there are a lot of other worse words he could say but doesn’t.

I wonder how long before that gets me in trouble.

Bus ride downtown to steal The Wife’s auto.

Stop at The LBS for some fresh patch kits because Saturday’s flat with petrified patches was completely unsatisfactory. (See what you miss out on when I don’t blog.)

Enjoy U6 soccer. It took him a whole game of encouragement, “go get the ball, get knocked over if you have to”, and finally right at the end he went into the scrum, got a foot on the ball, and got knocked over. He stood up smiling at me as if to say “I did it.” Moments later he fell apart crying. Seems he got hit in the nose…which brought back additional memories from a ball to his face a few days ago. In his defense he’s probably 20 pounds lighter than most of the other players.

We enjoyed the game in the presence of four grandparents, two of which brought extra lawn chairs for me and The Boy 9. That so we wouldn’t have to manage chairs on the bus. The Boy 9 spent the game with his nose in the book.

Return the car to The Wife. Bathroom break and back on the bus. I think one of my favorite bus riding experiences is the downtown hub when all 10 buses are picking up riders at the same time. With the noise and the bus riding people, just for a second, things feel exceptionally urban. Another neat experience is being led through the hub by The Boy 5 after simply telling him we need bus #3. He almost got on the bus a few people ahead of me but at the door he looked to see if we were coming and then got out of line to join us.

On the bus ride we practiced not pointing. We also got to see the lift work for a wheelchair. We counted emergency exits…and I wasn’t a bit embarrassed when The Boy 9 pulled his 700 page book out and started reading.

At the transfer station we got to see the driver that we argued with on last Friday’s adventure. It was a nice little touchstone back to an adult conversation between the driver and me about whether the place we were waiting for pick up is, or is not a bus stop.

As it turns out it the conclusion of the argument came down to what our definitions of is, is. (See what you miss out on when I don’t blog.)

I avoided pointing out that since he stopped the bus to pick us up it is in fact a bus stop.

I spent 5 hours with the boys today, when I could have spent one. It occurs to me that we went by The Car at the repair shop twice and it never entered my mind to even notice the car was there. Maybe it should just stay there.


Later this evening, as we were outside enjoying the fall-like turn in the weather (by cleaning freshly picked pumpkins no less) it became clear a neighbor had misplaced their 3-year-old-ish daughter. Some clues included a rather speedy drive around the block followed by a parental exchange of, “welp, you’d better start looking because I ain't seen her.” A lost child is hard to ignore so I jumped on the bike, found the child, and advised her older playmates that her parents would really like to see her again.

I’m not saying driving a car speedily around the neighborhood in search of a 3-year-old is a bad idea. I am saying that a bicycle, with its reduced speed and increased ability to hear kids playing on a backyard swingset, has its advantages.


Did I mention that Harry Potter #3 has 700 pages.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Instant Karma

…is going to get you. It’s going to knock you right in the other head.

I had a zero car-mile week last week. I might post later about how I used myself up over the weekend. Because I’m still recovering from that, I’m having trouble getting up in the morning…which has caused me to default to my car for transportation on Tuesday and Wednesday for work. Just plain lazy. Just plain guilty.

But I paid dearly today…

On the way to work, on an interstate overpass I ran over a domesticated animal. I feel awful…but it should know better than to be in my right of way. Oops, sure is easy to slip into that sort of thinking…’cause you know, there’s no reason why slowing down can’t and shouldn’t be an option, especially when there’s a seemingly unpredictable kitten, child or cyclist on the road.

I left work early to take The Boy 9 for a doctor checkup. It was a rainy trip. I was happy to be driving. We made good use of the car making multiple errand stops. We arrived back at school to pick up The Boy 5 and to my dismay, upon returning to The Car, the contents of the radiator had created a minor ecological disaster on the asphalt.

As we headed off to the service station the engine temperature went ballistic. We pulled off the road and called The Wife to come rescue us.

Tomorrow I guess I’ll be driving…but definitely riding after taking the car in for a pit stop.

Tonight…somewhere out there at the side of the road sits an abandoned MinusCar.


It's fitting then that MSN Money has an article today (thanks 'quatch) that goes something like this, "If you're constantly broke and can't figure out why, the answer may be sitting in your driveway."

Fitting too that the first item under the "What's Going Wrong" heading is, "Viewing cars as a need rather than a want."

The broad stroke point of the article? She didn't say it, Sasquatch didn't say it...

Consume. Less.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Blogs

Two things:

1. Pinch Flat News has a beautiful statement on one of their posts today - "We've said it before, and we'll say it again: Bikes are morally superior to cars, if for no other reason than they use far fewer resources in their manufacture. But bicyclists are not morally superior to car drivers."

2. Garrett Hoyt e-mailed me about a doctoral study he's doing. Don't know Garrett? Well, he blogs and he owns (possibly wears) a MinusCar t-shirt. He said, "I'm a doctoral student (I knew that) interested in how the structure of a city is related to the physical activity and health of its residents." And then he said, "I am conducting a survey on transportation preferences to find why people use the form of transportation they do."

Seems to me MinusCar readers such as yourselves, and such as...would be really interested in answering his 15 minute survey.