27 June 2008

incidentals

of commuting include:

1. observing a sausage fest on the bike car of the commuter train every morning and wondering, "where da girls at?"
2. observing the sausage fest get noticeably more attractive the closer to the end of the week it is.
3. observing the bright colors of the adidas shoe of someone sitting behind you and seeing his hairy leg because it's his right leg (pants are rolled up)
4. observing the same person having his bike right next to mine on the rack and he's getting off at the same station.
5. observing that my breath is getting harder to take in as i realize said same person strongly resembles, and is more attractive than, a certain mexican movie star/actor, both with gorgeous green eyes, only the one before me now is much taller.
6. observing that his outfit looks a lot like his bike. anyone who has red handlebar tape on a slate blue bike and reading the new yorker can't be all bad. right?
7. observing that said gorgeous human who should procreate often before he leaves this world takes the same route as i do up to a certain point.

8. wondering if this human is always on the 8:14 because i've never noticed this prior to today.
9. knowing that it's just fun to think about cause i already have a boo.

and finally,

10. observing that this woman about to start her period on a friday afternoon is just not up to riding her bike and then gets to the bike car, sees the enormous sausage fest, and is the only one to stand with her bike b/c the racks are over capacity and wonders, "where da girls at?"

and on that note... off to ride bici to food and merriment. absolutely no train schedules of which to adhere. slow and steady...

and we're off.

24 June 2008

day two

so my legs are definitely working harder elsewhere than just above the knee. i'm trying my new riding technique and they are feeling a difference. they are pumping faster and lighter which makes me breath a little faster. now my legs are feeling it in the middle front of my thigh working towards my inner thigh. that part is an area i wanted to focus on, but have trouble doing so, so it gets neglected. yay for experimenting!

i am glad today is over. i look forward to sleeping and starting a new summer day.

23 June 2008

tip numero uno

i've been meaning to write this since my laguna honda days that were oh so long ago, but two of my obsessions don't "mesh well" as cher from clueless would say. just say no to lipgloss before riding a bit. for me it's hard to break the compulsive habit i have of putting on lip gloss every time i have a spare second.

until lil bugs got stuck on the lip gloss on my lips as i rode. um...ew!

needless to say, after that happened a few times, it was easier to break that habit just before a ride. so just do yourself a favor, just dont do it. thanks.

tip number two:

when you have sore muscles from riding, just take some aspirin already.

background: quite simple. i ride every day. coming back home after work is always more difficult than in the morning because it's slightly uphill with a very strong crosswind. i've almost ran into another biker who was passing me due to the strong wind tunnel at a particular downtown intersection. ugh. i do loathe that one, but once i'm past it, it's pretty much a smooth ride from there.

so last week was rushing home to meet up with a friend for dinner. i tried to keep up with this biker in front of my who was pretty good. he went very fast up and through the crosswind. he smoked me pretty quickly, and all i got was sore thighs for 4 days. yesterday i told myself i had had enough, and took some aspirin to help with the pain.

as such, i did some research on cycling techniques since whatever i was doing was clearly not working for me. turns out i think i was riding in a higher gear than i should have been, especially considering the wind. so instead of "lifting weights" to get bulky (shudder), i am going to try to pedal faster on an easier gear for more endurance. funny, i've been riding pretty much every day since the beginning of february, and there's still sooo much to learn. i like the challenge. just miss one of my better riding buddies. maybe he'll come back soon.

the only thing about pedaling faster is that in a city, with city traffic conditions, i just have to be more careful about stopping and being aware of things around me. i am careful already, but i'll have to be even more so since i will be concentrating a lot the first few days on HOW i'm riding rather than where i'm riding.

so here's to "swimming" v "power lifting." i also think it will have the added benefit of burning more fat and elongating muscles, but we'll see. i'll keep you posted.

17 June 2008

this moment's beauty is blinding and unsurpassed

well folks. this is a tale of two weddings. one of a close friend and one of someone i don't even know.

i don't cry easily. i used to, but the fountains have been turned off and have yet to be turned back on. so when i saw the wedding of the former and i didn't squeeze out a tear like i thought i might, i wasn't quite surprised. it was beautiful, and was told in the language of a culture i don't really know, but i do like their food. and they love to dance. so that was fun. it was just a fun wedding full of laughs and smiles, but no tears of joy. the bride did choke up twice, but that was the closet i saw/heard to tears. however, not to invalidate the ceremony at all, i'm glad that they have found each other, but it wasn't an earth shattering experience. it was very fitting to the time and the moment. a grand ol' party to celebrate two families merging. that's nice. very nice. and i'm happy for her.

the latter comes to us via the san francisco chronicle. in case you were in a cave for the past month, and hey, who isn't from time to time, then you know california is now the 2nd state in the nation to allow same sex marriages to be legal. today was the first full day of celebration and plenty of people on both sides of the issue showed up and bombarded city halls up and down the lower 1/2 of the west coast of the us of a.

the sf chronicle has a profile online of some of the people getting married today. it's not quite the nytimes society caliber of wedding announcements, but i do believe instead of the times oozing pretention, this one was much more laid back and more sincere in its efforts to show the profiles of people getting married today. they had the requisite media gay couples. i don't mean that to sound catty, but rather literal in that two of those couples were plaintiffs in what would turn out to be the landmark decision handed down by the CASC a month ago. they are always front and center for gay events, and the few times i've been in the pride march, i've met the (male) couple. they are really nice and are always dressed in their tuxes. i guess that shows they are serious about being taken seriously? i don't know. anyway, the female couple i haven't heard of much less met. jezebel posted a pic of them and that was the first time tears sprang to my eyes in months. i have a few ideas why, but just to see the love that is oozing sincerely through that pic onto the LED pixels of my monitor was just enough to make me think: FUCKING FINALLY!! the other part of me was thinking that how can people who are against same sex marriage be so mean (to put it childishly)? to see this couple who undeniably love each other so much that it just shows on their faces and their eyes aren't even open, how could anyone deny them the happiness they desire? the other part of me that welled up knew what it was like to feel that love at one point in my life. to have a picture taken just at the right moment, when your eyes are locked in the other's, totally oblivious to what is going on, huge chomping smiles on both of your faces. i feel lucky to have felt that at all in my young life, and i wouldn't want others to try to tell me what i can and cannot do with the person i love.

one story in particular got me to the point where tears were rolling down my face. this was after reading about 20 profiles. two men who have been together for 13 years had this to say to the chronicle:

The men have a 17-year-old daughter. "I've always told her I would marry her father the first minute I could and that's today at 8:30 a.m.," Akin said. "I've heard people say this is the happiest day of your life, and it is -- until tomorrow."

jeebuuuuussss. how could anyone with a beating heart not find that just at least the little bit touching? that was so beautiful, if totally cheesy, but this time i'm not lactose intolerant. i'm taking it in for the beautiful sentiment that it really is.

and, all of this is rather ironic for me since i'm not a fan of the institution of marriage. however, a lifehacker blogger who got married today had this to say, which i utterly respect from one woman to another:

"For the record, I *know* that marriage is a lame institution rooted in religion (I'm an atheist) and patriarchy. BUT, my parents had a great marriage—I watched my Dad come home from work and kiss my Mom hello every evening 34 years into it, genuinely happy to see her—and I wanted that same thing with Terra. (And that's IT—as mushy as I'm getting! Shutting up now!)"

i say redefining marriage can't be a bad thing. look at how well it's been up until now. it can only get better.

ciclovia

a few weeks ago in the nytimes magazine, the former mayor of bogota colombia gave an interview. enrique penalosa. he's my hero, and i think that he and i share a lot of the same political ideology. very interesting. i look forward to researching more about him. my choice favorite quote:

nyt: You were probably the only socialist at Duke.

ep: I eventually realized, of course, that socialism was a failure as an economic system. Yet equality is not dead. Socialism is dead, but equality as a goal is not dead.


um, yes. my hero. continuing on...

the streetfilms people in nyc got a chance to go to bogota and here is a little piece they made about the ciclovia. also, yesterday nyc announced that it is going to close off some streets this summer based on the popularity of bogota's ciclovia and similar street closings in london and paris.



16 June 2008

ISFP strikes again...

so during lunch i was reading about this new book that determines what kind of workout regimen people are likely to stick to based on their myer briggs personality type. as previously described, i'm an ISFP. the author assigns colors based on certain shared characteristics of two of the 16 types, resulting in 8 color schemes. my personality falls under GREEN. i don't think green happens to mean outdoors for the author as other colors also like outdoorsy pursuits. however, the description is funnily accurate because i do tend to like outdoors activities a lot when i get a chance to try them. i sucked at snowboarding, but loved trying it out and if had the means, i would be out there often. i am good at using oars in a canoe. who knew? and...as i've also described before, i like riding my bike to work or around town primarily b/c i kill two birds with one stone, as opposed to an exercise bike or spinning classes. if i belonged to a gym, i would take spinning classes to help me prepare for the lovely hills of northern california. now, with that in mind, please read some choice descriptions of GREEN personalities.

Greens are highly attuned to and observant of the physical world around them. Their profound attention to detail and their outstanding orienting skills influence all aspects of what they do and when they do it. Minimalists at heart, their demeanor is understated, quiet, and unobtrusive. In groups, Greens tend toward the background, preferring others to take the lead in social interactions.

um, yes. that is me. and i do rather excel in reading maps. let's continue.

With their reserved demeanor, they are quiet observers of the physical world. Nature is their nature. Their natural physicality inclines Greens to maintain a baseline of fitness, which they prefer to do outdoors or through activities of daily living, such as yard maintenance, parking a mile from their office, or using the stairs instead of elevators.

or...let's say...biking to work or for errands...

Incorporating a regimented training program into their lives is unlikely to happen without a specific purpose—such as getting in shape to fully enjoy a favorite outdoor activity, or achieving a prized goal, like being part of a climbing or backpacking expedition. In these cases Greens will use gyms and equipment to increase their stamina for an outdoor challenge that is important to them.

note my prior posts on doing yoga to supplement my biking...

Too much inside time is stressful for Greens. Getting outside gives them an opportunity to clear their minds and wrestle with the energizing and calming challenges of nature.

here i tend to disagree with the first sentence. i love being indoors and spending time with myself. however, i also love spending time outside (note prior posts on things i've loved as a kid: biking to a park to read), and i def agree with the 2nd sentence and have had that very discussion w/ the boo.

so i'm intrigued by this spoonful of analysis of my preferred workout habits, but i doubt i would buy the book. i may, however, ride to a local bookstore to sit and read the chapter about me... ;)

15 June 2008

just breathe

so the past three weeks have been nonstop gogogogogo. normally, i'm a very low energy person and i have had to put that aside to start many new firsts. these firsts have started, with normal curve balls that life throws at you also on top of those firsts. i don't mind change, but i do like it in digestible tablespoon fed portions. this has not been the norm for me in almost a month, and, frankly, it's strange. it's great to be home in bed and just effin breathe for a minute.

i'm an only child, so i think it goes without saying that i like to spend an inordinate amount of time alone. not only do i like it, but i know i need it to keep me relatively sane. i like meeting people and being social, but i also like large amounts of time for me to spend doing however i wish. i know those days could be numbered, but that's why i rather enjoy them in the now. 

anyway, i have been spending less time in the saddle which makes me not exactly thrilled, but i do really enjoy the time that i'm there. it's like home and i know i can take that wherever i go. which, this weekend, included a little town called austin texas. i went to the infamous, as far as bike bloggers go, new little bike store: mellow johnny's. it's a little too new for my taste, but honestly taste aside, it is a pretty cool bike shop. there's a strong emphasis on consumerism, but at the price which they ask for trying to incorporate bike advocacy in austin, i think that's ok. by the way, that means FREE bike parking, showers, lockers for you to take yr formerly stinky sweaty ass to work. i also have to admit, i think opening the bike store just before the most brutal months of the austin heat, was rather ballsy, but probably beyond their control. for those of you who haven't heard, it's a bike shop co-founded by lance armstrong and is bike/repair shop, clothing/shoe store and cafe all in one. the last thing austin needs is another cafe, but obviously, one couldn't ask for a better all-in-one bike store. they are trying to start a community, and i could already tell that the seeds have been planted. there were people in latex talking to their estranged brothers in crime, bike messengers and bike mechanics. there was one commuter there, and that is where the true message of this bike store lies i believe. the thought is to get all the people moving into downtown condos to try to start taking bikes to shorter trips within their new home for the purpose of reducing urban headaches such as parking, traffic and just overall urban congestion which leads me to something i have spoken about before...commuting by bike. 

in the airport on the way to austin, i picked up bicycling magazine. tucked in the pages were reasons people like to commute. one was an overall reduction in stress. now some of you drivers may be wondering how this is so since riding a bike among cars must be stressful. yes, this is true, it's not fun trying to dodge buses, cars and trucks who disobey traffic laws and are double parked in a bike lane on a busy one way street. it's not fun hoping and praying while dodging the above that some driver doesn't door you because you had to get too close to them. not fun thinking that if you get doored, nothing will really lessen the impact, not even a helmet (sorry safetyissexy people...).

all of that aside, this article discussed two good reasons one is less stressed while commuting. one is probably obvious. the more you get your body moving, the more endorphins are swimming around making you feel better, thus lowering your stress level. as your body naturally adjusts to fit its natural frame, the better one can feel about one's appearance and health, both of which are directly related to the above. 

the other one is also obvious, but to me, probably because i haven't been in a car in awhile for a long period of time, it didn't come to me as quickly as it could to others. commuting by bike reduces stress because one is NOT driving in a car. and it's true. this weekend i was responsible for driving around and it's so stressful. and this is not during rush hour traffic when there are more stressed out people all with a certain amount of time to get to work. being inside a two ton piece of machinery surrounded by others in the same is just a huge responsibility, so much so that it leads to road rage in some and awful tense physical effects in people like me.

so the jolt of java i feel in the morning is directly related to both ways of reducing stress by commuting on my little bici...i love it.

now i'm going to get to do things to prepare for my own commute tomorrow. wake up early and grease my chain, read craigslist for bikes, read bike blogs. go to bed and dream about a nice tex mex meal. yum. 

03 June 2008

ray of light

so...in the past couple of weeks i had decided that i want to try growing seedlings, and i effectively killed my poor little cilantro plant. it was completely unintentional, but it happened anyway. so, texicana mama and i went to a hardware store to pick up some things, and i wanted to try getting more cilantro at their nursery. didn't have the plant, but had the seeds. so i figured why not try it out and see what happens. i also had just bought a matchstick garden, so i planted that too.

i've transplanted enough baby plants from their small containers to larger ones to have enough places to start seedlings. i've always been kind of nervous to try out seedlings b/c i fear my part of califas isn't warm enough, and i always just thought it would be difficult to try to do.

well, today i've been proven wrong. my first seedling hatched, so to speak, and this proud mama was so happy, it literally brought a tear to my eye. i took pictures of her and i see her so happy to be alive. she looks like she's yawning w/ her multiple skinny arms. the sublet roommate had a little auntie look to her face when i showed her my baby, and she cooed. she really did.

i will post my baby's pics soon. i also am the proud mother of (fraternal) twin mint plants. one is chocolate, the other is mojito. but this mama currently needs her beauty sleep for the lovely train commute tomorrow.

hasta luego y buenas noches.

01 June 2008

commuting...

so i have started my new commute and it's kinda a doozy. i still ride my bike to the train station, leave it at the free bike parking right next to the station, and then hop on all by the lovely time of 7:30am. since i'm not a morning person, it's hard, but the bike ride is like my little jolt of java that i need to get my day started, even though it's significantly less time in the saddle than my last commute.

and in the spirit of bike riding, i leave you with these two shorts. one is brought to you by transportation alternatives and street films. the other is a feature on national bike to work day. funny...i've lived in 3 of the 4 cities featured and seriously considered moving to the 4th. a longer post is to come shortly. in the meantime, enjoy!