Tuesday, April 26, 2011

One Thing At A Time

Once it became widely known to friends and coworkers that I was into cycling (usually when I showed up in full spandex to an event, also the turning point where many friends and coworkers became ex-friends, former coworkers, and the plaintiff named in the sexual harassment suit) I often found myself invited to participate in sporting events.  

Ah, but not the bike races you may assume.  No, nothing that simple, rather it's usually a triathlon.  Why do people assume, just because I can ride a bicycle, that I can also run and swim?  I guess they see me walking (sometimes in spandex, for which I apologize) from which they extrapolate that I can also speed it up into a run.  Fair enough.  But swimming?  The most interaction I have with water, outside the bathroom, is riding my bike in the rain.  And usually when I try that I crash. I view swimming as a way to keep from drowning, for which it is great.  But a way to get from point A to point B?  No fucking way.  I'll take the ferry, thank you very much.  

So the activities themselves are annoying enough, but then there are the distances.  Let's take the most common "beginner" triathlon, the sprint distance.  You start off with a .5 mile swim.  So right off the bat I drown, nice start.  After resuscitation there's a 12.4 mile bike ride.  Really?  That's literally how far I rode last January when it was 10 degrees and snowing.  It's a joke distance, barely worth putting on a helmet for.  So, after getting warmed up on the bike you get to jump off and run 5k, which is not dauntingly long but just kind of, well, boring, like all running really. 

But I hear you out there, with your shaved bodies and poor bike handling skills, you "true" triathletes mocking me to take a real challenge and do a longer triathlon, maybe even an iron man.  Yeah, 2.4 miles in the water, 112 miles on the bike, and a 26.2 mile run.  Do I even need to delineate why this is idiotic?  You know what, I really don't think I do.  Let's just move on.  

Here's my biggest problem.  It isn't that triathlons exist or that people participate in them.  Hell, most people I meet think I'm insane for enjoying cycling like I do, far be it for me to judge any else's sporting choices.  Hey, if you want to combine football, chess, and hopscotch into some unholy amalgam please, be my guest, but don't invite me to join in just because of my love of hopscotch (it should totally be an olympic sport).  I mean, if I tell you I like apples do you send me a bag of potatoes?  If I tell you I play hockey do you invite me to join your handball league?  So quit inviting me to do your triathlons.  Well, unless you want to do a relay team and all I have to do is ride the bike leg.  I wouldn't mind passing some triathletes with their goofy helmets and $4,000 wheels.  

Saturday, April 23, 2011


All my life, someone cut my hair for me.  First my mother, who was a big fan of the "Prince Valiant."  For those of you fortunate enough never to have had one of these inflicted on you, here's the 'style.'

Thanks Mom!

Once I moved on to having professional haircuts, I went to a friend of my mothers who would periodically have fun at my head's expense.  Like when she thought I'd look good with Agassi's haircut. His pre-bald haircut.  Yeah, this one:

To be fair, this may be a wig

To be completely honest, I was 100% behind the idea.  I mean, who wouldn't be?  And besides, all that was separating me from Andre was the hairstyle.  Oh, and the fitness, skill, and good looks.  But mainly the hair.

As I reached high school, I went with the ponytailed look, reducing my haircuts to annual trims, still professionally administered, just to keep from looking too much like Cousin It.  Fine, I looked exactly like Cousin It, though less skillful, fit, and good looking.

Eventually I got a job and cut my hippy hair off and, you know, stopped looking like as much of an idiot, despite what every picture of me on this blog may indicate.  But now I am faced with a new hair related problem.  That's right, Kiki, and it's a doozy:

Yeah, from birth her hair just stuck straight out.  All the time.  No matter what we did.  Hats, hair clips, bows, water, gel, glue.  Nothing could contain the madness.  Finally, after six months, her hair finally succumbed to the siren song of gravity.   But then we were faced with a new challenge.  Now that her hair was no longer vertical it was just in her eyes.  So, much like my mother before us, we were forced to cut our child's hair.  But, being progressive, forward thinking, and hip parents, we wanted to give her something different.  Something unique.  Something sleek and modern:

Alright, to be fair, it's quite a bit like the Prince Valiant.  Actually, it's a lot more like, well...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wanted: One Babysitter

So, we lost our babysitter.  No, we didn't misplace her at the mall or leave her at the park, but we do find ourselves without a viable childcare alternative to, well, us.  I know, horrors!  

So we consulted that infinite database of all parenting knowledge.  Yep, we googled "babysitters" and came back with some creepy site.  Undaunted, we tried searching for "real babysitters" and did no better.  Same for "experienced babysitters", "strict babysitters" and "coed slutty babysitters".  Fine, so the last search was for my own benefit.  Anyway, finally we searched for "babysitters, really, babysitters, you know, to watch a baby, our baby, not some weird and creepy babysitter pornography appealing to stunted and deranged perverts.  Seriously." and found some honest to goodness babysitters in our town.  Not to say some weren't every bit as disturbing as the pornography.  Let's meet the candidates, shall we?

Our first applicant is Jazmyn.  Now, let's not be hasty in judgement here.  Sure, her name and chosen spelling might, possibly, somewhat hint that perhaps, maybe, she could have at some time danced with, you know, no clothes on.  But hey, we're enlightened and open minded parents, if she is comfortable with her body and secure in her choices who are we to hold it against her?  No, what sunk Jazmyn was her assertion that she doesn't believe in letting children watch "telivision".  Really?  I mean, I guess that's fair, when I think about it I find that I also don't believe in children watching telivision, or even tilevision, tellevision or tellyvisheon for that matter.  I'll even go so far to make the blanket statement that I am against children watching anything that doesn't exist.  

Well, Jazmyn's out (sorry Jazzy, we barely knew ye), but let's see who's next!

Ah, Robin, a bit older, a bit more experienced, a bit, well, judging from her photo, blurry and pixelated.  But that's alright, the technologically challenged can be great caregivers, just look at Mary Poppins.  Sure, she could fly using an umbrella but did you ever see her using an ipod or GPS?  I rest my case.  Anyway, so Robin has been nannying and babysitting for many years and prior to that, let's see, oh, she went to a prestigious art college, that's nice.  And let's see, oh, she majored in... seriously...really... photography?  Sorry Robin, if you're that bad at your chosen area of study I hesitate to hire you in something outside your "area of expertise."

And now we come to Sarah.  A sweet girl, fairly experienced but still young enough to keep up with a toddler into the wee hours as needed.  A student at the local university, she is studying abnormal psychology, which will come in handy when dealing with, well, me.  However, what really caught our attention is that, in addition to babysitting services, she also works as a dogsitter.  Now, many of you will judge us negatively for our priorities, but bear in mind we have a cute, well behaved, and relatively easy daughter.  We also have three ill behaved, bad tempered, and strange dogs.  Yeah, if she can handle them then Kiki will be a breeze.  

So we're trying out Sarah this weekend.  If all goes well we will have solved our childcare conundrum through the proper application of google.  If, conversely, things don't go well... let's just say if you see a cute part-Japanese toddler for sale on Craig's List could you just go ahead and buy her for us?  I'll thank and reimburse you later.  

Sunday, April 17, 2011


When I am riding my bike and the temperature drops below 60 degrees, an interesting thing happens.  Well, interesting to me, hazardous and disgusting to those behind me.  See, my mucous production goes into overdrive.  In other words, I become a snot factory.  Oh, and phlegm, don't forget the phlegm, oh so much phlegm.  

In an effort to uncover the cause of this, well, 'skill', I did some digging into the family history and I think I may have figured it out.  Oddly enough, it turns out my great-great Aunt Susie-Lou was a hagfish.  

Auntie.  Unfortunately, I got her nose.

Also known as a slime eel, the hagfish can produce 5 gallons of slime in minutes.  Yep, sounds about right.  Now, the hagfish's slime is thought to be a defense mechanism or protective film, either of which don't seem to explain my problem... unless it is protecting me from anyone chasing me, or protecting my entire face, and leg, and arm, and bike, and the guy behind me from wind and possibly sunburn.  

It occurred to me that maybe this was my body's way of expelling heat and waste, much like a dog pants rather than sweats.  However, the problem with this hypothesis is that I also sweat like a, well, here's my great Uncle Herbert:

Be quiet, he's sleeping
If only I could find a way to turn this into a marketable skill.  Know anyone looking for industrial quantities of snot?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Weight Weenies

Ah, cyclists.  Among our other issues (shaved legs, saddle sores, spandex), many of us suffer from the delusion that the only possible thing standing between us and Tour de France glory is the extra 3 grams we're carrying around, unnecessarily, on our bicycle.  We go to extreme, and often absurd lengths to shave grams.  Well, not extreme or absurd, just extremely and absurdly expensive.  

You see, most cyclists won't go to extreme or even ordinary efforts to eliminate the extra 3 (or 30,000) grams they're carrying around on their ass.  If you go into most any bike shop, but especially one in an expensive suburb, you'll see a steady procession of average looking guys looking to spend almost any amount to save a bit of weight on their bike.  Because excess weight makes you slower.  And, by my reckoning, every gram of weight slows you down by at least 11.3 mph, so going from an 18.5 pound average bike to a sub-seven pound featherweight will make you 140 mph faster.  Yep, it's science (though not necessarily sound mathematical reasoning).  

Just to illustrate for any non-believers out there, the friendly people at Speedplay make a wide variety of road pedals, all of which have the same performance (you know, they hold your foot), varying only in physical materials and thus weight.  Their baseline pedal weighs 305 grams and costs $115.  Their top of the line pedal weighs 218.5 grams and costs $630.  That's negative 86.5 grams for $515, or $2,703 a (negative) pound!  Just for reference, negative pedal weight costs more than actual weight of marijuana, and is significantly less enjoyable.  

So why are we all so dumb?  Two words.

Lance Armstrong.

Yep, I pin this one squarely on ol' Lancey.  See, before Lance came along, the guys winning professional bike races looked like this:


Yeah, the kind of guy who had no problem eating and even carrying a tray of pastries during a race, because it looks fucking cool.  Alright, to be fair, maybe a tray of dessert is not the most badass example, but this definitely is:

Smoking and endurance sports?  Nothing cooler.

My point is, cycling used to be cool, until Lance and his team of nerds sucked the fun out of it and made it all about results and winning.  I want to go back to the good old days, when it didn't matter if you failed to win because you were carrying some extra weight, as long as you were enjoying yourself.  Really, which of these situations would you rather find yourself in?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Reach Out and Touch Someone

Have you heard about the latest breakthrough in digital technology?  No, not the iPad 2 (now with two cameras but still no flash support!), not the new Android 8G Smartphone with inbuilt Gameboy (a crappy phone AND a ballsy game system), not even the new 4D Television from Samsung (see time pass before your eyes!!!).  No, I am referring to the latest news in crowdsourcing and infodynamics, not to mention other made up words like digitography and sensontology; The FleshMap Project.  Relying on the old adage that calling something "The ____ Project" makes it seem serious. Conversely, calling something "The  _____ Experience" makes it sound stupid and mildly sleazy.  "The FleshMap Experience"?  Yeah, makes me feel like I need to shower.  

Anyway, they had thousands of people indicate where they like to be touched and where they like to touch others.  They then digitally represented their answers in a simple graphic.  So, in a stunning insight into human sexuality, they discovered, through the most cutting edge technologies and exhaustive research, that men like to be touched on the crotch.  Seriously, here's the stunning graphic to back it up:

I mean, I guess it is mildly surprising that the genitals don't glow with the light of a million suns, blinding the viewer and causing the computer screen to erupt into flames.  But really, is this the best our technologies can generate?

But, to be fair, there is some interesting data coming out of the "project."  Namely, in the graphic showing where women want to touch men.  

To be fair, I don't know that the data set was only women, it presumably also included gay men and the other myriad sexual orientations drawn towards the male body (is bisexual still a thing, or did we decide that was dumb?)).  Unsurprisingly, the crotch is not as bright as men wish it was, but that's not what interested me.  No, it was the right forearm and both shins.  Apparently there are women (men/transgendered/small woodland creatures) who want to touch a man's forearm and shins.  But then, maybe they're just trying to stay away from the glowing crotch area, it does look like it might burst into flames at any moment.

But, in the end, all this study really tells us is that no matter what fancy new label you put on something, crowdsourcing is just asking a bunch of people their opinions, which are typically short-sighted, selfish, and ignorant.  And no matter how you gussy it up with digital representations, at the end of the day most of us just want someone to touch our special places.