Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Abnormally outspoken moments in time.

 Someone called me abnormal the other day, and yes, my abs are normal, but that's the only part of me that is.  He didn't really mean it, though.  He was calling me odd. I've been called all sorts of things, good and bad, but that was hard to stomach cause he's right. It's true. I'm abnormal. It's a gut feeling some people get.  I'm not just a nerd; I'm weird. You know... other-ish.

 It looks like I come from the Dumbell Nebula, somewhere in the middle of the constellation Vulpecula.

The resemblance is clear.
It's me all over. Dense, yet nebulous.

I'm daft, too.  More daft than your average bean.  Most humans share 25% of their DNA with a daffodil, but I'm half-Daff. Don't ask how I know, but it's a fact.  That's why I have so much petal power.

It might also explain why I'm hard-on things.

Like this.  Take a look at what happened to my bike as I was riding along in third gear the other day.

It's a special gift,
or maybe I just have Gremlins.

It was clicking a bit on that sprocket that day, but only that sprocket.  It was skipping every so often, too, toward the end, whether I was on the big chain ring or the small one.  That's why I was headed to Mighty Riders prior to my planned route.  I was a mere eight blocks from the shop when it happened, too.  Just a mile or so earlier, I was flying down fourth at woooo hooooooo speeds, and so I'm grateful it didn't happen then.

As it was, I was in the middle of a busy intersection.
It was Very.  Scary.

 I want to know two things:

                                                 1.  WTF happened?
                                                 2.  WTF happened to Campagnolo's lifetime guarantee?

I thought the old saying was "Campagnolo wears in and Shimano wears out?"  They should amend it to "Campagnolo suffers catastrophic failure and then profits on replacement parts."  Ed at Mighty Riders didn't charge me shop fees, bless him, and those spokes are a serious bitch to thread.  You need a magnet or something.  Never mind the tensioning.  Even so, even without shop time, this was an expensive little issue.

Meh.  Another one of THOSE weeks.

I keep asking why why why? but no-one has an answer.  Ed doesn't know.  I asked him how I can prevent it from happening again, and do you know what he said?
He said I should cross my fingers and pay up.

Double meh. 

So I looked long and hard at the exposed gear cluster, gritted my teeth, and shifted my cognitive capabilities into overdrive.

(Drumroll please!)

Sorted.  Using my remarkable design sense,  reclaimed Canadiana artifacts, and (box) cutting-edge technology I've come up with the perfect solution.  

Needless to say,

I couldn't find a case of Thirsty Beaver or I would have a different pie plate today.

Sure, it won't stop the derailer from self-destructing, but it will save my pretty, shiny, beautiful gold wheels from becoming collateral damage next time around.

You have to protect the things you love.

That's why I wear a helmet.  I might only have a couple of brain cells, but I love them, and helmets help, right?  That's the theory behind BC's mandatory helmet laws, anyway, however flawed our current safety standards might be.  Trouble is that law is going to prevent our newly approved bike-share program from making any headway. Some genius came up with the idea of helmet vending machines.

Helmet. Vending.  Machines.

This would be bad enough, but it's worse than that.

If I were on a bike-share bike-cycle and didn't have a helmet with me, I'd simply join the many thousands of Vancouverites out there who pretend the helmet law doesn't exist. 
I would NOT rent a helmet worn by countless other riders that day.

Super EEEW.

Bloody hell.  It's enough to drive a girl to drink.

Better yet, let's go for a ride.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Frienemies and Fredtastic Expeditions.

 Don't look now,

but the writing's on the wall.

 It's time to tackle the big questions. 
(and I'm sorry, but what did everyone think the NSA was up to, anyway?)

and greed and corruption are rampant across the planet,
it's time to take a stand for righteousness.
These days, big brother cares more about what you buy than anything else, anyway.
Here in Canada, our political agenda is driven exclusively by our notorious leader's corporate agenda,
and THAT has everything to do with natural gas, oil, tar-sands, and of course, pipelines.
Oh, there's a whack of Genetically Engineered Aqua and Agri-culture thrown in the mix, too.

Does that scare you?.

Well, then you are blacklisted, which means you get placed on his Enemy's List.

Um.  That is out of order.
Little Steve must've been kicked out of the tree-house club when he was a kid.

Can you believe it?
He has an actual "Enemy Stakeholders" list.  
Well, naturally. Any self-respecting villain would.

He's actually Stephen Blofeld in a bad hairpiece.

The "Transition Binders" for Stephen's new cabinet members include details of who to appoint, what to say, who to talk to, what to attend, and yes - who is friend and who is foe.  Enemy stakeholders are not terrorists, nor unfriendly states with an eye on our borders.  Oh no, enemies of this Prime Minister's office include environmental groups, non-profit organizations, and civic and industry associations with views different than the government's.

Can you imagine?!? He has a hit list with the Lorax perched at the very top!

Ferfucksake.  Oh well.  At least Canadians have a good idea where they stand now, right?  
Anyone with an environmental bent is an enemy of the state, and maaaaaan-oh-man!
You don't want to be an enemy of this state.

Yep it's time.

The future is in your hands.

Time to think long and hard about the issues.
Mmm loooooooong and haaaaaaaard...
Sigh...  :)

Oh yeah.
It's time to think.
Issues.  Yes.  There are so many serious issues to consider.

Like "To Stop or Not to Stop."

Train-spotters have been sadly disappointed for more than a decade at this crossing,
This line was discontinued in 2001, 
but apparently we're still supposed to stop here.

Would you?
There are stop signs and there are stop signs,
just like there are laws and then there are laws.
You know, like there's government, and then there's

Mr Snowden's
Big Brother.  

The funny thing is that it doesn't matter who's watching, the truth just is.
The trouble is, you know what they learn from watching you is going to be used against you, 
either to exploit you, or to prosecute you.

Speaking of exploitation,
how about a

Even though the cost of it is something quite atrocious.
um diddle diddle diddle um diddle ay

Yes, for the price of a middling road bike,
you, too, can wobble from vineyard to vineyard for three days.
in pursuit of your "well earned hubris."
You can participate in the peloton of pashas play-acting  and pretending to be 
 legends from the ranks of the professional cyclists of the 1920's.

How very Gatsby.

I have to go if only to finally witness a bike wearing layers of heavy wool.

This isn't any old Intrepid, either.  
It's the Inaugural Intrepid. 
 It's a grand gesture, a toast to monumental Freddom, 
so fantastically uber-douche it gives me shivers.

Not all first world problems are created equal, you know.

For example:
If I use a Kickstarter campaign to get the money to go on the Fredtastic Expedition,
am I automatically disqualified because I am not one of the chosen Douchtastic Freds for whom this ride was so carefully curated?

I prefer  teeny tiny little first world issues.
They suit my simple mind.
You know, things like which safety shoes to choose today.

Yep.  I do  a lot of sole searching, 
and this I know for sure:
Going for a ride may not solve all of the world's problems
all at once, 
but it sure doesn't hurt any.

And it might just heel what ails you.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Hey sunshine! Turn that frown upside down!

Ok, so sometimes life can get you down.
Like when you reach terminal velocity and trash your tire when suddenly you have to brake hard.
Thanks to an old link from Snobbums, Mcgyver here patched this mess with a fiver. It didn't last long, but it got us to civilization and sometimes that will do. With all of the hidden inflation happening these days, you'll want to use a fifty.

It sucks when you're minding your own business, riding your bike and someone hurls urine in your face.  Now SOME people say it's just race karma after decades of riders peeing all over anyone in the vicinity, but that was then.  This is now. I dunno about you, but I would be feeling pretty pissed if I were Mark Cavendish. And I'm sorry, but the whole thing just begs the question:  WTF was that fan doing with a bottle full of urine, anyway?  Was he a NYC taxi driver?  A long-haul trucker?  Or mayyyyyyyyybe it was Da Biebs!

Life sucked for my boy Svein last week when he crashed on day one of Da Tour because his team's bus got stuck on the finish line, but never fear.  He came in sixth in the time trials the other day anyway. 

My week sucked in its own special way, because I developed a baker's  cyst behind my left knee, which led to yet more prolotherapy for me.  Ouch.
Dr Hal is a nice enough guy,
but his needles are always a serious prick.

Sorry.  Just trying to inject a little humour into the situation.

My dance teacher used to say "Smile through your pain, girls.  Smile!"  
It's weird, but there's something in it. Smiles are almost magical.
They're contagious, too.

Do you know what makes me smile?
Yup.  You guessed it.

I lurrrrrrrve getting naked.
It makes me happy, but that's not all.
It ALSO gives the people who see me a chance to have a laugh, too.
See?  That's whatchacall a win/win situation.

So the next time you're feeling cranky,
do something you love.

In my case that involves riding a bike and getting naked,
though not necessarily at the same time!

I'm not just pedalling smiles here...
happiness is the foundation of health and well-being.
Sure sometimes life will get you down,
but in the end the best thing you can do is grin and bare it!

Friday, 12 July 2013

A toast to You.

Fridays are the best, aren't they?  

It's the beginning of the weekend, and the end of the work-week, 
so it's already a happy ending in itself, isn't it?  
Mmmm Friday.  You've gotta love Friday. 
I just want to take a moment today to say thank you for visiting spokenscene.  Your being here makes it all worthwhile.  

So here's a toast to you, dear reader:

May your path be peaceful, your body strong, and your encounters friendly.

 May the road ahead take you precisely where you want to go.

 May you scale the summit of your sweetest expectations and love the view you discover there.

 May you find joy in the moment at any moment, 

And may all your Fridays have a Happy Ending!

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Down with the viaducts: the unabridged version

I am a girl with a very small brain, so I live by the KISS.

 (Keep it Simple Silly)
I like it when things are easy, so I like to follow a few simple, easy to remember principles.  You know, like "Love is the Law,"  and "If you can't be helpful, than at least be kind," and of course, that perennial favourite "Celebrate often."  

That's one of the best ones.  I love to celebrate. 

You've got to rejoice at the milestones in life, right? It's important to take stock of where you are, where you've come from, and where you want to go.  Today, I would like to take a moment to celebrate a small step away from car culture and toward the kinds of healthy cities we can all enjoy.

What's special about today?

It's the largest of its kind, and it's built where an old gas station used to be.
That's rather poetic, don't you think?

The signs are everywhere.
  All over North America, people are using cars less, and that trend isn't about to shift any time soon, either. 
Why?  Because it's not all its cracked up to be, driving. Do you relish sitting in traffic, strapped into a box, stopping regularly to pour more money into the tank?  Of course not.
More cars on ever more congested roads are not the path to create better, happier cities, and thankfully people are starting to come around after what must have been the biggest mass-brainwashing experiment in human history.
There are all sorts of urban highways coming down, from New Orleans to New York, from Toronto to Cleaveland to Seattle and beyond.  Highway deconstruction is even happening here in Vancouver, with the Georgia and Dunsmuir St viaducts possibly slated for demolition.

That would certainly change the face of the no-man's-waste-land along the underside of these colossal monuments to four wheels. The post-deconstruction development plans include a waterfront park, which is perfect, because pianos.

That guy in the white shirt there?  His name is GP Mendoza, and he (in partnership with with CityStudio) likes to leave pianos in well-visited locations around town.  

Doesn't everyone?
He calls it Keys to the Streets.  Parks along the Vancouver waterfront are obviously great places to plant pianos.  You can tell cause he's already done it a few times.  That one there is beside Olympic Village, adjacent to the bike lane.

That's why you will find children in helmets playing the piano here.

Safety first.

Is that piano on the quay?

No worries.  It still makes foot-stomping good music, even if you are wearing safety shoes.

I mean, really.

You've gotta love this town,
whether the viaducts stay up
or whether they come down.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Super Summer Special! Come and get it while it's hot!

Are you ready for the special summer report?  

Special thing number one: 
Canadian Svein Tuft on the podium, Stage 4, Tour de France. Pedal
 Did I tell ya, or did I tell ya? Langley boy Svein Tuft was on the podium in Nice this week as an integral member of the fastest ever time trial in the Tour de France.
That's special, don't you think?
Yet do you think you can find even a murmur of this sweet little moment in sporting history on our national news source, the CBC?
Don't be silly. This is Canada.  If it isn't hockey, it doesn't matter.
Hockey is special.

Brands can be special sometimes.
What do a bicycle drive train, a water pump, and a time machine have in common?
Yes, Schlumpf.  A marketer's worst nightmare.  It means Smurf in German,
but that doesn't mean they take their design lightly.
Oooooh no.

 Clever little drive train, isn't it? It's got two gears.  Here's when it's in one gear...

And here's the other:

That's cool.  Right? 
Apparently there is a 105 yr old Schlumpf pump out there, still doing what pumps do best, 
pumping away.

That will be me in time, 105 and still pump pump pumping away... :) 

And that brings me to my favourite subject.


I'm special, too, you know.
Mum always said so.
That's why I have to wear a helmet.

So when the CBC asked
"Would you wear these bike helmets?"
I felt obliged to answer.

The Hovding airbag collar helmet is a natural fit for my particularly breezy cranium.

And fully deployed it really resonates with my inner space cadet.

Love.  It.

And look.  Carrera has a folding helmet that fits in your bag.

That'll do.

Oh dear.  

I'm afraid under certain conditions you might just achieve lift off.  
And, er...

Yeah, oh so no. 
I can sort of see the appeal to the Closca:

And I know one or two bad-girls gone good who might don the Marion Ferrec

but please dear God,

please spare me the humiliation of ever having to wear an overgrown egg carton on my head.
That is soooooooooooo not hot.

Do you know what is hot? Cycling the seawall on sweet, sexy summer nights, that's what.

Mmm summer. 
Nothing better than people-watching on Kits Beach on a mid-summer's eve.

Vancouver is super special, specially in summer 
and there's no better way to explore it than on two wheels.

Come 'n' get it while it's hot.
You know you wanna...