As I mentioned in the last entry, I let the bike riding get in the way of the picture taking. I wish I had capitalized on the fog/lights/bikes/water/night and shot some more photos but it's alright, the race was a blast. Here are the decent pics, the video can be found over HERE.
The Archery Range. Despite laser pointers and C43's advice
Attended the fourth annual Inversion Excursion alleycross race last night. The weather was decent (maybe mid 30s at the start?) but visibility was horrible. Not only did we get rolling in total darkness but the fog enveloped the valley shortly after. I had so much fun navigating the course (which included a really sandy mountain trail, a canal, a drainage culvert, a river crossing, city traffic and some fence hopping) that I failed to take advantage of the bike light visuals I encountered at every stop. I had both a digital and video camera with me but used neither much at all. At the top of the mountain stop, looking back down the trail you could see the foothill silhouettes blanketed in fog and then some scattered, bobbing little red and white lights snaking their way upward. It looked like Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
The river crossing was awesome. Warren and I rolled up to where we thought the stop was and a beat cop was snooping in the weeds and rocks of the riverbank. We could hear the splashy sounds of water travel coming from somewhere in the darkness but we couldn't see anyone. We finally spied some ta-do further down stream where they had strung a rope with glow sticks on it to the other side. Seeing this long string of light and numerous bike lights bouncing across the blackness of the river was something else. Green, red, purple, white and yellow all glowing in the fog, so rad. What great way to spend a Saturday night in late January.
I just peeked out the window and was surprised to see everything covered in snow. I quickly scooted down the hall to the computer to see what the weather was doing. No, I didn't go outside and look, that takes effort. And shoes. I'm mildly obsessed with checking the local temperature and forecast, part of that comes from working outside everyday but it's mostly 'cause I need consistent fuel for my inferno of complaints. Anyway, I visit the NWS web page every morning and I tend to get abnormally excited when a new icon appears in the Forecast at a Glance (last week there was Freezing Drizzle!). If I don't read the 7 Day Forecast posted directly under the pictures it's pretty entertaining. Take Overnight tonight and Friday:
OVERNIGHT: 20% chance of huge but partial snowflakes falling on a really small car.
FRIDAY: A church-brochure sun rising above mild, sort of Simpson-like clouds.
FRIDAY NIGHT: 20% chance of rain on the little car on that same stretch of road.
I guess that means I'll be warm and dry for tomorrow's deliveries.
I don't have photoshop. I have iphoto which isn't the same thing but they both have "photo" in the name. Tilt-shift photography is typically made with a special/expensive lens that allows you to tweak the depth of field to give your image a miniature, model-train look. I recently came across this tutorial that allows someone with photoshop to edit an image and achieve similar results. Since iphoto can only take me so far, I figured I would try to use the techniques anyway and see what happened.
As recommended, I chose an overhead view since you would typically look down on a scale model from this angle.
I was sure to include some color variation and a diversity of objects.
Once I had the photo I wanted I let the computer work it's magic.
Manipulating the focus and increasing the color saturation gave the image
I heard Mudhoney for the first time when my friend Kevin was visiting me in upstate NY from Georgia. He was traveling the country with some buddies in a VW microbus. They all lived in Athens where they had way more exposure to new music than my little shit town. Anyway, this was before itunes and myspace, MTV still played music videos and I had to record my vinyl records onto tape cassettes to play in the car (to put the time in cleaner perspective, This was the first CD I ever bought). Superfuzz Bigmuff fucking killed me, Mudhoney was like punk rock with metal guitar, it was the music I had been waiting for. When I heard the Stooges for the first time I was shocked I had never listened to them before, Ron Asheton's guitar clearly laid the groundwork for guys like Steve Turner. I may have been late in getting on the Stooges train but I still ride it frequently. Unfortunately Ron Asheton just hopped off at the last station.
After 6 days of silence, the city spoke. "Jim" from some official department within the dark recesses of city hall's secret underground (I assume) phoned in an apology for his employee's van-tastic voyage.
He sounded sincere, and promised that the driver in question would be forced to attend the next Driver Safety Meeting.
This is my friend Johnny in front of his old apartment in Minnesota.
I recently received the picture in an email regarding his move across town so I'm out on Reminiscent Road ( but I suppose that's what this blog is: past, present, future).
We rode in the same messenger circle in SF but it was a big circle and we didn't really know one another too well. John was born and raised in San Francisco, and chose to move to Minneapolis sight unseen. He called me beforehand and we discussed the Midwest, his situation and the friends we had in common. We became drinking buddies almost immediately upon his arrival. After a short while he moved into a spare room in our apartment on Aldrich Street (only a couple of blocks away from here) and after many, many years he still resides in the land o lakes.
My Dad knows John and loves the fact that whenever they see each other John is able to offer cans of beer from within his winter jacket.
I'm happy the snow/ice/slush/sand has cleared off of most of the streets. Fighting for space with larger, heavier, faster vehicles is amplified by the frozen potpourri that occupies the shoulders and the bike lanes after the snow falls. When you spend enough time in traffic you begin to learn the nuances of bad drivers and their behavior. With that same experience you figure out which intersections are the most dangerous and you can adjust accordingly. I've been riding a bicycle in city traffic long enough that I can almost predict what an erratic driver is going to do next.
That's assuming I can see that driver before they pull a douche-move.
Take Wednesday for instance, we had just finished our morning route and I was rolling back to ditch the cargo trailer. Bannock Street is two lanes and two-way with cars parked on both sides, add the cold shoulder of snow/sand and there isn't a whole lot of room for bikes and cars to share. I saw the shadow of the big white van before I heard it 'cause it was right fucking next to me, I'm not sure how she didn't clip the left wheel of the trailer. I probably fogged up her window when I yelled "HEYHEYHEY!". She gets stuck behind two cars at the next Stop sign so I roll up to give her the stinkeye and cut between the van and a parked truck. She didn't look over so I continue on, getting off the line before her. She guns it and somehow manages to pass me even closer than the first near-hit. Naturally, she gets stopped behind the same two cars at the next intersection so I roll to the driver side window to tell her she almost hit me.
Only it's a dude behind the wheel. An older dude with really curly hair and glasses and wrinkled, oily skin and wearing what appears to be a jumpsuit. He rolls his window down and bleeps a little "what?" so I reiterate, with a bit more spittle, "YOU ALMOST HIT ME BACK THERE!". He mumbles "well, don't roll out in front of me next time". Nice. A 4,000 pound Boise City van driven by a 130 pound idiot with automotive-aggression on his agenda.
After lunch I simmered down and called the city Ombudsman to complain but was referred to the Mayor's office. A mildly amused woman took my name and pertinent info and even wrote down (or pretended to) the driver's remark. Reading it back to me over the phone "Well. Don't. Roll. Out in front. Of. Me next time?". She then assured me someone from the proper department will call with a follow up. It's Friday now and I'm expecting a phone call from the City any minute now. I'm expecting that call just like I'm expecting cars to stop turning right in front of me at 9th Street every morning.
The xmas tree is gone and it looks really empty now.
This is hanging in a window of the Egyptian Theatre and I finally stopped to look at it. Anthony Doerr is a local writer of serious acclaim. I wanted to reprint a cleaner version of this excerpt from one of his books but I can't seem to find this piece separately online. "...because you see more people riding bikes to work than you'll find empty cans in the gutters". Nice.