05 January 2008

More links

Have You Flossed Your Brain, Lately?

I visit this site occasionally and their current photo caption contest is a good one!

Here's my submission:

Snowboarding In Tahoe

The best part of the Earth getting cold each season is the snowfall that allows us all-season gravity junkies a way to pass the days while freezing. Gotta stay active! So, I'm hanging out with my host and we're kicking ass and taking names while snowboarding and then it happens : I slide out on Sierra Cement and as I hear the scraping sound of my board my brain tells my body to prepare for impact and SLAM! I make hard contact with the frozen ground and knock my back outta alignment. It's happened before. Once in 2005, I actually paid a chiropractor to fix me up -- and he did.

We finish that run and do another and I decide to self-adjust while lying at the top of the next lift. Not a great idea, but I have been successful enough to encourage me to try. It's fucked up anyway, so might as well try. No good. Decided to hang at the bar and wait for him to finish his day. Nothing else we could do. I find a chiropractor in South Lake Tahoe (with the help of my lifeline at a desk back home) and $106 later I'm feeling better, but not fixed. That's how this process goes. You feel better incrementally, not all at once.

It took about 7 weeks to finally feel 100%. I was having nerve issues, with tingling shooting down my leg or arm or whatever.

Two weeks before leaving home for Tahoe, I sprained my ankle while jogging on the beach. Thought I was doing the right thing by jogging on a surface softer than concrete or asphalt.

About 7 weeks before that, my heart was fractured (not broken) and I questioned if the stress had weakened my joints/ligaments/something??

Being healthy is sooo important!

Thanksgiving Indeed

I was riding my mt bike across town, in Santa Cruz, enjoying the warmth... allowing my mind to drift... and I signaled to make a right turn...

I left my arm up a moment too long and didn't have great control of the handlebars -- so, as I made the right turn from one city street to another, I drifted into the lane of some very slow oncoming traffic (one car to be precise). This driver was startled and he yelled out the window "You're an idiot!"

Without missing a beat, I yelled back to him, "It's the turkey!"

Happy Thanksgiving. Beware the nefarious tryptophan.

It was magic and fate and...

Click on the photo to enlarge.

I was going for a late afternoon bike ride on November 3rd and decided -- at the final moment -- to take my camera. Carrying the camera bag is not really comfortable like the comfort of my CamelBak water/tool carrier. The bag straps adjust and it hangs in that space beneath my chin, over the top tube of the bike's frame. It works.
It was a a completely cloudless sunset in the unseen area of thePacific Ocean on that evening, that allowed me to capture the downsized imagery you see posted here.
For all the times I wished I'd had a camera... the counter balances that.

This is four

This is four

Seven Tenths of a Mile

I can walk to the coast in .7 miles. When the wind blows this direction, I can hear the foghorn at the harbor & the barking of the seals. I'm driving around, getting lost in my new base city HAAhaa! The salty air is cool and seemingly smog-free. This place is so... Caucasian. Of course, I was previously living for free at the asshole triangle of VietNam, India, and Mexico. Should have made this change earlier. I actually had plans to move to Santa Cruz a few years ago and my career got in the way. Now single again, I said to myself, "I can be alone anywhere".

Didn't want to live alone, nor in the woods -- although there are some great deals on newer, larger housing options to be had in the sticks. But, I really don't need to be isolated. I'm not hiding. I'm not a farmer. Even though I've been driving around SC to all the hot mtn biking spots for several years, I'm more of a city boy, anyway.

I hate to say that the vibe is different over here, but it IS. People don't honk in traffic. There's no left turns allowed in most of Capitola. A lotta Volvo drivers. There are a great number of cyclists -- by choice, not by force of economy. I got both of my bikes tuned up and I'm putting miles on them. I had to buy a cruiser because riding a mtn bike on asphalt is a waste of expensive tires & it doesn't blend well. So, I scored a Fat Tire bike (New Belgium Brewing Co.) from a girl from NOLA, living in SF, who was moving to LA. Paid $165 and some fuel for travel. Not bad, considering she was offered $300 and stuck to her commitment to me. A great CL exchange! It wasn't new... the seat was done and the bike generally needed some TLC --I've done the first layer. First thing I did was to add the devil squeeze horn. New bikes go for $800-$1,000. I put a rack on the back, new tires, a front wheel, grips, and a seat on this one -- then cleaned up the rust!
It had one tire that with the New Belgium Brewing Co. text tread. The other was a knobby. It's difficult to buy the text treads, so I went with a pair of whitewalls. Next, I'm going LED on that headlight!

Housing in CA

I was saved by some friends who put me up for a month while I searched for a place to live in Santa Cruz. It was either SC or San Francisco. Obvious choice, but a close race.

I stayed for a month and helped them pack up their home and move into storage and it was W-O-R-K. Lost some weight that had accumulated while eating late and eating wrong at the House of Bad Chi, where I formerly resided.

Searching for housing at the beginning of the quarter / end of summer was difficult. I kept driving into SC from Summit Road to find that whatever place I wanted to lease was already gone. Too much churn with the students during that time of year. Certainly, if I aimed higher, I could eliminate some of my competition, but this was meant to be a temporary stay, not the one that broke the bank in the shortest time span possible. There are some really nice homes on the coast that college students can't afford. Desirable to all... I had to pass on them.
Meanwhile, I'm trying to get a purchase loan closed for my hosts --- who are buying a house down the street from some friends who had it rented out to a guy who was a Major pack rat. Two-thirds of an acre are nearly filled with vehicles, trailers, house parts, and ... junk! While the loan is being approved by the lender, the subprime mortgage fallout occurs. Listen: These people are not subprime in any way, but this type of loan suddenly falls into that category because of the market conditions. The first bank closes its doors mid-process. Ouch! We submit the loan again to two more lenders and for a good reason: One of those two closed its' doors, also. The loan is finally approved, and we use all of the 45 days of escrow. Down to the final day. Stressful? Hell Yes it was!

So, we're packing things for long-term storage, and removing parts of the home to be re-used in the older home that my current hosts have purchased. It's a very organized and chaotic event that lasts for weeks. People arrive to buy things for sale on Craigslist. People arrive to help dismantle and pack. Coming and going, I never know what's next. The best part is that we don't have to clean -- because this house will be mostly torn apart by contractors on August 18th.

About this time, I found a killer deal on a previously-titled Hobie Catamaran. I've owned two before. Found it on Craigslist. A fireman in the north bay was the seller. When I arrived at his house to buy it, he had all of the spare parts and boating accessories laid out on the driveway and everything on the boat looked as if it were kept up like a firetruck. I relaxed and we did the paperwork for the title transfer. It just felt right. Drove straight to the storage yard in Morgan Hill and couldn't wipe the smile off of my face for a day.
On THE LAST DAY before we had to get out of the Summit Road house (which was due for the wrecking ball in advance of a Major remodel) I found a suitable place. Oh, I had found several available places prior to this one, but they were all laughable non-options. My new digs are in a house purchased the month before by a guy whose office is a mile away from my office in SJ. The house has 4 bedrooms and 2 are masters with closets and each has it's own bathroom. We did a handshake deal and a quick rental agreement written on some tractor-style printer paper at the kitchen table. As it should be.

Shit, that was close!

One more day... and I would have been homeless.

I have so much to say since June

So, I go to visit my longtime friend out of town and the GF that I'm living with sends me a text message that she and her brother are moving all of my stuff into storage and I need to move out. WTF? I'm 3 hours away. Why would anyone do that? I tolder that they "didn't know what I need now or what I need later, so they can't possibly do it correctly. Standby. I'll do it when I return."

I rented a 20 x 10 space and had the storage people clean it / and I plugged the holes with steel wool. I rented a huge truck. I found some helpers at the Mexican Union Hall (home depot) to help move the heavy things.

We loaded up the truck with 98% of everything I own and began to drive to the storage when we encountered 3x normal traffic. Must be an accident, I say in Spanglish. As we approach, we see police everywhere and crime scene tape blocking a Major intersection. I knew then that the people in the car crash had died. That's what police do: close it off and investigate.

So, we loop around and get on the freeway to approach from the opposite side. The storage is located beneath the freeway overpasses. A good use for crappy real estate. The freeway exit is blocked. We try again from another approach. Three strikes and I'm out.

I drop off the border brothers and call the truck rental guy and then go buy a padlock to lock the back door of this truck containing my little world. Turns out, somebody was murdered several blocks away from where we were going.

Next day, same thing: I pick up two guys and we unload the truck into storage. I give them some cool things that they can use and we're done. I return the truck and then spill the icewater from the cooler onto the carpet in the back of my SUV. That's gonna need to dry out, but it's nearly dark. Oh, hell.

The experience is bittersweet because I don't have to return to that house full of loud immigrants with their shrill language that was designed to puncture the jungle. The house that has too much crime around it.