Saturday, October 29, 2011

One Click Worries

First, a definition for you. One click is the act of purchasing, originally on, where said buyer has the "amazon prime" option, then clicks "buy" and it charges their credit card and sends it to them in 2 days. One-clicking can evolve to other sites and locations with the same basic meaning; that money make the world go round. Cash rules everything around me-

Dolla dolla bill y'all. Anyways, someone in my house has a disorder! What do I do? Lil' Steve has the one-click problem. That little bugger loves purchasing things! I've tried to explain to the guy that student loans aren't free money, but I don't think he gets it. You have to pay those back! When Stevey spends piles of money that are at least 3 times as tall as he is I sometimes get a little jealous. Srsly, check out his purchases.

First, a special diamond necklace, a perfect replica of his own head!
Next he had to bedazzle his weapons.
Then he got an srm

And a van?

He saw that some other extremely wealthy souls buy exotic pets like tigers or sharks. Here is what Steve bought for our house!

That's actually a cat standing next to Steve watching TV
Not to mention 1000 other things.

BUT the whole purpose of this shindig is to not discuss anyones height or spending habits, but to show you what exactly Steve and I have been learning through this whole shopping frenzy.

The internet is crazyyyyyyy. Correct, shopping has taught us the simple fact that the internet is crazy and it's up to us to save ourselves from cardboard asphyxiation. I definitely did not spell that word right the first time. But I did spell Schwarzenegger correct the other day.

Continuing on, the whole purpose of this blog entry was to talk about just how things are being mailed now-a-days. Here is the process.
  • Steve decides he neeeeeeeeeeeds hand woven paper-towels from Equatorial Guinea.
    • Search "pretentious hand wipes"
  •  Amazon tracks down said product in their warehouse, gets its measurements.
  • Amazon takes this, and puts it into a mathematical formula that is something along the lines of:
    • Size of Goods x 5 + X = Perfect box size
  • Then, they fill this box with the small thing you actually order, and then stuff several rolls of the little life-vest esq plastic airbubble wraps into it so your paper towels don't get damaged in transit.
  • 2 day shipping begin!
So the real trouble-annoyance here is that when Steve gets approximately 4 packages per 5-day school week, our recycling bin (yes, we save the world) gets filled to the BRIM with stacks of cardboard upon cardboard. So what do I do? Yes, I get my creativity on.

Arts and crafts, crafts and art.
Steve and Matt making use of the stuff I've made

Cardboard clothes, Yep.

Whoa, everyone should check out this camera I made of cardboard and speaking of cameras what about DBCphoto.COM???

This turns into a real problem (or artistic journey?) when the things I buy (erasers, calculators, notebooks, flashcards) get shipped in refrigerator boxes. Study-swag.
    More proof the internet is crazy.

    Monday, October 24, 2011

    Now Listen Up, Here's the Story

    It’s on. This weekend I went on some no-BS bike pedal stomps with David and I set a couple Strava KOMS! Wow! My powertap is broken again, which is unfortunate, so I can only estimate and assume that we averaged 412 watts for the 5 hours we rode. Proof!

    I hate that I just talked about power for even the minute (my-noot, duh) purpose of making a joke. I can’t stand it when people spit the power number game and brag about how their 20 minute power is actually 20 watts higher than their most recent test says because that day they had a sore throat and hadn’t gotten a full nine and a half hours of sleep and their kids were up all night with fevers and they wet the bed and they had a rough day at the office and there were only re-runs of Friends on so they couldn’t get properly motivated and the air was improperly oxygenated and they did a really hard workout a couple days before and they’ve had sore ribs for like, eight months.

    As the hours on the bike go up, proportionally the excitement I get for the music on my ipod goes down. I love my shuffle, literally have lots of love for it. The kind of love you have for a puppy or Christmas trees. The problem is that previously I wasn’t taking advantage of the full carrying capacity of this AppleGem that IUse, so instead of having 300+ songs on it, I had approximately 94 that I really liked, at one point. But then you can only hear La La La by LMFAO so many times before your head explodes, so recently I set about revamping the playlist that I’ll listen to for the next couple of months.
    First- this isn’t new for me to listen to but I can’t NOT have a couple songs by Macklemore on the playlist. Local Seattle music is better than anything else, did you know that? I like listening to Mack when I’m not riding also, but some of his stuff plays nicely in the ears and makes my cerebellum and ear canals and cerebral cortex tingle. Especially the medulla oblongata.

    Next, I have a certain respect for the people that just do everything. Have you watched the TV show Community? Or laughed at the jokes on 30 Rock? Introducing Donald Glover- AKA Troy from Community AKA Childish Gambino- the most entertaining rapper ever. Like Lil Wayne, but actually good at rapping. This means he has really strong punchlines, entertaining lyrics, and doesn’t sound like a cat dying! Excellent.

    So those are some of the stuff I already listened to and haven’t gotten close to being bored with it yet. But I needed some refreshing fast paced exciting music to ride to. I’ll be honest, I tried to convert myself into a Skrillex believer, but I just needed some more lyrics. Skrillex is great of course, but as an Opera singer myself I need something to wrap my mind around. Since I’m tone deaf, I like words. SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO I found the holy grail combination for bike riding.
    Kidding. There is no Macklemore/Childish Gambino song. That would make my head explode
    What happens when you combine Dubstep with NWA? Or with Outkast? Or Dead Prez? You get gold. I’ve discovered the joys of remixed rap songs- the best of both worlds. Instead of average rap beats, you get crazy high paced make my heart rate 168bpm music, with catchy and intelligent rap lyrics like “everyday I’m hustling” and “where da hood at”.

    And finally, for Chris Parrish:

    Ok, bye

    Thursday, October 20, 2011

    Motorpacing the Bellingham Winters

    Hellllooo World-

    FYI, it's cold in the winter time. Roughly September-June it's frigid way up North in Surrey, BC.  Here in Bellingham we get about Mid-October through April of brrr. I have a pretty good living setup, as I live with one other serious bike racer (Steve) and one wannabe Chef (Matt). There is one glaring problem with Steve as a roommate, and that is his unexplainable desire to race cyclocross seriously. To be fair, he has dialed the cross-traveling down a bit this season to help ease the fatigue heading into road training, but he is "still tryna go fast" at the local stuff. This is when I come in.

    In the beginning of the road season, I do lots of Moto-work to prepare for races like Redlands where I haven't had many race miles in the legs leading up to it. So my moto-work, with Steve driving the scoot,  begins to happen in the beautiful sunshiney days of late March and early April. However, with Steve's silly cross ambitions (not cross dressing) he needs to put in the work right about now-November, which you don't need Steve Pool to tell you that time of year is #freezing.

    Let me tell you about how the human body works. When you are exercising, your heart pumps blood through your veins and sends it alllll around. When blood runs inside of you, it gets warm because there is not much ventilation inside the human body. When blood gets warm, it touches your skin and your skin starts to get warm, and as a cooling mechanism, you sweat. See! It's like anatomy class all over again, and I'm pretty certain that I just accurately described what happens in the blood stream. Anyways, when you exercise, you get warm. But when you sit on a scooter driving 30mph in a slight mist in 40 degree weather, you literally begin to freeze like the characters in "The Day After Tomorrow". There is no exercise happening, just cramped up digits getting pulverized by the ALWAYS windy Lummi Reservation loop which means you come home from driving and cannot feel anything except deep sadness inside of your body.

    But lets be honest, I'm not going to bow my head in the face of adversity. Here is how I combat the arctic-scoot.

    Fantastic, once you get dressed to get going the real fun begins, and that involves starting the scooter.

    Curious? Here's what I wear-
    • SKINS suit top and bottom
    • Sean Worsech special baselayer
    • Jeans
    • Sweats
    • Wool Socks
    • Plastic bags on feet
    • Tshirt
    • Paper bag for wind protection (helps omgiggles so much)
    • One jacket
    • Another sweatshirt
    • Fleece puffy My Adidas jacket
    • Black Diamond Gloves
    • Ipod
    • Helmet
    Here are some other things that sometimes just need to be worn-
    • HSP Neck gaitor, pulled over face
    • Bright Yellow Pit Pants WITH suspenders
    • Matt's size 10 (two sizes to small) rain boots
    • Long Johns
    Now you know! Be a human, be a friend, be just plain ol' nice. And do it for money. Kidding


    Tuesday, October 11, 2011

    Analyzing Astute Aesthetics

    Apple, aardvark, Arkansas, analytical, abra-cadabra, alimony, anthropology, art, acreage, Alaska, apple. I just lost after 11 words- that's not very good. I read an article about a Savant that could "do calculations to 100 decimal places in his head, and learn a language in a week". Which is pretty crazy, I'd bet that he could come up with at least 14 "A"words before repeating one. Speaking of Savants, did you know that there is an athletic (A-word) type of savant?

    Anyways, I brought this up for no reason at all other than to display off memory the types of street-wear that students at Western Washington University are wearing. There are some really interesting styles and decisions being made by my peers, and since I have a 6-8 minute walk in between classes I have been able to astutely analyze. Aesthetically.

    Already you might be wondering why this matters. What importance does it have for me? Why would I engage in these observations? It's simple- because I'm a scholar. Someone told me that "the purpose for College isn't necessarily to take specific classes, it's to immerse yourself in many things and become a better human being because of it". So if I show up to Thanksgiving dinner like this, that's why!

    A normal day in Bellingham: Cloudy, windy, light rain, dark, and generally dreary out. The walkways of our campus are constructed with beautiful bricks, their color red like... bricks. The same bricks that were placed on top of marsh ground that when rained upon wiggles and shakes like a jello pie fresh from the box. These bricks sink into the ground, some protrude outwards, out of line, and out of place like one lone buck-tooth, desperately trying to grab at the feet of the unassuming student trudging along trying to get to the bus or make it to their next class. These bricks push and seep their way deeper into the marsh below, and on the surface the campus is left with gaping holes in the pathways where the water pools like a T-rex footprint in Jurassic Park. These holes fill with rain water, and as the campus sinks to Atlantis, our brave student population waits in class unaffected by the looming disaster that comes when their class finishes at :00, :30, :40, or :50.

    As the metaphorical bell rings, students emerge from classrooms. Here are some descriptions of my favorite Bellingham fashion statements:
    • The Robinson Crusoe:
      • This style represents Defoe's story quite well. For those unfamiliar, it's about a well-off man who shipwrecks on a desert island. He has to survive, live off the land, blah-blah. Interesting part- he loses his shoes in the swim to the island and has to live barefoot for awhile.
      • AKA Western Kids who wear completely normal clothing (I.E Jeans and a shirt), have a rain jacket on, and then top it off by walking around campus barefoot. I don't mean wearing the toe shoes that were made popular by monkeys in the early 1800s, I mean Barefoot as in the scrape your toes on the sidewalk but feel free kind of barefoot.
      • I just don't understand! It's raining, it's cold, and you're barefoot. Your jeans are soaked because you step in every single one of those puddles to soak your sore feet in cold water and the water works its way up your pant legs, making every step you take inside splash water everywhere.
    • The Jimmy Buffett
      • Jimmy Buffett just lives free, man. Face it, the man of sunshine just doesn't care when the WEATHER tries to get him down. Did you know that if you pretend long enough, everything changes to fit your mood? Yeah, it's called schizophrenia. 
      • And yes, WWU has it's fair share of Jimmy Buffett Schizophrenics who still believe that we attend school at USC. WRONG. 
      • Jeans, sandals, bro-tank, highlighter colored plastic Wayfarer sunglasses, and a Beanie (worn on 65 percent of your head). This way is nice because you still stay warm because of the jeans and the beanie, yet you are still Chill (did you get that Joke? Let me explain it. Chill as in cool, NOT chill is in the fact that you are inappropriately dressed therefore chilled and wet) because of the glasses, shirt and shoes.
    • The Ernest Shackleton
      • Ah yes, Ernest. The famed Explorer who just loved to get his ship stuck in cold places, namely the Antarctic. However, he did not freeze to death because he was prepared for the situations that he encountered. And students at WWU idolize this man.
      • The weather is 56 degrees, it is lightly raining, and there is a small breeze of 5-7 mph coming in from the West, blowing across from Orcas Island and Bellingham Bay into the faces of poor students who unknowingly pulled the Jimmy Buffett (see above) out of their closets that morning. But there is a hero, and that is the Ernest.
      • Rain boots, jeans, shirt, sweatshirt, vest, rain jacket, puffy coat, hat, scarf, umbrella, and gloves- you my friend are prepared for this weather. You are the person who LAUGHS and giggles at your peers as you walk right through the puddles on campus, protected by your impenetrable rubber ducky boots. Laugh at your peers wet feet as you slowly suffer from dehydration due to being incredibly thirstayyyy from the sheer quantity of clothes you are wearing. Laugh at your dry feet and hair as you mop the sweat from your eyes. Smile as you survive yet another blustery Pac NW Fall day.
    • The WTF?
      • So many things. So many. And that's what's so grrreat about College- Immersing yourself in many different things and becoming a better person for it.
    • The Ian Crane
      • Swag
      • But really, help. Ever since my parents moved out of my Laundry room I've worn the exact same thing every day. And that my friends is a cry for help. I call it the Jimrobinest Crubuffton and it's not too shabby. I'm really warm, but cool at the same time. Chill.

    Awesome fact that has nothing to do with style yet has everything to do with rainy day life on the WWU campus. As I previously explained, the bricks on campus go from flat to rolling drowning trap in no time at all. Because of this, there are three types of walkers.
    • The rain boots
      • Hey there! I have boots on, I'm going to walk straight to my next class. I am going to not look down at the ground and walk where my mind and Ipod take me, regardless if it's through that ankle high puddle. Because guess what? My feet are dry.
    • The dodgers/tiptoers/leapers
      • Oooooooo oh no! I've improperly prepared for the day, or I simply do not own waterproof waders. 
      • Looks like I have to dance around campus avoiding puddles so to not get my Sperrys wet! This dance is similar to this-
    • The not giving a ______ 
      • Here is definitely my favorite. Regardless of what style they rocked that day, these people are the Motorcycle Gang of the walking community.  Completely unconcerned with the dryness of their feet, these people walk as if they are wearing boots... But they're NOT? Hats off to the people who walk right through that puddle as their "friends" leave their sides to dance around. Y'all are the few unfazed by societies so called rules. Respect!
    Now you know. Your campus is probably similar! I mean look-

    Monday, October 10, 2011


    EVERYONE! Today is my sister's birthday. 10 10 10 10 10 10 is the date on the Mayan calendar, but for my non-Mayan readers it is October 10th. Now, everyone wish her happy birthday. GO!

    Anyways, I think everyone should know how cool T-Crane is. Most people for their birthdays do something cray cray: luxurious cruises, ride elephants, juggle flaming bowling pins, get crunk with the homies, rave like no other to worn-out cassette tapes of the Backstreet Boys, go to Wild Waves, play laser tag, fly in a hot air balloon, eat cake, pass out on the couch, wake up in a midst of candle smoke and wrapping paper scent, and finally, get free ice cream at Red Robin.

    But not Tela. Today, she is doing some crazy difficult fitness testing at the Home Depot Center. She packed up all her stuff, moved to LA, was homeless for awhile, found a home, spends all day at the track lifting weights and riding bikes with one gear, all because she fully committed to a goal. She is trying to get selected to race in the Olympic Games in 2012. Yes, you heard that right. Oh say can you see, everyone watch the F out. How cool is that? How many of you have dropped everything, regardless of the cost, both monetary and emotionally, to follow your deepest dreams? How many people are brave enough to completely change their lives, to zero in on a goal as daunting as the OLYMPIC GAMES?

    My friend Dan Harm said something that really strikes home. He said-

     "There're certain things you can be doing now you'll never be able to do later. Worrying about the future is a goddamned illusion. This is it".

    Everyone should look at their lives. Are you doing what you want to be doing?  Have you committed to a passion? Are you actually committed? People like Tela are god-damn inspiring, and I'm incredibly proud of her devotion and dedication to something so difficult. Regardless of the outcome, it is motivating and refreshing to see full commitment and I am happy that my sister is so cool.

    Even though keeling over from an effort or drinking recovery drink nauseatingly isn't really your typical birthday, what better way to celebrate than doing exactly what you want to be doing? Trading presents and elephant rides for Pinch-tests and motopacing isn't for everyone, but Tela is living for RIGHT NOW, and I admire that a lot.  I hope that everyone has someone to look up to as I do with my sister.

    Happy birthday T! Love you!

    PS, I didn't get you a present. Sorrrrry

    Monday, October 3, 2011

    Alternative Activities

    For approximately one and a half days, the offseason is fun. Then suddenly my life feels a whole lot less important. Not that me pedaling a bike around different states is important in the scheme of the world, but as an unemployed "student", racing and training gives me some definite purpose in my day-to-day. Not getting all DebbieDowner here or anything, just noting that this bike racing thing is pretty consuming, and I'm thankfully fully consumed by it. That was a weird sentence- with all the grammar experts I know I get a little self-conscious when I end a word with 'fully and have the next word be fully. And I probably used the dash wrong! I was going to write a sentence that had lots of ending and beginning similarities but all I could think of right now was "awesome some" and there are no sentences possible with that phrase. The interface face faced away. But anyways, the season ends and resting/recharging begins. Then you look for ways to occupy yourself in positive ways other then just laying around in your bed watching Netflix and drinking coffee. Here is my list!

    The season ended on September-something, and today is October-something. By my logic, it's been one month of offseason already, and it hasn't seemed that long! This means my methods have been successful.

    The first weekend of my break I would rate above a 12 on the 1-10 scale. Marissa, Grant, Jesse and myself decided to go camping in Mazama. Here are two false impressions I had about Mazama: That it is in Montana, and that it is near Leavenworth. Turns out that neither of those are true! I hadn't been camping in quite some time so naturally I went to REI and spent $2600 on a portable shower, gas stoves, insect repellent, and flannel shirts. I made the mistake of shaving (less warmth), but I counteracted that by finding my sleeping bag. Successful start to the weekend!

    At one point during the drive I got tasked to being DJ (much to Grant's dismay). Marissa's Ipod was like the Frat Music Throwback station and I was the retro DJ. It's shocking how many songs I know the words to from before 2000. True story- we were driving with the windows down and Jesse and I were demonstrating our knowledge of a certain homicidal song when a Producer from a record company heard us and offered us a deal. It was tempting, but I really wanted to go camping so I theatrically ripped up the contract and threw it into his face. Sorry Dre.
    Camping is a story where I am a hero on three different occasions. Hero 1- We arrived in Mazama and it was basically dark. We drove this incredibly bumpy road to get the campsite- So bumpy that I thought we were driving over speedbumps. I held all the spare change in the car- heroic, but that is not part of the list. We arrive at the campsite and set about getting the tent put up. Hero 1 is when I brought TWO flashlights, making it so many people could be helpful during the extreme home makeover. Hero 2- Everyone is hungry, and I pre-made a Pasta Salad. Dinner DONE.

    The great thing about camping is complete relaxation. Without clocks you pretty much go to sleep when you're ready for it and wake up whenever that time comes. So in summary, Friday night we were in the tent ready to be asleep by approximately 8:47 pm. Normally I'd guess the time by the location of the sun, but I'm sure you can see the problem here- There were two suns. So we set out to sleep, but then Jesse had a huge realization. Bears. We were safe with all our food and trash, but Jesse remembered the missing ingredient. Bears love Kiwis (the fruit, bears aren't native to New Zealand), and her shampoo was kiwi flavor-scented. Some bears came, and I snapped a picture. Luckily they weren't in the mood for kiwi last weekend.
    Saturday we went on a hike, Grant and I played baseball, we sat on a big rock in the river, ate more pasta salad, played a game, went to Winthrop, ate dinner with Bees, had a fire, collected firewood, got lost in the woods, and went to sleep. I know, really interesting. So I'm going to share some deets, mainly about the last three things on that list. We had a fire. Ok thing #2, we didn't have very appropriate wood for this fire, so we had to use lots and lots of mini sticks. Bigger than kindling, but smaller than dura-flame logs or the wood that is for show in electric fireplaces. So there were many trips into the vast wilderness for more sticks. Thing number 3, and also Hero 3. When it was passed being dark, we decided that it would be pretty cool to head back to the river and hang out on the rock and do nerdy things like look at constellations and analyze the crescent of the moon. Since there were so many trees over our campsite, the path formed by the river created the perfect opening in the tree-line for astronomy. We took the trek to the river, followed it to the rock, and hung out there for awhile. Then it was time to return, and turns out that things look different in the dark! We did some wandering. No one knew. We were lost in the woods forever like the Boxcar Children. And then I saw some familiar looking foliage, announced my discovery, and argued my case. Jesse agreed with me first, then Marissa. Grant, being a semi-hero, was in the process of looking for more firewood and was prepared to agree with us no matter what. And guess what? We made it! Survival- take that Bear Grylls.

    So that was our camping trip- here are the last couple pictures I snapped out there.
    Grant, Jesse, Marissa and I at our campsite.
    Picture from our hike
    OK, so that was activity one that has occupied me this break. Activity two involved airplanes, bike race spectating, mechanical engineering, and socializing. My mom and I flew down to LA to see Tela race at Elite Track Nationals. I was head mechanic, which meant I was doing all the derailleur adjusting and bike cleaning.

    I had pretty grand plans of taking lots of pictures with people I hadn't seen for awhile and posting them on here, but unlike my camping trip, I forgot to take pictures. Here is what I did do-
    • Used an air compressor to pump tires
    • Changed wheels and chainrings (LOL "derailleur" adjustment)
    • Carried wheels and track sack and bags and yeah
    • Got a shaker cup at an extreme bargain
    • Slept on the floor at Tela's palace
    • Sacrificed my health and safety when I got my wrist sliced by the ziptie on Tela's SRM mount while I was holding her for sprint rounds. Ignored the blood and swelling and yeah, survival of the fittest.
    • Celebrated Tela's Silver medal in the 500m TT!!!!!!
    • Offered tactical advice. Most of my sprinting advice involved taking them long and using the distance to her advantage. Smartly, she ignored my advice.
    • Had lunch at Catalina Coffee Company twice. Tela had to get my sandwich for me because I was afraid.

    • And  everyone needs to answer this question. Comment, post on FB, Tweet me, whatever! As long as you answer. I expect as many responses as page views, so don't be shy!
    Opinions? If 1 person laps the field in a 60 lap track race, does that person do 61 laps, does the field do 59, or do both do 60?

    Please help Ian Moir and I out.

    Now the offseason is winding down, and it's back to the work soon. Today, I meet up with an old friend. Who is an asshole.