How to Do Many Unrelated Things

02.13.2006 | 3:29 pm

You know, I had something I was going to post last Friday. Seriously, I did. I was writing during my lunch hour when stuff started happening, which prevented posting the aforementioned post. 

I shall now tell you the story of what happened.


How to Suddenly Find Yourself with Time to Ride

It was my lunch hour. I was just typing. Seriously, that’s all I was doing. Just typing along. Then without warning (I wonder what form the warning would have taken, had there been one), the LCD went white. Then it went magenta. Then it went into a sort of interstitial dance of random pixeliciousness.

 “Hey, look at the fireworks I’m getting!” I called out to Brad, who works in the adjoining office.

“Very nice,” said Brad. “Have you saved recently?”

The answer to that questions is in fact, “Yes, I actually developed the habit of saving at the end of each sentence back when I worked at WordPerfect, and that habit has served me well.”

In this case, though, it wouldn’t have mattered if I had developed the habit of saving after each vowel. The motherboard’s toast. I’ll get the hard drive back in a couple of days. We’ll see what survived then.

“Hey Brad, it’s a nice day out. Did you bring your bike to work?”

“As a matter of fact, I did.”

“How about a ride around Lake Sammamish?”


How to Help a Teenage Driver Feel Better About Herself After She Hits You With Her Car

You know what’s great? Leaving work early on a Friday afternoon, guilt-free, to go on a ride. And even though it’s February, it’s warm enough that you can ride with shorts and a long-sleeve jersey.

And besides, Brad and I spent at least a third of the ride talking about work, so it actually qualified as a highly-productive meeting.

Brad’s new to road riding, and so I tended to lead a little bit on the climbs. Which turned out to be a good thing for Brad, because as I rode past the Thompson Hill Road intersection on my right, a car rolled through the stop sign, turning right, and clipped my rear wheel.

I swerved wildly, corrected, swerved again, corrected, and then just wobbled a bit. I rolled to a stop, threw up my arms in a “Hey, you just hit me!” gesture. No, not that gesture. Really. Ask anyone who knows me if they’ve ever seen me do that gesture.

The car pulled over, and the most embarrassed, penitent, remorseful teenage girl in the world ran over, apologizing at — let’s face it — a comical rate.

“I can’t believe I did that,” she said. “I am so stupid. I could have totally killed you if you had been a half-second slower. Let me buy you a new wheel. Your wheel’s OK? Are you sure? Let me buy you a new one anyway. Oh, I can’t believe I did that.”

I am confident she is still apologizing.

So here’s the thing. This is the third time I’ve had a close encounter on a road bike, but by the time I parted ways, I was laughing. I can’t stay mad at someone who admits they made a mistake.

‘Course, I may have managed to stay angry if she had rolled over my leg, even with the apologies.


How to Ride Over Lots and Lots of Logs

On Saturday, I finally got to go back to Soaring Eagle Park to check out a little more of what I have been missing for the past couple years.

Yeah, the purple dotted lines represent the singletrack network. 627 acres of it. This is half a mile from my house.

Sorry, I’m still kicking myself over not having ridden this ’til now.

In shorts and short-sleeved jersey, I went on a three-hour ride, just seeing if I could cover all the singletrack in that park.

As I rode, I followed these self-imposed rules:

  1. Avoid doubling back on yourself if at all possible. Crisscross all over the place, but never turn around.
  2. When there’s a log in the trail, ride it. Even if you don’t think it’s rideable.

I obeyed the first rule until I found what must be the best section in the whole network, and found myself thinking, “Too bad I can’t double back on that and see what it’s like going in the opposite direction.” At which point I recalled the mountain biking prime directive: “Have fun.”

I smacked my head, turned around, and rode that section in the other direction.

Just as good.

The second rule — ride all the logs — taught me a lot. Specifically, I learned that the real trick to riding over logs is to just keep pedaling, even after you think you’re going to fall. In fact, make that especially when you think you’re going to fall. ‘Cuz right at that point where you’re high-centered and feeling all unnatural-like, if you keep pedaling you’ll probably clean  the log. If you stop pedaling, you’ll fall over sideways.

By the end of the ride, I was a better cyclist. How often do you get to say that?


How to Sabotage Your Diet So Completely that a New Law of Physics is Named After You

I started Friday morning at 169.0. Basically, by going totally hardcore for half a week, I managed to lose the weight I needed to meet my goal. When I got home from riding around 45 miles Friday, though, I was hungry. It wasn’t the kind of hungry that a meal fixes, either. It was the kind of hungry that makes you wander around the kitchen, stuffing things from the fridge and pantry into your mouth while you wait for the microwave to finish. Did you know that it’s possible to eat most of a bag of chocolate chips in less than five minutes? Did you know that saltine crackers taste great dipped in peanut butter? Did you know that saltine crackers with a little piece of cheese on them also taste great dipped in peanut butter?

Is there anything that doesn’t taste great with peanut butter?

Once I had blown it so utterly before dinner, I had an, “Oh well, today’s shot, may as well enjoy it” attitude and just kept eating. I figured I’d go back to the diet on Saturday morning.

I did not go back on the diet Saturday.

Nor on Sunday.

And it’s not like I just didn’t diet. I anti-dieted. I ate all the junk I’ve been avoiding. And I ate monster portions of everything. Very clever.

I did not weigh myself today, because I am terrified of what I might find. I’ll weigh myself tomorrow and set a new goal, and will absolutely be more disciplined next weekend.

Unless, of course, I’m not.


PS: How to Give Credit Where Credit’s Due

When, last week, I said that Carb-Boom’s apple-cinnamon energy gel tastes just like McDonald’s apple pie filling, I should have mentioned that my riding bud Eric Gunnerson told me this exact thing about a year ago. I just didn’t believe him. Well, he was right.

Eric is, by the way, currently engaged in an interesting new blog project called Explanations, wherein he moderates an ongoing inquiry into what the cute little sayings on the inside of Dove’s candy wrappers mean.

And for that reason, I am changing my rating of Eric from “Evil Genius” to “Evil, Whimsically Misguided Genius.”


PPS: See this Movie if You Have Four-Year-Old Kids

I took the twins to see the Curious George movie over the weekend. As a person who loved Curious George books as a kid, I thought this was a great re-imagining of the Curious George story, especially how instead of having the man in the big yellow hat capture and remove George from his home it has George steal aboard the boat. Also, at long last, we get an explanation for the yellow outfit and hat.

Seriously, I enjoyed the movie. My four-year-old girls did, too.

And I ate the maximum amount of popcorn allowed under Washington State laws.


  1. Comment by Unknown | 02.13.2006 | 4:38 pm

    So you got a refill on the Behemoth Bucket of popcorn?

  2. Comment by Tyler | 02.13.2006 | 4:59 pm

    Woah.Friday was both a great day for riding, and for being hit by cars.
    I got hit by a car, too, on Friday, only mine completely destroyed my ride, yet somehow I came through with only bumps, bruises, scrapes, road rash, more bruises, and some bumps.
    Read all about it on my blog, which MSN won’t let me <A HREF> to here.
    Crazy stuff, eh?

  3. Comment by Zed | 02.13.2006 | 5:11 pm

    Wasn’t it Botched who pointed out that you tended to gain more on weekends? Perhaps I’m the deranged one: I’ve never, ever, ever been hungry enough to just sit and scarf chocolate chips. Sick.

  4. Comment by Unknown | 02.13.2006 | 5:15 pm

    what i remember most about reading curious george books to my kids was that i hated the prose, hated the tense, and hated that george was so excited to live in his new home at the zoo (so much better than the jungle). so a fun exercise was to try to change the tense and plot of every book i read to my kids, on the fly.
    turns out curious george is easier to do that with than, say, tolkien. or henry james.

  5. Comment by Tom Stormcrowe | 02.13.2006 | 5:23 pm

    What doesn’t taste good with peanut butter? Nothing! We have a restaurant in West Lafayette called the Triple XXX!~ Thet serve a burger called the Duane G Purvis All American, named after the Purdue Football All American Duane Purvis! This hamburger has Creamy peanut butter and sweet relish on it! It actually tastes great! If you are ever in West Lafayette, try it!

  6. Comment by Unknown | 02.13.2006 | 5:42 pm

    I could have totally killed you
    Ha ha ha.  Or like totally just crippled you, you know.  Ha ha.  Omahgod!  I think I’d have reacted substantially worse than you did, pal. 
    As for the diet thing… we must have been separated at birth before our gypsy mother sold us for a pound of paprika.  I did the same thing this weekend with the food.  I don’t know why, but I had a terrible case of the a$$ all weekend, and took it out on the local foodstocks.  My toddler mostly avoided me, my wife kept hitting the bear with a stick, and I ate pretty much constantly, only taking time out to sleep and shower, and to buy more food.  Urgh.  Could have something to do with the bad weather screwing up my riding and making my joints ache, could just be I’m a gluttonous jerk.  Hard to say.  All I know is there is a lot of room in the pantry now.   

  7. Comment by Unknown | 02.13.2006 | 5:45 pm

    ok, let’s break down this word diet ala michael
    keaton in night shift as bill blazejowski.
    d.i.e.t. ok, the first three letters are die
    and that alone is reason enough not to do it.
    then we have t. and that stands for trash so,
    we’ll just throw that one away. so, quit with this
    diet what you want and ride as often as
    your twins,wife,job and social obligations allow.
    take three advils and call me after lunch.

  8. Comment by Unknown | 02.13.2006 | 5:46 pm

    With your hefty product endorsement fees and general Fatty Fame do you intend to buy that notch of property that makes the map of Soaring Eagle Regional Park look like an LP from the cutout bin?
    Whoops, I’m showing my age here, perhaps I should say a floppy disk with an uncovered write protect notch. . .yeah, like that helped.

  9. Comment by tayfuryagci | 02.13.2006 | 5:55 pm

    anti-diet? sounds like my kinda weekend. seriously I anti-dieted with a huge pizza with a huge pizza yesterday after half a week of serious dieting. Guess it wasn’t a pretty sight, my parents watched me roll the jalapeno and salami pizza, put stuffing in it and gobble it down with a liter of pepsi. so much for the MTB XC season starting.

  10. Comment by Unknown | 02.13.2006 | 7:35 pm

    C’mon fattie!You have the gall to claim that you caught Serial Ctrl+S Disorder from WordPerfect? You intimate that there’s no reason to do so anymore but that it’s a habit you can’t break? You are SUCH a Softie. Even their Marketing Reps show a little more honesty than that. I suspect you’ve been downing the complimentary purple Kool Aide at an even greater rate than you’re scarfing movie popcorn.I’m a tech writer, too, but my contract doesn’t require me to make our software feel Really Special About Itself. On the other hand, props to you for keeping upright and, perhaps moreso, wearing shorts on Saturday! It was COLD down here in Oly.Kris

  11. Comment by barry1021 | 02.13.2006 | 8:26 pm

    Well i cannot ride like FC, but at least I don’t save at the end of every line, What a wuss!!
    Ending a diet with the <control S> anti-diet is bad (I am getting more convinced that we are destined to eat an exact amount of <control S> calories in our lifetime, and dieting just causes us to change the timing thereof), but STARTING a diet with the anti-diet is worse. It’s the "I might as <control S> well eat this whole pizza myself tonight because tomorrow, it’s watercress and flaxseed…". Then, of course, tomorrow never comes.
    <control S>

  12. Comment by jim | 02.13.2006 | 8:55 pm

    You always make me feel better about blowing my diet on the weekend.  Now if you would just make me feel better about not riding in cold weather, we would have an excellent friendship.

  13. Comment by BIg Mike In Oz | 02.13.2006 | 9:37 pm

    I was nearly finished off by a car on Saturday.  Actually a procession of about 15 cars.  I was riding along the highway and needed to go past an interchange but the cars using the off-ramp were bumper to bumper.  So I took the off ramp and then waited for a gap to U-turn and get back on the highway.  Car number 20something was indicating allowing me to assume they were turning and further assuming there would be a gap in the traffic.  So I turned through the gap that wasn’t there because apparently their indicator had been flashing incessantly for half an hour or more and meant nothing.  They did however manage to stop before hitting me and accepting my mouthful of anti-praise for their amazing lack of driving skill.

  14. Comment by Fat Cyclist | 02.13.2006 | 10:49 pm

    botched – no, i showed remarkable restraint, through the medium of not getting a popcorn refill. instead, i just stuck my face into the barrell and licked out the butter grease goo.
    argentius – wow, your wreck made my little ding seem like nothing. which, mostly, it was. btw, while you can’t type html into the comments field here, you can link, using the comment toolbar. for example, i linked to your blog at the beginning of this paragraph.
    caloi – you haven’t lived until you’ve upended a bag of chocolate chips into your mouth and not stopped pouring until your cheeks puffed out like a chipmunks.
    dug – yeah, i do the same thing with the twins. i’m guessing ron howard must’ve had similar problems with the books, because a lot of that is gone in the movie, while keeping the charm of the illustrations. the only thing i didn’t like in the movie was when they’d supplement the traditional cel-type animation with 3-d computer animations. the two just don’t go well together, in my book.
    stormcrowe – peanut butter on a burger? why not? i’ll try it.
    al – i had the right to be much angrier than i was. the thing is, i just don’t get that angry. i have lack-of-anger management issues. and you notice how once you screw up a diet, going into a full-on food gorging diet tailspin is almost inevitable? it’s like a dam breaking, to hop metaphors.
    bikemike – that’s good advice, if i want to start riding in the clydesdale class.
    keepyerbag – ahhhh. you’re talking about the watertower. no, i’m not buying that, but i am buying the rights to paint a giant billboard advertising my blog on it. because, as you note, i make so much money with this blog.
    tayfur – you know, i expected that you’d be gorging on something different in turkey. turns out pizza is the universal food of fatty bikers, eh?
    kris – you have the gall to claim i have gall? i’ve been advocating very frequent saves ever since i was a customer support operator back at wp.
    barry – tomorrow isn’t coming? well, in that case, i’m having burritos tonight.
    theEdge – riding in the cold sucks bad. you should never feel bad about skipping a ride in the cold, and should feel superheroic anytime you go ahead and brave the elements. feel better?
    mike – i tell you, these things come in threes. you, me, and argentius last weekend, so the world’s safe again.

  15. Comment by A Dawn Tinsley | 02.13.2006 | 11:22 pm

    "It was the kind of hungry that makes you wander around the kitchen, stuffing things from the fridge and pantry into your mouth while you wait for the microwave to finish."
    I thought I was the only one…

  16. Comment by Jim | 02.14.2006 | 1:52 am

    Yikes, five boxes of Thin Mints delivered by the local girl scout…can’t eat just one (box)!

  17. Comment by Unknown | 02.14.2006 | 11:18 am

    I was supposed to take KIDS to that movie?  Hmmm. 


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