Some loosely associated ideas that have been camping in my head.
I like Twitter. I remember when I first heard about the service, it was during a real face-to-face conversation outside of a popular Indian restaurant. I wasn’t a big fan of the idea at first, I felt like it didn’t really provide a new or interesting channel for communication, and that it would likely be consumed by superfluous socializing a la Myspace.
It wasn’t until I actually started twittering that I found value in the service it provides. The “micro-blogging” format allows for easily composed (140 characters or less) and readily consumed (online or via mobile) points of information about people. Each of these little bite-size facts about a person can not only provide entertainment and camaraderie, but also help to form a better image of who that person is.
When you know someone really well, it can be as if you have a relatively accurate model of their behaviors in your head. You can make predictions about how they would respond to certain situations. This model is built upon all of the interactions you’ve had with that person; each experience can be likened to a single point within a constellation.
The more experiences you have involving this person, the more points you can plot into the space of who they are. Shapes and volumes take form, and you can anticipate what kinds of reactions fall within or without of the likely range of their behavior. When they do something unexpected, the new outlier point of information changes the shape of their constellation.
Hopefully, the more points of information or experience you have, the closer your model of that person comes to representing reality. For example, I feel like the model of my brother that lives in my head is fairly accurate. I know it is likely only as good as it needs to be to fool me, but it’s probably one of the most accurate models I have.
One thing I’ve always found very attractive, and I’m sure I’m not alone in this, is when a person surprises you by being sharper, braver, more talented, or more quick-witted than you thought they were. These little surprises are wonderful, and they extend the shape of constellations in a good way. The shape extends in the direction of respectability, or beneficence, or some other admirable quality. Of course, the same can be said for points of information that reveal the shape of someone’s character to be less appealing.
In closing, They Might Be Giants.
Just Don't Care About Anything.
Notice the new look of the blog? I like it much better than the previous theme, it’s much simpler and lower maintenance for me. With all of the complexities available on these internets, it’s very easy for me to lose sight of why I write this damn thing. As friend Q relates, things are often much easier if you just don’t care about anything.
Now, more writing about riding.
Today is day five back on the bike. It’s also the first day that I haven’t gotten up at dawn to ride an hour before work.
The view in Upper Bidwell Park around 8am.
Riding my bike doesn’t just feel good, it also improves everything else that isn’t riding. When I get to work I have more energy, and the day doesn’t start to drag in the afternoon. I have more of an appetite, double dinners please. When I play guitar I work myself into a sweat. I feel like a battery that’s been charging for months.
Yesterday after work I left town heading North. The sun was passing behind the Coastal Ranges before I got to the airport, and the sky was stained for most of the ride.
Coming back towards Chico in the dark was at times a little sketchy. I almost lost the bike on some unseen gravel on Eaton road, and seconds later got a phone call from a friend in New York.
Why are you breathing so hard?
I’m riding my bike, just almost crashed, gravel.
Please stop trying to hurt yourself!
I’m not going to try to stop hurting myself. I’m just going to make sure that I do it in tiny doses over the course of many miles.
I want to write so many things, but I haven’t had much time. I’ve been too busy riding my bike.
Last Thursday I went for what was hopefully my last visit to the orthopedist. They said my x-rays were good, and that my current strength and flexibility make physical therapy. The best thing to do, they said, is to ride my bike and strengthen my quad. It was the best possible news. After work I stripped parts from my three incomplete bikes to assemble a single functioning ride.
My knee gives me no trouble at all when riding, but I can feel it get a little stressed when standing or climbing, so I’m sticking to the flats for now. Yesterday morning I rode my preferred loop through the park, about 15 miles round trip. Familiar sensations assaulted me. The way legs can loosen up, the feeling extending from the hip and wrapping around the thigh and calf like long warm fingers. The sound of my tires, the hiss of a well oiled chain, the I missed it.
Last night I rode to Brad’s house, a trip that would otherwise require a bus or car, and was re-initiated into the bike gang. I watched Quinn finish building his polo fixe, and applied generous leather treatment to my new saddle. Along with Ryan, the four of us rode to dinner, and the entire time I felt as though a great weight had been lifted from me.
It’s taken me a couple days to decompress from my trip to Portland. Visiting my brother was really wonderful, and I feel like I get to see him grown in some new way every time I see him. I think we both agree that we’re turning into cool adult brothers, just like we imagine our father and uncle were in their mythical twenties.
It was reassuring that our relationship didn’t devolve into petty or asinine bickering, the way it can when we’re both around our parents. In fact, we both recognized that between us we share a diction that is highly specific, condensed, and interesting (to us at least). I don’t remember the exact details of the conversations he and I had while I was there, but I know I couldn’t have had them with anyone else. In this spirit, the two of us made tentative plans to go in on a joint blogging venture, some kind of dueling keyboards scenario. Hopefully we’ll be able to get the project rolling shortly.
We went to see the Oregon-centric handmade bike show that is Manifest on Saturday, and then caught the final dozen laps of a ‘cross race through a torn down insane asylum on Sunday. Unfortunately, only a few of my photos from the trip came out decently. Luckily, pdxcross.com took plenty of classy photos of both Oregon Manifest and the Villebois CX race.
Upon wise suggestion I’ve been listening to more Sufjan Stevens lately. The song You Are The Rake from A Sun Came! is easily my favorite so far.
North By Rail.
Last night was filled with excitement. After watching bike polo I went to dinner with friends and talked with fervor of how to nurture the growing bicycle culture in Chico. After much excitement and plates of pasta I went home and packed the bare minimum for a five day trip. I loathe having to carry un-necessities on my person, so I tried to restrict my load to a few articles of clothing, laptop, camera, and an unread book.
The Coastal Starlight #14 was a little over half an hour late getting to Chico, finally arriving at half past two in the morning. I had warm company at the station and was seen off with a bag of snacks and a kiss on the cheek, almost enough to make me stay.
Trains being so much more capacious and comfortable than cars, busses, or airplanes, I had no trouble finding a comfortable position and falling asleep as we rolled through the dark. When I woke up we were passing either Mount Shasta or Lassen, I’m not sure which, but the peak was clouded in deep gray clouds. A light layer of snow on the ground gradually thickened as the train traced the Coastal and Sierra Nevada mountain ranges to their meeting grounds.
Crossing the Willamette river we bisected the path of a small rowboat crewed by two fishermen. One waved while the other held up his catch, a fish the length of my forearm. In Eugene a group of kindergartners waved in unison as their teacher pointed to our passing train cars. In Albany a young boy on a trampoline waved each time he hopped into view from behind the picket fence of his backyard.
My knee doesn’t take kindly to resting bent for hours on end, so I pace up and down the length of seven Superliner cars every two hours or so. I’ve walked as far as passengers are allowed to on this train, from the caboose to the lounge car, through the dining car and to the lonely arcade on the lower level of car three. Maybe the other passengers think I’m planning an early escape? Bag over shoulder, through the emergency exit window!
We’re an estimated half hour from Portland now. My brother, bodacious bikes, and other northwesterly friends await, and I am a happy traveling boy.
Come Down Showers.
Rain has returned to Chico, and after a few months baking in the sun it’s exciting. Hot soups taste better, sweaters are welcome again, and light everywhere has changed. Moments after getting home and sitting in my new (used) comfy reading chair the sound of rain on my windows put me to sleep. I haven’t been getting much sleep lately, but I’ve made a nice new friend.
Raining In My Heart