Sunday, October 31, 2010


We played dress-up at a party last night; Jen went as Zorro, Beth was Santa’s Little Whore, I masqueraded as Dame Edna Everage, and Mimi changed costumes at least three times, going first as a Siamese Twin with her buddy, then later, briefly dressing as a girl, until finally settling on a beard, flannel shirt, and feed cap to go as your generic redneck cousin, although some drunk guy at the fête insisted that she had to be Fidel Castro.

A good time was had by all, I think, as befits an occasion where you get to drink and dance and pretend to be somebody else. After a few beers, I got pretty into character and found myself able to toss off a few subversive observations I’d never have been able to were I not wearing a wig and a dress.

Oddly, even though the party was loaded with theater people, lots of them had no idea who I was supposed to be and apparently, I may have even annoyed a couple of the “professional” drag queens who were at the party with my affected voice and saucy mannerisms. Alas, no harm intended and I hope we’ll still be invited back next year.

Being as myopic as I am, I’ve always got to build my costume around the glasses; a few years ago, I went as Carol Channing, turning an old pair of spectacles into fabulous eyewear with glitter and hot glue; more recently, I dressed up as Homer Simpson’s neighbor, Ned Flanders, which was a big mistake: never go to a party as somebody so boring was the lesson I learned that time.

Somebody last night thought that I was Phyllis Diller which gave me my idea for next year’s costume; I just checked out old videos of here on YouTube; apparently she didn’t wear glasses, but I don’t think that’ll stop me. All I need is a cigarette holder, a miniskirt, and I’ll be set.

Saturday, October 30, 2010


The evening immediately got better once Axl Rose changed into Winnie-the-Pooh.

Not that it had been all that bad so far, cavorting with the Cookie Monster and some sort of dragon/alligator/dinosaur thing with a healthy appetite for Pabst Blue Ribbon and even though it seemed like a relatively sparse crowd on such pleasant night, all things considered, for costuming up and pedaling off, Cookie Monster himself said it best when he described the assembled as a “lean, mean, problem-causing machine,” and it certainly seemed like that at the first two places we tumbled into, initially, a joint pretty much empty except for a drunk guy who wanted nothing better than to repeatedly toast his whisky glass into the balled-up paper tits of my own Sixties-folksinger-from-London’s-Carnaby-Street drag (call me “Donna, Donna Linda”) outfit and then next, what someone referred to as a “handbag party” at store that apparently sells boiled wool and polar fleece outfits to outdoorsy people who like to drive cars to spots at which they can don expensive gear and recreate until Sunday night when they motor back to the Eastside, but at which we were pretty much immediately asked to leave from unless, as the owner told me, we were prepared to buy some stuff, not, though she added to sound crass about it—as if “crass” might be an attitude that would bother someone who then spent the next half hour outside her store stealing sips from other people’s beers and cracking up as the Dinosaur sucked helium from pilfered balloons and flirted with bypassing coeds in a high-pitched pigeon Spanish while Pooh stayed in good humor at least until his supply of suds ran low.

Then it was back uphill to more or less where we’d come downhill from where Donna Linda arrived first, drank alone somewhat abashedly until others arrived, and then headed off, flower print dress waving in the wind, singing “Michael Row the Boat Ashore” all the way home.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I don’t believe in ghosts (except ghost bikes, of course.)

The idea of disembodied spirits hanging around in graveyards and empty bedrooms doesn’t make sense to me; consciousness, to my way of thinking, is entirely a product of the biological organism that produces it; when the body stops working, so does the mind.

It’s sad, in a way, to think this, since it means my dearly departed mom and dad are really gone; there’s no chance I’ll see them emerging from the shadows on some long dark night of the soul (or if I do, then I’ll have to assume, as does Ebenezer Scrooge when he first meets the specter of his dead colleague, Jacob Marley, that their images are just a product of dyspepsia, a piece of undigested tofu probably in my case).

On the other hand, it can be comforting to not have to worry that evil spirits are out there waiting around to scare the living daylights out of me by rattling chains or moving chairs around or whatever it is that they do to frighten people and it sure made my ride home last night in the dark and wind less creepy in spite of everything else conspiring to make the experience as spooky and gothic as possible.

The moon was rising behind spidery-armed trees into a mist floating above the lake; an afternoon windstorm had littered the trail with broken twigs and bark, and the remnants of the bluster made the leafless branches of maples reach out to grab at me as I rode by. A vast murder of crows assembled, cawing and clattering as I passed through the wetlands behind Husky Stadium; all that what missing was some scary organ music to complete the scene.

If there were such a thing as ghosts, they’d definitely have been out, but I’m not sure I’d have been any more freaked to see one; there’s a limit to just how spooked you can be.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Last week, the President of the United States of America was in town, stumping for the senior incumbent senator of the great state of Washington, Patty Murray; among other events, he was scheduled to speak at the U of W’s basketball stadium, the Hec Edmondson Pavilion, a location I ride past almost daily on my way to school.

Fucking A if the traffic wasn’t terrible; the cops had closed off a number of streets around campus, while at the same time, more people than usual were on their ways over there; I got to be even more smug than usual as I passed over the freeway seeing the long lines of cars all backed up in both directions, but even more to the point, I just had to wonder—as I’m often wont to do—about why folks put up with such shit. While I’m patently aware that there are myriad ways that people choose to live their lives and, to some degree, no better ways of doing so apart from the perspective of the person making that choice (although I’m enough of an Aristotelian to question that by holding to some relatively objective notion of human flourishing), I do have to admit that it confounds me as to why anyone would choose to sit in a car behind an endless line of similarly entombed drivers when they could pedal freely in the open air as an alternative.

What was also cool was that I got to cruise around behind Husky Stadium on streets that were closed off with sawhorses; I wondered whether I was breaking the law and if Secret Service men would leap out of the shrubbery to prevent me from making my way forward. But no such eventually ensued and I enjoyed a pleasant ramble on car-free streets while at the same time savoring the experience of seeing thousand of Obama supporters queuing up to catch of glimpse of the POTUS.

Bikes for President!

Friday, October 22, 2010


We are told by the world in which we live that the latest new thing is always the greatest new thing. Faster computers, more complicated cellphones, a new and improved way to consume fried grease: whatever’s been most recently developed, using the fanciest contemporary technology is better.

And it’s not like I’m a total Luddite; I shave with a four-blade razor if truth be told—although I haven’t gone all the way to the one with the battery power within.

Still, it does seem to me that, in some cases, new features don’t really represent improvements; manufacturers get to a point in product development where the existing state-of-the-art really is state-of-the-art, and anything else to be added or changed just goes sideways, not necessarily up.

I think this is the case when it comes to a number of different pieces of bicycle technology; no one has really improved upon the handlebar in the last thirty years (even if you can get lighter ones than ever) and it doesn’t seem to me like derailers (especially front derailers) can be made to work better, either.

But the one bike part that I really think reached its apogee a couple decades ago is the seven/eight speed Shimano XT (or Deore, even) thumbshifter, by far and away my favorite shifting system for upright handlebar bikes. Set them in friction mode (as I have on the Hunqapiller) and you’ve got what’s (to my mind, anyway), the perfect way of changing gears on your bike, far superior to any of the trigger or gripshift systems that have come along since them.

What I like best about thumbies is how you can run through your cogs simply by pushing one way with your thumb and then the other by drawing back on your pointer finger. It seems to me that most natural of shifting motions, one that hasn’t been improved upon by any of the latest systems, even though bike product developers keep trying.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Right-thinking people this baseball post-season will find themselves in one of those quandaries that occasionally confront the fan who follows the game but isn’t a natural rooter for any of the teams involved; like the vegetarian dining at the steakhouse whose only choice is the soggy baked potato or the overcooked broccoli, we are forced to throw our allegiances behind what would in most situations be rejected out-of-hand. I speak, of course, of the American League Championship Series in which we face the conundrum of pulling either for the hated New York Yankees or the despicable Texas Rangers, both options being—to carry the food metaphor a bit further—extremely difficult to swallow if not downright vomit-inducing.

If rooting for the Yankees is like, as the old quote goes, rooting for US Steel (although today you’d probably want to substitute some contemporary high-tech monolith like Google or Microsoft in its stead), then rooting for the Texas Rangers is like rooting for British Petroleum or Exxon-Mobil, what with the team’s historical ties to none other than that oiliest of oilmen, onetime president of the club and onetime President with a club, George W. Bush.

Anyone with taste will always have despised the Bronx Bombers: their bloated payroll stocked with stars whose bloated egos barely fit in their bloated ballpark; the fans whose expectations of success has them booing their team for doing anything less than winning it all; even I, who make no claims whatsoever to a proper appreciation for the finer things have always hated them—probably by osmosis from my dad who was a proper Brooklyn Dodgers support; but it’s also the case that refined palettes will likewise detest the Rangers just—I dunno—on the simple principle that any club that was willing to pay Alex Rodriguez 150 million dollars (in 1997 dollars) over 10 years deserves our undying scorn.

Fortunately, the National League Championship series offers an antidote: Tim Lincecum and his SF Giants.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Everything outside is dying; but it’s all expiring so beautifully.

The maple trees are on fire; our dogwood is drooping with a courtly bow; even the bamboo is losing its leaves as if spending coins from a tattered purse. And yesterday, I saw a flattened roadkill squirrel smeared with tattered bark so that it looked like an organic Jackson Pollack painted by a bi-polar Mother Nature.

Why can’t human beings be like this when we pass away? Why can’t I turn a fiery red before I shuffle off my mortal coil? Wouldn’t it be cool if I dropped appendages like leaves in my dying days so that I could fertilize the ground beneath my feet? Wouldn’t it be grand if my final days were marked by the kind of dying brilliance I saw all around me as I rode through sun-splashed streets this afternoon?

I’ve made peace (sort of) with the fact that I’m moving into the autumn of my own life (well, late August, anyway); what I’m not so cool with is the aesthetic part; I wish my not-so-gentle going into that good night didn’t have to be ugly. It’s too late for me to die young and leave a beautiful corpse; I wouldn’t mind, though, if my aged stiff didn’t look like something the cat dragged in.

Part of the thing that makes fall so poignantly beautiful, I think, is that we know the winter that comes after it will be followed by spring, so whatever ugliness that’s in store ahead is tempered by the knowledge that it’s only temporary. When it comes to our own demise, though, we’re aware that the downhill slide never heads back up so it can’t help appearing worse than it really looks.

Additionally, there are all sorts of delights available to us in October, for instance, that aren’t necessarily at hand when we’re heading for the grave: the World Series, Halloween, and, of course, pumpkin beer from the Elysian.

Friday, October 15, 2010


Jen and I went to Town Hall Seattle to hear one of our favorite contemporary writers, Michael Cunningham, read from his new book, By Nightfall. The event was surprisingly sparsely attended (for someone whose won a fucking Pulitzer Prize for gawd’s sake) and the ratio of pudgy gray-haired folks to (what I expected more of his fan base to be) hot young gay dudes was infinity (my math skills tell me that since there were none of the latter and many of the former, this would be the result.)

Nevertheless, it was a lovely and moving evening, and Mr. Cunningham was as charming in person as he is in prose: thoughtful, witty, self-deprecating, and disarmingly honest, just like some of the characters in his books—although he did claim, in the question-and-answer period, that he doesn’t write autobiographically, although he draws from his own experience.

I asked him whether he intentionally sets out to develop the metaphorical symbols that appear in his books; in By Nightfall, for instance, the main character, Peter, a gallery owner, is exhibiting some works that feature a waxed covering over what the artist claims are beautiful paintings underneath; at one point, one of the coverings is accidentally ripped and Peter gets to see what’s hidden; it turns out to be sophomoric and poorly-rendered; this seems to illustrate (at least it did for me) at least one of the themes the novel explores regarding our lives and the unseen parts of them; Cunningham said that he never decides beforehand what he’s going to write; he just sits down during the first draft and essentially lets the novel speak for itself; it’s not until the “crucial second draft,” he said, that he goes through and begins to understand what he’s got and if it’s worth keeping.

He said he throws out at least a novel’s worth of work for every novel he writes. Huh; only took me 337 words to get down to this.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


It’s been more than two years since I bought a new bike. (Well, that’s if you don’t include the triple tandem I purchased last year—but that was for the family!)

That might not seem like a very long time to some people; and even for me, it’s a fast turnaround since, the only reason—well, the main reason—I bought my most recent one, the Tournesol, was to replace one that was stolen, the Rambouillet; before that it had been almost five years since my preceding bicycle purchase—(unless you count the 10 dollars I spent on picking up the Trek 420 at a garage sale).

But when I started up the trailer business, I knew I wanted to have a “company car,” a bike that was really optimized for hauling and so when Rivendell announced their new model, the Hunqapiller (a Wooly Mammoth bicycle), I knew I had to have it even though another discretionary bike purchase runs somewhat counter to my aspirations to be less of a consumer, a goal that I seem to be much better at when it comes to not spending thirty bucks on a new pair of jeans than spending more than forty times that much on a new bike frame.

I put down my cash for it last spring and have been waiting patiently (more or less) ever since; originally, I was supposed to get the frame in late June, but it just showed up about two weeks ago.

I built it up mostly from stuff I had lying around in my parts bin, although I did splurge on a new set of wheels from 2020 Cycle. I finally put to use an old Ritchy Logic triple crank that I originally bought for another bike and I took most of the cockpit off the 420 bike, the rest of which I sold to a friend.

It’s a total balloon-tire ride, cushy and stable, just right for pulling a trailer.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Tuesdays this quarter are the busy days; I teach two classes, one in the morning at my fulltime job as a tenured faculty in philosophy at Cascadia Community College and one in the afternoon as an adjunct or auxiliary lecturer at the University of Washington, Seattle.

Oh my, fetch me a doctor.

Nevertheless, among the other delights associated with this wealth of pedagogy, I also get a ride between the campuses around mid-day, a bonus that doesn’t figure in to my compensation as a state employee, but sure is a benefit not to be overlooked in the grand—or even small—scheme of things.

Take today, for instance: I got to pedal along the lake on a day way too warm and dry for October in Seattle, enjoying my increasingly slow (is that an oxymoron?) pace, making sure I stayed below the speed of sweat given that I’d soon be in a small classroom packed with students who had signed up for my course for, I assume, what I had to teach, not how I happened to smell.

And other than swallowing the occasional gnat, I thoroughly enjoyed the ride, even though I didn’t see two of my favorite Burke-Gilman trail totems: neither the Matthews Beach cat who periodically writhes on the warm concrete path just north of the entrance to the park (and which, I understand, has its own FaceBook page), nor the women I used to call the “Skatey Lady” for her proclivity to roller blade almost daily from Sand Point to Lake Forest Park always, even in the heat of summer wearing a thick down parka, but who now I think of as the Bar Mitt Mama since I always see her—when I see her—on a mountain bike decked out in those nerdiest of all bicycle handlebar accessories.

It’s not so bad being slower and slower; the way it works out, I get longer and longer to be out riding my bike.

Monday, October 11, 2010


Another Nobel Prize season has gone by and once again, the committee has, for some reason I can’t fathom, failed to award me a single prize—even for "Economic Sciences."

I suppose I can understand having been passed over for the Peace Prize this year; after all, I never did succeed in putting an end to war in Afghanistan or Iraq—although I did manage to keep my dog from bolting across the street on several occasions to bark at that schnauzer. And Physics and Mathematics, okay, even though I think there ought to be a special award in the latter category for helping one’s pre-teen daughter with algebra.

And, all right, maybe I can understand why I didn’t prevail in Chemistry; those guys who figured out how atoms bond together or something, that’s pretty cool, (but cooler than the applied chemistry I developed to mix together tequila and lime juice? I dunno.)

But Literature? Sure, Vargas Llosa is one of the most acclaimed writers in the Spanish-speaking world and a man of letters who also braved the violence and political divisions of his homeland to run for president, but has he ever published a 327-word essay? I seriously doubt it. Has he ever gone 327 days in a row posting such an essay to an internet website read by as many as 11 or 12 people a day? I think not. Has he ever penned a piece like this bemoaning the fact that the Nobel committee didn’t award him his well-deserved prized? Of course not! Which is why, in part, he would do well to turn the award, along with the million and half dollars or so that comes with it, to me. Not only would I use the funds to make the world a better place, I’d do so by throwing a way better party than any of those winners—especially those presumably thrifty fellows in “Economic Sciences”—could ever hope to enjoy in Stockholm.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


There was something ironic but also fitting about attending a show by a band with “summer” in their name on what was arguably the first real day of winter weather (although the calendar still reads fall) and so, for a while, at least, we got to feel those feelings of endless evenings, sweat-soaked clothing, and lager beer for one more time before the gray and wet descends to envelope us in its sodden embrace until next June at the earliest, probably.

Jen and I rode the tandem through a downpour to catch a performance by the Summer Babes at the Wildrose, a bar I haven’t been in since the birthday party of a former colleague almost a decade ago now and although it took us an early exit before an eventual return to find our place there, once we located a spot to stand and observe, I felt right at home.

Part of that, of course, were the strangely familiar (since I’ve never heard them before) songs the band charged, swayed, and cavorted through; they reminded me a little bit of Fountains of Wayne what with their catchy melodies and witty lyrics: pop songs, yes, of the sort you find yourself singing along with even the first time around.

Additionally, you had to love the nod to the Flaming Lips in their set as, after of couple tunes, the band released scads of balloons into the audience that—in what turned out seeming lie a piece of Laurie Anderson-inspired performance art—pretty much lasted just through their final encore before being all popped.

My feet got moving just in time for the last few numbers; the right combination of intoxicants and intoxicating rhythms came together and my cowboy boots began kicking it out and working me into a lather.

By the time the show was finished, my shirt was wet enough that it didn’t get any wetter on the way home, despite the monsoon we rode through.

Friday, October 08, 2010


Most of the places in Seattle that I would never have been to I’ve been to on Thursday night rides and I’m pretty sure that every time I’ve been politely asked by the authorities to pack it up and get out of here have been, too; but even though I apparently missed the second of the two times out of three places that happened last night, it was still more than plenty all around as tehJobies overachieved as usual (which, I guess would just make it achieving) what with the two-wheeled mobile disco party, many scary cocktails, and a set-up under the freeway that for the life of me looked like something right out of a music video beer commercial in its post-apocalyptic splendor.

You could stand on a metal ledge around a freeway column and gaze right at the subterranean cathedral of vaulted concrete or eyes front at cars barreling southward mere feet away or, by sliding down gravel, descend into a bunker where, word has it, raves once took place and it was easy to see—and hear (that is, not hear)—why.

And if that weren’t enough, the shadows cast by moving bodies made for an hilariously apt allegory of the cave scene; I imagined being, like Plato’s famous prisoners, bound by the neck so I could see nothing but those pale imitations of reality before me, and I’ll be damned if it wasn’t, at least for a while—as it was for those sorry souls—enough of a glimpse of the ways things really are to satisfy.

In the story Socrates tells Glaucon, of course, one certain fellow is released from his chains to ascend from the cave into the light; he’s blinded at first by the intensity of it all, but eventually acclimates to see even the pure form of the Good. Funny how back in the day, those ancient Greeks did it all on foot; these days it happens by bike.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010


You know what? Fuck fucking gravity! It never fucking lets up, does it?

Every day, all day long, there it is, pulling on you, dragging your fucking chin southward, distending your belly, pulling at your jaw line in some relentless goddamn effort to make you look like a friggin’ Basset hound.

Come on, gravity, give it a fucking rest!

Oh no, but it’s got to be all like, “Everything that goes up must come down, oooh.” “Must?” Why? To whom? Is there some kind of law or something?

Oh yeah, the “law” of fucking gravity. Well, fuck you, gravity, I’ve got your “law” right here, if you know what I mean.

Actually, if you think about it, gravity’s not even a real force. If it weren’t for massive bodies, there wouldn’t even be gravity. It’s like some fucking hanger-on, like the back-up band for the really talented lead singer. That’s right, gravity is like the Tito Jackson of cosmic forces!

But it’s like, “No, I’m one of the fundamental four.” Hmph, I say. Gravity, everybody knows, is only like 10 to the minus-36th as strong and the strong force. That’s like me against Mike Tyson, or something; and you wouldn’t fucking catch me climbing into the ring against the champ, no way.

But gravity’s all high and mighty: “If it weren’t for me, there wouldn’t even be stars!” Bullshit, man. If it weren’t for stars, there wouldn’t even be you! Snap!

So, next time gravity’s gotta be tugging at our eyelids, and yanking at our butts, and even causing our goddamn elbow skin to get more wrinkly, I say we oughta just boycott.

Instead of going all “Oh, gravity, you’re so strong, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up,” we should ignore its relentless pull, raise ourselves higher, and just float away to a place where gravity can’t touch us and we all ascend to our own levels of freedom and happiness, unbloodied, unbowed, and un-fucking wrinkled.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010


My tastes in literature, as opposed to philosophy, run toward the lyrical. I prefer Fitzgerald to Hemingway, James M. Cain to Dashiel Hammett, and Thomas Mann, to I dunno, Theodore Dreiser. I’m also not particularly drawn to the highly-experimental; I like a good yarn more than an exploration of new forms; it doesn’t have to be Stephen King all the time, but I lose patience with Thomas Pynchon, my successful assault on Gravity’s Rainbow to the contrary.

Consequently, one of my favorite contemporary writers has long been Michael Cunningham, whose 1990 novel A Home at the End of the World broke my heart with its tale of love and longing among childhood friends and family; I’m a sucker for a good bildungsroman and this had that and more, including an unforgettable scene of a beautiful boy, high on acid, exploding into a plate glass window and bleeding to death while his girlfriend and brother looked on.

A couple years later, I found myself sobbing uncontrollably at the end of his book, Flesh and Blood, as I read the final passage that, in perhaps a somewhat contrived way, forecast the futures of the main characters; something about the way their lives unfolded forward just floored me, perhaps it made me confront the inevitability of my own outcomes; maybe I just mourned the passages of individuals I’d gotten to know.

The Hours,
of course, squeezed my heart in all the right places, and the movie turned me into a wet dishrag from the first scene of Virginia Woolf with stones in her pocket.

Specimen Days, not so much, but I appreciated the effort.

His new book, though, By Nightfall, did it to me all over again, especially a passage where the main character, Peter Harris, reflects on the estrangement he feels from his young adult daughter as they awkwardly talk on the phone. “There is a spiky blossoming in his chest,” writes Cunningham.

Exactly what I felt, leaking tears.

Monday, October 04, 2010


Philosophy is hard!

Especially when it’s translated from German into English. Even more when it includes fragments from 2500 year-old texts that you have to be able to read Greek to decipher. And even more when it’s Martin Heidegger and he’s saying stuff like, “Thinking comes to presence because of the still unspoken duality. The presencing of thinking is on the way to the duality of Being and beings. The duality presences in the taking-heed-of.”

It’s confounding; here I am, a “trained” philosopher, possessed of a graduate degree in the subject, making my living “teaching” the field to others, and I’m not sure I really have any clear idea about what the guy is saying.

Or, that is, I have an interpretation I could offer and explore, but whether it has anything to do with what Heidegger himself was trying to say, I dunno. I wonder if I’d have a similar experience were I a math geek; would I read the proofs of some famous fellow mathematician and not be able to understand it, either? Probably, come to think of it, yes.

Still, there's an aspect of reading something like the above that has a bit of the emperor’s new clothes about it; as I try to wrap my head around—or into, or through—Heidegger’s prose, I sometimes wonder whether if the old Nazi is just having a laugh on us, like maybe he doesn’t know what he means either.

Suppose I said something like, “The Being-as-such spiritualizes the suchness of being such that the presence of presencing manifests itself as a relation to itself whereby the One transforms into the Many through the unity of separateness dedicated to the objectivity of subjectivity in the noumenal noesis.” Could philosophers find it fruitful to spend an hour or two—or even a career—trying to understand what that meant?

“Philosophy begins in wonder,” said Plato; when I wonder what it means, then, am I really doing philosophy?

Saturday, October 02, 2010


I spent the morning walking around a neighborhood in Bothell, Washington, ringing the doorbells of strangers and talking to them, when they answered, about a couple of politicians that my professional union, the American Federation of Teachers, supports in next month’s elections for positions in the state legislature. I found it to be a somewhat rewarding, but also kind of embarrassing and even a little bit scary of an experience; the good news is nobody called the cops on me, and even better, I got one guy to agree to put up a sign up in his yard, but for the most part, most people played it pretty close to the vest, accepting the campaign literature I handed out but refraining from saying much about which way they intended to vote.

One thing’s for certain: no way I’d want to be a politician myself; you’ve got to listen to everyone and accommodate all the perspectives of all your prospective supporters. I spent a good twenty minutes, for instance, listening to this one old guy talk about how he’d grown up in the area and how Bothell is no longer the community it once was—sort of interesting, sure, but after 10 minutes or so, I kept thinking how was I going to extricate myself from the conversation and get on with my canvassing; if I were trying to earn this fellow’s vote, though, I think I’d probably have to have stayed until he completely had his say; I might still be there!

If I were a better person, I’d have stuck with it longer than I did; as it was, a couple hours was plenty; it’s one of those things that you’re glad to have done, but I don’t see myself making a regular practice of it; I’m hoping that my efforts, lame as they were, go some small way towards helping our candidates prevail; if not, at least I got a pastry at the campaign office.

Friday, October 01, 2010


It’s a shame that one of the finest western-facing views of the Duwamish is reserved mainly for cars; I’d never known until last night that the ten! story parking garage at First and Marion offered such a spectacular vista, but even so, I’ll bet hardly anyone goes all the way to the top like we did just to enjoy the scenery, and that even fewer do it on two wheels, corkscrewing upwards to the summit and then, after drinking in the sight of West Seattle backlit by the amber glow of the newly-set sun, rolling down, like aggies and catseyes in a marble-raceway track.

By contrast, it’s delightful that a park on the other side of the water, suspended above a Superfund site by cables so thick that even Sketchy can’t shake them hard enough to inspire authentic concern on the part of airborne revelers, offers such a picture-postcard panorama of our fair city (and, I came to learn, the vast array of containers supporting society’s insatiable appetite for consumption), it too, however, best accessible by bike—especially on a September evening so lovely that even beer-free mechanical stops hardly made the natives restless at all.

No nuts were punched, as far as I know, at Nutpunch Park, although the head puncher himself did appear later at the bar where one could thump his cast by way of remembrance; I sat in an Airstream trailer and dreamed big with Reverend Phil himself until it was time to admire the animated Hamm’s Beer sign one last time before heading towards home, accompanied by not just one, but two Wreyfords on ultimate and, I think penultimate, Thursdays, respectively.

Pedaling along, I heard a tick-ticking-ticking noise from my fender and pulled over to find a nasty packing stable protruding from my flatting back tire; even that repair, made more interesting by my weakened state, didn’t rankle; why be down on 10 minutes more of air on so elevated a night?