Tag Archives: biking

Not to rant on cyclists, but…

Yesterday evening, I took the Little Man to the park and, as we always do, we walked there along the bike paths that go through Bluemont Park in Arlington. Most of the time, walking on the bike paths is no problem, the cyclists are exceptionally good at keeping an eye out for pedestrians and vice versa. They will shout, “On your left!” or ring a bell well in advance of their approach and all I have to do is lift an arm in acknowledgement to let them know I heard them. But last night was an exception.

The trails were busy with both bike and pedestrian traffic and on three separate¬†occasions, I saw cyclists behaving badly. The first time, I saw a cyclist nearly crack up because he wasn’t looking where he was going. Instead, he’d turned his head to yell at a little girl, 8 or 9 years old I’d guess, who wasn’t wearing a helmet. Granted, this is a bad idea, but it is an equally bad idea to not look where you are going to yell at the little girl to wear a helmet. Wearing a helmet is good, but not looking where you are going (to say nothing of frightening a little girl you don’t know) is bad form and nearly cost this biker an injury.

Next, where the trail dips below Carlin Springs road, one biker had to slam on his brakes because there was a fairly large group of pedestrians walking (on the right, as they should) and other bikes coming the opposite direction. Slamming on the brakes is not so bad, although you’d think he would know better on that particular part of the trail. What was bad was his outburst, “Come on! Move out of the way!” which was completely uncalled for.

A short while later, there was a similar incident, this time with a woman riding a bike. She was coming up behind us as a jogger was passing to our left. She shouted, “On your left”, but still had to move over further than she’d have liked since the jogger was passing us. So she shouted again, “Move over! On your left!” and zipped by us. I take it she was annoyed that maybe we didn’t hear her, or that there was a jogger passing or both, but I noted that she had white ear buds in her ears so who knows what she could or couldn’t hear herself. And besides, it’s a multi-use trail and cyclists don’t own it. But last night they were acting like they did.

So I offer some simple advice that should keep everyone happy, a philosophy I borrow from Wil Wheaton:

Don’t be a dick!

Follow this rule, cyclists and pedestrians alike and we’ll all be happier.

Wedding prep

We’re one week away from the Big Day, and this weekend is all about wedding prep.  We were both tired last night and went to bed around 10 AM.  We were up shortly after 7 AM, after a good night’s sleep.  I had an appointment at Saturn this morning to get the alignment on my car adjusted.  It had been pulling to the right ever since Williamsburg and it was about time to get it fixed.  We are both skeptical about major repairs to our cars these days, both cars being well over a decade old.  Nevertheless, the price was as reasonable as such things can be so I had the work done.   Part of the work involved getting 2 new tires, but my car is so old, they don’t make the size anymore.  I had to get larger tires and that meant 4 new tires.  Only 2 were sent over so I now have to pick the car up on Monday.  When all is said and done, it’s not a big deal.  I don’t drive the car that much anyway.  But $700 seems like a lot to pay for a car that is slowly on its way out.

Back home and Kelly went off to some spa appointments.  I climbed on my bike and road down to a park just south of the Wilson Bridge.  Since the bike computer is still not working, I checked Google Maps and my best estimate is 6.5 miles one way, or 13 miles round trip.  I took just over 1-1/2 hours.  It was a good ride, a good workout, and this time, it didn’t rain.

When I got home from the bike ride, I worked on wedding itineraries for the wedding party.  I called the restaurant for the rehearsal dinner and gave them the final count.  I called all of my credit card companies and the bank and let them know I would be traveling out of the country for 10 days so if they saw activity on my account in, say, Cartagena, Colombia, the would know it probably wasn’t fraudulent.  When Kelly got home we ate some lunch and then headed to the grocery store to stock up on groceries for the week.  We’ve got a lot of company coming into town beginning on Tuesday and we wanted to be prepared.

Kelly has been doing laundry all day and tonight or tomorrow, we are packing for our honeymoon.  We’re doing it now so that we don’t have to do it when we’ve got a houseful of people.

In two-and-a-half hours, we’re heading over to a friend’s house to play Rock Band, or Guitar Hero, or one of those games.  The fun never ends.

I sent the next draft of my story to the workshop.  It had a bunch of changes that were suggested by the group.  I got comments back today, and sure enough, the comments are helping.  We’ve got a good group, and I’m anxious to work in the comments and get a final draft before I head on vacation  I’d like to get the manuscript in the mail no later than a week from today, if I can.

Very little time for reading these last two weeks.

On the other hand, I’ll I’m looking forward to seeing Andy and kruppenheimer  and strausmouse  and rmstraus  and stubiebrother and he11o_sunshine  and everyone else coming into town for the wedding very soon.

Raindrops keep fallin’ on my head

Today was supposed to be my last Orioles game of the season.  But weather and other tasks kept me away.  And while I was fairly certain this game would be postponed–or at least delayed–it turns out it wasn’t.  The Orioles lost 10-1.  They lost every game I attended this season, some 10 out of 13.  At least there was some good news in baseball yesterday.  Mike Mussina got his 20th win.  It was the first time for him.

I cajoled Kelly into taking a drive up to Frederick, Maryland late yesterday morning.  I wanted to go up to Wonder Books and browse around the used books in the science fiction section.  Kelly was remarkably patient with me.  It was an hour drive to the bookstore, and I probably spent close to an hour wandering around the stacks.  I ended up getting 5 things:  the December 1945 issue of ASTOUNDING, which has Part III of Isaac Asimov’s "The Mule"; The Mound Builders and The Stochiastic Man by Robert Silveberg; Stanley G. Weinbaum’s A Martian Odyssey; and collection of Poul Anderson stories, containing his story "The Light", which I’ve been searching for for years.

Later in the afternoon, we decided to go for a bike ride.  We took the 4 Mile Run trail to the Mt. Vernon trail and then started heading south toward Mt. Vernon.  The weather was gorgeous and it was so nice to be out riding bikes on an actual bike trail.  We took the river route and at one point, I found a spot where we pulled off to the edge of the water, just off the southern end of one of Reagan National Airport’s runways–and watched planes come in for landings.  We continued south until we got to Old Town Alexandria, where the Chart House is located.  From there, we turned around and headed back.  None five minutes into our ride home the skies opened up.  It poured and we were drenched.  It was fun until Kelly’s left pedal broke off.  I gave her my bike and had her ride home on that.  Meanwhile, I struggled riding and walking her bike through the rain with a single pedal.  Not as much fun, but we both made it home safely, took hot showers and relaxed.  We will definitely do it again.  Next time we’ll just keep a better eye on the weather.

We lazed around for much of the evening.  We did practice our wedding dance, and we stayed up to watch the season premier of Dexter.  Spoke with he11o_sunshine yesterday, and had a voicemail message from Dad.

I woke Kelly up in the middle of the night more or less wailing from a dream I was having.  It was not a particularly scary dream, just a little creepy.

Less than two weeks to the wedding!

Peaceful weekend, part 2

Up just before 8 AM, once again.  We lazed around for a little while and then decided to walk to Shirlington again, not for breakfast, just for the walk.  We left the house at 10 AM and didn’t get back until almost noon.  We walked to Shirlington, and then from there, we headed to the park and walked up through the park, through the dog-walk, and then back down.

We ate lunch when we got home.  I had 2 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  Yum!  Kelly took a nap on the couch.  I finished up reading Old Man’s War (more on that later), and then started in on Rainbow’s End by Vernor Vinge.  But before I got too far, I felt sleepy too.  All told, we napped for about an hour and a half.

When we woke up, we took care of a few chores.  First, I fixed the back tire on Kelly’s bike, replaced to tube, adjusted the brakes, lowered the seat, etc.  Kelly tested it out and it seems like everything is working well.  After that, we finally took some time and put up pictures on the walls of the house.  The house looks even more lived in now.

I made four cheese ravioli for dinner.  We had salad along with it.  After dinner, I sat out on the balcony to read for a while.  It had cooled off and was really comfortable.  I read out there until just about 8 PM, getting through about 50 pages of Rainbow’s End.  At 8 PM, Kelly and I headed to the gym.  Tonight was cardio.

Spoke to he11o_sunshine  on the phone, and then did the last chore of the evening:  put up a shelf rack in the powder room.

Oh, and I had cookies and milk for the first time in a long while.

Monday evening

Kelly met me after work and we went home together. She’s still sick (she stayed home today) and when get got back to the house, she went right to bed and slept for a few hours.

I got my bike back together and then took it out for a test-drive. I rode up Army-Navy drive to the country club and then turned around and came back. I had a headwind on the way, plus it is a gradual climb, so it was more of a workout than I expected. Also, I still need to do some adjusting of the rear brakes. But the bike is now fit for road travel and anytime, I can start riding to work.

Kelly had eggs and beans for dinner and I had French Bread Pizza, which did not really fall into the “no carbs” category. Also, I noticed after that the last remaining piece of French bread had a little mold on it. I guess it wasn’t enough to hurt me, but it creeped me out a bit.

When Kelly woke up, we passed the evening watching a few episodes of Dexter on Showtime HD On Demand. Kelly frames some more photographs and put them up in the family room, so that, between the mantle and the coffee table, we have a ton of pictures on display.

Got a “Save the Date” magnet from Lauren. I was in such a fog yesterday that when I stuck it on the fridge, I didn’t even look to see what the “date” was. I have no idea.

Late night. Got to bed sometime after 11 PM and up this morning around 6:30. Kelly is still sick. She decided to take the day off today, which I think was a good idea. She can use the rest to try and get better.

Bike repairs

At lunch today, Casey showed me how to fix my bike. We headed over to my house (convenient that it’s just 5 minutes away), where I gave him a quick tour of the new place. Then we set about fixing the flat rear tire on my bike. First, Casey showed me how the “quick release” feature properly works–on both the front and back tires. Easy to get them off and on. Next, we took the flat back tire with us, headed back to the office and stopped in at a bike shop. I picked up a new tube, some tire-liner tape, and a tire lever, and then we came back to my office.

Casey showed me how to take the tired off, how to identify where the leak was in the old tube, and mark it (so that I could patch it later). I learned how to use the tire lever to take the tire off (and get it back on). I learned how to put the tube in corrected (so that I don’t get “pinch flats”. We pumped up the tire and all is well. All I have to do now it put it back on the bike when I get home.

It looks like I can ride my bike to work tomorrow!

To say nothing of the fact that I now know how to change a bike tire tube, and fix a flat.

Is it feed a cold and starve a fever…?

Had another restless night last night and finally, around 11 PM, I got up, went downstairs and ate two large bowls of cereal. I had another when I got up this morning. And I was still hungry at 10:30 AM, and so I ate my peanut butter and jelly sandwich right then and there, instead of waiting for lunchtime.

I discovered two things about the Comcast package we have (with just about all of the premium channels). There are tons of On Demand movies that we get for free because we get all of the premium On Demand at no extra charge. Many of the movies are presented in HD, too. Second, we have been watching episodes of Weeds On Demand. Last night I discovered that if you choose SHO HD, we can watch the same episodes in HD. Kind of cool!

Casey suggested a local bike shop this morning, so I’m planning on taking my bike over to Spokes after work, and having them repair my tire, show me how to properly do a “quick release”, and adjust the computer so that it works correctly. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to ride my bike into work tomorrow.

We are back in wedding planning mode. Time is beginning to grow cramped. It seems like every weekend is occupied with one thing or another. To wit:

Weekend of August 9-10: Cake tasting, Orioles game, engagement reshoot, possible meeting with officiant, possible visit by AJ and Denisse, dinner with a friend on Saturday.

Weekend of August 16-17: Wedding shower, lots of guests in town for the weekend (rubysnina, he11o_sunshine, stubiebrother, as well as Kelly’s mom and dad.)

Weekend of August 23-24: bigblu4 (Dad) in town for the weekend, Orioles game, possible meeting with officiant (if it doesn’t work out this weekend).

Weekend of August 30-31: Labor Day weekend!

That’s just the rest of this month. I think you get the idea. Where does one find the time? Well, I have gained some time back. My commute is non-existent. A trip to the grocery store takes 2-1/2 minutes via back roads. But still, there’s a lot to do and the clock is ticking away.

And the writer’s workshop starts up on August 18. To say nothing of three consecutive weeks of softball games beginning next Wednesday evening. And various visitors stopping by to see the new place.

Whew!

More bike drama

I got a bike pump this afternoon when I got home from work. I pumped up the rear tire, and adjusted the front brakes. Everything was perfect. I rode my bike around the back street here just to make sure everything was good. All seemed good. But then, it felt like I had a rock in my back tire. I stopped to check. It was flat again. And this time, there was a sizable screw pierced through the tire and into the tube. How’s that for luck! It seems that with my bike, I’m screwed! So now I need to go and get a new tube for the tire. And also, the new bike computer doesn’t seem to be working. Murphy got his fair share on this one!

Once I was done with the bike, I headed to the grocery store to do some shopping. Kelly called to let me know she was on the way home and I headed over to Pentagon City to pick her up from work (and brought her some flowers too!)

Got a little more reading done early this evening and may try for some more now. Still not feeling 100% but I took some medicine a little while ago. Hopefully I’ll sleep better tonight than last night.

Coming down with something?

Work was pretty busy today, but I felt okay about what I was able to get done. When I left work I headed over to the bike shop to get my bike, which was in great shape. Nearly as good as new. I couldn’t remember how to get the front tire off, and I was too stubborn to ask. By the time I got home, I had a lot of difficulty getting it back on. And then I noticed that somewhere between the bike shop and the house, my back tire went flat. I nearly lost it. I was saved by the bell–or ring tone–Kelly calling to let me know she was leaving work and I needed to pick her up at the metro station.

Pick her up I did and hearing all about her first day at the new job put me into a better mood. We made pasta for dinner. I banged my head on the cupboard while doing that. Today is just not my day, I guess. We were going to head to the gym together but I’m definitely not feeling 100%. The scratchiness at the back of my throat is back. Might be a summer cold or something.

I switched us to the AT&T family plan, which saves us about $50/month. We also got our first cable bill and I paid that today as well.

While the girls are out dining and partying at the bachelorette party in 2 weeks, the boys will be having a baseball night. I got 4 tickets (cheap seats) to the Nationals/Rockies game for Saturday night. Me, Kelly’s Dad, stubiebrother and A.J. Should be fun.

Spoke with Dad earlier this evening. They are back from Seattle.

Sarah is coming over tonight to see the new place.

Cleaning day

Today is Kelly’s first day at her new job! We drove to Pentagon City together this morning; Kelly got on the Metro and I headed up to the office.

I’ve been cleaning this morning. Friday (August 1) was the first day of my 7th year in the Washington office, and this morning, I decided I needed to clean said office. I’ve had the same posters on the walls for 6 years and it’s time for a change there, too. So I took down my posters of the U.S. Constitution, Declaration of Independence and M.C. Flagg “I Want You” U.S. Army posters. Between Kelly and I, we have more than enough framed pictures for the walls of our new place, so I plan to bring in some of my framed NYC art and put that on the walls here. Feels good to get the office cleaned. It’s kind of like cleaning out all of the clutter in your head. The move is good for that kind of thing, too.

I didn’t sleep well last night. I’m not quite sure why. I felt like I kept Kelly up half the night. I felt okay when I woke up this morning, although now, I detect the slightest of scratches at the back of my throat. I’m hoping it’s just my imagination.

The bike shop called yesterday afternoon. My bike is ready to be picked up. I’ll head over there after work. Maybe go for a bike ride this evening. It’s then my intention to start riding my bike into work this week.

AJ and Denisse came over yesterday afternoon. AJ had been out shopping and so he dragged along his new 32″ LCD TV, fresh off the shelves at Best Buy. I teased him that it was his kind of portable TV. We gave them the tour of the new place and then chatted for a while. Kelly and Denisse went out for a walk and AJ and I watched some of the Yankees/Angels game (in HD!) AJ and Denisse are considering a possible move and they were impressed with our new complex so we went to the office and got them information on the apartments. They talked with a rep there, and they are coming back next weekend to look at some of the apartments in person. Who know? They could end up being neighbors. We went to Shirlington for dinner and ate at Guapo’s. The food was pretty good. Went to Cake Love afterward for cupcakes.

I submitted by story, “The Golden Watch” to Strange Horizons 29 days ago. That’s significant because it marks the longest time I’ve had something at Strange Horizons before receiving a rejection. (I’ve submitted 5 items to that magazine and the previous record for rejection was 28 days, and I’ve gotten a rejection from them in as short as 16 days.) As anyone who has been submitting for a long time will tell you, when it takes longer than usual, it is often a good sign (but not always) because it often means the story has made its way out of the slush pile and to one or more editors for review. So we’ll see how that goes. I’m looking forward to getting started on the writing workshop, which now officially begins two weeks from today.