Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A series of adventures

...which ultimately led me back to where I began.

This tale begins a few days ago--monday, to be precise--when I felt coming upon me a bit of wanderlust. Knowing that time was precious, I immediately set out to satiate my desire for adventure by sleeping for several more hours, following that with a short lunch, downloading weather software to check the outside temperature, after which I had another snack before stepping outside to confirm the internet's report of the weather, finally putting some shoes on, taking a short afternoon nap, and finally--nearly 4 o'clock by this point--hopping on Lucy, ready for a journey.

For my first stop, I headed to campus to return a few books, both of which were tragically overdue. I used a special route I planned for just this very occasion, a route which took me far around the fraternaties and sporting fields. You may ask the reason for this odd detour, and the answer is simple: I would have surely been pummeled into dust by any "jock" or "frastard" (frat+bastard, it's the best I could come up with) catching me with both An Introduction to Tensor Calculus and Astrophysics of the Sun tucked in my satchel. Nevertheless, the campus was sufficiently emptied by the holiday break such that I was able to steal away to the library drop slot unnoticed by any heavy-knuckled mouth-breathers. (I know, I'm currently in a program to deal with my long suppressed nerd-rage) On my way off campus, I noticed that I wasn't the only one taking advantage of the nearly empty campus. I found these two bikes in the midst of a highly inappropriate act, in broad daylight, mind you.

Bike pr0n after the jump.

With my duties fulfilled, it was off to have some fun. I strapped on my satchel and braved a bit of traffic to bike down to the local park, the only park in town to have actual trees, rather than just a tangle of brightly colored plastic and metal placed in the middle of a giant hampster's enclosure. I leaned Lucy against a tree and sat to read. I brought a Dostoevsky with me, because in my spare time I enjoy looking pretentious. I sat down to read, in a spot carefully chosen so as to be as maximally distant from the incessancy of the noisily frolicking children about. (In addition to my nerd-rage, I also hate children. *The more you know...*) Anyway, I had a very pleasant time in the park, something I blogged about in more detail on my sister blog--check it out, won't you?

Thus, with the sun slowly setting, I ended my journey, as I often do, with a trip to the hipster coffee shop. I was engrossed in the reading, and found that I couldn't pass up the opportunity to be simultaneously ironic, aloof, and pretentious. Also, at this point I'd love to present a photo of the overweight woman I spied there, sitting asleep at one of the front tables, apparently taking a nap while knitting. It was a scene worthy of tableaux, but I was too camera-shy in the crowded room to take advantage of this poor woman. You'll just have to take my word for it.

I've just realized that this will mark the first post of 2009. Happy New Year, if you care for things like that.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Twitter Updates Up!

Check out the sidebar, I've added a new twitter widget (sounds dirty).

Friday, December 26, 2008

The last day of Festivus I single-handedly saved Festivus.

Tonight I drove into the sinking sun on my way back to Stilly (that is, Stillwater, but only residents have the right to call it "Stilly"--same thing with Philidelphia). It was the end of a short stay at the Parents' house for some celebration of Christmas and commercialism, a stay during which I spent a lot of money, recieved some gifts, and spent zero hours on my bike, even though I had promised to get some cycling in. It was with a somber mood that I purposefully turned the radio off and prepared my mind for some musings.

Long drives are really great. They're a lot like long bike rides, except for the fact that you're never worried about the headwind, the next hill, or what gear you happen to be in. In other words, they're really great for some relaxing philosophical thought. With the spectre of economics news still fresh in my head (I had been listening to Marketplace, on NPR), I tried to think of something philosophical to ponder. I couldn't. Eventually I reverted back to my old ways and spent some time singing along with a Barry White tune.

I probably should have been thinking about how I would spend this, the last day of Festivus. It's a made-up holiday (though, aren't they all?) which is usually attributed to the writers of Seinfeld. I celebrate my own version of the holiday, which sticks with Festivus tradition, but has a few extra tweaks. The main attraction, instead of the menorah or decorated tree, is an unadorned, lusterless aluminum pole. Why? It's got a high strength to weight ratio. It also represents the heart of Festivus, the stripping down of the commercial holiday which Christmas in particular has become. There aren't any presents in my version of Festivus, which begins on December 21st, the birthday of my lord and savior, Samuel L. Jackson, and ends on December 26th, so I get to celebrate for one day after the Christmas festivities proper are done. There really aren't many other facets to this celebration, other than maintaining a healthy distain for Christmas throughout these six days.

But wait, you may rightly ask me, didn't you say in your first paragraph that you bought and recieved presents? That sounds a whole lot like Christmas commercialism to me.

Okay, you got me. I do celebrate Christmas, loosely, even though I believe the "reason for the season" is as fake as Santa himself. I partake in the gift giving aspects of the holiday because, well, I like presents. Sue me.

Speaking of which, Lucy got a really sweet LED head and tail light set today, with which I braved the darkness of mid-afternoon to pedal down to the Yuppie Coffee Shop (much closer than the Hipster Coffee Shop, but much less ironic) and purchased a really nasty soy-latte. Side Note: Never go to the Yuppie Coffee Shop. It's very consistently nasty.

Anyway, I'm sitting here, ignoring my brimstone-tasting drink, writing this post, and keeping Festivus alive. You see, because the miracle of Festivus is that it exists solely in the minds and hearts of those who practice it, and by nurturing its little flame of non-denominational holiday-like goodness, I have, as I attested in my subtitle, saved festivus. Is that kind of a let-down? I try to write big lead ups to the conclusions in my posts, but I guess they just never come out right.

Oh well, here it is.

Happy Festivus! Screw you, Christmas!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Not much doing...Part II

...or, why I had to drive to the coffee shop.

Here I am, dejected and ashamed, riding the velvety wings of a soy latte all the way to my latest post (this one). I must tell you, the weather here has been, and still is, terrible. For the last three days it's been nothing but a nightmarish parade of bike-endangering road conditions. Two of the days in question were marred by the combination of ice, snow, and subfreezing conditions, covering the road in a thin film of "throw-your-bike-out-from-under-your-feet" and "slam-your-head-against-the-road-in-incoming-traffic". Today, although the weather seems to be getting slightly more tolerable, was still covered in "rain-slick-pavement-of-death" and "oh-I'm-sorry-were-you-planning-on-seeing-for-more-than-three-feet-in-front-of-you?" fog. It's getting bad; I haven't seen the sun in four days.

So, here I am, midway through my caffeine and soy-based dairy-facsimile beverage, writing to you in desperation. I haven't biked for three days, dear reader, and it's tearing me up inside. For FSM's sake, I had to drive to the local hipster coffee shop (in which I happen to be writing). Drive. It's because I was so ashamed of this that I to parked about a block down the road, around the corner, coasted for the last block with my lights off, threw the camo-netting over the top of the car, dove for cover behind a lamppost when a hipster-looking person glanced my way, and crept, MGS style, around the corner, and into the safety of the shop. I considered even rolling up my pant legs, and walking in as if out of breath, but my subterfuge would be too quickly found out, and the hipster shunning which would ensue would be epic in its sadness.

Therefore, here I am. I don't even have anything especially vegan to say, other than maybe, "Soy latte's are pretty good," or, "you probably shouldn't eat animals, it's not good for the planet." But we all know that, by now.

Here I am. There you are. We're all here. Together.

Have fun. I'll try to get back on the bike soon.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Vegan Recipe of the Day - Black Bean Soup

...that's right, a proper recipe.

I felt myself become ambitious today. Finally done with classes, taking a break from work, and finally getting over my crack addiction, I was ready to cook. Today's recipe can also be found at this address. I'm usually not one for complicated meals, and this one is no exception; in fact, the rest of the recipes found on the aforementioned vegan site all look fairly easy.

Alright, let's get started. Here's the recipe, point blank.

Black Bean Soup

This hearty black bean soup is a perfect dish for a cold winter day.


Serves 2

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 15-ounce cans of black beans, rinsed
  • 1 ½ to 2 cups water
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon cumin

Saute the onions and minced garlic in a 1/4 cup of water in a nonstick saucepan. Once the onions have become translucent, place the onions and garlic in a large stockpot. Add the rinsed beans, water, and spices. Simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Taste-test the soup after 20 minutes and remove from heat once the beans are cooked to your liking.

For a slightly different taste, add frozen or fresh vegetables such as chopped carrots, kale, or broccoli.

My Notes:

I whipped this up this morning, and I had a few things to mention, based on my own experience with the dish. First, absolutely use the optional cayenne pepper. I couldn't imagine this soup without it; it adds a bit more flavor to what could potentially be a pretty bland soup. Second, when you go to the store to buy cumin, don't come home with curry powder. I did. Because I'm dumb. I can't read labels properly. (Look for the next vegan recipe: Something using curry powder!) Lastly, the recipe calls for a whole onion. I would probably half that, unless you just have smaller onions than I do. I used one whole this morning and it came out a bit onion-heavy. Don't get me wrong, it was still amazingly good, but I think it could definitely do with just a half to three quarters of a mid-range onion.

Thanks again to the Compassionate Action for Animals website for the use of the recipe.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Not much doing. here's a nice video to watch.

I love the winter, but I'm beginning to hate the snow. It's keeping me inside.

In the meantime, enjoy this sunny video of a NYC Bike Messenger race, I'll expect you to be taking notes.

It's a funny thing, though, riding in traffic. I've been thinking a lot about it recently, mainly about how agile bikes can be in these kinds of situations. Sure, in a flat stretch, the cars will win hands down, but it's when things really start to get gritty that rolling on two wheels and a few pounds of aluminum can really give you the edge. If, for instance, I need to hop onto the sidewalk to bypass an obstacle--I will--if I need to slip past several cars on a busy road--you bet I will--and the best part is that I can do all of these things with the grace and finesse that only a bike will allow.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Two-wheeled perspective - Alleyway AHT

There are certain things you just can't see from a car. This latest gallery comes from the alley behind the hipster coffee shop; and I'm frankly not surprised to see such a high AHT-density next to the building in which the most highly-caffeinated art-history majors seem to dwell. I know that it sounds as though I'm making fun (because I am), but I did just spend the night there reading philosophy and inhaling soy-latte. Actually, I may just be bitter because thusfar I've failed in my attempts to fully assimilate into their herd. Anyway.


Mr. T. Owns You

Live for the Moment.
And, if you weren't aware, this is a fact.

Hilary [sic] is a BAMF
For more information, see this clip.

American Flag
Very reminiscent of Jasper Johns
(Actually, while I was looking up that image, this one doesn't look anything like my mental picture of the Johns Painting. Oh well, you get the point.)

every ONE Need a Hobby.

I'm very impressed by this one, so I saved it for last.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Going there by bike - OMYGOD it's freezing out here!


There are those who think I'm mad. These are the same people who watch me saunter into class with my top half completely bundled (underjacket, jacket, scarf, gloves, hat) into a bulletproof mass of insulation, while my bottom half is clad in nothing more than a pair of rolled-up jeans and flip-flops. Don't worry, I do this on purpose, people, it's completely utilitarian. Though once you get past their incredulity at needing to bike comfortably whilst in winter weather gear, they still bring up the inevitable question of, "Well, why the hell are you still biking? It's, like, thirty outside!"

*scoff scoff*

Of course it is. How else am I going to prove just how hardcore I am? But seriously. It's either bike to school, and endure ten minutes of cold, or take the bus, and endure the bus. Don't get me wrong, I love public transportation, and the buses in town are very prompt, they have good routes, and are generally very convenient. But, they're filled kids...ooh! just saying that out loud makes me quiver with fear and rage.

So it looks like I'm stuck biking. I had a pretty good trial run yesterday, even though, on the way home, my favorite pink scarf got severely caught in my wheel. In addition to stopping the forward motion of the bike (bad), the tightening, pink menace nearly took my head off (also bad).

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Weekend Bike Excursion!

...well, maybe not.

Let me set the mood. Open this in a new tab, so the music can soothe you into a reading mood.

Alright, now that we're in that happy place together, let's discuss the day.

The weekends usually give the perfect opportunity for me to conduct one of my weekly cycle excursions to parts unknown (within the Stillwater city limits), but when I woke up, bright and early this afternoon I noticed that winter had finally found me. The temperature outside was barely pushing thirty degrees and dark gray clouds hung low in the frigid good.

So, being the coward that I am, I chose to stay inside. But rather than hang you out to dry, I thought I'd better at least write a post about my own cowardice, and maybe even end it with a nice picture of some of the snow/sleet which fell later in the evening.

Hey, look at that. I guess I'm done.

A Vegan Thanksgiving!

...or, "Why I don't want to do that anymore"

Last week we had the great tradition of Thanksgiving, a time when we can all get together with our families, eat ourselves into a coma, and celebrate the short period of time (one day) that we (Americans) weren't being bastards to the native American indians. We do this by eating what "they" say to be a close facsimile of the meal shared between the early American settlers, and those to whom the country rightly belonged. This is a holiday which is steeped in the sticky muck of false "tradition," making it a subconsciously obligatory meat-fest in the process.

It's about six in the morning right now and I'll be the first to admit that I'm too lazy to look up the statistics about how many turkeys and chickens and pigs are killed for this one day. I'll tell you, it's too many. For what purpose do we do this? I don't know, tradition? Bah. When we all realize that thanksgiving, christmas, the fourth of july, are all just normal days with someone's arbitrary cultural significance tacked on, we can start to move on and leave the shackles of the "holidays" behind us. Just because it happens to be a day which some people call, "Thanksgiving," don't let that be an excuse to blindly follow in the synchronized killing of millions of animals. Spend the day with your family, if you must, but don't ever let arbitrary cultural inventions rule your life.

To end on a slightly lighter note, here's the video of Sarah Palin, discussing Thanksgiving as, behind her, live turkeys are killed and drained of their blood. Enjoy.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Name Change and Redesign

...rendering the blog only slightly different, but much more awesome than it previously was.

So I've realized that, since I've gone in a new direction with the whole thing, that it was time to change (among other things) my old title to the new extravagant, yet elegant new name for the blog. Of course I wanted to choose something that would be more on topic with the blog's nature, and I think this one works well. Velo, which Google tells me is french for bicycle, gives it a bit of European class and alliteration as well.

I've also finally changed from the default font to some sweet Trebuchet action, so the blog is officially and permanently sans serif (ooh la la, more french!).

This is the dawning of a new era, and I think that we're going to see some swanky new developments around here, so stayed tuned, dear readers, and enjoy the magic.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Vegan recipe of the day!

Happy Rice!


Cook rice, make rice happy, enjoy happy rice!

Monday, November 17, 2008

A lovely trip to Yale

...which turned into a five-hour, 65-mile, spoonful of pain.

Here are some of the photos from my recent bike excursion to Yale, OK. The scenery in Oklahoma is fairly homogeneous, but some of it is okay, I guess.

A good example of the desolate roads which are perfect for distance cycling.

No, it's not just a cliche, this is 99% of Oklahoma scenery.

...and this...

Photographic proof that I actually made it there.

Bonus: Nonplussed cows staring directly at me.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The smells of Stillwater

...the inexplicably smelly city.

I was riding around town today, commuting between my apartment, campus, and my third place, the local hipster coffee shop...Oh geez, I'm still in
italics, aren't I?

Hold on.

Much better. Now, as I was saying, I've been on my bike quite a bit today, and I've noticed something a bit odd about the air. So far I've ruled out the following hypotheses:

1.) Love is in the air - I happen to know for a fact that this one isn't the case. Love, when in the air, tends to smell a bit like a gitmo cell: a distinct sense of disillusionment and lack of freedom. Stillwater today smells more like corn dogs and poo.

2.) The dawning of a new era - I would like to believe that after the Obama election, that the birds would be happily singing, people would be whistling merry tunes, and the mirthful creatures of the forest would be out and about, happily coexisting with humans, making apple pies and hanging American flags around. Subsequently, the inevitable smell of animal droppings would surely be drowned out by the smell of hope. This, apparently, is also not the case.

3.) Carnival in town? - Also no. I mentioned before that the offensive odor was that of corn dogs and poo, but I purposefully didn't mention that these two smells were very distinctly in different parts of the city. I bring it up now to disprove the carnival hypothesis, because the two smells coincident would be clear and distinct proof of the existence of the carnival--evidence which would be clearer than the sight of large, dangerous machinery being operated by disheveled disillusionados. (Holy crap, I thought that I made up that last word, but it's totally checking out with the google spellcheck. Yay for me.)

4.) Impending danger - This is my last good hypothesis, and, being the only one left standing, is obviously the correct one. (Yay for the scientific method!) I was almost hit by a car today...but no, that can't be it.

Looks like I'm safe, then. If you'll excuse me, I'm going to bike home in the dead of night, without head or tail lights, down a busy street, with only my limited wits and a pretty good caffeine buzz to keep me safely on two wheels.

See you tomorrow.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Critical Mass-querade! you see what I did there?

I was very exited about this month's critical mass. Not just because it was promised to have the highest turnout of this year, or even because I didn't have any homework to worry about that night. No, I was excited about this particular critical mass because it happened to fall on October 31. That's right, it was going to be the halloween edition of critical mass. Because there's nothing hipsters like to do more than dress up and annoy cars. Let's get going.

About half of us showed up in costume, I was there dressed as a creative writing teacher because this year I had the scraggly-man-ponytail to properly pull it off. But there were some pretty impressive costumes, which were then made more impressive by the fact that the people in them were able to cycle with, for example, ninja turtle hands and mask on.

Again, nothing too special about the ride, we had enough people this time to storm Perkins road, probably the busiest and most car-choked roadway in Stillwater. Tons of appreciative honks, a few a-hole frat boys yelling obscenities (that's what they're here for, it seems), and no major accidents.

Well, we lost two people. But we're assuming that they're okay.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Lucy's got a new pair of shoes'

...also, the worst toe-stubbing in the world.

Rejoice, dear reader, for I have a tale for your enjoyment. But first, I'm afraid that you must mourn--mourn for the loss of my battery charger, for without it's electric nourishment, my camera has died. So it has come to this. A tale without visual aid, but a tale nonetheless.

But let me assure you, what this particular post may lack in flair and shine, shall be compensated ten-fold in the flourishes of my language, and soon the rhythmic clack of fingertip striking key shall fill the air like sweet music.

My tale begins long ago, with the unexpected puncture of Lucy's innocent rear tire. The layers of rubber were cruelly rent asunder by an unknown obstacle, allowing the pressurized lifeblood within to quickly and forcefully escape. I was able to act quickly, and a replacement, yes, a replacement tube was soon inserted and the lifeblood replaced, but it sadly would not be the same. No, for the gaping chasm, the unhealing wound, the gap through which the tube could burst at any moment, was still menacingly present.

And so it remained, living in an unsteady balance, until just yesterday, when the air once again found a way to burst forth, leaving me stranded, and without transportation. Do not be alarmed, dear readers, for I was fortuitously near a bus stop, where I soon boarded the massive vehicle, with crippled companion in tow. It was then, on that fateful ride, that I knew precisely what I must do.

Shortly after waking this morning, I shamefully drove myself to the cycling shop, in search of the replacement which would save Lucy's very life. Thankfully, the replacement tire which I was in such desperate need was quickly forthcoming, and I dashed home, to prepare for the surgery. The flash of the wrench, the groan of stretched rubber, and the erratic symphony of metal scraping metal filled the room to it's capacity. Soon, though, air was replaced and repressurized, bolts were firmly fastened, and the deed was done.

There she stood, restored and renewed, gleaming before me like a beacon. The new tire existing in stark contrast with the rest of the machine. Slick, clean, black rubber stood out against dusty, worn, and duct-taped, and she was whole once more. Success hung tangibly in the air, like a fine mist of happiness permeating the room with pure joy.

So let us halt the story here, so that we may have a chance to rest, and meditate on what we have heard today. Picture for yourselves, because as previously stated, I am sorrowfully unable to do so for you--picture the beauty of the machine, now fully formed and repaired beyond it's previous state. It is truly a beautiful thing, dear readers.

Oh, I almost forgot. So I stubbed my toe sooo freakin bad today. It was nuts. I was walking through my room, right? and my big toe totally nailed my piano. Let me tell you, hurt like a dicken, several dickens actually. So anyway, I look down at the thing, and it's bleeding like ka-razy, man! Totally split open. That's how hard I hit the thing. So I'm running around my apartment, trying to find a band-aid, but of course, I don't have any, so I just had to let the toe bleed itself out. Totally gnarly.


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Flying downhill at the speed of AWESOME!!

while actually going about 15-20 miles per hour.

Recently (wink, this isn't actually a week old story, wink), Sand Springs held it's first ever (to my knowledge) downhill soapbox race! (Actually a series of many one-on-one time trial events) and I was there to capture all of the action.

Although, saying that I was there capturing the action would be like saying that Hunter S. Thompson was capturing the action of the Mint 400 in Fear and Loathing. But I was physically there, taking pictures, which you'll see dispersed throughout the text, and that's what I'm trying to say.

It was a very interesting affair, and for the entire hour I was present, I was captivated. Every few minutes, the horn would blow and you'd see two kids in hastily manufactured, wheeled, death-chariots, careening down the road at relatively slow speeds until they finally anti-climaxed by plowing into either a bale of hay, a pile of sand, or each other. It was awesome.

I also realized that Sand Springs was now home to it's very own cycling shop. It happened to be on the same street as the sweet racing action, so during one of the breaks, I went in to take a look. As much as it pains me to say this...I was very disappointed. It appeared as though what they were calling a cycling shop was nothing more than two racks of tiny, tiny mountain/bmx bikes and a catalog. The people there, while coming off as slightly needy, were nice, and shoved one of their business cards into my hands as soon as they ascertained that I was horrified, as the hardcore road biker that I am, at the limited nature of their shop.

But the feeling of horror soon subsided as I entered the real world once again and was immersed in the world of juvenile street racing. Looking around at the proceedings, I was amazed to see that, in the distance, an entire section of downtown which was devoted to the gastronomic impulses of the lookers-on. There were, across the street, improvised stands selling the likes of funnel-cakes, fried [insert any item here], and cotton-candy. Of course, because whenever you've got loads of people standing around staring at asphalt, you're going to sell loads of unhealthy food.

But all good things must eventually come to an end, dear reader, and after my sister was content in buying a ridiculously overpriced bag of spun, molten sugar, we left the scene behind, which was still buzzing with activity long after we were gone.

Oh, and I'm pretty sure that I spotted Rocco from Boondock Saints while I was there.

Blog Posting Insanity!

Here we go. It's been a while since I've last posted (I've had a lot of sleeping to do). But now I'm back in action. Here comes the new content!

(of course, if you're reading this, then you've already read most of the new content)

There went the new content! Except for the following:

Everyday Optics!

Photo taken of my ceiling

The absolute value of a sine function.

See kids, math can be fun!

Saturday, October 4, 2008


I've had a very boring week. I've done nothing, up to this point, that could be considered "blog-worthy." This evening, I set out, and some may say I have succeeded in my attempt, to change that.

Craving adventure, as I am wont to do, I set out from the coffee shop at which I spent a large portion of my day, in search of something--this ephemeral something I could not yet put my finger on, but I set out, regardless, to find it.

So I left. Lucy (my bike) and I wandered through the streets and alleyways of Stillwater for a time, searching for that which is inherently unsearchable.

My first encounter with the extraordinary came abruptly, when I noticed a pile of what seemed to be junk on the side of the road. Upon closer inspection, I noticed that the contents of this particular pile were not the ordinary sort of junk (bits of rusty metal, slowly rotting wood, stained couches, and what-have-you) but rather rusty, slowly rotting, and stained business signs, from every type of establishment conceivable. Among those that I recognized were Conoco and Holiday Inn (as seen in the photo), and many, many more. I was slightly disappointed, because being on a bike prohibited me from stealing any of these great pieces of unintentionally modern art.

Regardless, and with my appetite for the unusual whetted, I pressed on through more parts unknown. (Side note: If you've never experienced a city completely by bike or on foot, you're completely missing out. There is a myriad of sense experiences that you are missing out on by driving a boring car through your city. Try it out some time, and pay close attention to the sights, sounds, and smells of your particular parcel of the country. For instance, I noticed today that many parts of Stillwater smell a bit like poo, and that's all part of the experience.)

Anyway, the evening was wearing on, and I was determined to continue exploring while I still was able. Hearing the sounds of drunken collegiate revelry in the distance (foreshadowing!), I came upon a very strange sight. It was some sort of monument, I guess, probably to the rail lines which used to cut through Stillwater back in the day. I was more struck, however, by the fact that I had no earthly idea why there should be a train engine, on it's own tiny set of tracks to nowhere, sitting in front of a mock station, in the middle of downtown Stillwater. In a way, though, not knowing why that train was placed there made the scene more poignant and mysterious to me. There was someone out there, I thought to myself, who cared so much about this particular train, that they enshrined it here, so that I could later find it, and wonder at its origin.

But mysticism and determinism aside, I snapped a few poorly-lit photographs of the scene and carried on. By this time, it had gotten properly dark. Lucy, with no front or rear light to guide the way, was as blind as I, as we barreled down the ill-lit streets of our town, searching for another sign.

As you probably know, there is an inverse correlation between the effort put into finding something extraordinary, and the chances of finding something extraordinary. That is, the harder you look, the less likely you are to find such a thing. Knowing this principle full well, I charged on, into the night, telling myself that I only needed to find one more exciting thing before I could go home and report my findings. And it was at that moment (roughly) that I noticed something odd. By this time I was headed roughly towards campus, and I began to see that the car-density per parking lot was increasing sharply. Nothing made this point more clear when I noticed that a bank, located very close to campus, had it's lot packed with vehicles, well into the ATM lines. What could be the cause of this?

Of course! I thought in a sudden bout of Sherlock Holmesian insight, the football game!

The OSU whatevers were playing the Texas A&M whatevers at the manly-man's sport of college football tonight. Thus, as I pierced the heart of campus, my way was consistently and frustratingly blocked by drunken revelers, orange-clad alumni, desperate to relive former days of glory, frat boys and the ever-present sorostitutes, all of whom were shouting and stumbling and generally milling about. For several square blocks, an entire tent-city had sprung from the ground, orange and white canopies protecting wide screen tv's, beer (pronounced in typical Oklahoma fashion, BEHR) coolers, and lawnchairs filled with fans. The sense impressions, which I previously alluded to, were threatening to overwhelm me as I coasted through the heart of the madness, the sights: orange masses of people moving amorphously about, clutching BEHRs and trying to cross the road, the sounds: horns honking at random, shouts of "Go Pokes!" and in reply, "F**k you!" and the smells: a strange mix of the telltale scent of an impromptu wing stand and urine.

Eventually, not caring much for the madness and debauchery concomitant with collegiate sport, I left the mob scene behind, in favor of quieter territory. And this is, I'm afraid, where today's story has to end. I'd seen quite enough for one day, perhaps even one week. I silently pedaled home, where I then sat, with my laptop in the most literal of positions (on the top of my lap), to write it all down.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Move! Book Sale!

This post is a bit overdue, but I've got a bit of time while I'm not studying for my test (which I have to take in about eight hours), so I've decided to throw this in.

If there's anything that you should know about me, it's that I go absolutely [expletive deleted] for used book sales. Actually, now that I think about it, the only thing better than a used book sale is an impromptu used book sale. And this, my friends, is where I will begin the tale.

It was saturday afternoon, and I was riding my bike down to the coffee shop to waste some time, do some homework, and get some of my all-important blogging done. Suddenly, out of my periph, I spot one of those cheap, white-with-black-lettering signs which could only signal a public library book sale.

I almost fell off of my bike I braked so hard.

A quick u-turn and an inspection of the sign gave me my destination: the Stillater Public Library, which, to my ultimate delight, wasn't too far away (not that it would matter, I'd probably ride my bike to tulsa if I could just get to experience the lingering aroma of aged literature).

So I booked it to the library. Did you see what I did there? And about an hour later I left with a 20 pound stack of books (shown below), which I then had to stuff into my poor messenger bag (along with my laptop and classnotes which were already in).

The list is as follows:

1. Carl Sagan: A Life - Biography of the man himself.
2. Cosmos by Carl Sagan - An absolute classic in lay-scientific literature, you may remember the 2600 part pbs series of the same name.
3. The Panda's Thumb by S.J. Gould - One of the most important and most cited modern books on evolution. It's a classic.
4. Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke - One of the best SF stories by my absolute favorie science fiction (and science non-fiction, as you'll soon see) authors.
5. The Promise of Space by A.C. Clarke - A book written in the 70s about the shining future of space travel. This might be the first mention of the solar sail concept for space travel, but don't cite me on that.
6. Mathematical Tables and Formulas (3rd ed.) - This one's pretty self-explanatory. I've got a pretty good collection of these books going now, it's the third book of math tables that I now own, despite the fact that the internet and Mathematica make these completely obsolete.
7. The Dirigible Book - Written in 1936 about the exciting new field of lighter than air vessels, this children's picture book captures everything that I love in nostalgic old books. It's even got pencil drawings of flames coming out of a moored blimp--Hindinberg-style.

And, I only spent about 5 bucks.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

September Critical Mass

Finally. I was finally able to do one of these. And let me tell you, the wait was worth it.

Around 4:45pm on friday afternoon, there was a slowly growing number of cyclists gathering at what I will refer to as the "hipster trees", just west of the OSU student union. The gaunt, bearded figures mostly spent their time milling about, riding each other's bikes/longboards, and gawking at the few brave hippies deeply engaged in slacklining.

Not too much to say about the ride, really. We took a winding path through town, bothering cars and pedestrians (read: raising cycling awareness). There was a short break about half-way through, we stopped at the local coffee shop to have a drink and round up any slackers.

Another interesting turn (bike pun? wha?) of events is that we started with around 15 people, but by the time were were turning onto the final lap, there were only five of us on road bikes left. Most of the rest had either turned off along the way to go home, or were left behind (sorry, Cassandra, we didn't notice you go) Unencumbered as the last five of us were, we booked it back to campus, five brave cyclists taking up two lanes of traffic and generally having a blast of it.

We finished the ride, laid our bikes down to rest under the shade of the hipster trees, and the sound of nicotine and caffeine pumping through hipster veins could be heard throughout campus. All in all, a good day.

On a more serious note, though, before the ride got started, there came some news that a female cyclist had been hit by a truck pulling out of a parking lot. Details were slim, but bearers of the news reported seeing the girl, standing, but with quite a bit of blood on her forehead. The ride was declared in dedication to this girl. If I learn any more details about the situation, I'll post.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Vegan Recipe of the Day

This installment will teach you how to make bread.

It's simple, I know, but it's also a very good skill to have. Luckily, I've found an instructional video on the subject. Watch it here. And now I'm making bread in this way at least 5 times a week.

See? Easy as 3.14159. Have a nice day.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Construction Worries

Here's my beef with construction.

Even though you can't see anything in the photo due to its cool artsy nature, this is a blockage around one of the key intersections in Stillwater. It also happened to be directly on the route I ride to and from campus every day.

This has forced me into a pickle.

(Note the second food-based synonym used in this post already, I'm on a roll) (aah! that's number three! lookout!)

For the last week, I've been forced to find different routes to school, which, as a creature of habit such as myself can tell you, is a bit unnerving. I've nearly been killed twice, trying to cross 6th at strange places, and that's two times too many. Worse than being killed, though, is my other experience: being stuck for ten minutes behind a letch in a rusty car, going ten miles an hour around campus, failing miserably at trying to surreptitiously check out sorostitutes walking home from class. It was sickening, and worse yet, only served to shed light on my own surreptitious letching.

The construction and subsequent detours wouldn't bother me that much if I knew that the intersection was going to be better off when it's done. I pay my taxes, I'm all about building bridges and sidewalks and whatnot. But that's the thing. It looks like they're just tearing up concrete for the fun of it. (Although, to be fair, I would imagine that it would be a lot of fun) And you know as well as I, that even though they tore the place up in the space of an afternoon, it's going to take at least two years for them to fix the thing. Whatever the thing was that needed mending.

But for now, I'll continue to risk my life for the sake of my higher education--weaving in and out of rush hour traffic, dodging cars and pedestrians, riding my 25 pound piece of aluminum and rubber down the mean streets, waiting for fate to deliver up a delicious plate of destiny. (FOUR!) Or I'll just take the bus.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Vegan Recipe of the Day

This is a very special installment of the recipe of the day, and I'll tell you why.

This is the first time this year (except for the cold bits at the beginning) that I've been able to see my breath outside. I know, it's amazing. It's especially cold right now, about 50 degrees, and I had popped outside after finishing my astronomy homework when I noticed this.

I felt that I ought to celebrate this occasion with a bit of fine cuisine. So, without further ado, let the recipe begin.

Ramen Noodles and Coffee

Ingredients: Ramen noodles and coffee

Directions: First get some "oriental" flavored ramen, which happens to be the only kosher flavor that I know of. Then, crumble the noodles into a bowl...oh, you know how to do it. It's 3am and I'm tired. Enjoy.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Just a few things.

I've been super busy this week...but in the meantime:

here are a couple of links detailing how much McCain and Palin hate rape victims.

Article One - McCain
Article Two - Palin

Despicable People, both of them.

Well wait, I guess I understand...those damn rape victims! When will they learn?!

UPDATE: I read on the dailykos blog a very plausible explanation for this type of despicable behavior. The article postulates that the reason that these two (Palin, in particular) are against government funding for the rape kits is because contained within each kit, is...a "morning after" emergency contraceptive. There it is. And because of their adherance to a bronze age understanding of biology, in which stopping a small bundle of cells (half of which are from a rapist, mind you) from growing is tantamount to murder. And god says that's bad. Again, I'd like to state clearly that there is not solid evidence to support this, but it's certainly the best explanation I've heard.

Monday, September 8, 2008

I freakin told you!

Basically, there was a climate study done for the UN that found that the impact caused by the consumption and production of meat in the world was greater than that caused by ALL transportation exhaust. I think it's interesting, though, that the climate chief delivering these results is vegetarian. Conflict of interest or perspicacity on his part? I'll let you decide.

But, as a vegan cyclist, all I've got to say is, "Nyah!"

Here's a link to an article from the BBC on the subject.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

End of August (Sort of) Critical Mass!

Alright, here it is. Critical Mass is a week late, but it's worth the wait! Can you feel it?

[No Photo Available]

I can't. I missed the ride.

I thought it started at six, okay? Sue me.

So instead of riding my bike about town in a carefree manner with 16 other hipsters on fixies, I got to sit under a tree, and talk philosophy with my good (and shirtless on this occasion (yep, better not to ask)) buddy, Tim, until the rest of the hooligans returned.

Note that the only bike left upright is Lucy, featured in the foreground.

At which point we talked not of philosophy, but of old Pete and Pete episodes, and we laughed. And there was much merriment to be had. But alas! The merriment which I experienced, sitting there among the others, was nothing more than a pale mirror of its pure form.

But, there was a dude doing some fixie trixies...that made me feel a bit better.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Labor Day Half-Century

I know this is a couple of days late, but I don't care.

Lucy and I went out early early (7:30am) on Monday morning on a ride to Perkins, OK, just south of Stillwater [the route I took can be found below]

The morning was beautiful; it was just the right time to see the soft morning mist rising up over the fields, brilliantly backlit by the rising sun.

Of course, I don't have a picture of any of this because the batteries in my camera died just minutes before I left. Trust me, it was awesome.

The ride went fairly smoothly, although I took a road south of Perkins which dead-ended about five miles in, so I had to do a there-and-back to get back to town.

When I had finally gotten back to Stillwater, I realized that I only needed eight more miles to make this ride an even fifty. So I milled about town in a very boring, haphazard way until I got to the desired mileage.

All considered it was very fun, my longest ride yet, and a pretty good way of putting off homework on labor day.

Date: 9/01/08
Distance: 51.16 mi
Time: 3:02:14
Avg Speed: 16.8 mph
Best Speed: 36.8 mph

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Why you shouldn't bike in the rain.

I was saddened this friday by the news that, due to rain, the Critical Mass bike ride (which would've been my first) was going to be bumped to next week. Dejectedly, and without purpose, I set off to bike home, in the cold, indifferent rain.

I had done this many times before, even at night, without significant problem. Although on those dark+rainy='doubleplus scary' nights I would ride home, without a headlight, terrified, repeating the mantra, "...I'm gonna make it, they're just puddles, they're just puddles, no potholes, no potholes..." but the point is, until friday I've always made it home without major incident.

Not that I'm calling what happened a major incident, mind you.

But I fell, in a semi-spectacular way.

I was rounding a corner, in the parking lot of my apartment complex, when I began to slide. Slide in the sense of the Vin Diesel sliding a motorcycle on its side under a semi, sliding. It was exactly as the movies depicted it, except for the fact that I slid the whole of two feet, mostly on my ankle and handlebar, and somehow when it was done the first two toes of my left foot were jammed into the spokes of my front wheel and I was left with a bleeding (not too badly) ankle and a bruised knee. They never show Vin Diesel's toes stuck in a wheel. Bah.

For being shod in only flip-flops, the injury was surprisingly minor.

So, I walked Lucy, unharmed save for a misaligned front wheel and a badly misshapen right pedal, back to the apartment, where I had a good laugh about the whole situation over a glass of water and a handfull of Ibu and Aspirin.

[For posterity's sake, I reenacted the toe portion of the accident, the photo of which can be found below.]

Don't ask me how it happened, but that's how I found my foot.

An Atheist Goes to Church - II

and the story of how I was once again decieved by the religious establishment.

It started last week, when flyers were posted around campus which shouted something along the lines of, "Tired of the 'New Atheism?!' Learn how to best protect and defend your faith againsts the swarms of hell-spawn heathens!" (Embellishment added)

But basically, it was a talk on how to defend against people like myself. Now, being the sly nonbelievers that we are, about six or seven of us from OSSO decided to give this thing a visit. Like soviet spies making their way into a pentagon war briefing, we set out for the Baptist Campus Ministry (which henceforth will be referred to as the BCM). And what we found there, ladies and gentlemen, was disturbing.

It seems that it was a trap. Not a trap in the conventional sense of the word, but more like the situation in which a hunter has no intention of even laying a trap, but a rabbit gets caught anyway. It seems that the atheist talk had been canceled.

Not that we knew about it. It took us probably a half hour of repetitive "God, you're so awesome!" praise songs played by a band of wholesome-yet-(christian)-hip college kids with conservative and well groomed facial hair configurations and a sermon which read from the book of Corinthians and concluded with the messages of "God doesn't need you" and "This is a war we can't win." (verbatim) before we realized that the topic of our own evil was not going to be discussed.

Although two of our group walked out at that point, the rest of us stayed through more crappy repetitive praise songs (Listen, god knows how great he is, alright? he doesn't need you to repeat it eight thousand times, much less while swaying with your eyes closes and hands in the air like you're listening to run DMC. Enough already.) and a ten minute spiel about signing up for their "Face 2 Face" bible study groups.

"Which one are you going to sign up for?" I excitedly asked Derrick, sitting beside me.
"Oh, golly! All of them! I don't want to miss a thing!" he replied. We giggled.

After the debaucle was over, we congregated in the parking lot, eager to vent our frustrations and incredulity over the event just witnessed. That night was a long one, discussing their logical fallacies and inconsistencies at the nearby House of Godlessness, in which two of the group of heathens lived. We laughed at the silly people that night, until the night drew thin and cold, and went went separately to bed, having collected further proof of the absurdity of it all.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Question: When is a wheel+tube not a wheel+tube?

Answer: When it's a freakin' piece of crap. Like Lucy's rear wheel.

It's gone flat [read: blown out] twice in as many days, forcing me to walk her home each time. There's a problem with the spoke wells along the inside of the rim, the tube tends to blow out at these weak points. This is not good.

So far, duct tape has not solved the problem, which means that the situation is truly dire.

Updates to follow.

Update:Fixed for now. I fixed it the same way I fix every other problem in my life. More duct tape. Lots of it. Bring it on, world.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Vegan Recipe of the Day!

anything but meat, eggs, or dairy.

1. Prepare food as is customary.
2. Dig in.

mmm...tastes like freedom.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Barack Obama's VP - Holy Crap!

So I woke up this morning, checked the ol' facebook, and what do I see in my updates folder? A message from the Obama campaign declaring his pick for VP - Joe Biden.

Holy crap. Were I eating cereal while reading that sentence, my computer screen would almost certainly have been showered by an incredulous blast of soy milk and coco-roos. Joe Biden?! This decision is either going to be the very best or the very worst thing that could happen to the Obama campain.

Let me start off first with a little talk about why I love Joe Biden. He was best described on as a "motherf***ing badass", and rightly so, in my opinion. The one thing that I've liked about him from the very beginning, this is back when there were still eighteen people running for the democratic nomination, mind you, is that he's not afraid to speak his mind. If you were curious enough to click on the above youtube link, you'll know that his vitriolic speech is pretty indicative of Joe Biden when he gets passionate about something. I like that. We don't need another Pelosi in the democratic leadership.

But this is also what makes me a bit wary of Joe. He has, many times, gotten himself in some trouble for so candidly letting opinions fly, even for his comments on Obama. The media monkeys and their junket junkies are just going to love picking Biden apart. They know that, especially when provoked, Biden's going to give some good, controversial sound bites for Faux News to drool over. And when the average voter cares more about Reverend Wright or Obama's secret Islamic leanings than, say, the faltering economy or the faltering war, sound bites will make a difference. Never count out the ingnorance vote, it will make a difference.

So, in conclusion, I'm still unbelievably happy about this decision, because from what I've seen, Joe Biden does not mess around when it comes to politics. In the era of our floundering democratic congress, and Pelosi all but giving sanctuary to a criminal, it's going to be nice to get a president and vice-pres who can whip (hidden pun, hehe) congress into shape.

Yes, I'm already assuming that they've won...but look at who they're running against.