Secret Bonsai Garden

I made the most unexpected discovery on my way to work today. On my normal route to work, I ride almost daily past a sign on a lightly travelled residential road that says BONSAI CONNECTION. I always thought it was peculiar but the houses on either side of it didn't appear to have anything to do with bonsai trees or connections of any sort so I just thought it was a dated or misplaced sign. Well today there was a CLEARANCE sign underneath it, so I decided to check it out. I crossed the street and stopped by the sign. Scanning the area I noticed that a gravel driveway I'd associated with one of the neighboring houses actually lead past the house and continued a hundred yards or so to a gate. On the gate was a sign that said OPEN. Ah ha! I rode back to the fence and leaned my bike against it. I walked through the gate, under some trees and there was a house with the door open. KNOCK KNOCK, I yelled. JUST A MINUTE came the response over the barking of a chihuahuaesque mutt who was now occupying the door. I was waiting for Mr. Miyagi but instead out walked a cigarette smoke-aged Rue McClanahan with missing teeth and a mullet. DON'T MIND HIM I JUST GOT HIM TWO WEEKS AGO, she said, ashing her cigarette on the mutt. I'D LIKE TO SEE, I started, but she interrupted with YOU EVER DONE BONSAI TREES BEFORE? Another mutt, this one in the shape of a morbidly obese and hopeless golden retriever ambled after us as she led me around the side of the house. WELL I HAD ONE IN MY, I started again, but she said ANYWAYS HERE'S THE STARTER PLANTS, HERE'S THE TREES AND BACK THERE'S MORE, pointing wildly. I looked in the directions she was pointing. There were several large cages containing birds of various shapes and sizes, a few with multicolored rabbits and there were rabbits and chickens wandering about the yard. There were also dozens of shelves with different sizes and varieties of bonsai trees. Some quite small and simple and other quite beautiful and intricate. WOW, I said. She took a drag of her cigarette, adding to the 4 inch granny ash hanging limp off the end and exhaled, IT STARTED AS A HOBBY AND NOW I HAVE A SHIT-LOAD OF 'EM. I'M GONNA GO GET SHOES. I glanced down at her feet. Peeling red toenail polish tried to hide her jagged unkempt toenails. I vomited in my mouth and swallowed it, then said OKAY. I spent the next few minutes wandering around looking at the assorted flora and fauna. The trees all had very reasonable prices attached via stickers to their glazed ceramic pots. I looked up and saw an older man stumble out of one of the sheds behind the rabbit coops. He walked to where I was and addressed me with his eyes. YOU A RACE CAR DRIVER, he asked, eyeing the bike helmet I had tucked under my arm. HA, NO, I'M A.. he punched my arm and laughed, then walked towards the house. The woman met him halfway and they argued while I finished looking around and scratched the fat dogs head to the dismay of the smaller one. When he wandered inside I told her I had to run to work and that I'd be back. She nodded and I left, smiling about the randomness of life. It was all very zen.

So this is what we've become.

I have almost daily discussions with my coworkers about how rediculous it is that they insist on driving their cars through the McDonald's drive through on their lunch breaks when MCDONALD'S IS NEXT DOOR to our workplace. Seriously. I do my best to shame them but usually with little success. On the rare occasion that I buy food from McDonald's I walk, and it always takes less time to walk than drive. Want to know why other countries hate Americans? How about this, this, and this.

Thanks to Fritz @ cyclelicio.us for bringing my attention to these discusting images.

Abuses of power.

I am a fan of the police. With few exceptions, they have always been a positive presence in my life. But recently I've been hearing and seeing more frequent abuses of their power directed at cyclists. This story takes the cake. Keep in mind this is not a radical, confrontational college student at critical mass, this is a 140lb. vegan, violin playing grandfather.
"I was rudely accosted, assaulted with battery, and tased at Minneapolis St Paul USA international airport by Airport Police, simply for choosing to leave the airport by bicycle. I had broken no laws. I use a bicycle as a significant part of my daily mode of travel. I have legally cycled to and from airports internationally including 3 of the 4 major London airports, with no problems. I was using my bicycle completely in accord with MN Statutes and Metropolitan Airport Commission Ordinances."


Bike News

An interesting post from the Sightline Institute about what "bike-friendly" looks like. In NYC a 25 year old woman hit her boyfriend with her SUV as he was riding his bike, then ran over him repeatedly. And a prolific UK bicycle thief thought to have stolen hundreds of bikes over three years is on the run after failing to appear for sentencing.



I've been called a "damn cyclist!" by more hicks in pick-ups than I can remember, but now whenever someone sticks their head out the window to shake their fist and yell "damn cyclist" at me, I'm going to yell back, "dot com!"

Running red-lights

Excellent post about running "defective" red-lights on your bike @ CommuteByBike.Com.
"Me: I commute by bike and the majority of the traffic signals I encounter during my trip aren’t triggered by a bicycle. In that situation, is it appropriate to run the red light?

Officer: Bike riders are required to obey all traffic laws. I see your problem but I must tell you what the ordinances state. You could trip the pedestrian push button. See if that helps.

Me: Yes, it is a Catch 22. I have been doing exactly what you suggest with the pedestrian push buttons (when they are available) however that entails my having to, sometimes, jaywalk in order to get to the button.... "

Today's bike news.

There's an interesting editorial today in the sports section of the Cary News by the sports editor who is sick of paying 3+ bucks a gallon, so he's been *gasp* commuting by bike. Also in bike news former Altera CEO Rodney Smith was killed when he was struck by a car while riding his bike. He was an avid cyclist and a collector of vintage race cars. He was 67. In Canada police are searching for a man who has reportedly been riding up to random women on his bicycle and asking them to kick him in the groin. Maybe he's just numb from riding and wants to make sure they're still there? And those crazy brits might be onto something: London fire-fighters are using bicycles to access remote spots in alleys and fields that might be susceptible to arson and wildfires. And finally some good news about gasoline: no, prices aren't going down. A report I heard on the radio moments ago said that gas consumption in the US is down 2.5% since this time last year. I can't find the story online but if you see it, please send me the link. That's it for bike news, 'til next time, see you on the trails.


Back from Tahoe.

Amanda and I are back from Lake Tahoe and we had a great time. We did some light hiking to the beach, tried our luck at the roulette table and ate far too much food prepared by our gracious and dashing host Zack. I didn't do nearly as much biking as I would have liked, but the miles and miles of winding bike-trails that cover Tahoe were swarming with tourists on rented cruisers and roller blades winding hither and thither on the narrow paths in no particular direction. There were also dog-walkers with their hairy, pooping pals, hoardes of aparently parentless children chucking frisbees across the path and retirees walking hand in hand in both lanes. But I digress, I was just happy to see folks enjoying themselves on two wheels who are normally cooped up in their cars honking at each other. There was one thing that did bother me though. For every 10 "cyclists" on the paths there was one in full team kit riding in the road. That, in and of itself is great, but in almost every case the tourist traffic had no idea what to do with them and so they just sat on their wheels and waited for the cyclist to pull completely off the road or they followed at 15 mph for a couple minutes then stomped the gas and swerved eratically around them when they realized the cyclists weren't merely lost and looking for the next bike lane. All I know is, it takes a lot of balls to trust all of those cars with your life as you trudge along up a single lane of highway with a 5-10 story sheer rock cliff inches from your wheels and 15 pissy drivers backed up behind you. It may be more scenic than my commute but geez. That said, if I had my road bike there I might have been tempted to try some of those cliffs myself. I guess sanity is in the eyes of the bike-holder. The above photo is a dramatization BTW. I found it here.


back from SF, onwards to Tahoe

Back from SF. The Spoon concert was a blast, though I must admit I felt like a teenie-bopper waiting in the cold for tickets for two hours. But it was worth it. They played a good mix of old and newer and included a couple songs from their new CD which is out July 10th. Also worth noting is the new bass player, details of which I was unable to locate. Alas, Amanda was wisely concerned about memorial weekend traffic so we left the city before getting to see the "official" start of Critical Mass, though we did see plenty of cyclist milling about in preparation. The SF Gate reports that the ride went off without a hitch, unless you count their running into hoardes of zombies as a hitch. I also missed pillow fight and the courier championships (sorry Fritz, she's the boss). Today Honor, Aaron, Isaiah and Oliver made the trek from Sac to the house and we played bocce and barbequed. Tomorrow Amanda and I are heading up to Lake Tahoe to stay with Zack and Steph at his cabin and hike, bike and gamble ourselves in to oblivion. Will try to take pictures but I'm terrible about that. Most of the pics I post have been stolen; including this one. Cheers.


Spoon concert tonight 5/24 in SF

Seeing Spoon tonight at popscene. Be there.


7 things you didn't know about me...

Jill @ Up In Alaska posted a list of 7 facts about herself that "you" didn't know, and suggested others follow suit; so without further ado:

Seven things you don't know about Dr. Logan-
1. I was born in Omaha, NE, but I don't care about the Huskers. I moved to Northern California when I was about 4. Then Alaska for college, Boston for a while and then LA breifly. Now I'm back in NorCal. I would love to go back to Alaska for the summer though. I'll probably settle somewhere in the Pacific Northwest.
2. I had a dream when I was young about being pulled under my bed by a witch and I still don't let my hands or feet hang over the edge of the bed; aside from that I don't have any phobias.
3. I was in jail for three days in Sitka, AK. I was the only one in there for all but the last couple hours. The guard told me I had nice hands while he was finger-printing me. The last couple hours were spent thinking of rhymes at the request of my new fellow inmate, a white guy named Bubba (not kidding) who was making up rap songs. At one point the guard asked me if I wanted to join him OUTSIDE for a cigarette. While in there I read Fast Food Nation, White Teeth, and Metal Cowboy.
4. I'm still not sure what I want to do when I grow up, but some of the options I keep coming back to are lawyer, restauranteer, professor and cult-leader. Maybe all of those at once.
5. I read a lot. Mostly non-fiction. Recently almost exclusively religious (buddhist and Christian Apologetic) and philosophical (Kahlil Gibran, Gandhi) texts with some short story anthologies thrown in for good measure. Regardless, I am a terrible speller.
6. I don't even speak one language very well, but I took German for two years and I can speak rough conversational spanish that I picked up from my coworkers, friends, and trips to Mexico. I've taken lessons in guitar, trombone, percussion, harmonica and hand-bells. I'm in the market for a ukulele. I think they're amazing.
7. I over analyze EVERYTHING. I have bad shoppers remorse and as I result I never buy anything. My newest article of clothing is a sweatshirt I bought in San Francisco a year ago because it was cold and I didn't have one with me.
I'm going to stop here and hit publish or else I'll go back and change things.

Now it's your turn, go...

tips for cyclists

Tips For Cyclists - video powered by Metacafe

seen @ cyclelicio.us
made by the fine folks @ bikeforest.com



My latest sticker idea:
"The Price of Gas; like it or bike it."


Ten steps to a crappy commute.

Warning: I normally LOVE my bike commute, so it takes a lot of work to mess it up. Here's how to do it!

Step 1: wreck your bike the day before so that you are sore and the wheel's busted.
Step 2: dick around on the internet until you realize you're running late.
Step 3: shower quickly and leave without applying sunscreen to your delicate Irish skin.
Step 4: use your folding single-speed bike with 20" wheels that doesn't fit you and hurts your back
Step 5: forget to prep the bike since it hasn't been ridden in months so the tires are super low and the chain is creaky.
Step 6: ride into a direct 25mph headwind.
Step 7: ride on a dry 90 degree day with lots of pollen in the air and DON'T bring water.
Step 8: ride with the sun directly overhead so you can feel the melanoma cells growing.
Step 9: have bad allergies so you can barely breath
Step 10: arrive at work in the nick of time but sit in the bathroom weezing, hiccuping and guzzling water for 20 minutes without clocking in first!

BTW- 2006 Dahon S1 for sale, lightly used. Will trade for new 700c aero front wheel :)

bicycle fender-bender

Okay, it wasn't technically a fender-bender because I don't have fenders on my bike right now. But if I did, it would be completely bent out of shape. On my way to work I cross over a bridge and then ride down a circular ramp to exit it. I often lean towards the inside and fly down the ramp as fast as possible; hey, small pleasures right? Well, I did that today, only to find a large pile of sticks right at the bottom of the ramp. I saw the sticks and made my front end light to roll over them, but one of them magically wedged itself into the space between my wheel and fork; stopping my tire dead and effectively throwing me over the front of the bike at around 15-20mph. Well, the bike came with me because I was clipped in. After a tuck, roll and slide I got up and dusted myself off while inspecting the damage. Somehow I was completely unscathed. A little dirty, but otherwise fine. A full wedding party that was having a picnic accross the street witnessed the whole thing, and I think they were a little dissapointed when they realized I wasn't dead. My front wheel didn't fare as well unfortunately. I took a picture of the stick-in-fork (see above; notice how far the wheel is bent) and then worked it out as delicately as possible. It was in there pretty good. The rim is bent and the wire that attaches my computer and it's sensor is wrecked, but the spokes are all there, my body is intact and I gave the wedding folks something to talk about, so all is well. After adjusting the brakes I was able to wobble to work but It wasn't pretty to watch. I had to get a ride home from Amanda. At least I wasn't on the Hydrogen bike or I might not be here to talk about it. Boom.


Hydrogen Bicycle?

Well we've all heard about the future of hydrogen cars (remember Arnold's hummer) and that fuel-cell motorcycle that was supposed to be available last year. But now a company called Valeswood Environmental Technology Developement has unveiled a hydrogen bicycle. The bike is supposedly available in the UK for around 700 pounds, but I haven't been able to find it for sale online. Tony Bosworth from Treehugger.com had this to say about it, "We all know pedal power can make you fitter but if you opt for this hydrogen-powered bike you could also be making the planet a lot fitter too." Umm, wait, isn't riding a bicycle that doesn't use any fuel even better for the planet? And didn't we conclude that hydrogen is dangerous?


sick of this @#$%^&

If I read one more story about a cyclist being assaulted or killed just because he has the nerve to ride a bike on a road that his taxes are paying for, I'm going to @#$%^& puke. If we're not getting our heads run over by trucks, we're getting hit with bats or run off the road by public transit busses and beat up by off duty cops. But we're the crazies. How is that these drivers can sit behind other cars in traffic for hours a day, but the second they have to wait for a cyclist to go around a car that's blocking the bike lane they go homicidal?!!


Simple pleasures.

A bad commute on the bike is better than a good commute in the car, and today was just a great day on the bike. I rode to work in 65 degree weather without incident, and everything happening around me seemed to be happening in sync with my music. Had thai for lunch. Then rode home. Felt strong on the ride, everyone I passed nodded hello to me. Passed another cyclist and we shared some words. Then I passed an elderly east Indian gentleman who excitedly shook his hands in the air and exclaimed, "you are racer!" as I cruised past him. As I neared my road a dirty kid on a bmx said, "I'll race you for pink slips buddy." And while there was nothing exceptional about this ride, it made me happy to be on a bike. It's the simple things that make me smile. Well, that and $3.50/gallon gasoline.

Today was a __________ day. II

Stevil Kinevil from Swobo and How to Avoid the Bummer Life wrote to share an experience he had with a random named caller that was not unlike mine. Perhaps the same person has been working his way across the country from the East with a mission to call everyone he sees a faggot. Or maybe the US is just homophobic and bored?...

remember when we were small?

Gabe, Logan, Honor. Notice the missing sock? That's my version of the Abbey Road cover.


Today was a __________ day.

I had a bad day at work. The coffee shop I work for is in the middle of a coupon blitzkrieg, presumably to increase the bankability of our brand and our sales numbers to prepare for the impending IPO (yes, we're going public). One of the coupons is for a free $10 gift card, and there are others for free drinks with no purchase needed. As such, we are SWAMPED! All day, everyday. Record numbers for weeks. What this translates to for employees is a lot more work. I got out of work an hour and a half late today, tired and reaking of coffee. I yanked my apron off, threw my sunglasses on my head and hit the road. My mom had mentioned that she wanted a rice cooker, so I went in search of one for mother's day. Because I had to work late, there was only one store open that carries them; a store that I HATE going to. It's crowded, the people are aliens, and they engage in all manner of morally-questionable business practices. We'll call it Hellmart. As I was walked towards the door of Hellmart, dodging a half-dozen beggers and ne'er-do-wells, I walked in front of a slow-moving, lowered, shiny car full of shady looking black youth. As they passed, someone rolled down the limo-tinted back window to yell, "faggot". I ignored them and walked intothe store while considering the comment. Why would they say that to me? Then it struck me that I was wearing a black polo with the collar popped (from removing the apron), sunglasses on the top of my head and a goatee (my facial hair changes incarnations almost weekly) that together, probably do make me look like a dork. I fixed my collar, stuck my glasses in my pocket and finished my shopping, laughing to myself. The Buddha once said, "Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intention of throwing it at someone else, you are the one who gets burned."


I am a World-eater.

In the middle of my lunch it dawned on me that I was eating a meal prepared in India (tasty bites Indian entrees, highly recommended), drinking iced-lychee tea grown in China, and eating strawberries from the stand down the road. Aaaamerica.


I have no idea what is going on here, but I do know it is amazing.


Bike commuters happiest...

A study that was recently published in bikeportland.comconcluded that commuters who utilize bicycles are the happiest out of all commuters. Duh.


Heraclitus and Bocce Ball

"Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play." These are the all too true words of Heraclitus, the Western World's first great philosopher. And that is why I strive to achieve that seriousness by acting like a child daily. My dad's birthday party was yesterday. Honor and Aaron, Olly and Zay came up to the house with a cake. Mom and I made hummus, falafel, cucumber spread, spinach dip (with Aaron's home-made sourdough) and pita bread and Max sliced up some veggies. Then we all gorged before heading out side. The gals and Olly took over the hammock and cheered on the guys while we played Bocce ball, my new favorite sport. That lasted for a few dozen games before Isaiah accidentaly launched a bocce ball directly into Aaron's forehead, which put an end to the game. Then today I went to Max's soccer practice for a parents vs. the team soccer game. I was the stand-in parent. I took over goalie at mid-way through the game and they never scored on me, but the damage was done and we lost 2-1. I was pretty wiped by the time I got home. Ride to work - work 8 hours - ride to Max's soccer thing - play for a couple hours - ride home... So I took a shower and Max and I went to the new pizza place around the corner from our house. It was pretty tasty after all that work. Life is good.

Congratulations Danio!!! 祝贺

My good friend Danio is married! He was married to his soul-mate Lillian in Guilin, Guangxi Province of China. I love you both and wish you the best, hurry up and visit!!! You can find his blog in my links. His wedding pictures are awesome.

We are the cyclists.

This is funny.


Back from Sac

The concert was fun. We parked at Ray's house and his roommate drove us downtown in his Precious Cargo van, dropping us off directly in front of the bar which I thought was hilarious but Amanda and Ray were embarassed. We went to a couple bars (mostly gay bars at Ray's urging) and drank too many whiskey & cokes. The concert was at 9PM at Harlow's which is a small venue and we were right in front of the stage. Andrew Bird puts on a pretty good show, he's a violin playing machine. After the concert we walked to a hamburger joint where Ray ran his mouth at a gangsterish fellow who decided to beat Ray up. Because of all the liquid courage I'd injested I got between them feeling quite brave but had push come to shove that same liquid courage may have caused me a black eye or worse. Fortunately the guy gave up after waiting outside for twenty minutes (the security kicked him out which is hilarious because the whole thing was Ray's fault) so we left without any more issues. Navigating midtown at night proved to be more than we could handle though, and we got so lost the walk home took us two hours and it was only a few blocks.


Zay and Oli striking poses.

Zay and Oli are photogenic. They didn't get that from their uncle.

Macaframa SF Track Bike Promo

Makes me want a fixie so I can be a bad-ass too.


new bicycling magazine, free subscriptions!

car culture is a joke!