I’ve learned a lot about myself on my many cycle rides over the past few years: how far I can push myself before my legs give out, how anger at the wind can drive me to overcome it, how much I value (and need) the serenity of a quiet morning with just the sound of bike tires and birds. I’ve also learned a lot about other people, though the teachings haven’t been nearly as positive (or as much fun for me.)
[My poor little garlic shoots are snowed under, except for this one hardy fellow.]
Our birds and plants have absolutely no idea what’s going on. In early January, we were bathed in 70 degree temperatures and covered by clear, sunny skies: a warm blanket of Solar Love. Late February has been a whirling dervish of ice, wind, and gray: an iron maiden of Frigid Hate. I’m ready for Spring.
Heather and I have lived, loved, and (occasionally) worked along side one another for many years now. In one of those semi-spur-of-the-moment outbursts I’m prone to, after an otherwise innocent comment by her about a minor dissatisfaction with her blog at The Spotted Cat, she woke up Saturday morning to find that I’d spent the night before setting up a web server and teaching myself enough about PHP and WordPress to launch her a homegrown custom blog site (thankfully I already have my basics covered for Linux, HTML, and Apache.) A few quick clicks later and we had a domain. You can see some more info in her post.
Long story short, The Spotted Cat and The Incredible Shrinking Man are merging into this site, which should become the one-stop repository for all the tripe Heather and I see fit to drop on the internet.
I really don’t know that I’ll write much here. I suffer from a common problem. I think to myself “Who the hell cares what YOU have to say? Who do you think you are to spout forth like some foul-mouthed oracle?” I think it’s important to remember that you don’t have to move the world every time you speak. Sometimes just sharing a small insight or idiotic thought you found humorous is enough to change someone’s day. Maybe if you do that enough the world moves a little without you noticing.
More posts will no doubt be coming, as will a whirlwind of changes as I discover all the glaring security holes I probably left open.
And just in case you were on the internet back in 1991 (when I first got on the internet proper- I’d been online for years previously but that was the first time I had true web/news/email/gopher access)… well you know what this damn graphic means:
Trial By Fire
Trial By Thermonuclear Fire
The Power of Choice
The Power of Fusion (Or When Two Become One)
It’s not because I’m hurting. I’ve dealt with pain for much of my life, I’m used to it and don’t let it dictate what I can and can’t do.
Do you know what this means?
I can go clothes shopping in normal stores again.
“You’ve made it, big guy… so take it easy! Slow down, you’ve beaten me.. I yield! You don’t need to keep doing this to yourself! Take a day off, rest a bit.. hell, have a treat! You know you’ve earned it, right?”
&@#% the voice in my head, and !#@% 2XL shirts.
There was a little more of a gap between Part One and Part Two than I would have liked.
As I mentioned in Part One, I was concerned about going into a local bike shop and being told (politely or not) that they wouldn’t be able to help me. I’m still a magnificently fat bastard, after all- 365 pounds is nothing to sneeze at, even if it IS a hundred+ less than my peak weight. That overwhelming fear of rejection and ridicule drove so much of my day that it was kind of shocking to have it rear its head so strongly again. It DOES still influence me deeply, and honestly, I am quite sure it always will. There will always be a little voice that says “You’re the picture people see when they think “Well at least I’m not as bad as THAT ONE GUY.” You’re the Worst Case Scenario.” That’s better than it was (seriously; I leave the house willingly now. I go shopping and walk the streets without prodding or bribery from H4rpy), but I have a lot of work to do still.
I was being a complete dumbass. 365 pounds of pure, Grade AAA, All American, Corn-Fed DumbAss. I knew I was. H knew I was. You ALL knew I was. So I told The Little Voice that I was going to sack up and do this, and if he didn’t like it, he could suck on a teabag.
We made the drive to Oklahoma City and were at the bike shop for all of 30 seconds before the owner we were supposed to meet came right out and greeted us. It was probably all of 120 seconds later (after a few questions to make sure he had his numbers right) that he led us over to a couple of bikes that he thought would do the job. I gravitated strongly towards one in particular, largely because of some options it had that I knew I wanted in my next bike (disc brakes and lever shifters, plus a better gearing ratio. I knew I wanted a hybrid because I was going to be mostly on the road, but I can’t handle the riding posture of a true road bike yet.)
He talked with us about the bike (a 2014 Giant Roam 2) for another 10 minutes or so while his crew got one ready for me to test ride (the one on the floor was a large frame, and he thought I would benefit from a medium frame since I have short legs but a very long torso.)(He was quite right.) I knew as soon as I saw it that it was the one- the price was right, the size was right, and it was a huge upgrade over what I had, but not a jump all the way to top-of-the-line (with the price jump that would entail.)
Once the bike was ready, we took it outside and I hopped on for a test ride. H saw the smile on my face and that was it- we knew we were coming home with it.
So for the last week I’ve been an insatiable monster, wanting to ride the new bike everywhere. No matter how much my ass screams about the tiny new seat, I scream back louder: “YOU WILL GET USED TO IT, ASS.” I feel like I’m cheating, because it’s so easy to ride and I can go so much faster than I could on my Schwinn (better gearing and larger tires.)
After having it for a week, I decided it was time to give the Schwinn an overhaul.
The Blue Bomber (and its sister, pictured above shortly after we bought them) has a fair number of miles on it, badly out of adjustment brakes, a broken spoke, an out of round rear wheel, and generally just needed a lot of love. So I spent most of this last Saturday working on it. I taught myself how to disassemble the rear freewheel, remove the cassette, install and properly tighten a new spoke, retrue wheels, etc etc etc. After I was all done, it was time to go for a test ride to make sure I didn’t ruin anything.
Something unexpected happened.
I fell in love with the Schwin again.
Don’t get me wrong. The Giant stays, and it will indeed get the lion’s share of my Ass->Seat time. But riding the Schwinn after riding the Giant for a week made the differences between the two immediately, SCREAMINGLY apparent. The Schwinn is indeed a comfort bike. It rides like a cloud, soaks up every bump, goes slow, handles like a tank, and is perfect for a leisurely cruise to the store to get some milk, or for a jaunt with H. It felt good to ride the Schwinn again- the Giant made me appreciate all the things that felt the same between them, all the things that were RIGHT about my Blue Bomber, and now I realize I didn’t just get a new bike for my birthday.
H got me two new bikes- the one I always had and had forgotten about, and the new one from the store. I love them both and I’m going to use them both.
In the next 12-24 months, those two bikes are going to take me down to 200 pounds.