Mowed lawn today and other things I do when I’m not blogging about dead cyclists

Mowed the lawn this afternoon, as much as I could until my back started acting up, which was about 2/3 of the lawn. If the gas holds out I should be done tomorrow. If the gas doesn’t hold out I will be done tomorrow anyway… ;) I had to stop because my back was starting to spasm again. I’m thinking that the increase in back spasms is related to the decrease in bike riding caused by the bad bike fit and the thing growing on my neck. Or maybe just from the sebaceous cyst growing on my neck, that thing is huge now and it affects the way I carry my head.

Anyway, that’s what I did one day one of my “retirement” from bike safety blogging after reading e-mails and web comics and telling a few friends that I was changing the direction of the blog. Francis/es approves: “Huh, what? Yeah.” Longest conversation I have had out of it since I bought it. Still nothing about gender preference, I don’t think it knows what that is. Or cares about it if it does…

I have been contemplating why my back hurts so much lately, aside from the fact that I’m just old and abused (I totalled out 3 pickup trucks that hit me either walking or riding my bike and survived, if that doesn’t count as “abuse” I really don’t want to know what does). I’m thinking that the sebaceous cyst on the back of my neck has altered my posture and that might be a really big part of the problem. I mentioned that it affected my ability to ride, well it also makes me hold my head forward more than usual for me, and causes pains all up and down my back, not just the “usual suspects”. All the more reason to get that thing on my neck removed…

Well, I’m running out of things to say and I’m in pain, not a good combination for a guy that writes mostly stream-of-consciousness when he’s not doing news reporting. I’ll be back tomorrow night with more words hopefully of wisdom. If not then words of surrealism…

PSA, Opus the unkillable badass Poet

This has been nice

I haven’t opened the Feed folder since last week and things have been really nice because of that. Nice enough that I’m seriously thinking about changing the direction of this blog to something more Pagan oriented. More Witch, less Bicycle, or less “People getting hit by motor vehicles on bicycles” to be more precise, because I really want to start building more bicycles again. I don’t know what that will do to my subscribers which is one reason why I’m doing this post. What do you subscribers think about fewer wrecks and dismembered bodies in the blog and more “This is the New Bike I created last week” posts? Because I’m really liking not reading dozens of wreck reports every day. That kind of thing can really wear on a guy, and my IRL friends have been asking when I was planning on stopping and doing “something else”.

So, I’m asking: Status quo, with as many bike wrecks as I can fit in the post 5 days a week; or Lifestyle stories and bike builds as I find them or build them, with Pagan and Witchy stuff as appropriate for the season? The reason I mentioned the Pagan and Witchy stuff is we have a major Pagan Holiday coming up in less than 2 weeks, Halloween or Samhain as we Witches call it (pronounced SOW-when because the Romans transliterated Celtic words based on the shapes of the runes rather than the sounds they made). This is a contemplative time when the veils between the worlds are at their thinnest and the recently departed can hear our calls if they have not yet moved on.

camp fire

My camera really needs an IR blocking filter to prevent these false colors, but isn’t that a pretty fire? That was what I was looking at last Saturday night.

Getting back on bicycles for the moment, Francis/es needs to have a much taller stem than currently fitted by about a foot, 11½” to be precise. I’m thinking that documenting that build would be a perfect article for the “New” WoaB, what say you? This would be a relatively simple build to document showing the raw stock, the existing donor stem before modifications, cutting the raw stock to fit the donor stem, welding the fitted raw stock to the donor stem, and then the lengthened bolt to the wedge nut, painting, then final assembly.

And since I have been sent links to this story several times I probably should include it somewhere. Cycling Activists Build Bamboo Car Skeletons to Demonstrate Space Taken by Single Occupancy Cars Motor vehicles dominate the urban landscape with more than just their speed and mass, there is also the sheer volume they take up on the streets.

OK I have to go try to mow some of the lawn now, so I will think about changing the direction of the blog while I do that.

PSA, Opus the unkillable badass Poet

Adelaide

Opus the Poet:

Any questions about why I’m stopping reporting bike wrecks are answered here.

Originally posted on KENNETTRON 5000:

Warning: this is a graphic post–not the pictures, just the content. I felt like I needed to write this as soon as possible to get it out of my head and start my own healing. My intentions aren’t to scare anyone but this is what I went through on Saturday when Adelaide was almost killed by an inattentive driver.

I’ve been planning a blog post for a few weeks now, letting the exciting incidents of my life build so I have material to work with. It’s my usual routine, especially when there aren’t race reports to write. With a number of writeable things going on of late, I figured I had plenty of options 1) Adelaide and I got mountain bikes 2) I saw three black bears on a mountain bike ride the other day 3) I got on a bike team for 2015 4) I saw a house burn down while on a run with Maybellene. A baby…

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I need a recovery day from my vacation

Short post to bring everyone up to date and then early bed for this witch. I went to a pagan gathering in SE TX southeast of Bastrop last week and weekend. One of the things we celebrated was paying off the mortgage, so that we own the land outright now. The ritual for that was both moving and exhausting. I had to leave early from the post ritual revels because of nerve pain from my leg caused by the massive damage from 2001. If the driver hadn’t died in 2003 or ‘4 I would cheerfully strangle him with his own intestines over this single issue. I was hit over 13 years ago and it still flipping hurts when I try to do fun things.

Speaking of that some good news from the gathering, the guy that took care of me after I got out of the hospital (including wiping my butt until I got flexible enough to do it myself) got handfasted during the gathering. That was something I could not miss out on… Dan Grim, may you have a long and happy marriage.

The main reason why I came home from my vacation in worse shape than when I left was the rules changed for the campgrounds we lease from the organization that runs the gathering, and we had to construct a fenced area to hold our stuff between campouts. We used to just pile everything into the covered kitchen area and lash tarps over it, but we have to get things out of sight and our cook insists that our kitchen area be open sided. This meant we had to put in a fenced in storage area with a locked gate to put the stuff that used to go under the canopy over the kitchen. This resulted in our working until 1800 when we normally get packed up and off land by 1500 at the latest. Combine that with carrying several people’s stuff back from the site in the communal trailer and I didn’t get to bed until 0200. I didn’t sleep well and as a result I’m still in pain from my vacation.

“But aside from that, how did you enjoy the play Mrs. Lincoln.” Yep, one of those vacations.

PSA, Opus

Getting ready to leave for a while, no Feed

Every so often I have to completely disconnect from modern life and spend some time closer to nature than our modern hyper-connected world. I know that reads like a cliché, but clichés start as truths that get repeated so often they lose their meaning. So I’m going to spend the next 5 days at a clothing-optional campout with about 700 like-minded people, celebrating the change of the season and the Celtic New Year. We traditionally have a consecrated camp fire that we bless at the start of the camp and do not extinguish until the last thing before we leave. Our fire pit at that point is so heat-soaked that the water we put on the fire boils for up to 10 minutes after the fire is out. I put a picture of the fire pit full of boiling water from the spring edition of the campout with the report I made from that camp.

fire pit full of boiling water and no fire

I will not be taking Francis/es this trip, although I had planned to. Unfortunately the growth on the back of my neck makes riding Francis/es impossible at the moment. I find this deeply annoying, to say the least, and the hoops my insurance is making me jump through to get this thing removed are even more annoying. I have to make an appointment with my PCP to get a referral to a surgeon in my network, then get an appointment with the surgeon, then get the surgery signed off as “necessary”, then schedule a day for the surgery… Of those steps more than half are just for the insurance company, the PCP has to agree with the Lab Rat Keeper, the surgeon has to be “in network”, and then some bureaucrat has to agree with the LRK, the PCP, and the surgeon, that I need to get this thing off my neck so I can finish a cup of coffee and see where I’m riding my bike. Stuff like this is why the US needs single-payer health care like the rest of the civilized world. If we had single-payer then this thing would have been removed from my neck shortly after starting to interfere with my everyday life.

One thing I like about this particular camping trip is we pay for someone to shop and cook for the group, and she does a fantastic job of preparing gourmet-quality food in primitive conditions. I’m not sure of the menu this trip but I have heard rumors about crab legs, boudin sausage, and all kinds of snacky goodies. Our cook has Carnivore, Omnivore, and Vegan options for every meal, and they are always delicious. Being a cyclist with the definition of a cyclist being “eating machine on two wheels” I take a little from column A and a little from column C and a bunch from column B.

I bought a new tent for the fall this year but I’m also taking the old tent in case there’s something wrong with the new one that can’t be fixed at the campout. I’m also taking the air mattress that is the main reason for buying the new tent and fervently hoping the old tent stays packed in the car. I have been accused of packing “Party Central” this year as the new tent has space to put two queen-size beds and still leave room to stand between them. This is so Mrs. the Poet can camp with us next spring, although I’m still trying to figure out how to pack the bed frame to go with the queen-size air mattress I’m buying…

Packing for this event is… interesting. While the entire event is clothing-optional there are certain gatherings that are not, in that some types of clothing are NOT allowed. One that I plan on attending does not allow bifurcated lower garments, i.e. no pants allowed. Males are allowed to attend only when they wear a skirt. I have a long skirt (mid-calf) to wear specifically at this meeting, red with blue mimosa blossoms on it. The skirt really accentuates my farmer tan from wearing shorts all summer with usually ankle-high socks so I have “socks” showing whether I wear any or not. Also there is such a temperature swing at this time of the year, some times you need long pants and sleeves with heavy socks and gloves, other times you need sunscreen… and maybe some wicking garments if you are wearing anything at all. I have attended gatherings this time of year that had temperature swings from high 50s F to low 90s all in the same gathering, sometimes in the same day. Needless to say packing for that involves a lot of clothes that never get worn but forget to pack them and… The forecast is 50s in the morning/late at night with low 80s during the day which means layers or lots of wicking clothing. And spandex shorts for moving around in.

And I have to stop typing and get packed so I guess this means I’m ending the post now.

PSA, Opus the unkillable badass Poet

I tried to go to the State Fair today, Wreck-Free Sunday on a Monday

Notice I didn’t post “I went…” in that headline. There is a really good reason for that, because I didn’t go to the fair. This morning I was supposed to mow the lawn but we had another frog strangler thunderstorm in the pre-dawn darkness that turned the lawn into a lake, making mowing impossible again. This is like the third time in a row that this has happened, the lawn is almost dry enough to run the lawnmower and we get rained on in the night turning the lawn into a swamp or worse. That thunderstorm is important later in the story.

So Mrs. the Poet and I were planning on getting up early so I could mow the lawn, which turned out about like you would expect it would with standing water over a sea of mud. We were smart enough that this time we didn’t even try to do it. So I went back to bed to catch up on sleep deprivation (see later in the blog post) and Mrs. the Poet took advantage of my being unconscious to get an early shower and dressed. I finally awoke on my own and got newsed, showered, and dressed for myself and we left for the fair. The first part of the trip was uneventful as we bought a lottery ticket to break a $20 bill and caught the bus to the transit center. We got to the transit center and the sign that usually tells when the next train is due is putting up an announcement that the Orange Line is only running between DFW Airport and Bachman Station, which I found odd as they didn’t say anything about the Green Line, which shares track and stations between Bachman Station and Pearl Street Station. After we got on the train going to Downtown Dallas the conductor announced that the tracks were blocked at Cityplace Station and there was a “bus bridge” to Pearl Station where we would catch our train. That was the plan, anyway. We get on the shuttle and as we are getting close to Pearl Station we see a train dead on the tracks blocking a street crossing and when we get to Pearl Station we discover that our train isn’t running but there is a shuttle to get to the Fair. We walk over to the line for the shuttle to the Fair and I hear people complaining about how long it has been since they got in line and discover the line for the bus to the fair is about an hour long, compared to the bus that goes back to the Blue Line at Mockingbird Station having a 10 minute wait. Mrs. the Poet decided that she no longer wanted to do all that standing around waiting for a bus to do all that walking at the Fair and about that time she gets hit by a gust funneled between the buildings downtown and gets blown about 5 feet sideways. We decided that sampling cars and deep-fried foods in these conditions was probably NOT a Good Idea but that procuring sustenance probably would be, so we set out to walk to one of the many eateries within walking distance from the corner of Pearl and Bryan, when another gust came through that almost knocked her off her feet. This one was even worse than the one that caused her to stagger about 5 feet sideways. There is “enough” and then there is “too much” and that line had just been crossed with Mrs. the Poet as what should have been a simple 30 minute (+/-) trip to the State Fair of Texas had turned into an episode of Extreme Weather. We went arm-in-arm so that Mrs. the Poet did not get injured by another rogue gust (my problem was mainly keeping my cane under control when I wasn’t putting weight on it) to the closest place selling food and beverage, the Peet’s Tea and Coffee at the Sheraton Hotel (formerly Adam’s Mark). As we entered the lobby another gust grabbed the revolving door and collapsed it onto a very frightened little girl, fortunately without shattering the glass. She had the poop scared out of her, but appeared to be otherwise unharmed. Mrs. the Poet was Not Very Happy at this point, but as we were finally indoors and out of the wind she decided to go ahead and have a hot beverage. We ordered coffee and muffins as I had not had much to eat in anticipation of Deep-Fried Fair Food and it was well past lunch at that point, costing us $20 before another “senior discount” took it to just over $15 >sigh< Mrs. the Poet and I discussed my getting unrequested "senior discounts" since I was 37 YO and working compressed night shifts.

After our snack we set about returning to WoaB World HQ in the Beautiful Suburbs of Hell, after making the trip to Downtown Hell. And yes, I "went there" with the joke. And the other joke, too. And very shortly you're going to laugh… Getting on the shuttle back to Mockingbird Station was no problem as a steady stream were passing the temporary stop on the corner, disgorging passengers at one location and moving a few feet down to pick up at another. Things were crowded but moved fairly quickly and another bus full of people were moved to Mockingbird. At Mockingbird things started to get kerfuffled, because they were limited to how many trains they had when things went south inside the tunnel at Cityplace Station, and the wind had been bringing trees down on the catenary all day, slowing things even more. So there were not enough train cars to carry the number of people that needed to get somewhere, particularly on the Red/Orange side of the station, which normally had about 3 times as many cars heading North out of the station as they had available, normal operations included both Red and Orange line trains going all the way to Parker Road Station with the maximum number of cars they can stuff into a stop, 3. But all they had were a few Red Line trains with only the mid-day set of 2 cars each. During rush hour on the line that runs to Plano they have trains running every 5 minutes with 3 cars each, but what they had was enough every 10 minutes for half of the line and 20 minutes headway the rest of the trip, with 2/3 of the load capacity of normal. And that is assuming the maximum number of trains possible was trapped north of the incident that blocked the tunnel and none were involved in that incident that I still haven’t heard about. So to say that the platform at Mockingbird Station was crowded would be a gross understatement.

After all that we got home and had dinner and I started to compose this post.

Saturday was “fun” for variable values of “fun”. I got a late start on the post Friday and was planning on wrapping up on the bus and train on the way to the RPG group, but was stymied in that for some reason I could not create links while off line between something in the WP composing page and the Chrome OS on my laptop. So after the adventures of the RPG and the adventure of getting home I had to finish posting the Friday post on Sunday.

Speaking of RPG we had a good session, playing some Heroes for a while until that session played out as far as the GM had planned when one of the players did something totally unexpected and completely blew away the planned course of the game. His character decided to work for a mercenary as a possible mole, which caused the GM to invoke his “go to work for the Bad Guys makes your character an NPC if you’re playing a Hero” house rule. We thought he was going to be a mole, not removed from the game.

So we shifted to our Palladium game with my mage running around with a paranormal investigator/psychic, and a guy that talks to animals and sometimes takes over their bodies. We were back outside the portal where the people responsible for opening the portal and possibly what was on the other side of the portal were coming back to finish what they had started and bringing whatever it was they were trying to bring over to our world. They came in three waves because of the different speeds of the boats they had managed to rent, with the first wave being wiped out completely by our booby-trapping the dock, and the second wave getting decimated by the animal guy’s 90 foot snake with the head the size of an original VW Beetle, then wiped out by a few grenades and a few thousand piranha. About that time the bomb that was set to spray Holy Water in the evil temple went off and punched a hole in the jungle on the far side of the river from all the psychic energy released through the portal. The guy who had his chest split open and bleeding into the pool was staggering back up the path from the temple on the other side of the portal and we couldn’t touch him with any of our weapons because nothing remained in contact with the path and was sent to someplace else, but all the stuff we blew up around the portal trying to keep it on the ground eventually caused the portal to collapse and cut the vivisected guy off on the other side of the portal from our world.

It was at this point we discovered that we had missed the last train back to home for half of the group, and decided to play for a little while longer but I don’t remember much of this part of the session as I was in various stages of mental exhaustion and shut down progressively through the rest of the session. I remember we were going to a “haunted” house, and I remembered there being a square courtyard in the middle of the house and some kind of grass that was not grass but the tops of long. bamboo-like plants/creatures (where the cutoff between “magical plants” and creatures is, is something beyond the scope of this blog). Then some dumbass decided to throw an incendiary grenade into the bamboo things which let loose whatever the bamboo things were trapping down there with their magic absorption (that I only discovered because I got woke up during this bit) and caused an effect similar to the portal collapse in the jungle. It was decided at this point that playing Role Playing Games was pointless when a major player in the party is only semi-conscious and I was also starting to suffer the effects of not having my damaged leg elevated as it was starting to swell to the point that circulation to my foot was getting cut off by my shoe I was only laid down for about 40 minutes when antsy boy decided we had to catch the very first train out…

And that is enough writing for one night, as the swelling I mentioned in the last paragraph is starting to bother me again.

PSA, Opus the unkillable badass Poet

It has been an exhausting day, and now I have to do a blog post

I have been walking about 5 miles today doing shopping getting ready for my semi-annual camping trip and I’m still not done, and I’m filtering the links to post for the blog tonight. My feet and legs are killing me… I had to buy a new tent for a couple of reasons. First and foremost is Mrs. the Poet wants to come happynakedpagan camping with me, and my little tent will not support sleeping 2 adults unless they can manage to spend the night in the same sleeping bag, and my surplus Dutch Army mummy bag can barely fit around me. The bag is late ’60s to early ’70s issue and while there is adequate length (the Dutch were tall even then) those bike-riding commies were on the skinny side. Anywho my air mattress completely fills the floor of the tent and usually the morning after the second night I’m trapped in my tent because I can’t sit up or roll over because there is just enough air left in the mattress to push down and have something other than what I was trying to push up go up. The usual thing is I try to push my upper body up and instead my feet get higher. I could just do a log roll out of the mattress except then I run into the sides of the tent. What usually ends up happening is I ask someone to pull the plug on the mattress so I can roll over and sit up and get out of the tent. The new tent has a bit more room than that, roughly 5 times more room. The new tent can put 2 queen-size air mattresses in and leave room to stand in the middle, and I do mean stand in the middle. My old tent is barely tall enough to sit up on the air mattress without hitting my head on the inside top.

Up first because it’s close and also the Big Story is an Austin report of a cyclist dying after getting punched in the head while riding. Man faces assault charge after punching cyclist also Man arrested after punching, killing bicyclist in northeast Austin and Man Charged With Assault On Austin Cyclist I’m not sure why this obvious murder under TX laws was so undercharged. In TX if someone dies in the commission of a felony (and strongarm robbery is most definitely a felony) it’s not just murder, it’s capital murder that qualifies for the death penalty. As for avoiding, the perp walked up to a cyclist riding slow and sucker punched him. I don’t know of any way to avoid that short of wearing a full-face helmet with a shield. Infrastructure doesn’t help against this kind of thing either.

Moving a bit further south a drunk driver gets 90% of a maximum sentence for killing a cyclist. Driver who killed bicyclist sentenced to 18 years and the UK reaction 18 years for Texas drunk driver who killed cyclist then tried to hide body They forgot to charge him with felony littering for dumping the body in a ditch after the cyclist died in the bed of the truck.

A CA cyclist gets hurt in a wreck. Castro Valley: Cyclist seriously injured in collision with car No mode given, LEO were still sitting on this one as of the posting of the link.

More on a SoCal wreck. Authorities ID cyclist killed in Midway District crash I really think the victim’s criminal history was not pertinent to the wreck.

The most deadliest state in the US to walk or ride a bike gets even deadliest-er. Bradenton cyclist Michael DiLandro succumbs to injuries from Sunday car collision I want everyone to know that the introductory sentence to this paragraph is meant to convey my disgust at the body count in FL, not because I forgot how to compose a sentence. Anyway, hit-from-behind wreck, and I’m not sure the driver should have even been on the road. There was a total of 4 minors in the car, 2 teens, a toddler and an infant. Protocols for what good they might have done, and get the infrastructure “up to Dutch” to prevent.

More on that NC wreck that seems to be caused as much by bad infrastructure as the driver crossing the bike path in reverse. Cyclist killed in accident lived active, friendly life Digging down deep in the article we find the sidewalk where the cyclist was hit was actually a designated extension of the MUP, but you would have to look it up on a map because it wasn’t signed or anything to notify drivers that cyclists could be riding on it at bike speeds. And what driver is going to look up where the bicycle facilities are? Definitely bad infrastructure.

Update on a NY hit-and-run. Police release photo of truck involved in hit-run of cyclist in Holbrook Hit-from-behind so protocols to avoid or reduce damages, and fix the dang infrastructure so cyclists and big trucks don’t mix outside of low-speed residential areas.

Another truck-involved hit-and-run this time in IL. TRUCK DRIVER SOUGHT IN MCKINLEY PARK HIT-AND-RUN, CYCLIST IN CRITICAL CONDITION Nothing on the mode, but the fact that the cyclist was still alive after getting hit with a semi is nothing short of a miracle in and of itself.

Update on an AK wreck. Video a chilling reminder of multiple dangers facing pedestrians, cyclists The video shows the cyclist entering the intersection legally, getting delayed, and then getting killed.

OK, this is Sunday as I type this, there was a technical issue with my internet access Saturday after I ran out of sleep Friday night/Saturday morning and I just got back on line a little while ago. The lack of sleep issue pursued me all day and into the night Saturday and I didn’t get to sleep until early Sunday morning and I still haven’t recovered from the deficit. But recovered or not I still have to be upright (more or less) so I put the ending on this post. As you can probably tell from the construction of this paragraph, I need to get to bed early tonight to recover fully. Brain not work good.

Billed @€0.02, Opus the unkillable badass Poet