Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

End of the World

How long has it been since you've seen this flash animation? Maybe some of you younger folks haven't seen it at all. Oh, the memories.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Email Waves

I get email in waves. It's been really nice getting only one email today (except that I was expecting Beerman to send one and he never did). I have noticed that week days correlate with more new mails. Many of them are junk but a lot of others seem to have something to do with working. I guess all that volume during the week makes me appreciate the sparse communication on the weekends.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Pick #221

José Feliciano - "Feliz Navidad"

It's a song that gets gringos to sing along in spanish.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I Love Trash

There's a documentary called I Love Trash about 2 dudes who decide not to buy anything for three months (they do spend money on rent and utilities, I think).

I went dumpster diving with a guy named A on campus last weekend, after students had vacated. It was pretty nice and solitary. We weren't hassled. We found some decent stuff. Some of it, like shoes and food, we donated to the homeless shelter (minus the can of Spaghetti-Os that I'm keeping to eat). There was a brand new monopoly set and a big picture frame that holds 4 pix. We scooped up a backpack and some writing implements, storage containers, rags and a towel (which I definitely washed in hot water with bleach and the single serving laundry detergent packet we dug out of the dumpster). There were some ethernet cables and shelving units and now I can't even remember what else we kept.

I was amazed at the amount of recyclable material in the dumpster. We gathered up all the aluminum cans we found and a couple tall kitchen bags worth of plastic bottles along with a couple scraps of glass. We took them to the Garnet & Gold Goes Green recycling bin, figuring that was a good way to give back to the school and the earth.

In fact, it feels really cool to take stuff that was going to be thrown away and find a use for it. Not just a decorative use, but a function (well, maybe except for the picture frame). I will probably eat the Spaghetti-Os later this week as a baby step toward being able to eat other food out of a dumpster. I know that sounds gross, but if you watch the documentary I linked to above, you'll hopefully have your mind changed. I think I'm going to draw the line for now at things that are still in their cereal still in the bag inside the box and canned food. Maybe in the future I could expand to produce.

When I was younger, I used to go on walks or bike rides with my family where the objective was to extract recyclable metals from dumpsters, take the home, prep them if needed, and turn in to the scrap yard for extra money. I was fairly embarrassed by doing this as a much more self conscious person than I am today. I thought that it wasn't normal and that my friends didn't do it so that made me weird. Looking back, it was a lesson that we have a lot of waste and that if people care enough about it, then they can clean up after everyone else and be rewarded for it.

Preview of the movie linked to above:

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

How to Cycle Comfortably in the Cold

Temperatures have been dropping here in Tally, which has forced me to gear up for the cold. I want to share some tips on how to dress to make the cold as pleasant as possible. The secret is being able to regulate your temperature. Let me go from head to toe:

If it's not too cold out, I tie a handkerchief around my head. First, I fold it into a triangle, then put the big point in the back and tie it like Tupac in front of my forehead. This way, I can easily remove it by pulling on the back of the bandana while cycling. Alternatively, I have an Under Armour skull cap that I can put on and pull over my ears. I push it up over my ears when I heat up. If it's really cold, I have a pasamontañas which is basically a ski mask with only one cycloptic hole for the eyes. It goes down over my neck too.

I also use a handkerchief to tie around my neck. Way better than a scarf. Once again, tie it only loosely so you can remove it once you warm up.

For the upper body, a moisture wicking shirt is the preferred base layer. I either use a long sleeve wicking shirt or a short sleeve one with arm warmers (which can be taken off).

Ideally, on top of the shirt, you will wear a zippered jacket made of polar fleece, covered by a zippered windbreaker. Fleece does not break the wind. This allows you to control your body temperature by adjusting the zipper levels of both jackets.

Cold weather is not the time to go commando. I recommend boxer-briefs or briefs with boxers on top of them. Pants too. No shorts.

As for the feet, a good moisture wicking sock is a great base layer. I've been putting baseball socks (or soccer socks, but they don't work as well since they fall down easier without shin guards) on top of those. When it's really cold, I put another fairly tall sock on the outside. Boots are a must. They keep the wind from ripping straight through your footwear.

I think this is a nearly ideal setup for me. You might find that you need to tweak it a little bit to fit your needs. I also realize that I look even less stylish than usual in this sort of get-up. You may be able to change into better looking clothes when you arrive at your destination. I just stopped caring.

Best of luck.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Cigarettes Are Litter Too!

So I've received lots of feedback about a tweet I posted on Wednesday about how I was behind a car at a red light and saw the driver throw a lit cigarette out the window. I went and picked it up, held it up to her window, and when she rolled the window down, I told her that she dropped something. To my surprise, she actually took the cigarette back. I said that she should put it in the ash tray in her car. She was talking on her cell phone for our entire exchange, but took time away from that conversation to engage me. She said something about how I don't look like the police. I told her that if I were a policeman, I would issue a $500 ticket for littering. She said something about me dropping out of FSU to join the police academy or something unintelligible. She also claimed that these cigarettes are biodegradable. Not sure I believe that one...I think it had a filter.

For the record, I don't have a problem with people smoking in their cars (if there are no children in said cars). I do have a problem with people littering. Cigarette butts are litter. Smoldering cancer sticks thrown out of windows can ignite other fuel and cause a fire.

I don't know why people think it's OK to litter with cigarette butts. It seems that even smokers would admonish my behavior if I threw my empty glass bottle by the side of the road. Or an empty energy gel package. Or what about a giant bag of fast-food packaging leftover after consuming greasy goodness? Or if I got a flat on my bike and left the old tube with the hole in it alongside the road. All of it is litter.

I'm not perfect. I have on occasion thrown stuff out of my car window. Sometimes it almost seems like you just about have to do it. However, I pick up way more than I throw down. If everyone had the same ratio of trash picked up to trash disposed as I did, the streets would be as clean as they are in Sweden.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Pick #219

Red West - "500 Miles"

It's an old folk song, so I'm not sure I really want to attribute an artist. I can't find a recorded version that's nearly as good as a live version.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Bicycle Tallahassee

I was just talking to Micah on the phone and he told me about a bicycle advocacy group in town that I haven't heard of yet. It's called Bicycle Tallahassee and its mission is to get kids hooked on bikes. They are having a fundraiser this Friday from 7-9pm at the Envision Credit Union at 440 N. Monroe. They're showing a movie about someone who bikes from N. to S. Africa. They've got door prizes. The cost is $10/person, $15/couple, or $20/family.

Read more about BT here.