Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Blog Salad

Way back when my wife and I were just starting out together, living in a little dump of an apartment on Wilson near Labatt Park, we spent a lot of our evenings at a nearby downtown dive called the Brunswick Hotel.

We have all kinds of fond memories of that place and the people who worked there. The 'Wick was demolished late in 2008, after much protest from the people who misspent (or were actively misspending) their youth there, debate about heritage status for the building and a suspicious fire.

Being older and wiser and more cynical, we didn't join the protest, but it was sad to see the Brunswick go. Anyway, on one of those nights years ago at the 'Wick we were joined by a man who spoke, but made no sense. He didn't appear to be drunk. He was just stringing words together, often seeming to be saying something cohesive, but never quite getting there. When he left us my wife said, "Wow, now that was textbook Word Salad". I had never heard the term before, but it is a popular term for schizophasia and something my wife had learned about in Psychology. I have enjoyed using the expression ever since.

I've been jotting down ideas for blog posts lately, but when I look a them, none is quite interesting enough to base a whole post on. So, similar to installments of "the lost pictures", I'm going to write about these unconnected things here in one post, creating a "blog salad"!

Ingredient #1: Telephone Number Fast-Talkers.

If you work in an office of some kind (and even if you don't), you probably use voicemail quite a bit. I know I do, and I've got a pet peeve about people leaving their phone numbers by speaking really fast, kind of like the Big Fat Cheater I use in my cadence computations. These people typically leave a long message spoken at a reasonable pace, and finish by rattling off their phone number so fast that you couldn't possibly write it down. Depending on your voicemail system, you may have listen to the whole message over again to get the number. Wah, wah, wah, I know. When leaving messages, please either start and finish with your phone number or say it slowly enough to be written down.

Ingredient #2: A Second Long Ride.

As long as I continue to suck at following directions, my fitness level should increase. I hit the highway again last Saturday, armed with a map and directions for a 65km ride. Thanks to not starting where I was supposed to and then missing an important turn, it became an 88km (54.7 mile) ride. This ride was much prettier than the first, and I stopped for breakfast mid way through. It was great. For detail freaks, you can see my mapped route by clicking here. I'll try to get my act together and take video or pics next time.

Ingredient #3: What Kind of Freak Am I?

What kind of person is content to have pictures of their butt posted online, yet is not interested in showing their face or revealing their name? I don't know the answer to that one. If I did, I suppose I would have met the spiritual and philosophical challenges experienced by all people head on, and in coming to "know thyself" gained deep insight into the rest of humanity. As it stands, however, I am completely puzzled by many of the people around me, including myself. Ah well, if I can't be a self-realized philosophical giant at least I can post nonsense on the Internet using a funny little squinty-eyed guy as my face.

Ingredient #4: Cars are Amazing.

Both times that I have taken a long bike ride over the past two Saturdays, I have had reason to drive our car later on in the day. In each case I was immediately struck by the power and ease of travel that cars represent. It felt very much like the first time I drove, and the machine seemed so unbelievably strong, almost magical, as a simple small motion of my foot made it leap forward with no real effort on my part. It is no wonder that this incredible invention has consumed our society... putting power like that in the hands of individuals could have no other effect. My questions for other cyclists: 1) Have you experienced the same feeling? 2) If so, does it go away with more frequent or regular long distance cycling?

Lastly, A Solitary Visual Crouton: Morphos Shifters Dressed As Rock-Em Sock-Em Robots.

Please treat the above post as you would a real salad. Try to ignore the wilted bits and those ingredients you don't really like, or pick them out. With luck I'll be back with a thick cut of nicely seasoned, single-topic nonsense next time.

Yer Pal,



ChipSeal said...

When you said "blog salad" I instantly thought; " Oh no! He's going to talk about "dressing", no doubt! AAAgggghhhh!"

And then you did!

I wouldn't know about voice mail as I am phone-free too!

I took a break from cycling for 15 years, and yet in all that time I was inordinately concerned as a motorist with headwinds, tailwinds and changes in speed/momentum. From my previous decade of cycling experience, I was sensitive to the energy needed to overcome those forces. It never went away.

Bike Lemming said...

I also deal with the phone number fast-talkers, it's interesting to hear someone else talk about that. I consciously am a phone number slow talker now as that is my pet peeve.

I'm also awed by the ease and power of car travel. I prefer to take bike as much as I can, but it is amazing to take a car 15 min and take an hour to go the same distance by bike.

RANTWICK said...

Chipseal - Cycling sure does tune one in to some specific things. I like it.

Lemming - I'm careful when I leave my number now too.

Thanks both for stopping by!

Keri said...

What is up with that leave a long message and then blurt the phone number? I hate that too! I always leave mine first and again at the end.

The thing that strikes me when I drive my car is how blessed boring it is. Ugh. No wonder motorists are so grumpy.

It is much easier though, and one arrives smelling better, when one has an afternoon meeting with a client on a 98° day with 90% humidity.

RANTWICK said...

Hello Keri!

I seem to have struck a chord with that phone thing... excellent.

Now about driving being boring: what spices driving up? Going faster. A little risk, a little fear...

Keri said...

yeah, that explains the driving behavior in the 'burbs... they're bored and need to spice it up. That and get out of the car sooner.

Steve A said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve A said...

I took my youngest out today for her first parking lot drive practice after getting her permit. "Ease of travel," did not pop into my mind, though the car did seem much more powerful than optimum, particularly when she had it in reverse. It most definitely was NOT boring and she made full lane changes to pass each piece of debris that simulated really SLOW cyclists. If Keri's bored with driving, this is a sure cure.

RANTWICK said...

Hey Keri, wadda ya say? Are you up to some driving lessons for young people? That car won't be ho-hum anymore...

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