Wednesday, February 27, 2013

RANTWiiCK, or CustoMiization

About a week ago I got home after work and a tiring but fun bike commute. I plopped down on the couch for a second while still in my cycling gear. For some reason I had stretched my legs out straight and was waving them around; I think I may have been imitating a crying baby while talking to the kids about something. Anyway, as I did that I noticed my too-round belly and black stretchy pants and said, "holy cow, I look like a Mii"! My kids agreed.

I had Mrs. Rantwick take a picture of me immediately of course, because documenting such important discoveries is just the right thing to do.

As you can see, I wasn't entirely crazy. Here is that photo compared to the Mii I use at home:

I kept this photo fairly small, because I really don't like how I look in it. Man, I have got some weight to lose. I'm working on it. You know what would totally suck about being a Mii? Sphere hands. I mean, I don't mind having a spherical head, but sphere hands would be terribly frustrating:

I don't mind using a bigger picture now that I'm wearing my more handsome face. Maybe I should post unflattering pictures of myself more often... I'm finding looking at the gut in that picture very motivating... but I wouldn't do that to you. I'll just refer back to these when I need a little push.

You know, once you have carefully cut out a photo of yourself, pasted on your blogging alter-ego head and given yourself pink sphere hands, it is hard to just walk away without using that image a little more, don't you find? I sure do. So here, I did this just for you!

Aren't you glad I'm back?
Yer Pal,

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Sappy Valentine's Day Wishes of Love - PART 2!

I wrote a while back that my Mom was moving into a retirement place here in London Ontario, Waverley Mansion. I also mentioned that the residents were something of a youtube sensation.
At the time, my Mother hadn't been in any of the videos, but now she has! I am not going to identify the Mother of Rantwick. Or maybe I will sometime. I don't know. Here's the video:

I was told they were going to use it on some NBC morning show today, but I have no idea if that happened. If you saw it on TV this morning, let me know!

Feelin' the love,

PS - Ok, alright... my Mom is the cute one.

Sappy Valentine's Day Wishes of Love

Lasting, real love is something nobody has a recipe for, yet is still something that finds many.

Psych! This post isn't really about Valentine's Day. I (and my wife) think Valentine's Day is nonsense. Love, of course, is the opposite of nonsense: it is all, near as I can tell, but has nothing to do with a single calendar day.

Now, here's a cyclist pulling a "psych!" on a motorist. I don't know if they were drunk or what, but it sure looked silly:

Best not to pull that kind of thing on your lovey dovey... they will just run you over.

Yer Pal,

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Things I Bring To Work!

There are worse things than having Wan Ming follow me to work. This time I managed to grab a long sleeve RANTWICK shirt of my wife's thinking it was a t-shirt of my own. No undershirt for me today. I prefer to wear an undershirt, so that is a minor annoyance.
Next, I discovered a pair of girl's underpants on my office floor. They had a pretty little bow on the waist and everything. Must have fallen off the shirt when I pulled it out of the pannier. Great. Thank you, static cling... what if I hadn't seen them? What if the next visitor to my office had found them instead? Gah!
At least I successfully brought a pair of my own undies this time. Someday I will leave the house in an organized, unhurried fashion. Someday.
Yer Pal,

Monday, February 11, 2013

Preaching to the Choir

I read things and sometimes those things line up really well with what I think. Eliot Landrum has posted such a thing on In it, he says crazy radical stuff like, "The solution for today, right now, is driving my bicycle on roads that are comfortable for my skill level." 
It may seem like I'm mocking, but I'm not. Simple ideas like that are often missing from discussions about cycling these days.
This article is among the most sensible I've seen in a long time, espousing a reasonable alternative to relying solely on this kind of stuff:
(picture stolen from article)

Check out the article "Of Reality and Dreams". If you have any interest in what I think about cycling advocacy stuff, this is a perfect case of "like he said".
If you have ZERO interest in such things, that's cool too. I won't pull a Wan Ming on you or anything.

Yer Pal,

Friday, February 8, 2013

Things People Say Fridays #9 - I Am Wan Ming! Do Not Ignore!

People say the darndest things. Which is why this particular series of blog posts exists. The ramifications of shtuff you hear can reach deeply into your life, you know. More on that soon. Right now, let's meet a couple of friendly, high-spirited young men:

I showed this video to my wife, laughed a little, and decided to do a "Things People Say Fridays" post on it (YOU ARE HERE). That should have been the end of it, but it wasn't. It became kind of stuck in my mind. Later I wrote the new catchy phrase next to a cartoon face one of the kids drew on our whiteboard:


Next thing I knew I was using it in conversation (at home only, of course) when I felt that I was not being heard. Try it yourself! Say it with me: I am Wan Ming! Do Not Ignore!

Feels good, right? I mean, don't we all need to feel like Wan Ming, the powerful dude with the bigass bamboo stick once in a while? Using the phrase at home was working for me, stopping cross-talk and getting me the attention I required. It might have helped that I was yelling and had perfected the "Wan Ming crazy eyes"...

Anyway, this new phrase and the very temporary but very powerful alter-ego that went with it was working for me, so much so that I tried using it at work in a joking way. People liked it a lot. They snickered and looked sideways at each other and fidgeted around and said stuff like, "you are one super weird dude". It was awesome. None of my jokes had ever worked before.

With the phrase being so successful in all parts of my life excluding the professional, it was only a matter of time before I tried it out in a more formal setting. Have you ever been required to participate in a conference call? For those of you who have not, a conference call often takes the form of a group of people with a conference (fancy speaker) phone talking to other groups or individuals about something they all have a mutual interest in.

In the many conference calls I have participated in, it is common and almost unavoidable that you feel "talked over" sometimes. This is sometimes because one or more parties on the call are using conventional office half-duplex speaker phones (the fancy conference phones are full duplex*, meaning they can transmit and receive simultaneously) and can't hear your attempts to interject because they are talking at the time. Or, the speaker is just a jerk who won't stop spouting their BS sales jargon, or an egomaniac who can't get enough of her own voice or just a good old rambler who won't shut up. In any case, I was feeling "talked over", and Wan Ming made an appearance.

Of course, everybody else stopped talking. I said what I wanted to say and waited for a response. There was none! It was almost like the other people on the call were sort of stunned and didn't know what to do. I needed to shock them into action and called upon the Grumbear. I figured the combination of the Grumbear and Wan Ming would be impossible to ignore!

I was right, it was impossible to ignore. Sadly, most of the people just took off or hung up and then called my boss. Now I'm in trouble at work. Turns out, my employer doesn't think it is acceptable to take some weird shtuff a kid said, fixate upon it until you create an angry but powerful character in your mind and then try to use it during a business conference call while channeling a construction paper and wool bear who is filled with insane ursine rage. 

I chalk it up to a lack of vision on their part.

* please forgive this little foray into complete nerd land. I couldn't help it. I wish more of us who end up on conference calls understood it. If your workplace has real conference phones, use them and encourage the people you are talking to to use them as well if they can. Huge difference. Much better comm.

PS - Just in case you're new here and are taking me seriously, almost none of the above narrative is true. To see where I crossed from the somewhat true to the completely fictional, find the blue line _______________ above.

I Am A Disappointment

Many people are going through a big snow day today. London Ontario got it pretty good (but could have been way worse) too. I drove to work. Strangely, the people who tell me I'm crazy for riding in winter are a little crestfallen when they find out.
I used to take days like this as a personal challenge and would ride come hell or high water, but with the new winter bike and its narrower tires, I felt it would take too long. That bike, by the way, is working out beautifully and is probably my best winter ride so far. It just isn't quite as good for big snows, when I need some floatation from the front wheel. Fat Bike yearnings! ARG! NOT... PRACTICAL...TOO...EXPENSIVE... n+1!
It is bugging me some... a fellow winter rider I know cycled past my house and called "Hi Patrick!" from his big MTB as he went by. I was clearing snow off the car. Me sad now. Guess I should just grow up and shrug it off as the small thing it is, but it's hard for me. Nobody likes feeling like a disappointment, y'know?

Yer Pal,

Thursday, February 7, 2013

How Are You With Heights?

Sometimes I just have share things that have nothing to do with this blog's usual content of bikes and trees and the odd rant. Get a load of this. If you are not good with heights, don't watch. I mean it.
Yer Pal,

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Fun and Stupid

You know how when you were young you did things that were really fun that in hindsight were really stupid and kind of dangerous? It would seem I've still got the knack at 43.

I am a father of two and a husband of one. Even if the odds of something bad happening were slim, I'm too old to take such silly risks. And even if there wasn't much risk, what the hell kind of example was that? If my kids went anywhere near that river in that condition I would have flipped out on them. I have no good excuse. I got carried away with the fun and challenge of it all.

Next time I see some idiot on the news who ended up in a jam (or worse) because they didn't seem to have any common sense, I will think back to this and cut them a little slack. Meantime, I'm not gonna be foolish like that again. Some other way, I bet, but not like that.

Yer Pal,

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

MEC Ghost Bikes

Call me crazy, but don't you think the makers of "Ghost" bicycles and their Canadian reseller, MEC, might want to do a little re-branding? I mean, would you buy a Ghost brand bike? I'm not normally superstitious, but I suspect that there is a certain amount of "punitive irony" in the cosmos with my name on it.
Buying a Ghost bike seems like a surefire way to test that belief. Not gonna do it. Uh uh. Just sayin'.
Of course, most consumers of bicycles don't feed on a steady diet of bike stuff off the Internet and elsewhere and thus would not know that the white-painted memorials to fallen cyclists are also called "ghost bikes".
I did a little googlifying and it would seem MEC is fully aware of the unfortunate name but has to live with it or drop this supplier of what they consider good stuff from Germany, which they aren't planning on.
Article with MECs "response" here.
They say the brand has not been affected in Europe, but still, who's to know? The company's web site didn't say when they were founded, but I wikipediafied that the company was founded in 1993, which I am pretty sure pre-dates the "ghost bike" memorial movement. It would seem they are the victims of chance on this one. I'll bet they're none too happy, but don't want to abandon the brand recognition they have achieved.
Damn it, I started this post wanting to poke fun at the unfortunate name, but instead what has happened is that now I'm feeling sorry for the company and jonesing for a nice modern mountain bike. I haven't owned one in a long time and the bikes I just saw have me all worked up. Damn Ghosts! Get out of my mind!
Yer Pal,

Monday, February 4, 2013

Encounters with Rantwick, episode Twenty Two: Taxi Driving Trash

The video says it all...

I can't recall ever having a problem with a taxi cab on the road. I also know a few people who drive (or drove) cab and they are all good people, so if you came here expecting me to say mean things about taxi drivers, you came to the wrong place. Of course my title made it seem like that might be the deal. What can I say? I enjoy misleading and disappointing people. Please come again! 

Yer Pal,