Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Archive for April, 2007

Bicycles and jump ropes

Tuesday, April 10th, 2007

There are quite a few families who live in my apartment complex, some with kids. Our sidewalks and extra parking spaces are routinely littered with bicycles and jump ropes. Two girls, Hungjen and Indigo, are often riding their bikes around the parking lot and sidewalks. It’s too bad there isn’t a better place for them to play, but it’s good to see kids playing outdoors a lot. They also really like Rob — any time they see us walking him, they yell “Robbie!!!” and come over to pet and hug him.

Last night, as I rode by on my bike at the beginning of a ride, Indigo saw me and shouted very enthusiastically, “I LIKE TO RIDE MY BIKE!” I responded the only way I could, a resounding “ME TOO!”

That interchange got me thinking — it’s too bad adults aren’t prone to outbursts like that. I’d love it if any time I met someone, they enthusiastically told me “I love playing guitar!” or “My favorite sport is baseball!” or even “I have a real passion for accounting!”

It also reminded me that one thing I love about cycling is the way it lets me feel like a kid. Unfortunately, given our culture, where adults are expect to act all serious, I don’t feel I should go around telling people at work who ask me why I commute by bicycle that I do it for fun. For some reason, it’s unprofessional to have fun. What’s up with that?

Easter Sunday, and last week’s commuting in review

Monday, April 9th, 2007

Last week was a low-mileage week for me — I only rode slightly over 50 miles. The flipside of this is that it feels pretty good to ride 50 miles in a week and have that be a low-mileage week (in each of the previous two weeks, I rode over 85 miles). I also only did one non-commute ride last week. On the other hand, last week was the first one where I commuted by bicycle all five days.

Branches
A shot from a beautiful commute early last week.

I would have ridden a lot more overall, but it got pretty cold partway through the week. I thought about driving to work a couple of days, but hell … my bike works in the cold, why shouldn’t I ride?

Snow in April
Riding in snow later in the week.

I didn’t do any rides other than commutes after Monday, but I did ride yesterday (Easter Sunday). For some reason, this Easter seemed to bring the assholes out in droves. There weren’t a lot of cars on the road, but most of the ones I did encounter were complete jerks. The worst one was early in the ride. I was approaching an intersection, and was riding in the bike lane, but I got over in the middle of the main lane to make it clear I was going straight and prevent anyone from hitting me by turning through the bike lane. Some jerk passed me, leaning on his horn and cutting me off at the intersection.

I normally try to take the high road in situations like this, but unfortunately, I lost my temper and flipped the guy off. Then, I rode up next to his car, hoping he’d roll down the window so I could explain that just because there’s a bike lane, that doesn’t mean that’s the only places bikes can or should ride. He didn’t roll down his window and instead peeled out, leaving me behind. I can’t say I blame him for that, I was pretty pissed and he probably felt intimidated — but if a 200+ pound guy on a bike is intimidating, he should think about how I feel getting cut off by a guy in a 2000+ pound car.

I had a pretty good ride, but after that incident, I felt a little apprehensive — and he wasn’t the only motorist I had a problem with, either. A lot of people were cutting it way too close passing me, there were more rednecks yelling out the window at me, etc. What is it about Easter that turns people into assholes? Did anyone else notice particularly aggressive drivers on Easter? I can’t blame it on eggnog, is there some Easter equivalent I don’t know about?

To end on a positive note, check out this sign I noticed above the door in the storage room:

No dancing?
No dancing?

UPDATE: Sarah found a flickr group dedicated to signs like this called “Stick Figures in Peril” — I added this photo to the group.

Patricksburg, Bloomfield, Elliston

Friday, April 6th, 2007

It’s been a while since I wrote about photography, even though we’ve done a fair amount of it lately. I’ve been doing more film photography lately, which makes it more difficult to post photos in a timely fashion. A couple of weeks ago, I bought a used Nikon N80 film camera. It’s actually pretty comparable to my D50 in terms of features — in some ways, it’s a bit more sophisticated, in some ways less. I still have my old all-manual Pentax K1000, and I love it, but this way, I can use the same lenses for both film and digital photography.

Back on March 24-25, Sarah and I did some photography near Cascades Park, a city park here in Bloomington. We found an abandoned industrial building there, next to the park, a creek, and a trailer park. I shot on slide film and had it cross-processed. Sarah also wrote about this shoot and Patricksburg. Here are a few shots from this outing.

Girders
Main entrance to the building

Saw
They should film the next “Saw” sequel here.

Carry me up when the sky blows out
The blown-out sky makes this lift look pretty surreal.

Wondering how we got here
Sarah amidst the rubble

Before we left, two little girls came over from the trailer park to play in this abandoned industrial building. A shirtless man (presumably their father) wasn’t far behind and took them back home.

The next day, we drove around for a while, heading west toward Spencer. After randomly driving around that area for a while, we ended up in a small town called Patricksburg. We drove through parts of town before stopping to take some photos. We passed some pretty scary-looking rednecks who obviously were wondering what we were doing there. I don’t get the impression this town gets much in the way of visitors; in fact, there were many abandoned buildings in the downtown area. In that way, it seemed a bit like a ghost town. There were satellite dishes on many run-down buildings. Personally, I’d forego the satellite dish and build a new wall, but then again, that’s just me. As we were photographing one building, one of the locals came up to us and asked what we were doing. We told him, and he said that building had been broken into three times. I assured him we were just taking photos. He was cool about it, if a little creepy. Some of these photos are digital and some are taken on slide film, Fuji Sensia 100 I believe (processed normally).

Dubois Bros.
We parked near this Dubois Bros. building. Many buildings in this state of disrepair had satellite dishes.

One of many
One of many abandoned buildings in downtown Patricksburg

Nozzle
I’m not sure whether the gas station was closed because it was Sunday, or simply abandoned.

Patricksburg Barn
The sign on this barn reads “Patricksburg”

Church II
This Church had some kind of insects swarming around its steeple

Coke versus Pepsi
Coke versus Pepsi

Broken Cross
Broken Cross. I don’t think the church was abandoned, but it was definitely in need of some TLC.

In the same basic area, we went to a small town called Elliston and found more cool buildings and some great rural scenes. These shots are all film, taken on Fuji Superia Reala 100. I really like this film. I did a few digital adjustments on these shots, more because of exposure mistakes on my part than anything wrong with the film itself.

Gate
Gate

Barns on a hill
Two barns

Rural Indiana tree
Tree

Calculate what you will or will not tolerate
This house was in pretty bad shape, the roof especially.

Meet me in back
Indoors meets outdoors

We also found an industrial area by some railroad tracks.

Lonesome end
Building and tracks

Choose what you will not see
Peeling paint

Sinking deeper
Light from under the tracks

Leaden grudges
Rust

Jones & Sons
Jones & Sons

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