Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Archive for January, 2011

Motorist interaction

Saturday, January 8th, 2011

On my way to work one day this week, I was heading west on Grimes Lane, which is a small two-lane road with low speed limits and light traffic.  I was in my usual lane position, about where the right tire of a car would go. A guy in a pickup truck passed me, laying on the horn. He rolled his window and shouted, “You’re not a car!” To which, of course, the only response I could muster was, “Yes I am!” Perplexed, he finished passing me and made an interesting hand gesture.

Riding vehicularly is a strange thing. Every day, I’m more convinced that it’s safer for me. But I do seem to irritate motorists a bit more at times. They probably think I’m being a jerk by not riding at the edge of the road, and not “getting out of their way.” The truth is, if there isn’t room to pass, I try to make this painfully obvious and force them to change lanes to pass me, rather than attempting to squeeze past. The one time I was hit by a car, that’s how it happened, and I will do everything in my power to prevent that from happening again.

My new personal slogan: “I’m a car!”

Everything is changing

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

My wife, Sarah, started a new job on Wednesday. She had been looking for a new job basically since she got her old job, over a year ago. It’s already clear that her new job is a huge improvement over the old one, in every way. She now has better pay and benefits, but most importantly, her new employer treats her much better. Sarah will no longer have forced overtime, or constant worrying about meeting arbitrary metrics that make no sense, or her boss constantly looking over her shoulder. Her new employer treats her like the professional she is … with respect. I can’t fathom yet what a difference this will make in her daily lives.

I’m so thrilled that she finally found a good job, one that suits her well, and will put to use her variety of talents. And I’m proud of her for keeping her chin up when her old job was getting her down, working through it, and never ceasing her search for something better. The search has finally paid off, and she has earned every bit of her newfound success.

Somehow, things have a way of changing for both of us at the same time. Back in October of 2009, we both started new jobs … on the same day. Last month, before Sarah’s interviews for this job, I commented that Sarah would probably find a new job, and I guessed that she would start work at the same time I start classes, in keeping with our major-changes-happening-simultaneously trend. My guess was off by less than a week.

Which leads me to school. As I’ve mentioned, I am starting classes at Indiana University on Monday, my return to college after dropping out of Northwestern back in 2001 or so. It’s hard to believe that this is actually happening. I always wanted to finish my degree, but it never seemed quite within reach. But I applied, and got accepted, and then I got a scholarship, and some help from my mother, and now I’ll even get a bit of tuition reimbursement from Sarah’s new job. I can even keep the job I have now, and simply cut back my hours. Everything, it seems, has  aligned to make this possible.

I am thrilled, scared, giddy, and excited, all at once.  My first-semester classes will be the perfect combination of technical, academic, challenging, creative, and fun.

So, for Sarah and me, it’s time to start the next chapter in our lives. I have no idea where this will lead us, ultimately, but we are both ready for whatever life throws at us next. And I feel so grateful that I get to go through all this with my wonderful wife. We’ve had some setbacks, but I think are about to improve drastically. It’s going to be a wild ride!

Goals for 2011

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011


  1. Find some more friends to ride with, especially locally.
  2. Ride 5,000 miles. This will probably be harder than it was last year, since I’ll have homework this year, but I’m still going to shoot for it.
  3. Ride six centuries, including at least one 200km brevet. (I’d like to set the brevet bar higher, but a lack of local options makes this difficult.)
  4. Do at least two overnight bike camping trips (S24Os).
  5. Do at least one longer bicycle tour, two nights or longer.
  6. Get down to 190 pounds, and stay under 200 pounds. (This one’s not specifically about cycling, but cycling will help me accomplish this goal, and it will in turn help with my cycling.)
  7. Continue commuting by bicycle nearly 100% of the time.


  1. Stay in school.
  2. Complete a (yet-unnamed) photo project.
  3. Redesign this blog.

There’s other stuff I could list, but that seems sufficient. I think it’s going to be a great year!

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