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Archive for the 'Humanity' Category

Commutes

Tuesday, April 17th, 2007

Yesterday’s commutes were pretty uneventful, but great. On my way to work, I saw an old couple walking in the opposite direction and realized I see them almost every morning. They don’t move very fast, but they still walk together every morning, and they really seemed to enjoy it. I am not really a “good morning” kind of guy; I’m not a morning person in the least, and I always dread getting up. Mornings are almost inherently not good, to me. However, riding to work on a beautiful morning and seeing that old couple, arm in arm, I couldn’t help myself. I said “good morning” to them as I rode by. They reminded me a bit of my grandparents, who took walks together for as long as they could, and I certainly hope that someday Sarah and I will walk together like that. I arrived at work with a dumb grin on my face.

My commute this morning was good, too, pretty similar to yesterday’s. I saw the same old couple again, and once again wished them a good morning. I could see them smile back at me. I had tried to get a photo of the old couple yesterday morning, but it didn’t turn out too well. I tried again this morning, but I think I missed again. I might have to stop and take their photo sometime if they’ll let me, but I feel a candid shot would be better, if I can get one.

I had one incident with a motorist this morning. I was riding on 7th Street, which goes through campus and is a two-lane, fairly low-traffic street with several stop signs. There was a pickup truck behind me that tried to pass me a couple of times, but there wasn’t room to pass. I was riding outside the “door zone” in case someone in a parked car opened their door. The guy in the truck behind me was clearly getting impatient, even trying to pass me within about 10 feet of a stop sign.

When he failed to pass me at that stop sign, the guy in the truck laid on his horn and yelled something at me that I couldn’t understand.  I had had enough;I wasn’t about to ride in the door zone, especially since there still wouldn’t have been enough room for him to pass me. So instead, I took the lane. It felt great to show this truck driver I wasn’t going to take his crap, and simultaneously assert my right to ride on the road and look out for my safety (and really, the safety of others; if the guy had tried to pass me with oncoming traffic, an accident surely would have resulted). When I reached the stoplight at Walnut Street, the light was red, and I turned around and stared down the truck driver. I wish I could have explained to him the safety reasons behind the way I was riding, but there wouldn’t have been time, and I don’t think he would have cared anyway.

Our Food Plan

Friday, April 13th, 2007

Sarah and I have started a diet … or, as we call it, a “food plan” or simply “plan.” We feel that calling it a diet would doom it to failure, so we don’t use that word. We don’t believe in fad diets or those that involve systematically depriving your body of nutrients, so we’re doing this the old-fashioned way: eating less, eating healthier food, and hopefully, burning more calories than we consume. We’re also not interested in losing a bunch of weight quickly, only to gain it back immediately — so we are going a slow and steady route, and hopefully we can make this sustainable.

Unfortunately, it’s been another low-cycling-mileage week for me due to the weather, so I’m not burning as many calories. Hopefully, it’ll be nicer next week and I can ride more.

Anyway, I attended another Microsoft workshop yesterday in Indianapolis, this one about ASP.NET AJAX and SQL Server 2005. There was a keynote, then two of the three sessions, then lunch. When they started bringing in lunch, I almost died. They hauled in probably 20 pizzas and put them in stacks on a table. Talk about cruel! I ate only salad, and was thankful they had that option, but watching them bring in 20 pizzas and then watching others eat platefuls of pizza, then cookies, was really tough. But I stuck with it.

By the time I got home, I felt horrible. I had a terrible headache, and my stomach was upset. I thought about going to bed immediately, but I knew I needed to eat something. In a strange sequence of events, we ended up ordering pizza, but only getting one thin-crust veggie pizza, which was probably a bit more than we should’ve eaten, but still, we ate a lot less than we normally would have. I still felt terrible, and took a nap. A few hours later, I felt better. I’m hoping it was a lack of sleep that made me feel so terrible, and not having less to eat.

This is the first time I’ve attempted a diet, so I’m not sure how this is going to go. I haven’t even tracked my weight so far, which I should probably do. I do know that small snacks throughout the day seem to help, and I forgot to bring something like that for today. If anyone has any tips, they’d be appreciated.

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?

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