Friday, October 19, 2007

The key to happiness

While awaiting for my prescription to be filled yesterday at Community Pharmacy, and mourning the $220 upfront cost for nine Imitrex tablets, I went across the street to Heartland Birkenstock (which carries only a few pairs of Birks these days) to see how many pairs of shoes I might buy for the same price. I made a beeline for El Naturalistas, and tried on these high heels:



Even though I was in my bike shorts, they looked fabulous. And I was pleasantly surprised at how comfortable three-inch heels could be -- although, their being Naturalistas, I was by no means shocked. Maybe they weren't suited enough for going on long walks downtown -- at least not without some practice (I can always hold out hope) -- but they were comfortable enough.

Then I tried on this pair:



The picture doesn't do them justice.

I know I really ought to branch out beyond red. Maybe into purple or chartreuse -- those are options, too, though they weren't available in the store. But red is so elemental. It matches everything. Just ask the Chinese. I used to watch tons of depressing epic Chinese films in college (I cried for hours after Farewell My Concubine) and, while I can't pretend not to have appreciated the above-par storytelling and acting, it didn't hurt that there was so much red cloth to look at.

It was an "Imagine, don't own" shoe trip so, no, I didn't come home with a new pair. But if I run into some money and decide that art and beauty are more important than powertools (the French Bohemians would have said so), perhaps I will make a return visit.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The answer to my dietary needs

On days when I log in a lot of miles on my bike, I long for a calorie source that is as inexpensive as gasoline. A gallon of gasoline can get me 47 miles for $2.81 (or $3.09, depending on the day). To bike 47 miles, I need about 2,000 calories. Where can you get 2,000 calories for three bucks?

It looks like Hardee's is working on a solution to my problem.

Don't let my monetary musings mislead you. Despite the increased food costs, cycling remains cheaper than driving. With cars, you have to tack on the price of the vehicle(usually way more than a bike), insurance, title, registration, maintenance and any accessories you may require to distract yourself from the dullness of driving (satellite radio, hands-free phone set-up, extensive CD collection, hula girl for your dashboard). This comes out to $0.40-$0.50 per mile. For cycling, you just tack on the costs of maintenance and accessories (lights, helmet, cycling clothing if you're into that), and you can subtract savings on gym memberships and healthcare.

Since biking takes about 40 calories a mile, and driving costs about $0.40 a mile, this means I can spend a penny per calorie and be no poorer than if I drove.

Here's a calculator to show you how much you could save or are saving by cycling instead of driving.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Sensationalist recycling

An Idaho veterinarian has had a brilliant idea. Deal with the manure from farms by feeding it to maggots, who use half of it to build their own bodies and break the other half down into a clean soil amendment. Then feed the maggots to rainbow trout.

Alas, this article from the Associated Press sensationalizes the process a bit, stating that it would involve feeding manure to trout. That's a bit like saying that humans eat sunlight, since we eat plants that feed off of sunlight.

Never thought you'd see manure compared favorably with sunlight, did you?

Friday, October 12, 2007

Cold knees

This morning it was 41 degrees Fahrenheit instead of the expected 35. I therefore decided to forgo the pants I'd been planning to wear over my cycling tights. By the time I got to work, I wished I'd worn knee warmers.

Every other bit of me was warm though. I'd put out my winter windbreaker, but it's definitely too early for that. I had to stop only three miles into the ride to take off my jersey from underneath it. Alas, no one on the path seemed excited by the show. Perhaps black face mask I was wearing ruined the allure.

If you are reading this and are actually interested in how many and what kind of layers I wear -- which I can only imagine being the case if you are hoping for insight in how to suit up for your own commutes, or to compare our cold-weather dress styles so you can see how wimpy I am on my bike in comparison to you -- then you, like me, would probably benefit from a few tips on how to talk to non-cyclists. Do check them out. You won't regret it.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Practically glowing warmth

I haven't given up on this blog. It's just that I've given up on doing anything that requires me to stay seated. Except for bicycling.

Some of you may be disappointed not to be getting a regular updates on my mileage counts. My dad mentioned it; perhaps others feel the same. This surprises me. So: I rode 19 miles on Monday and 17 on Tuesday, and today I biked to work and at the third mile or so I thought my index finger was going to freeze and fall off. The wind picked up and I was certain of it; but, surprise surprise, the wind had the opposite effect. Because it required me to pedal harder, I broke a sweat, and so my blood decided that it could share itself with more than the most crucial internal organs. By the time I got to work, my hands were practically glowing with warmth.

Anyway, the total should be about 19 miles again today.

The notable event of the week is that I got ticked off at my best friend this weekend and called him an asshole. My sponsor said this morning, "So, have you made amends to him yet for calling him an asshole?"

I said, "No, but I apologized."

She said, "You didn't say, 'I was wrong to call you an asshole and will change my behavior in the future. What can I do to make it up to you?'"

"No," I said.

"Hmmm," she said.

It was only about 6:20 in the morning when we were having this conversation (via phone), so the little antagonist inside of me was not -- how do they say this? "Fluid with the words?" But if it had been, it probably would have prompted me to say, "I thought we make amends to people we have harmed, and I really don't think I harmed him by calling him an asshole. I think I might have actually done him some good."

But I know what her response would have been, because my little antagonist always fails to antagonize her. She'd just say, "You pray about that for a few days."