Archive for the ‘Musings’ Category

Happy Fairy Day   Leave a comment

Or, perhaps, it is Faerie Day.  This is just a reminder that, if we choose to see it, every day can be magical.

As is my habit, I took the opportunity for a long Sunday morning bike-ride into Winters.  I do this every weekend that my son is with his mother.  It began as a way to distract myself from the what-ifs and similarly productive thoughts.  In time, I grew enamored of the ride itself, twisting gently through the beautiful farmlands of Yolo and Solano Counties.  But, maybe, I have come to take it for granted. I usually take this ride alone, but today I was joined by a friend, who was repeatedly stunned by the beauty of the farmland and crossing an old, converted rail-road bridge into the town of Winters.

After meeting with other friends for e second breakfast and our choice of morning beverage (green tea for me), my friend and I went to explore Putah Creek from the property of a local land-owner friend (see my previous post for more info on that).  We saw few dragonflies, but perhaps, appropriately for Faerie Day, many, many damsels (whose wings must have inspired many an image of faerie wings), including the lovely American Rubyspot (again, see previous post for picture).  Another damsel — a female Tule bluet — hovered in front  of me for half a minute, at a distance of less than six inches.  It moved up and down, and seemed fascinated by my reflective, fluorescent yellow tech-shirt (I prefer to be seen when biking).  Perhaps it was thinking, “Whoa!  That’s one f”ing huge flower!”  Or, could it have been wishing me a happy faerie day.

If not, it was a good one in any case.

Cheers,

Stephan

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Posted June 24, 2012 by dragonbreathpress in Biking, Davis, Musings, Winters

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Feast of the Fabulous Wild Man   Leave a comment

That is today, and as far as I can tell, it exists solely on the internet, and in coupons for all-meat pizzas.  Nonetheless, since I am a man, let’s look at my day:

I woke up, as I usually do, and had a breakfast of oatmeal, one cup of coffee and some green tea.  Hm, not too wild, so far.  Biked to work, wearing shorts in 30-degree weather.  Maybe a little bit there.  Work, being, work generally cant be described as wild: some time in the lab, some time in and two meetings, one of which was for the safety committee.  Uh-oh.

After work I went to yoga.  Nope, not Bikram: too damn hot!  Not naked yoga, either.  I imagine that would be distracting.  Nor was it laughter yoga.  Our instructor does tell dirty jokes sometimes… but not today.  Humph.

Then another meeting.

Well, I figured that if anything was going to get me points, maybe it would be dinner.  Steak tartare, while listening to Guns ‘n’ Roses.  Maybe a little wild.  Perhaps I should go to the woods to drum and grunt next year.  Or maybe, I’m done with wild.  Or maybe not, and it just wasn’t the day for it.

Namaste,

Stephan

Posted January 12, 2012 by dragonbreathpress in Musings, Yoga

Update on UC Davis pepper spray incident   Leave a comment

First of all, here is another YouTube video which shows even more clearly the brutal pepper-spraying of peaceful protestors:

The video also shows the crowd chanting, “Shame On You!”  They are clearly angry, but remain peaceful.  I am proud of their bravery and their restraint, as the video also shows guns leveled at the crowd.  Unbelievable!

The news as of today is that two UC Davis Police Officers (who are not named) have been placed on leave “pending an investigation.”  Knowing how these things usually go, it is likely paid leave.  Unacceptable!  They need to be fired, fined, arrested and publicly named.  I would hope that after this they are never permitted to work in law enforcement again.  A public apology would be nice as well.  But things don’t usually happen this way.  A good example is BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle, who was only convicted of involuntary manslaughter for shooting an unarmed, restrained man in the back.  We cannot continue to accept this.  The police needs to be subject to the same laws as the rest of us.

Chancellor Katehi: do not fail the campus and the city of Davis in this!  It is your responsibility to bring these brutal officers to justice.  They do not deserve anonymity nor a job in law enforcement.  The officers who stood by must be disciplined as well.  Perhaps a new battery of psych tests on all University of California police officers is in order as well.  There are clearly some unstable individuals who slipped through the cracks.

Let’s see how this plays out…

At the same time, I want to give kudos to the City of Davis PD, who seem, to date, to have left Occupy Davis protestors in peace.

Peace,

Stephan

Overheard today   Leave a comment

Today I was biking home, going past an apartment complex, when I overheard one of our resident homeless folks composing a rap apparently titled “I can prove you don’t exist.”

That got me thinking (which is usually when the trouble starts, but I still persist in doing it)….

Following this thought through to its “logical” conclusion could cause a headache.  Or it could be a Zen koan.  If the speaker proves I do not exist, does she also cease to exist?  But then, no one is reading this, because none of you exist either.

It reminds me of the old joke from and introductory Philosophy class:

The professor assigns a paper in which the students must prove that “that chair” exists.

The only student that gets an A is the one that turns a paper reading “what chair?’

Ah!  Well now.  That’s better.  Sometimes the only way I can purge these things from my brain is to infect someone else.

Have a pleasant evening, all.

Peace,

Stephan

 

Posted October 19, 2011 by dragonbreathpress in Davis, Musings, Philosophy

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Another World-View   Leave a comment

Last night I apparently did something that pissed off my right ilio-psoas. If you ever want to find out just how big and important that damn muscle is, try pulling it. Doing just about anything except biking hurt like a mother – sitting, standing, going from either position to the other all pretty much sent shooting pains along my lower back and right ass-cheek.

Luckily I had scheduled an appointment with my acupuncturist, who comes to see her old patients in Davis one week out of every month (she now practices primarily in Bend, OR).

After a short examination, I was informed that my pelvis is tilted too far forward (true: I have a major sway-back) and is spilling my life-force from the pelvic bowl. This probably isn’t good. Now, I had a pretty good energy level. I regularly wear out an eleven year-old boy, I stay busy until at least midnight and get up at 5:30. All this makes me wonder what I could be accomplishing if I wasn’t spilling my life-force. I might actually get to do all the things I want to: devoting more attention to my Etsy lapidary shop and getting my photos and cookbook marketed. Hm.

Now this life-force stuff might sound absurd to some Western minds. I know 10 months ago, when I started seeing Alzada, I was a bit skeptical when I was informed that my viciously throbbing heel was due to an imbalance in my kidneys. Then I thought about my dad’s susceptibility to gout, and it seemed possible. More to the point, the treatment worked.

Beyond the physical ailments, she has also been able to tell me a lot about myself and interactions with others, based on my body type and posture. For example, people with lots of lean muscle of my type have little natural buffer against taking on other people’s emotions. This certainly seems to be true for me. I have to be on guard that other people’s emotions do not infect mine. I am often too empathetic. My perfectly good days can easily go astray because of another’s experiences. Conscious detachment is my friend.

It’s a little eerie, sometimes, getting these diagnoses that do not correspond to the body in the way that I understand it. Especially when it’s correct. I see it as just another reminder that there is so much out there that each of us do not know but that others do. And then there is the stuff that none of us can yet grasp. It makes me wonder what we could accomplish if we ever integrated all of our very different “sciences,” physical, mystical, meta-physical. Of course, we’d have to be willing to really open our minds and accept some things that do not fit into our world-views, and be willing to throw out the rubbish. The latter is always tough, whether that rubbish is physical “stuff” or ideology. If we ever do manage that as a collective species, rather than as isolated individuals, the knowledge out there could be astounding. Hopefully with the clarity of open minds, we would use that knowledge to better ends than our current track record suggests we would.

It will be a long road from here to there, but if we don’t blow ourselves up first, maybe one day we’ll make it….

Posted October 18, 2011 by dragonbreathpress in Musings, Philosophy

My other bike is a car   2 comments

So who remembers the “my other car is a ___” bumper stickers?  There was one one that read “my other car is a bike.”  While part of me liked it, another part of me thought “why does the bike have to be ‘alternative’ instead of the car?”  I guess I live in the perfect town.  After growing up in the Bay Area and hating the traffic (even in the 80s), I moved to Davis for school, and stayed.  I’ve been here 26 years now.  In large part that is because of the bike-friendly culture.  I don’t particularly enjoy driving on a regular basis (trips for pleasure are another matter, unless there is traffic), and am inclined to be environmentally minded (okay, that is an understatement), so I bike in town, almost regardless of the weather.  It makes me realize what weather weenies we’ve become.  Biking in the rain, wind and heat are all possible, and with the right mind-set, even enjoyable.

A few years ago, I had two  back-to-back jobs that required commuting.  One was in Napa, and I took the scenic route, so that was okay in some respects, though with the hours and a bad situation at home, I didn’t really take the time to enjoy the beauty of the job.  The next one was from Davis to El Dorado Hills — a horrid commute in stop-and-go traffic, to a weird little white-flight community and a dysfunctional company, with a bad situation at home.  It felt like I was living in my car.  When that job ended and I procured one in Davis, I took to biking full-time.  Getting back into exercising, breathing real air and saving a fortune in gas have been a joy.

With full-time biking, I started overloading my bike, and eventually cracked the frame of my 20 year-old Trek hybrid.  A sad day.  On the other had, it was an opportunity to modernize my wheels.  This presented me with a bit of a dilemma. New bikes are pricey.  I had once sworn that I would never spend $1000 on a bike.  For starters, I figured that meant that I would have to start wearing Spandex.  Secondly, I have issues buying things for myself.  On the other hand, I really wanted the cargo bike that my friend, Aaron, who owns Apex Cycles & Service, in town was telling me about.  Now this was the real deal, not the conversion kit.  He offered me an excellent price, I did the math and it looked good, so I took the plunge.

About a month and a half later (the company that manufactures these is a bit slow), I was the proud own of a new Kona Ute: a forty-pound, that looks like it has a skate-board strapped to the cargo rack and some bright-orange panniers.  It is certainly an attention getter, and people are never shy offering their opinions about it (most are positive, and the others I ignore or laugh at).  It handles surprisingly like a “regular” bike, in spite of the fact that it is at least two feet longer and has a double-length chain.

I love this thing!  I ride it everywhere in town, and even take an occasional trip to Winters (about 30 miles, round-trip).  I have managed to put somewhere in the neighborhood of 6000 -7000 miles on it.  My actual car ( a VW Jetta wagon, which is a nice car) does okay on the freeway, but in town, I get less than 20mpg, and it takes premium gas (damn Kraut cars [I’m German, so I can say that]), so with some conservative math: 6000 miles means 300 gallons of gas, which at the average price of around $4 per gallon over the last year, means that there are  $1200 or so I haven’t spent on gas. Looks like I broke even in about a year.  Okay, maybe not quite.  I think I’m eating more with all the extra exercise.  Still.  Not bad at all.

 

The above shows the bike after a trip to the Davis Farmers Market and Target, yesterday.  You can see the 37lb bucket of kitty litter, but the panniers are full as well — with groceries and birthday gifts for my son.  On another trip yesterday, I was easily able to carry a tile saw that I borrowed from a friend, so you can easily see the utility of this beast which can carry 250lb.  on the rack.  It can also carry my son and his friend.

Indeed.  My other bike is a car.

 

Namaste,

Stephan

Posted October 2, 2011 by dragonbreathpress in Biking, Davis, Musings

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