Saturday, January 08, 2005

Total score!

OK, so it's been almost 2 years to the day since I moved out of the Uptown duplex ( which I had been renting with Lisa, a friend-of-a-friend ... Lisa was a real gem, but that's another story) and moved into my current Uptown condo. Being in January, my move wasn't particularly fun (unless your idea of fun includes frozen fingers and chapped lips!) and ended up being a little rushed. In the rush, I left a handful of things behind in the basement of the duplex, none of which seemed important at the time.

When I had moved to Uptown several years prior, I had converted my Cannondale mountain bike into something more suitable for urban riding - added a light and a rear blinky, and swapped the knobbies for slicks (less rolling resistance, and quieter too - the knobbies on pavement can sound like a jacked up 4-wheel drive getting ready to do some muddin' - kind of annoying.) I left the knobbies in the basement of the duplex, and never gave them much thought again until recently.

Every year a bunch of guys from work (myself included) sign up for a broomball team in Bloomingon (we totally suck, but it still's fun to run around the ice like a bunch of fools once in a while!) I rarely drive my car in winter, but the broomball rink isn't on the busline, so I always had to drive to that. Well this year, I said screw that. All the buses have bike racks mounted where the front fender would be, so there was no reason I couldn't take my bike as far as work, then bike from there to the rink.

So I've done that a few times - works great, but the slicks are a problem. I take side-roads to the rink, and they're not well plowed. The slicks have no bite in the snow - especially a problem on the downhill. You learn very quickly to be very light on the brakes, and that the brute-force approach to steering is a bad idea - riding on slippery snow, the bike is like an annoying finicky child - you may get it to go along with you if you suggest which path to take, but try to force it, and it'll rebel and you'll be out on your ass in no time.

So anyway, I need to swap back to knobbies, but I don't want to buy a new pair and my old ones are still at the old apartment. I've also been meaning to construct a bike rack for my apartment (at the suggestion of JoJo) but need some wood. I remembered there was half of a wooden futon frame left in the apartment basement by the guys who lived upstairs which would fit the bill nicely. (Futon story: There's only half because the other half was snapped in half in a bout of drunken wrestling by the upstairs guys - they were former St Olaf's football players and drunken wrestling was a frequent pasttime, along with pissing off the balcony and throwing off the balcony anything that wasn't bolted down.)

So I figured I'd head over to the old place and see if my knobbies and the futon frame were still there. Turns out Lisa wasn't home, but Chris (the landlord) was there doing some repairs (the place needs it, due in no small part to Lisa the party hound) so he let me in. I think he was a little suspicious, me showing up after 2 years - he asked me what I had left down there, and I told him. He followed me down to the basement, and there at the bottom of the stairs exactly where I left them...

Knobbies - check. Futon frame - check! Elsewhere in the basement, bunch of other crap I should probably pick up some other time - check!

Looks like I have my project for this weekend! I'll need to dismantle the frame and figure out how to reconfigure it, but I think it'll work. Rest assured, details will be forthcoming here!

Friday, January 07, 2005

Resolution. Revolution? Evolution?

'Tis the season for making resolutions. I have but one. Get my life moving in a direction I'll be happy with long-term. Or at least begin to take steps in that direction. How's that for a biggie?

CB recently posed to me the question "Imagine you knew you would die suddenly exactly one year from today. What would you do with that year?" The standard answers sprang to mind ... get off my ass and travel the world. Spend more time w/important people in my life. Dandy answers, nothing wrong with them at all, except if I followed those answers, in the end, I think I'd die feeling like a hollow, wasted man. I mean, what would I really have accomplished? What would I have contributed? And just what is accomplishment, anyway?

My next reaction was to modify the question to reduce the immediacy of it: "Imagine you knew you would die suddenly exactly 60 years from today. What would you do with those years?" Same question, longer timeframe, same uncertainty, still uncomfortable, just more of a cop out. But the more I start to think about this, the more it starts to freak me out. Strange thing is this is something I've been thinking about a lot for the past year, and still for whatever reason since CB posed the question, it's really been bothering me more than ever before.

I don't have the answer to either of these questions, but I know I'm not currently on the right path. I mean the path I'm on isn't totally horrible, it's treated me fairly well, but it doesn't sit right. I've been sucking at the corporate teat for far too long. Not thinking enough, and feeling like I'm accomplishing even less. I mean, I think a *lot* at work, but it's all "work think" which, while at times interesting, still falls into the category of "making money for the man." And not doing much for the common good.

It all comes down to "life focus", I suppose. The question of life focus seems to be so simple for those whose goals are what I'll generically call "the american dream." Fall in love, get married, start your little nuclear family, raise those children to the best of your abilities, they have grandkids, you retire. Bingo. Mission Accomplished. Your life is complete as you live vicariously through your offspring and feel like you've acheived as much as you could provided you've raised them well and they seem to be on a good path. Ok, maybe I'm making broad generalizations here - but I do think it is just this simple for a majority of people.

But all this flies out the window really freakin' fast as soon as raising a family isn't part of the plan. It forces you to really start analyzing what you want from life - what you want to give, what you want to take, what impact you hope to have - any positive impact - and how you might accomplish that.

So now what?