The City by Bike

Yesterday, I discovered, by personal experience, that it takes about an hour and a half to bike into Boston or Cambridge from home. This is useful information for me to have, because now I know that I can get pretty much anywhere that I might want to go from Concord by bicycle. It's quite a workout but it feels really good and leaves me at places that I want to be.

Videos, Cults, Girls and Islam

It's a real pity that dreams fade from memory as quickly as they do, for it often leads to the loss of some very interesting dreams. This is the case for a dream that I had last night; having since showered and made my way to an Internet connection, much is gone. I'll give you what I can.

<dream>

I noticed a bit of rust on my bike and set out to find a shop where I could get the necessary materials to clear the rust and seal over the wound. While I was in the bike store I remembered that I had some old rental videos at my house that I needed to return, but I could not remember what video store I had rented them from. At this point, I realized that the bike store was, in fact, also a video store, specifically the one that I owed videos to. I became incredibly irritated with myself because I had come to this store and not brought the videos with me. I was chatting with the clerk about various things, he was a friendly, kind of large, guy and things were pretty cool. He did recognize me for the guy who owed a lot of overdue charges and I was a little unsettled because I didn't really care about returning the videos, but it didn't much matter. The clerk and I were still shooting the shit and I noticed that this wasn't so much a bike shop as a video rental store and a toy store all in one.

All of the sudden, the room got darker and all of the walls fell away to reveal that what had been the store was really just a front for a huge catedral like building with the store as a little metal frame in the center. I didn't really know what was going on, except for that I seemed to have stumbled upon a strange gothic cult, which the shop clerk seemed to be the leader of. It was a very large cult, and the cathedral seemed to have stadium seating around the central metal frame (kind of like a cube with metal edges and no sides). Some people started moving towards the cube, which contained myself and a few other people that had been in the store. Then, the cult-leader/clerk shouted out "Recess" and the lights went out, everything was pitch black.

In the pitch blackness I could feel people moving into the cube and starting to fill it up, like a rave almost, but no sound and no lights. I could feel people bumping into me and one person started to get rather close to me, so I exercised my personal space and put my arm between myself and the other person. The response I received was, "Fine, see if I do that again." The response came from a girl, I could tell by the voice and the physical form, and I suddenly knew that this girl was special and I absolutely had to get on her good side. The lights came back (recess must have been over), I could see this mystery girl in front of me and I knew that she was, not only special, but that I had always loved her, since long before I had ever met her, this woman was a divine being. I talked with her for a little while and I felt as though I had reached the Greek eudaimonia, true happiness. We then parted ways with the assumption that we would meet again at the next cult meeting the following week. I then proceeded outside, where I found my brother and we went to retrieve the car that I was borrowing from my mother.

My brother's appearance seems to have been a brief cameo as he was no longer there after I had retrieved the car and begun driving. I remember an interesting rotary that seemed to be on the sidewalk, but I know that I was allowed to use it with my car and then there's a bunch of stuff that I've forgotten, which is followed by my being chased by the police. The police chase led me into Concord, where I decided to duck into a massive Islamic library (still in my car). I was driving around in this gigantic library (must have had ceilings that went up 50 feet and there were about 10 feet between each book stack) and I found myself completely lost, which, for those that know me, is not a state I often find myself in. Eventually, I started to walk around, without my car and I happened on this room that was of unfathomable beauty. There was a person in this room, presumably a librarian or holy-person of some sort, whom I asked for help getting out of the library. Help was offered in the form of an offer to be let out somewhere in Europe to which I responded, "What?! I entered this library in Concord!" It then turned out that this library attendant could let me off in Concord as he was going by that way. It appears that there is only one giant Islamic library in the world and it can be entered from what appear to be all of the other Islamic library building in the world (I really can not stress how very big this place was and with all sorts of magical links and shortcuts). I noticed spectacular piece of cloth and asked the attendant what it was, only to receive the respone that since I had touched it, it would have to be destroyed. I tried to argue against its destruction on the grounds that it was one of the most beautiful things to have every graced the universe, but the attendant steadfastly maintained that since I had touched it, it would have to be destroyed. Henceforth, I touched nothing and somewhere along the way to the exit, I woke up.

</dream>

It seems as though in starting from the beginning and just writing as things went, I have remembered a lot of what I forgot. Keen.

Woods Hole with a new Bike

Haven't really got much to say, but I try not to go too long without posting something, so I'll just dump a few things from my brain to my blog.

I'm in Woods Hole (Southwest tip of Cape Cod, MA) for my job right now and I'm planning on being here for the majority of my summer, namely Monday through Friday of most weeks. I may decide to some weekends long and some short, at least with respect to my physical location, but that's something that will be worked out on a week-to-week basis at my discretion.

I am finding that Woods Hole is quieter, as a place, than either Concord or Cambridge. By quiet, I mean something kind of vague that should encompass quiet, calm, simple and a few other similar adjectives. All in all, it is very pleasant here, though I find myself missing the company of some of my better friends with whom I would be seeing or communicating were I in Concord or Cambridge. Then there are the friends that are gone from Massachusetts for the summer (or longer), whom I don't even get the chance to see on weekends. On the other hand, there are people here whom I have not seen in a long time, whom it is good to see again. It balances out and is, overall, rather pleasant.

Just this weekend, I purchased a new bicycle for myself. The last bike I owned was one that I got at some point either in or shortly before middle-school and haven't used in more than six years. Since my old bike was no longer large enough for me and I am now employed with a reasonable wage, I decided to finally buy myself a new bike, one that would last for a very long time and serve all of my biking needs. The bike that I chose to buy is a Cannondale Jekyll 600 in grey and black and I have so far been quite pleased with it. The bike has front and rear shocks, disk brakes and a bunch of other nice features. Having heard from my friend Riad that rear shocks serve to soak up a portion of the riding energ, I was hesitant to get rear shocks, but my particular brand of shock includes a lock-out feature that allows the shock to be disabled in the case that a long ride on flat terrain is expected. I'm totally psyched about my new bike, it's pretty much the bike that I've always wanted.

The weather was a little bit too damp (rainy) yesterday but, since today is a beautiful day and the sun is planning to be up for quite a while, I plan to go out and bike around for an hour or so after dinner tonight. Woods Hole, awesome bike, paying job, all in all, things are pretty good for me right now. Oh, and there's cable at my grandparents house so when I get home in the evening I can catch an hour or so of the History Channel or the Discovery Channel before I go to sleep.

Osceola and East Osceola

Sam, Max and I went up to New Hampshire and climbed Mount Osceola and East Osceola today; great fun, good company.

I set out at about 8:15a and grabbed Max at about 8:30a. From Max's, we proceeded into the city and picked Sam up from Chi Phi at 9:00a. From here we made the arduous trek deep into New Hampshire, grabbed some food and supplies in Waterville Valley. We then proceeded onwards and got to the parking area at about 12:30p. From the parking area, we began our storming of the Osceolas. A majority of the early part of Osceola is rather rocky and somewhat steep. Eventually, the rocky bits calm down a little and then it's just steep. Since we were storming the mountain--not too actively, just because we're all in our early twenties and in decent shape--we made really good time and weren't too concerned with the steepness or the rockiness (it's more fun that way). Up at the top of Osceola are two old fire tower foundations, one at the top of Osceola's big cliff at the summit thing and one a little earlier. At the earlier fire tower foundation there is a side path to the west that leads to a great outlook to the Northwest. After taking a diversion to the aforementioned outlook we made our way to Osceola's big cliff at the summit thing, which happens to be a big cliff at the summit. The big cliff is pretty spectacular, especially if you've got a mild fear of heights, and allows for a great view off to the Northeast and East. Since we'd already planned to hit up East Osceola before stopping for the sandwichs that we'd purchased in Waterville Valley, we only stopped for a short while. After Osceola summit, there is a steep and rocky descent for a bit, which is then followed by a really steep, rock descent for another little bit. It then proceeds to smooth out and start to rise to East Osceola summit. East Osceola summit, is rather unimpressive and mostly covered in trees. It still being rather early, we decided to head back to Osceola summit before eating. The really steep, rock descent became a really steep, rock ascent in reverse and was quite a lot of fun. Having made our way back to Osceola summit, we ate, sat around for a while and then proceeded down. Incidentally, pickles taste really good when you're electrolyte depleted from exerting yourself. We made it back to the car at 5:00p, giving us a 4:30 hike time in comparison with the AMC guidebook estimate of 6:40, which I found quite impressive. I was still feeling pretty good about myself when we got back to the car, as though I could have kept going for a bit longer. We then proceeded back to I93 and headed south. We, of course, stopped at the Burger King in Ashland, NH, as is customary for hiking in the White Mountains (as far as I'm concerned), for dinner. A nice greasy, salty burger with salty fries is like ambrosia when you've been exerting yourself strenuously for a large part of the day. It was at the Burger King that I realized I was quite fatigued, apparently going all fast like is tiring and it just had a bit of a lag so as not to let me feel it while hiking. From there we returned Sam to Chi Phi and I returned Max to his home. Osceola's got some nice views and the path between it and East Osceola is pretty fun.

Well, that's four four-thousand-footers down and forty-four to go.

Can I have some shoes?

Anyone that's played much C&C: Generals knows how very amusing it is when the GLA workers say "Can I have some shoes?" and in the game's expansion, Zero Hour, you can actually get the shoes upgrade, to which they respond, "Thank you for the shoes." Unfortunately, in the real world, you can't just click a button and give all of the poor people in Afghanistan shoes, which many of them need, especially children. As an attempt to rectify this problem, some kind hearted members of the US Air Force have started what they call Operation Shoe Fly. Quoth Sgt. Hook:

Just about every flight engineer and crew chief has noticed over the course of flying across this place called Afghanistan these past months that a large percentage of the children have no shoes to wear and of course, almost all of the girls are shoeless.

So my esteemed friends of the blogosphere, in the spirit of Chief Wiggles and minding the words of the infamous Steve Miller Band, I announce the beginning of Operation Shoe Fly in an effort to shoe the children, with no shoes on their feet. If you can collect the shoes, used or new, boys' and girls' (age 14 and under), and send them to me, my crewdogs and I will fly them out to the Afghani kids who so desperately need them.

Please send your shoes to:

Operation Shoe Fly B Co, 214th Aviation Regiment Bagram, Afghanistan APO AE 09354-9998

Another way to help is of course by getting the word out on Operation Shoe Fly. I would be most appreciative for any and all help in spreading the word on our endeavor, including anyone who might be willing to make a button or banner to post around the blogosphere. Thanks.

In addition to protecting the feet of these young innocent children, we might even win some hearts and minds among their parents and who knows where the shoes might take these kids. This place is on the dawn of a future, determining how bright it will be rests on the shoulders of these kids with no shoes on their feet. What say you? Sgt Hook out.

Al-Qaeda, each and every one of them

I continue to notice that every time any individual is accused of terrorist like actions, they are said to have Al-Qaeda connections. This makes me wonder, which of the following conclusions is correct: in order to be a terrorist one must obtain their Al-Qaeda membership card, we only care about Al-Qaeda terrorists or we want to blame all terrorism on Al-Qaeda to give it a face. Al-Qaeda, the real world equivalent to Command & Conquer: General's GLA.

While we're on the topic of Al-Qaeda, I know the guy that runs the al-qaeda.net web domain. He's a nice guy actually, half Egyptian, but no terrorist, mainly runs the domain as a lark so that he can send and receive email by it. I've been trying to convince him to turn the domain into a group blog so that we can all have fun with the thing.

I guess the point is that not everything Al-Qaeda is evil (at least the larks aren't) and I don't buy that everything terrorist is Al-Qaeda.

More Magic Cards than Todd

<dork>Shortly after they came into existence, I became a big fan of the collectible card game known as Magic: The Gathering. My fondness of the game lasted a number of years until the game took what I considered to be a turn towards mediocrity, at which point I stopped purchasing new cards and, having a sizeable collection, took up a policy of reusing my existing cards to play with friends that had also once played (this was quite a few years ago, perhaps 1997 or 1998). I still keep up the fun of playing with friends every so often. I have had the lucky fortune of, so to speak, inheriting a large number of older cards from a good friend of mine who has just moved to Texas. I am much appreciative of the gift, which increases my card stock by 40%-50% and adds some nice rares to my collection. Now, having a rather incredible quantity of cards, I probably have enough to allow for quite a few people to play with simultaneously; myself and at least one other person intend to make a few decks using my now even massiver collection. In the end, hopefully this will serve to provide cards for the playing enjoyment of myself and my friends.</dork>

Pistachios: The Revenge

Pistachios are one of nature's trickiest double edged swords. On the one hand, they are ever so tasty, but on the other hand, they lacerate your tongue. This isn't any sort of fun laceration that I'm talking about either, not that there really is such a thing unless you've got masochistic tendencies. Anyway, the point is, pistachios hurt your tongue if you eat too many. If I'd known then what I know now, I still would have eaten all those pistachios because, in a gains and losses kind of world, pistachios are so totally worth it.

Circus Trees

I am quite enamored with living things as an art medium, as is the case with bonsai, topiary, gardens and circus trees. As far as the last example is concerned, color me impressed. Axel Erlandson is my new hero and Gilroy, CA is now on the list of places that I need to visit at some point in my life.

I copped out

My www page is back up now. I was planning on redoing the entire thing and coming up with a new style and being fancy like, but when I sat down to actually do it, I was very quick to change my mind. After about a half hour or so of messing with CSS and layout, with nothing that looked better than my old site, I looked through my CD backups for an old copy of my webpage. The newest copy that I could find was really old, notably from last summer. Keeping the layout from the old version, I went ahead with updating and replacing the content with new stuff.

All in all, I copped out on completely remaking my website and just revised the content. That having been said, I do have a decent www page again and the layout and style are still pretty darned slick, if you ask me.