Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Fell into a lamppost

There was construction by the side of the bike path and the now detoured path turned from level tar to sloped, rugged grass. Good for pedestrians and two-wheeled bikes; bad for three wheels. 

I tried to keep on the right side of the cones but the trike had other ideas and down the slope I went. I was tipping as I came close to the lamppost and me and the BYB fell into it. I was mashed up against the new metal pole and spent a while pushing myself and the trike away from said pole to then throttle onto the bike path—cones be damned. 

There was a footpath just past the end of the detour so I committed to taking that way on the way back to avoid the construction. It was a monster of a hill, a heart pounder, and an extreme effort on a full stomach. As irony would have it I couldn't found a legit path back and had to rattle across cross country to re-intersect the way home.

Riding into the lamppost was embarrassing—it happened in front of manly men doing manly things; something no one has ever accused me of being or doing. But I'm comfortable in my body and the mere fact I was outside doing exercise was a miracle in itself. So as I tooled off the embarrassment fled to be replaced with musing of how if the post had not been there I would have tipped over. 

The BYB; now comes with minor risk of collision with industrial illumination.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Maryk was right

I’ve just finished The Caine Mutiny after being inspired to read it by Richard Cohen of The Washington Post who likened Trump to the World War Two novel’s key antagonist, Captain Queeg.

There is a court martial and though Maryk was found not guilty of mutiny for taking command in the middle of a typhoon when Captain Queeg was deemed to have suffered a momentary psychological paralysis the author and characters in the book support the notion that the result was unjust. That there is but one captain at a time and they are the Lord. That unless a captain had a psychotic break, as opposed to entering a disassociated state, they are in command even if their action could destroy a ship and kill its crew.

All of Queeg’s actions up until that point, from both a personnel manager and operator of a vessel, had shown his unfitness for command and duty. Then, in the middle of a crisis, the clearly more experienced seaman Maryk, the executive officer, relieves Queeg after he deems Queeg’s decision to go the turn the way as more likely to flounder the vessel. Queeg, until that point, having been paralyzed with indecision and Maryk effectively commanding the vessel.

The ship did not have a doctor. Maryk, a fisherman in real life who was a reservist who was called to duty on outbreak of war, kept a journal noting Queeg’s failures in command and mental normality which was used in evidence in Maryk’s trial. As the executive officer, on a ship without a doctor, this makes complete sense.

As a novel’s ending it was satisfying in that it was unsatisfying. The lawyer who defended Meryl admits he didn’t believe in the case and curses at his former client and his friend for their action in relieving Queeg. But you, as a reader, are convinced—because you were there, in the bridge, the moment it happened—that Maryk was right and Queeg had damned the ship.

Then the system—who needs Queegs to be obeyed and not questioned—kicks into gear and the other officer who was facing a court martial in supporting the mutiny is instead formally reprimanded; the best the system could do to condemn the decision given the mutiny was disproved.

There are 10 000 years of war distilled in us in listening to the chief, even when he is nuts, then getting killed as a result. The idea being that you need to follow the one in charge even if the one in charge is incapable of being in charge because otherwise the system breaks down.

Maryk was right. The captain was in that moment unable to effectively command the vessel. As the executive officer, superior seaman and, in that moment, the person best able to assess the captain’s mental state he had a duty to relieve his commander. The only reason a court martial could have been held was because the mutiny had occurred. The system had broken down in that it allowed Queeg to be in charge without redress and the individual, Maryk, stepped in to save everyone in spite of it.

The Caine Mutiny is a deeply engrossing, irritating and divinely written work. The book was written in 1951 and Incredibly the author Herman Wouk, a former executive officer on a destroyer minesweeper like the Caine, is still alive.

Herman, if you’re self-googling, my hat is tipped.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Manchester united

The Manchester blast was Vs little women. Because, you know, it's their fault. 

What doesn't astound me in the aftermath of these events is the stories of the people lost and the people saved; and those who went into the chaos to help

Manchester united, like Paris did and like places across the world do, opening their doors to strangers brutalised by another stranger. 

A man-made tragedy but an entirely human response. You can't defeat that, no matter how many bombs you blow.

(First raised for a Manchester united).

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

BYB re-stacked

The bitter irony was that not 24 hours beforehand I'd bragged about how me and the BYB were in sync like me as a 12-year-old in sync with my then bike.

I grew up in a town that you could get anywhere to on a bike within 40 minutes and it was the '80s so you and your bike would vanish during the day then appear again around darkness. No contact; presumed okay.

You'd fly down the steepest of hills with only a pedal brake to protect you; you'd ride a long way out of town, kays down dusty roads, into the fucking bush sometimes just because you could.

You and your bike were as one.

Me and this bike are not yet as one. I thought we were but we’re not. The BYB is a trike, which has many advantages but also plenty of disads; with three wheels comes added complication.

I was tooling along a footpath when it happened—because the footpath was subsumed by a driveway that went at forty-five degrees to the entry road. The BYB, being wheels of three, meant one wheel went up the incline.

I made nearly all the way across but the bins were in the way on the path and even though I counter tipped I still tipped—nice and slow—forward into the road from the pavement. It was a blind curve and because it was a settled McMansion suburb of Canberra then the typical car that would likely come along to squish me would be a giant not-needed-in-the-capital SUV and one capable of not seeing even me.

I banged up my shoulder, forearm, lower leg and got grazed through my jumper along my elbow. My helmet and gloves protected me from worse. 

It took seeming forever to get from under the bike then crawl to my feet. No car came along to hit me but also no one stopped to help—but I’m not sure if I was seen. Then it was the limping and the wheeling of the bike until I got around the blind curve and could safely mount to cross.

I was not in sync with my bike—or rather, trike. And that was the problem—that extra wheel. It still takes getting some used to.

Even now I still bash into the fence or plinth on the gap path into my street because I’ve gone a fraction too one direction to compensate for my bigger bike bum of two wheels and a tray.

I recognise that outside riding with motion, cars and roads is a risk but it’s a risk accepted. Riding a bike outside, going the distance and going with speed is insanely great compared to the laborious slog of the SoTPC.

I had a day off to heal and it’s back on the BYB on the morrow. So I nearly died again—big whoop; add it to the fucking list of the nearly done me ins.


Saturday, May 20, 2017

Sullied, cats and the dead Pringle

I'd put on a tight blue shirt, not that tight, but it was nice. My nose was dripping though and I looked down to see a fat dribble of snot had soiled it. Total wearing time < 30 seconds.

I think that's a record.

Sneaky cat
I heard the distant light clunk of the screen door close and knowing I was the only one home I investigated. The black cat was out and under the BYB. I grabbed her and hustled her back in. The door should close shut but it doesn't and the cat takes advantage of that. Sneaky fucker. 

Outside cats do not live long in Canberra. 

Dead Pringle
I had occasion to prong my second ever Pringle from a tree. I'd left it there from a previous Pringle throw but it had lodged in the leaves and not come down. Unlike last time I went "meh" and decided to let nature (i.e. the wind) bring it down for me.

Two days later I saw it had not. There was a piece of old fencing so I used that to prong the Pringle down. In its 48 hour seclusion in the tree the Pringle had curled in on itself, like a dropped leaf, the ends almost touching. Down it fell and the delighted trio of browns fell upon it and wrested shards of curled Pringle back and forth until gobbled. It was exciting for them and perhaps because it fell from heaven I am now their gawd. 

Not the gawd; a gawd. A chicken gawd. 

Here endeth the lesson.  

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Tissue in the wash

Tissue in the wash
I checked every fucking pocket, I swear, every single one. But I must have missed one because I opened the lid and saw the results. There's the good result where a tissue stays in shape—I found one that went through the wash and dryer and separated into three intact dried sheets on three separate garments—and the bad one where it shreds and pulps through your clothes.

It was the bad one. I yelled as I shook the shards free, snowing the laundry with their crud. I have PTSD and dodgy hands so naturally my hands flew open more than once on a shake and I had to bend to get the clothes off the floor with my failing knees and hip screaming at me.  Then re-shake them because they'd been re-dusted with bits.

Then I used a tall-handled dustpan to sweep up the shards. I know it's a first world whine to moan about a tissue in the wash but, fuck me, that is a prime domestic fail annoyance. 

There's still little bits I cannot get, reminding me of my failure. 

BYB top gear
I went for a ride where I stayed in top gear in spite of hills and slopes. Didn't change down once in a 30 minute hurtle. I even did an overpass in third. 

Area man is enjoying the ride.

BYB scary moments
The BYB has industrial thick tyres—but already holed once from a thumbtack—and its frame is rugged and strong. So you can go off road. 

Off road and going down a slope, however, is terrifying. You cannot turn the wheel too sharply or you'll tip so if you're on a rugged slope so you're basically going in that direction until the slope gives out. So there you are, gripping on with grim hope, face rattling as you scream down a slope and just hoping said face doesn't get mashed to a pulp.

UPDATE: I was going up on one side wheel and more-than-likely headed into a lamppost when I gave up on keeping the turn and went thudding into the grass instead. It was a split second choice or smooshed me. Eep.  

Bird stare
I can see small birds in a bush outside my window. I get a "tee-hee!" reaction each time I see them. I'll be typing and at the top of my eye I'll register a leaf twitch look up and see either a titchy bird or the afterglow of its branch bounce. 

Area man is enjoying the nature.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

De-shanked my mid-tine

It's not often you get to write a string of seeming nonsensical words that actually make sense but that's exactly what I did; I de-shanked my mid-tine.

The jagged stump of the mostly-missing middle finger, or tine, of the back scratcher protruded and risked scarring my flesh so I used pliers to snap the plastic back until it was just a nub, ruining the shank effect the broken tine offered in a set to involving crappy weapons.

All I need is a file to pare away the rough edges and make it neat but I've exhausted my knowledge of tools-that-we-have. But that's just cosmetic—the aid is back at 80 per cent and ready to screap.

... you really have to wonder at the mentality that would desecrate a helpless puma

With thanks to The Simpsons.

In the great shed clan up of '17 the skeleton hand back scratcher was presumed tossed so I relocated the better of the two inside BS's for sweaty, hairy back shed-based action.

It's glorious, with five finger tines that are sharp enough to give a decent scratch but not enough to hurt yourself if you go nuts. 

Well, was glorious and is no longer five-gingered; the middle one has been snapped off. It wasn't me and I don't know how or why it could have happened. I'll have whittle back the stump because it's raggedy with a point and it will hurt to deploy. 

My poor helpless island-themed desecrated now four-fingered back scratcher. Here's hoping I can re-shape you back to 80 per cent use.


Lost with a hint of near dual-lane mash

I got lost on the BYB when retracing my route, only discovering so when the bike path ended in the middle of a long stretch of dual-lane.  As I crossed the road a car had to slow and tooted. It was fair enough; if he'd not slowed he'd have clipped me and sent a fat hairy whirlwind of flesh, rubber and steel into oncoming traffic. 

I retraced my pedals and found the under pass I had passed and went back through.

Each day I try to ride somewhere new and getting lost is just part of the fun. Besides you're never really lost if you have active Apple Maps.

But less of the near creaming of me risks taken next time. I love me and I don't want me further damaged. Not after getting the bliss of mobility back.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017


A shart is always a surprise; I doubt anyone has consciously birthed one unless impaired in some fashion.

I caught most of it twixt cheeks but it was still ghastly and I showered as soon as I was clean enough to risk movement. 

That's my IBS for me; it can be bearable and then suddenly ARRGH, I JUST SHAT MYSELF!

Damn you, abdominal business. 

I do feel oddly better. 

It's sleeping with undies time just in case round two comes at me. It might; the IBS, it does not play fair.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Bike-scared some geezers

Atop the BYB I gain about two inches and thanks to it being a trike—three wheels for greater stability and strength—I can simply sit when I come to a stop to do things like find out on my phone where the fuck I am. I'm like a bikeder—a bicycle drider with the latter the half-Drow, half-spiders from D&D; three wheels for eight legs.

The bike-added height along with increased breadth of a lower-half now phat tricycle makes for a more intimidating presence and I presume it's more so when I'm in a oldster's blind spot.

I didn't mean to follow the old lady right up to the doors of Coles—the bike rack was to the left of those doors—but yes, follow her I did, in her geriatric blind spot but with enough of a presence that she could still sense me. I followed with just the electric motor on, the bike ticking with light menace, and I could see her spin her head back a few times to see what the fuck was behind her.

Later, on the way back, it was an old dude's turn. I was behind him on a path between bays and he kept swiveling  to check my looming presence.

The bitter irony is I am middle-aged with a body that is in parts literally geriatricmy remaining hip is like that of an 80-year-old. I look older than I am; I am a geezer. 

But on the bike I'm half-geezer, half-bike and that all makes me fully awesome.

(ting! ting!)

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Feedback loop

Anxiety is self-fulfilling.

I was dropping things—more than usual—and it was frustrating. Then it was anxiety-inducing because it reminded me of the injury and that made me anxious. The more anxious I got the more my hands trembled and more my hands trembled the more anxious I got.

I wanted to try and put the replacement bell on the bike but I dropped the screwdriver three times. In the end I walked away because it was too frustrating.

That’s life with a psychological injury—you suffer a symptom which gives you anxiety and your anxiety makes that symptom worse.

But it’s better dread than dead and I should be dead.

Oddly, that does not make me anxious.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

A Galaxy Quest moment

I was aboard the BYB and had stopped dead at the base of an arched overpass when I attempted to ride forward. The slope was steep enough that the bike slid backward if the brake was not on.

I'm not meant to rise in the saddle---my right hip is degraded and rising in the saddle also sends stress into the bike chain---but I had to grind down with as much force as I could to turn the pedal to avoid a backwards slide into a car-blocking plinth.

I needed something to get me through and that's when out it came; "Never give up! Never surrender!"

It worked, too. The pedal turned and I had enough momentum to keep turning.

Next time I may have to try chanting the Mak'Tar chant of strength.

UPDATE: I went to ride and got about 10 metres out when I discovered the flat tyre. I was worried I'd popped it during my GQ moment but it turned out to have been a thumbtack.

It's 2017; who the fuck still uses thumbtacks?