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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Crazy Pot Calling the Crazy Kettle Black

I get told on a regular basis that commuting by bicycle is 'crazy.' The idea, I guess, is that sitting in gridlock instead is sane.

Trashboat Regatta 2013

I had to sit this one out, my cardiologist's advice went from 'take it easy on the bike' to 'stay off the bike' after my stress test. I go in tomorrow for a cardiac catheter, I'm hoping they can just prop some stuff open with stents and I'll be right as rain, but anyway...

One of the organizers of the Regatta was sitting it out even more than me, broke her water and was stuck in hospital waiting to be induced for a slightly premature delivery. Thorval Stonecrusher's Daddy still made the regatta, though.

I didn't get to float down the river but, thanks to that, I did get to bring my Nikon along. Any notion I could bring my incredibly expensive dSLR on this float trip was dispelled when Jacqui lost her fanny-pack that held her wallet, ID, debit card, iPhone in a zip-lock, etc as her boat capsized. She found the bag against all odds but that iPhone is probably a paper weight at this point.

Note to self: waterproofing is good, but floatation makes waterproofing worthwhile. I've waterproofed electronics for this event before but never thought about how the stuff could sink. Which is like a rock it turns out. I'll be putting some styrofoam in my zip locks next year.

The boats were really create, Joel had his garden gnomes, Jacqui and the Art Institute Contingent had their Missouri River Gator, despite Meetzorp's absence we had a half dozen boats on the river.

At the pull out point, Glow in the Dark Park, some guys came off the river in a boat that wouldn't qualify for the regatta, but they had a plethora of catfish.

They were looking to give away a couple of pretty big catfish because they'd kept two 10-15 poundish ones and then caught a solid 40 pounder.

Personally, I don't eat catfish so much, but while I was trying to waive it off, I realized Corinna does like catfish and when I asked her, she was like, 'hell yeah, I'll take two enormous free catfish.'

Dr. Greg was along in his kayak, which doesn't qualify as a true trash boat so we designate him as medical staff. He says I'll be fine going in for my cath tomorrow, probably a quickie stent or a couple other things I couldn't really decipher.

As far as the free catfish go, I'm not sure they're safe to eat but Corinna isn't afraid of them. I guess I wouldn't be if I thought catfish were edible in broad, general terms. They're almost okay when dredged in corn meal and fried, but I think what I like about that is the frying, not the fish.

They reminded me of an old joke about how you can tell a politican (or laywer, or Primerica rep, take your pick) from a catfish. One is a bottom feeder who lurks in the shadows and eats anything slow or dumb enough to catch, and the other one is a fish.

Driving Critical Mass

I hear a friend of mine once tried to drive Critical Mass, and it didn't go well. I tried it, too I guess. Not really, I didn't try to follow the bikes in my xB, but in case you missed the memo I go in tomorrow for a cardiac catheterization, odds are they'll do some angioplasty and/or stints, worst case I guess is they might decide I need bypass surgery.

For the record, I'm 43 and I ride my bike at least 4,000 miles per year. Plus, I thought I was past this, having had a heart attack/cardiac cath & stint eleven years ago.

I took statins for 9-1/2 of the eleven years, and I'm not ruling out going back onto them but if they were efficacious, I doubt I'd be where I'm at, Angina-land.

I'm taking a serious look though at something I always thought was silly. Diet soda. It has virtually no calories, and I lost a ton of weight and felt a lot better when I switched from the corn sugar versions a long, long time ago. But having my second cardiac intervention at my age, something is fucked up and while I haven't seen anything that qualifies as an explanation of a mechanism, there is apparently a correlation of some sort with diet soda and heart disease.

And dude, I drink a lot of diet soda. There's peaks and valleys of course, but it's not unusual for me to have done a two-liter bottle in by noon. Then there's the Crystal Light 'energy' drinks that amount to flat soda, I do a lot of that, too.

And I haven't done a very good job of watching saturated fat, sodium, other bogeymen of the cardiac scene, so those are all on the table as well. I don't smoke, and I'm not (until recently ordered so by my cardiologist) sedentary, so it's got to be something.

Anyway, I was really touched by how my Masshole friends reacted to my showing up in a car. Words of encouragement, prayer, general concern. And a general concensus that they were glad I wasn't crazy enough to ride with them while experiencing angina, that I was taking care of myself. I also heard stories of mini-strokes and other wake-up calls folks had had, and how they'd put that behind them with cycling. It was a pretty good time considering I wasn't riding a bike.

I'm sure you know this, but you know it's a good party when someone brings an accordion.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Sunrise Over Boninto Michoacan

Stopped and grabbed this shot on the way in to work the other morning. This isn't something you couldn't see from a car, but on the bike you approach these things at a pace that makes beauty more noticeable, I think.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Steering Wheel

I see this bike at City Market on a regular basis. I wonder if it's the daily driver for one of the vendors or street musicians.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


Cool little foldable bike a guy rode to Frizz one Monday.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Secret Concrete Canyon

According to a poem by the Poet Laureate of Lobster Land, the 'secret concrete canyon' was the Turkey Creek bed before the Rosedale diversion tunnel was built almost a century ago. It makes the creek go underground for to the river over on the Kansas side.

So I've walked in the canyon before, to see the Nine Blue Sheep ('Believe Only What You Here'[sic]), me and Corinna locked our bikes up and walked down. Then, thanks to a recent conversation she'd had with a railroad bull, we ended up high-tailing it out of there the first time a train came by. Well, she high-tailed it, I couldn't run that fast if I was in a building on fire.

So last Critical Mass we happened to go down the Paseo into the Jazz District before winding back into Downtown and ending up at the usual places.

As we approached 18th Street, I saw tags, gorgeous tags that begged me to photograph them. So, being that I was attending mass, I made a mental note to come back.

When I did, I realized that the tags I'd spotted were in the Secret Concrete Canyon.

Then, I spotted what I thought was a pretty good way to get in by bicycle. I guess it is posted 'private property' and 'no trespassing,' something like that, but if they were serious about keeping people out why would they have such a spectacular collection of art on display?

And they did include a bicycle access point. By access point, I mean a place where there is a padlocked gate you can walk a bike around. Gates that are meant to actually stop people, you can't walk a bike with panniers around those. What I think of as a car gate, the road is closed, but not to me.

Corinna tells me taggers from around the country travel here to check out this gallery and I can believe it. I had to weed it down pretty good to get under 50 pics for this post, and really, I didn't cover the whole length of the canyon, just the easy stuff between Forest & Vine.

I think Survlazy may be the biggest tag in Kansas City. MpulseFemme (if you take those two together as one tag, which I doubt they are) and Mayhem on the Kansas River dike might rival it, but it'd be close. So if Survlazy isn't the biggest, it's in the top three.

A lot of these tags are dated and I was surprised to see some 2003's in the mix. That's ten years ago, pretty near immortality in an art scene where your masterpiece is likely to be covered over by a city crew with gray paint in a few weeks. I wonder if Banksy knows about the Secret Concrete Canyon.

And of course, if you want to be left alone, try flattery. Corinna included a shot of God Bless the Railroads in one of her digital poem collages, but it was cropped to where you couldn't see the context. This tag is four lanes wide (it spans the base the Paseo bridge). Painting that is a bit of an operation, but why would BNSF want to cover that one up?

Frost is a tag you see a lot in this canyon. I got really mad when the city gray paint crews splattered one of his tags on Beardsley. It was a pretty tag, it was on the limestone cliff face, probably outside city property, and they only defaced it, didn't cover it over. It was senseless vandalism committed in the name of cleaning up vandalism. But I guess the Secret Concrete Canyon archive makes that modest tag seem like small beer. It's frosted over.