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Saturday, June 27, 2015

Rainbow Flavored Critical Mass

Critical Mass is always a good time, but the summer masses are the best. It's light later, you don't have to bundle up, and as a friend of mine put it, it's not such a sausage fest.

The Supreme Court had just issued it's ruling on marriage equality, and I took inspiration from my Facebook feed to make spoke cards to hand out. Handed out 80 of them and had more people asking for them. At this writing I don't have access to the image (I neglected to photograph it and it was created on a different computer), but it was an image Beaux and Luke Duke with the General Lee from the Dukes of Hazard—except the Confederate flag has been replaced by a rainbow flag. I put the date, 'Happy Friday' and 'Critical Mass' (all in cheesy rainbow filled letters) on it.

The power was out at home starting the night before, about 1:00 a.m. I'd called in the report to BPU at 3:00 in case someone else hadn't called it in. But it was the whole neighborhood. I thought it had been restored because I'd missed a call fro BPU earlier in the day (they let you enter a callback number). But nope, my wife texted to inform me that the power was still out so I scrambled arrangements with a friend who lives near us who did have juice so I could use my CPAP when I eventually got home and went on with Mass.

Honest, I expected by the time I finally got home that it'd be on. It's been out from storms before, but never more than a few hours. Never 24. Not since a major ice storm in Gardner a dozen or so years ago, I've never been without electricity a whole day.

Plus, I figured, it's not like I can do anything about it. By then I'd made a second report call, just in case. It's an automated system, but I knew it was futile. The neighbors were all out, too. And Mass was fun, it was a big group, the weather was perfect, I was sharing some Mount Gay rum in honor of the Supreme Court getting something right.

The thing I think a lot of the 'traditional marriage' advocates miss is how badly shit on gays have been in this country. People I've known personally have been denied getting into the ambulance with an injured partner because 'family only.' Or had a partner die of cancer, leaving her to raise two kids not biologically her own, denied three lousy days of bereavement leave because it wasn't an 'immediate family member' who passed. I've heard people object to extending marriage rights to same sex couples on the basis that it's just about benefits. I don't think it's true, but if it were, I'm still down with this.

The objection that polygamy is next doesn't go very far with me either. I'm not talking about some Fundamentalist Mormon who's second 'wife' is his 15 year old stepdaughter, but actual consenting adult poly families. They're rare, I think. I've only known one such family compared with dozens of gays, but it seems to work for them. Most people are probably too jealous and competitive to make such an arrangement work, I know I am, but from what I can tell their kids aren't any more or less fucked up than ones your average 'traditional marriage' produces.

As Mass got rolling, we stumbled on a pair of touring cyclists. They were obvious, their bikes heavily loaded with panniers front and back with more shit stacked on top of the back racks. They fell in with us and seemed to have a great time with it. Monica and Rachel started out from Detroit, and when I asked where they were going, they said Oregon.

I said Kansas City's not on the way from Detroit to Oregon, and they said they get that a lot, but they wanted to see Kentucky, too.

They seemed a touch worried when I told them not to expect Kansas to be flat the way it is in the national lore. But then I said do't worry about it, if you came from Kentucky you crossed the Ozarks, rolling prairie is going to be a piece of cake.

I grabbed 40 pounds of ice on the way home since the power was still out, grabbed my CPAP and headed to my friend's house.

I'm posting this from the cafe of a Target where Corinna and I came to get our phone batteries charged, get some internet connectivity and stay air conditioned for the afternoon. BPU says maybe noon tomorrow we'll have electricity again, at which point we have two deep freezes and a fridge full of shit that's going to need cooked.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

West Bottoms Update

So I'm riding home from work and as I pass by Black Label Cycles, I see a couple of guys re-doing the whole tag wall on a side of the building.

So this made me realize I had been neglecting my precious West Bottoms tag galleries. City people come cover up some with gray, but even without that, the writers will come back themselves and cover over their old work. Especially with legal walls, there's a limited amount of time to take it in. The Scribe billygoat I framed a 24 x 36 poster of for my living room wall is long gone.

One of the guys repainting Black Label Cycles, I said there were lots of other walls in the West Bottoms to tag up before redoing one and he said, 'Well, there's the matter of getting permission.' Okay if you want to be a stickler.

But then, talking to one business owner as I shot some of these pics (I won't say which, that might cause problems that shouldn't happen), I got another angle.

He said, 'I came here one Saturday and these guys were painting my fucking building. I got in their face, I was like, who told you this was okay? They were like, Well, there were already gang tags here, we were just covering them up with something better.'

And realizing they were right, he let them finish. Then he got a letter from the city that he could be fined for being urban blight and he got madder about that than he ever was at the taggers. He told city hall to shove it up their blighted asses and apparently they did.

I was curious about Black Label's signs. The taggers have it as Black 'Label' Cycles, which is how me and Spellcheck see it. But there's a sign cut out of steel hung out of the side of the building that has it as 'Black Lable.' I've made plenty of txpos in my day, probably even today, but shouldn't you proofread before you carve it out in steel and hang it out there?

I run into a lot of photographers in this neighborhood and I asked one the other day, it's starting to wake up, where are you going to go for urban decay backdrops when the West Bottoms is all gentrified and urban renewed?

He said maybe East St. Louis. Seems a long ways to go.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Onion Braid

I really peaked and burned out on the whole gardening thing the year I had my bypass. I did a lot that year, but it wasn't that fun and ever since most garden chores just seem a burden to me. I still want the produce and all, I just want it to happen with minimal interaction with me.

Luckily, Corinna seemed to pick up the pace about that same time and has even started selling CSA shares and whatnot. She grew a bunch of onions this spring. They'd have gotten bigger if she planted them in the fall, but for when they went in they got plenty big. But they were starting to die in the heat so she harvested them.

And braided a bunch of them in the basement to hang and keep in a cool dry place. Need an onion for the eggs? Go get one off the braid.


Riding home my usual way, theres a railroad crossing that's sometimes blocked by a train. There's a couple of workarounds: James Street and Forrester both have viaducts over the tracks, or you can open a beer and whip out your camera.

So yeah, that's what I did.