Living Should be Easy…
Life is easy, at least I believe so. If life is easy, then why shouldn’t the act of living be so as well? I sit here typing away as Crystal’s rabbit Sniffy hops around my feet - sniffing, stirring, nudging and eventually nibbling. She shows now signs of stress, worry, frustration, or ambition. How nice would it be to have Sniffy’s mentality. How untethered it must feel. Such liberation, yet our lives are inexplicitly linked together. If I forget to feed her the morning after an intoxicating evening expedition, she would starve. If I allowed Sniffy’s starvation to progress for a prolonged amount of time she could die, and if that were to happen Crystal would be the end of yours truly. Therefore, although she’s currently trying to climb up a table leg and I’m working on top of the said table our very different lives share heartbeats along a very familiar wavelength.
Living can be easy. …if one chooses it to be. At least I would like to think and believe. More often then not I find myself overwhelmed with the expectations of those around me, the ones I have come to respect, the people I work for, the pretty gal who I enjoy going on dates with, the goals I have set up for myself and even Sniffy’s - after all, she needs someone to feed and clean up after her. Every now and then I find myself taking a few breaths and for that quick moment I’m in zen.
A common cycling analogy would be your standard road bike compared to, now a popular urban hipster fad - the fixed gear. A fixed gear in essence is the simplest definition of a bicycle one can own; one cog in the back and one chainring on the crank, there are no derailers and no freewheels. It doesn’t have too many parts which require servicing and in the event of failure, it’s usually easy to find and a simple fix. Your standard road bike on the other hand is a different animal; 8-10 cogs mounted on a freewheel in the rear, and a minimum of 2 chainrings on the crank. One will also need front and rear derailers to change these gears, otherwise it’s as useful as a single speed bike. When things go wrong, it could be a variety of items - worn out cogs/teeth, misaligned derailers, stuck shifters, et cetera. What I’m saying is as our lives become closer to society’s definition of ‘full’ they also become more complicated, or as Biggie once said, “Mo Money, Mo Problems.”
My life will become more complicated, this is less of an choice but rather a certainty. However along the way I will make sure to stop and smell the roses, even snap a few photographs. As it is the simple moments that I will cherish, and collectively make up those memories which will last a lifetime.
You feel me?
PS. I ran my favorite wallet through the washing machine today. Guess it’s back tot he Paul Smith store. *sigh* I also whore’d the orange car out on VW Vortex. heh.
I Feel So Good Today, but what about Tomorrow…
Here I am surprisingly relaxed at Orchard Valley Coffee with Kero One’s remix of Ben Westbeech’s “So Good Today.” pumping into my ear canals this gloomy afternoon. With Tahoe plans canceled due to a wet forecast I find myself strangely at peace. A bit ironic that after the most stellar weather streak in Europe I return home to cold, dark, and downpour. However “I feel good today” as Ben says, and I have to say I agree.
With our busy schedules usually commanding priority in our lives I often miss opportunities to catch up with friends, especially the close ones. This week I got to catch up with a few people and accomplish errands which I tend to pile up for the end of the week and ignore till the following week. With a clean to do list and no upcoming pending activities I am abnormally liberated. I could get used to this. Lounging around, steaming coffee in hand and Crystal chats in the other without a time table, nor care in the world.
“I feel so good today - even though I can’t find my way - Your heart’s been keeping you away - Don’t be afraid cause I know that - Oh, soon there’ll come a day - when you will turn around and say - my heart’s in such a lonely place gotta tell you now I’m feeling - I feel so good today… - But what about tomorrow? - To-Mah-Ah-Roww?…” Ben Says, so what about tomorrow?
Sunny and I caught one of the very last screenings of “The Bucket List” last night featuring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. I was firm on movie selection as Sunny’s never-fail movie choices include Jumper from a couple weeks back and AVP2. His next must see is 10,000 B.C. which may be a spectacular display of just how far animation and special effects have come, but seriously….come on. Anyways, I must digress. I figured with two Hollywood heavyweights and uncontested Hollywood greatest actors of all time there was no way we could go wrong with The Bucket List - and, yeah it certainly is no Grammy nominee but its message rings true. Most of you are what? In your mid to late 20’s? Where are you now and where do you want to be? Jack finds that he’s sharing a hospital room with Morgan, then they both find out they have less then a year to live. With a heavy heart they pen out what they intend to accomplish prior to their certain deaths.
“Fuck waiting for someone’s science experiment,” says Jack, “If you thought 45 years went by in a flash, imagine a year. Let’s live.” With that they go on the grandest adventure of their lives; skydiving, racing and wrecking Shelby 350’s, scaling the Himalayas, jet-setting and ultimately having the best months of their entire lives.
It’s scary how fast 26 years have flown by, and uncertain about what the upcoming years have in store for me. It’s a frightening thought, what about tomorrow? like Ben says. Sunny and I left the theater saying that we should come up with one of those lists, and in the event of one of our untimely deaths it would be up to the other to complete that list. As young (or so we think we are), and ambitious as we are, our lists may very well include such immature items as make a million in a year, buy a Ferrari, or even date the hottest girl. Don’t get me wrong, those are very good goals and if that’s what one wishes, then who am I to say they’re misled? Truth is I wouldn’t mind making a million a year, but I love Volkswagens and I’d like to believe I found number three. If I’m wrong, don’t prove me right.
What would be on your bucket list? I’m not sure where mine will begin, but I’d like to think, and I believe you would agree that I’m a good ways there. A Decadent Existence is what we’re all living. Cherish it. As Kero One’s mix of Ben’s lyrics fade a very familiar “I wouldn’t change a thing, if I had to live my life all over. I’ll do it all again, if I had to live my life all over…” This is one of the few LP’s that I never become tired of, and brings a smile to me every time it tickles my ear drums. I love my life, I love Crystal, and I certainly wouldn’t change a thing.
It’s raining, but it’s all good.
I’ve had an interesting weekend thus far. Things got off to a bumpy start as I was still jet-lagged come Friday evening. Instead of going out with the guys, I opted to stay in and hang out with Sniffy as it was 10pm and my eyelids were weighted with lead. Saturday came around awfully quick and I discovered myself lying in bed watching Lipstick Jungle on hulu.com of all things. I also found that I preferred Kim Raver(Nico) and Lindsay Price(Victory) to the once heavyweight Brooke Shields(Wendy). I also somewhat sympathized with Paul Blackthorn’s character, otherwise known as Wendy’s husband Shane. Before I got deeper into this, and further embarrass myself Tru shows up and we’re spandex clad.
With a clear sunlit sky we set off on our first road bike ride together, she tells me she did 4 hours the week before but I really did not expect us to get anywhere. After taking many fresh cyclists out, they tend to want to turn back at mile 5, effectively making it a painful 10 mile ride. Tru on the other hand absolutely stunned me by staying with me until my normal turn around point, 16 miles from where we began making a total of 32 miles when done. I was presently surprised, and unknowingly proved wrong.
There’s no question that I have some odd fascination with bicycles; from the big wheels I started off with as a child, then graduating into bmx culture in middle school and finally touching mountain bikes in high school. Bicycle designs have changed drastically over the years, as cutting edge technology becomes within reach, and with fresh designs producing practical application of physics. Space age carbon frames with labor intensive cnc machined cassettes - these things blow my mind. How once a 25 pound ultra light bicycle of yesterday is shattered by today’s 6 or 7 pound weight weenie bicycles.
Speaking of which the Tour of California officially began yesterday, and I am privileged to have it hosted right in our back yard - Palo Alto. We can argue about individuals like Levi, JJ, and George, or we can debate about the returning hero, Mario. We can even talk about the team Rock Republic is managing - Rock Racing, but this is what the sport’s all about - teamwork, technology, and talent. With that said, I’ll be cheering for Team Slipstream this year, just as I did last year. This is an exciting week, I was unable to attend today’s leg, but will be sure to catch them as they whizz through downtown San Jose on the 20th.
Check out my photos on Flickr: Tour of California, Stage 1 - Palo Alto, Ca
One item I did wish to point out before I depart is Specialized’s call to action - Innovate or Die. Specialized, a local success based locally in Morgan Hill has grown from a small mountain bike fabricator into a global player in the bicycle industry. With one of the industry’s largest research & development as well as marketing and advertising budgets of all companies they have challenged you, me, and everyone else on how to make the already effective, efficient, and ‘green’ bicycle even better. Can you one up the bicycle design for the betterment of the collective world? A local team in Menlo Park took top honors with their Aquaduct design. One would think that collecting and purifying water was a simple and mundane task, and to some extent it is, however the energy and resources it consumes will shock you. Aquaduct allows the rider to fill its tank with water then as the rider pedals around it collects the purified water in a dispensable container. Nifty.
To learn more about the Aquaduct, check out their youtube video: Aquaduct Trike
For more on Specialized’s Innovate or Die program: Specialized Innovate or Die
Je ne sais pas…
Well I am finally back in the bay area and I have to admit that I enjoyed myself almost a little too much while in London and Paris. I had a fantastic time, and have built treasured memories that I will keep for for life. These things always seem shorter then they really are and this was no exception, when we parted our ways at Hammersmith on the Piccadilly line, Crystal heading to her office and I headed to Heathrow a few thoughts crossed my mind as Crystal stood there on the platform smiling a melancholic smile and waving good bye. The first, I can’t believe this was it, I’m headed back to SFO. The second, what an awesome host she’s been - taking time out of her busy schedule to plan, think, and mock our days up on an itinerary that not only satisfied me, but provoked me outside of my normal gourmand’s destinations. It was a fresh look on travel, and one I fully adopted.
Writing about my travels would equate to that of a small novel, so I won’t go as far to bore you. What I will say is that I am fairly certain that I’ve done more urban walking then I have ever done so in my life. If you ever decide to take the foot guided tour of Europe wear comfortable shoes, my Onitsuka Tiger’s are great shoes, just not comfortable after 3 days of continuous walking. I discovered that we pushed each other on, and made small sacrifices for the happiness and sanity of each other. In fact we only argued once after much fatigue, confusion, and pain during our entire coexistence. Despite the argument, together we have made it to the tops of both St. Paul’s cathedral in London, UK as well as the infamous Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, FR. Combined we have conquered over 1000 narrow spiral arranged steps together. Crystal admitted to me that she most likely could not, or would not have made it to the top of St. Paul’s by herself, and with that under her belt Notre Dame was a simple decision. I couldn’t have done either if she had not done the research prior and outlined our schedule, not to mention navigate the underground. Together we have shared many walks, train cars, meals, photographs, smiles, laughs, and memories. I believe I speak for the both of us when I say we had an incredible experience, an immense amount of fun, and all of this compacted into an all too short of an timespan.
As we packed up our bags at the Waldorf I will miss a few things about Paris - First and foremost the bed, We both slept soundly between those sheets. Not only did Crystal not want to get up (this is normal for her), I did not want to leave (this is abnormal for me). The hotel’s staff also really went out of their way to make sure we were taken care of; always smiling, making sure we had a taxi if we needed one, fresh towels, clean sheets, and although this may sound like standard expectations one would be surprised on how many hotels do a job of service. The Indian guy who was responsible for the evening shift was always a hoot, we’d shout greetings from across the entry way, he’d bid us good night as we stumbled back in the early morning, and walked us to the door as we were in search of even more delight. If you find yourself in Paris, I would definitely recommend the Waldorf.
Another thing about Paris was it’s food. Already known as a major culinary player, in fact the movie Ratatouille makes no mistake in calling Paris the epicenter of the best food. From what we’ve experienced I would have to agree. Such a stark contrast to London with deep fried this, and dripping fat that, the food in Paris was prepared just as Monet’s brush danced along his canvas. We were consuming art, even at the incredibly casual park cafe. I can honestly say, I did not have a bad meal in Paris. Crystal also went out of her way, then dragged us out of our way to an off the beaten path restaurant - Melac, who’s owners and servers did not speak a drop of English but went above and beyond to make sure we had a fantastic time, and that we did. My over all perception of the French is rude, lazy, and boozing but Melac and Waldorf were the two exceptions.
Wait, let me correct that last statement. After our tour of the Louvre, we passed by a handful of street vendors in the garden area. This was one of them, and after a quick glance through his paintings, I did something extraordinary out of character - I purchased one. Crystal and I did a quick ‘this one or that one’ and after a few “hmmm’s” and “how about that one’s” we settled on one. The guy was great to work with as well, even though we didn’t clue him in on our intentions he seemed to be living in the moment. Who knows, we may have looked like suckers, but I got him to pose for a picture (note the segway tour in the back).
I don’t need to say it, again but I enjoyed myself in London and Paris. I realized that although I enjoy myself anywhere I go and typically with anyone I travel with, I especially enjoy myself when I travel with someone I absolutely adore, cherish, and enjoy passing time with. Crystal has really made an impact on how this trip turned out, so without getting any more mushy, and gross you can view the rest of our pictures here : ADE’s Loose in Europe!
The above photo is not mine, nor was mine as bad but mine did develop a mysterious hairline crack while in Paris. Not sure if it was wear and tear, or the stress from travel I was unsure what to do. What I did know was that it wasn’t 90 days old yet and I was rather unhappy. After a quick Google search I discovered I was not alone, and it was a factory material defect, not wear and tear - not sure why I thought of that as I’ve been extremely gentle with this thing. So armed with fresh information I went to the Palo Alto Apple Store expecting to haggle with them about fault and repairs. To my pleasant surprise I was greeted with, “Oh, yeah sure we’ll take care of that!” at the Genius Bar. AWESOME. So I dropped my Macbook off with the expectation that they would do the repairs in 3-5 days. My phone rang later that afternoon and when I picked up I was told my Macbook was ready for pick up, a new topcase (including keyboard and touchpad) had been replaced, and this one was made of the newer more durable plastic. Absolutely astounding, now that was service.
If you’re having mysterious cracking issues on your Macbook and for whatever reason Apple is denying your warranty here’s a few things I came across on Google. Don’t take no for an answer, they will replace it. If you’re screaming at your Genius Bar tech, that may be a problem. Smile. Be nice.
Flickr Group of Cracked Macbooks
Engadget - Revenge of the crackBook
AppleDefects - White Macbooks continue to crack (this also applies to Black Macbooks)
Happy Chinese New Years! I’m surprised how festively the British have latched onto this Chinese holiday, I suppose their colonization of Hong Kong has a great deal to do with it, at any rate it’s quite enjoyable. Just as I thought I have become adopted at life in the UK a curve ball is thrown at me and I find myself doing the laundry of all things. It’s about 11am here, and I’ve been babysitting the laundry machine for over 3 hours now. Pretty exciting huh?
I have been blessed with awesome weather, it has only rained once since I’ve arrived allowing me to tube to destinations and stroll through the city. I was walking through Oxford Street a couple days ago when John Lennon’s “Imagine” streamed through my ear phones, the feeling was just surreal. Such a city, with such history and diversity - incredible.
Among the better things I’ve done in the city, or as the locals say, “tops.” Finding Crystal at Heathrow would have to rank high, as I was totally lost, climbing to the top of St. Paul’s Cathedral, riding the London Eye, dinner and drinks at the OXO, drinks at Milk & Honey, seeing the Rosetta Stone, experiencing British Indian Food, walking down Bond Street and shopping in Covent Gardens and Oxford Street. As soon as this load is done I think I’m going to go see the Terra Cotta Army on display at the British Museum (was too late yesterday), go for a quick walk through of the boutiques on Jermyn St, and Warren St then meet up with Crystal for bowling and roller disco. Exciting huh?
Reunited in London. We’ve been good about physically seeing each other every 30 days or so and with the two trips that Crystal has made back to the bay area it was my turn to step up to the plate. After three sapphire & tonics the plane ride was a bit antsy, but after 3 movies and some 9 hours I arrived lost and confused at Heathrow. Crystal found me and I got my first ride, of many to come, on London’s infamous Underground system.
Thus far it has been a whirlwind of a trip; Crystal being the ever awesome tour guide has kept me on an staccato of an schedule, she has taken me to The Orangery for proper English afternoon tea, rode the London Eye, drinks at the Artesian, climbed some odd 500 or so steps to the top of St. Paul’s cathedral, strolled the Tate Modern, shopped the Portobello Market, viewed Van Goughs and Monets at the National Gallery, jumped in front of Buckingham Palace, read time on Big Ben, catch the end of service at Westminster Abby, and so much more. She’s currently at work so I took the opportunity to scribble this quick entry and figure out what I’m doing today. First priority is to find a phone, the second is to take all the pictures I want as the weather is cooperating till about 10pm tonight. Catch you in a few days!
For you cycling nuts, my Kestrel arrived just prior to my departure. I attempted to install the headset myself but that turned out to be a huge mistake. I took it to Break A Way in Saratoga and he got it on in no time. Looking to wrap up its build upon my return in a couple weeks.