Friday, March 23, 2007

With Smoke Pouring Out of His Ears...

Hi. I’m not BGoaB. I’m not Major Tom, either. I’m Pick, and I’ve decided to jump on this bandwagon as well. One of the things I’ve noticed when I look around at other people’s blogs is that a great number of people use them to vent about a wide variety of things. I don’t think BGoaB does enough of that. I’m going to make up for that right now.

I’m going to pick on one of my favorite pet peeves. What is that? Smoking. Or I guess I should say Inconsiderate Smoking (and smoking tends to bring out the inconsiderate b@st@rd or b!tch in quite a number of people).

What got me started thinking about this today was my experience driving back to work from lunch today. The girl in the car in front of me was sucking on some foul stink-stick, and of course the breeze was blowing the smoke right back at me. That isn’t really something I complain about too much, though. At least she wasn’t sitting in my car puffing away. No, her sin came a little later after the light changed. She (and I, behind her) got up to about 30 mph when she flicked the still-smoldering butt out of her sunroof, at which time it followed a near-perfect arc onto my windshield. Which is were it stayed. Lodged under the wiper blade. Melting the wiper blade in one spot. Grrr.

Could it be worse than that? Oh, yes, it could be worse than that. As I pulled up beside her to pass (and showing great restraint by not flipping her off, I thought – I mean, what good would it do, right?), I noted the presence of a car seat in the back. And then another. Both full. And a pre-teen girl in the front passenger seat. That, my friends, is horrible. I always figured that I’m OK with smokers who want to kill themselves slowly (or at least smell bad constantly), but when it comes to damaging the health of others, and especially those who aren’t given a choice in the matter? Well, I think that capitol punishment should be reconsidered. Well, maybe not anything quite that severe, but at a minimum there should be public floggings.

Smoke all you want. That is, as long as you are only hurting yourself (and not littering too, you cretins!).


Editor's note:
I want to say thanks to Major Tom and Pick for actually stepping up and taking on the challenge (that'll keep their mouths shut next time). As for Pick's post, I don't usually rant quite so much about arguably touchy subjects, but if he wants to rant, I'm happy to have the content.

On a personal note, let me say that I have helped fight five different fires in my life. Three of the five were caused by someone carelessly tossing a still-lit cigarette butt on the ground during drought conditions. One of those fires burned about two acres of grass lawn at my university. It took a long time for that area to come back to normal. One of the others burned up an entire median strip's worth of mulch and landscaping at a shopping center near here. In no case did the offending party likely even realize what they'd done. Just more cases of people not thinking about the possible consequences of their actions.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Oh, Yeah ... Blogging. I Think I Remember That...

Sorry for the delay, folks. It’s almost like I was the Big Guy himself, eh? (I’m just kidding, BG. Put that knife down.) First I got busy, and then I forgot. It took a gentle reminder from somebody else entirely to get me going again.

So, where was I? Hmm. Not really anywhere in particular, I guess. Let’s just start off at some random point for now.

I guess I should clarify a statement I made before for Ms. Lilac Penguin (see comments from the last post). She asked about snow cycling, and I stated that I don’t like the cold so much. She (rightfully) pointed out that my statement seems contrary to my professed love of snowmobiling. OK, what I should have said was that I don’t like cycling in the cold so much. What’s the difference? Clothing, mostly.

When you ride a snowmobile, you can generally wear as much as you want to wear. It doesn’t really matter how heavy it is, nor how restrictive (within certain reasonable limits). I personally have a one-piece whole-body suit I like to wear that is quite well insulated, but I wouldn’t dare to begin marathon running in it. Riding a bicycle, on the other hand, requires that one wears a much lighter set of gear, and thus less well insulated. You also have to consider that you might actually sweat some while riding a bicycle, so clothing that wicks moisture away from the skin is a must.

Then there is always the cold, dry air to think of. Riding the s-mobile doesn’t get my breathing rate up nor does it make me take deep breaths to get more oxygen (unless I do some really exciting maneuvering, whether by intention or not). Deep breathing cold and dry air tends to lead to cold-induced asthma for me if I do it for long enough (like when climbing a local mountain range on a bicycle in sub-freezing temperatures). Not fun. No, not fun at all.

Plus, the helmet is better.

Come to think of it, motorcycling clothing is similar. I can wear better stuff there, too. I’d guess that if the Big Guy was wearing an armored leather jacket and pants during any of his clavicle-breaking wrecks, things might have been different. But there’s a reason bicyclists don’t wear such things while riding. Wearing a leather jacket while physically exerting yourself is rather questionable from a sanity standpoint. Passing out from heat stress is probably counterproductive.

Trivia Question: What Food Network star did a mini-series based on his travels by motorcycle?

Advanced Trivia: What brand of motorcycle was it?

Major Tom

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Wreckless Abandon

This is Major Tom with spin control. Since it seems that the Big Guy has left everyone in a lurch and abandoned his post, I have bravely volunteered to step in and give this blogging thing a go.

Well, that’s not entirely true. I’m doing this because my bluff got called.

I’ve been emailing with the Big Guy for a little while and have been giving him grief about not posting for so long. I’m apparently not the only one. Even his brother from Florida called to make sure he hadn’t gotten injured again (since that’s been the main reason for previous hiatuses – or is that hiatae? I don’t really know).

No, the Big Guy is reportedly painting. He’s apparently spending all of his free time on it. Except for the four or five days he had the flu, that is. Paint, paint, paint. Maybe it wasn’t the flu. Maybe he was just really high on paint fumes. Hmmm.

But for now you get Major Tom. I guess I could go by something like ‘medium-sized guy who used to ride bicycles but now rides snowmobiles and motorcycles’, but MSGWUTRBBNRSAM is a little much.

So I said to the Big Guy, “Dude, what’s so hard about writing a post now and then? How can you be getting writer’s block after doing this for only a year-and-a-half? I bet I could do better.” That last sentence was the mistake I am now living up to. Except my challenge from him is to just write a post once in a while and not every day like he’d been doing. Oh, and I’m free to throw out trivia questions, too.

Ya know, sometimes it’s hard just to come up with one thing to write about, much less several month’s worth. And so far this post has just been background as to why I’m actually writing and not him. I guess I’d better get to typing something with some substance.
We just switched around on Daylight Savings Time again. This year was a little different, coming early as it did, but we still fool around with our clocks twice each year (except that I rarely get around to resetting the clock in my car, so it’s only good for half of the year).

The whole idea behind DST was to provide some kind of energy savings, or something. According to what I’ve read and what I’ve heard on NPR, nobody has actually proven that any energy has been saved. In fact, little things like moving the switcheroo up to last weekend this year have cost significant money to businesses and government offices that use computers so that the transition got made more-or-less smoothly. Add to that the issues faced by multi-national companies who have offices in places where they don’t use DST. Seems like a big hassle to me. Some have even suggested that we go on DST permanently. That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

Here’s what I think we should do. First, get rid of the whole DST thing altogether. Then, if we decide that maybe it would be a little nicer to have more daylight in the evening during part, or even all, of the year, then maybe we should just shift our work hours. Instead of showing up for work at 8:00 am (or 6:30 am for the Big Guy), we start showing up at 7:00 am (or 5:30 am, dude). It’s really the same thing we have now. The sun would be in the same position when we go to work on March 15th at 8:00 am DST as it would when we went to work at 7:00 am Standard Time. And I wouldn’t have to fool with changing my clocks around twice each year (just the alarm time on the clock in the bedroom).

But you know that someone would complain. I can hear it now. “How would we ever remember to change the batteries in our smoke detectors under that set-up?” Oh, I don’t know – maybe write it down on your calendar?

Been a pleasure,
Major Tom

Trivia Question for today: A certain Brit-pop rocker has at least two songs that mention me. What was the second one?

Friday, March 02, 2007

The Loneliest Number

Gosh. Have I ever been busy this week. Mostly with painting, and that's not going to slack up any time soon. I've also actually done some cycling stuff, including scorekeeping at the last of the KnoxieCross race series last Saturday, and a greenway ride with five other guys on Wednesday.

Today was mostly painting. My arms are a bit sore. So I'm taking the rest of the evening off and I'm headed to Preservation Pub to watch a band with several friends of mine in it.

But I remember promising something about trivia. Well, here's the thing. What with painting and the fact that my Step-Father-in-Law has been having a quintuple by-pass surgery today (and we've been on the phone a lot about that), I haven't really had much time to think of five questions. I did think of one, though. I'd hoped the first one would open the mental floodgates, but it hasn't (yet).

So here it is. You know the procedure by now, and if you don't, go check last Thursday's post for the rules et cetera links.

1 (and so lonely it is right now). What breed was Rin Tin Tin?

I really do hope to have more tomorrow. Really I do.

Thursday, March 01, 2007


Trivia tomorrow.

Wait for it, wait for it...