Stubble Fest!

Click on it for the better view — OMG STUBBLE FEST :) :) IMAG0052

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IMAG0050This. Is. Urbana.  So Michael Burns said he was playing one or two final gigs before he takes off for that Real Professor Type Job in Pennsylvania (boo hiss on our community for not creating a place for this guy to instigate growth and education *here*).   And gosh, this one was … on my way home.

Imagine the whole fun blast of a festival — but scaled down so that you didn’t have to make rules.   Everybody fit under the assorted tents when the deluge came. Dogs could have fun. Kids could run around. Bands could jam. Oh, and there was a bus.

I was more than a little sleep deprived, having spent the last three days doing a conference thing that had me spending more time on airplanes than convening, especially counting the sittign-on-the-runway time. Yes, our society/culture is on The Downswing; things just don’t run well. Given the choices of ways things could suck Friday, though, I’ll take getting stranded in Dallas. I wasn’t in the path of any tornadoes, and I *knew* I was stuck; if I had actually made the connection that air traffic control precluded, then I’d have ended up arriving in Chicago, not Champaign, and spending the night there.

The American Airlines folks first simply booked me for the plane *24 hours later* from Dallas and too-bad-so-sad about any accommodations, and it took a few phone calls and talking to one person after the other to get a $50 room at Super 8 (which, the reservation guy says I may get reimbursed if I make the right phone call to customer relations during business hours. The motel morning guy warmed my heart and acutely reminded me of my brother. When I came down for the 4:00 am shuttle, he nudged “Mr. Ulysses” from his snoozing spot on the chair and said he’d have to go outside to wait for that friend that was supposed to come at 3:00, since the morning shuttle folks were coming. He then gave us all the “inside scoop” about getting to the right gates, though he completely befuddled one man telling he he’d be going to “charlie 6″ — as in gate C6. It was kinda refreshing to be Back Amongst The Common People after that day of being wined and dined with the Big SHot Administrators at this “convening.”

But years from now, I’ll be able to say “Yea, STubble Fest?? I was there ;)

80 degrees :)

   I’m still hoping that the cooler days mean it will be a cooler summer, but today was quite warm — and there were more bicycles than cars rolling on the ride in. Now, when that’s true on University Ave, we’ll have something :) 

 

<RANT>

So I am trying desperately to convince myself to send WILL a few bucks again, like taxes… but it galls me when they’re babbling inanely through a pledge drive and every other comment has something to do with what I am doing in my car.   I know the stats — Champaign-Urbana is fifteenth in the NATION for people who bike to work, and then there are the folks who walk… and lots of WILL’s volunteers and staff are regular riders… .. but I guess if they *thought* about that, they’d have to think about how useless they’re recitation of the weather reports are to people who are going to actually go outside.  They generally can’t be bothered to inform me of the current temperature, even.   I honestly *did* have to get a reliable internet connection when they canned their meteorologists.   They’ll recite the percent chance of rain in the morning, when it would be just a teeny, tiny bit worth knowing whether it already came through at 4 a.m. and it’s still raining in Danville andpoints East (and when you brag to me  that you’re surrounded by technology, but you can’t look at a weather radar map or even at one of your online web cams , I just turn the radio off), or it’s pouring in Decatur and moving fairly quickly, as was the case this morning.  Tell me *my* weather, and I’ll think of WILL as “my” radio station … don’t tell me how much I like to listen to you in the driveway, in my car, which I don’t have.

</RANT>

Tailwind in,a nd I had time to dash into the bike coop and get some tri-flow for today’s “Earth Day Bike Repair” session…

An endorphin thing ;)

So I cross Bradley to get on the sidewalk for my unabashed “nonvehicular” exercise and oh, my!!! another user of the sidewalk!   Coming towards me from a hundred yards away is a guy on a chopper bike, fully focused on… the apartments to my right, pedaling madly… No, he’s not scanning… so I toot my air horn.   He grins madly, says “thank you!” I say “Good morning!” and he replies in kind riding by, and I realize that if my “full body smile” is anything like that, no wonder people crack up laughing ;)

It’s a joyful morning :-)

Law of Averages

Gary Cziko shared a video of a ‘drive out’ – where a driver just pulls out into an intersection as if you aren’t there – and speculated on why it happened.  (Hint:  even the best “lane control” doesn’t. actually. control. another. driver’s. behavior.)  I agree, seeing the video, that the driver simply didn’t see him.

I’d have liked to have had a video of my morning’s similar incident… I’m approaching where Main meets I think Goodwin and ends, but the bike route proceeds through between University b uildings.  A bus is stopping to discharge passengers, so I signal stopping to share my intent to wait… and the bus proceeds and then I’m going — and the car behind the bus simply accelerates along with it… and about the same time I’m hollering, “It’s a stop sign, lady!”  she’s covering her mouth with her hand as in “OOPS!” (which is probably why “lady!” is what came out of my mouth; had there been a cell phone there I’m pretty sure something stronger would have escaped… still workin’ on that…) — I only wish this had been one of those times when the police were watching that notorious intersection… and I *do* wish they’d do something about the visibility of the stop sign.

Then I’m waiting to cross Fourth Street, and like me, the guy coming the opposite direction is rather far out into the street because you have to do that to see anything… which inspires a driver to just stop outright with no stop sign.

Guess it all averages out, but a little better road design would help…

Did I say “enough already!”?

Snow is in the forecast today, too, tho’ not enough to get me on the bus. Still, my plan is to take teh studded tyres *off* the gazelle.   Fact is, with the nasty gouge in the back one, cardboard boot showing through, I don’t want to ride it anyway.

My latest accessory, thanks to John (I think that was his name!) and Michael at the Bike PRoject… at quarter to five I said “okay, help me start *thinking* about a rear mount for my big light.”   20 minutes later… we shall work on something sweeter than inner tubes for holding it on (the light comes with hefty magnets on the back) but it does need to be removable for battery changes.

And… I thought I’d seen it all, but heading out to Sunday’s concert, I noticed the pre-stop-sign rumble strips on Bradley were GONE — as well as the fourway stop!  It’s just two-way now. Don’t know if that was the plan (make ‘em all stop for a while)… oh, but the rumble strips on Staley really do still suck hind teat on a barren possum.

Delighted that the word "steampunk" was used to reference my ride :)

Delighted that the word “steampunk” was used to reference my ride :)

’nuff o’ that snow stuff

… I’m back riding in again, having taken the bus the past two days.  Yea, I rode on worse stuff in previous years but a:   I didn’t have a bus pass & that familiarity with the bus system, and b: each of those days came with a long-term forecast of even worse weather, and c: the Gazelle didn’t have a tire with a gouge so big you can see the cardboard boot all too clearly.   (I’m on the Dahon with its studded front tire.)

We lose our hour this weekend… so I’ll get to ride home in sunlight… and get up in the dark…