a quality of life issue

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off the grid

December 31, 2006

Home Power

Mark,  
just noticed this whilst waiting in line at the checkout,  
You may recognize the distinguished founder/owner of UBI on the cover. 
The story inside documents UBI's transition to solar power and Ron Sutphin's 
personal philosiphy in all of that. He is, without doubt, the man.  
Alistair.

Thanks Alistair. Ron is the man. You're the man too. He's not just off the grid, he's selling it back to the grid. Not just up to code but "so far beyond code" many people don't know what to make of it.

The United Bicycle Institute in Ashland, Oregon. ( UBI ) Check it out. Alistair did, so did Adam Smith, Justin Moe, Jen Glidewell, Justin Littell and Mark Pilderwasser.

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weimaraners

December 31, 2006

 

North Capitol Hill is a wealthy neighborhood in Seattle. A place where 2 million dollar homes are purchased and leveled so the new owners can build 5 million dollar homes. A place where gentrification takes on a new meaning. A place where life-long residents could never afford to purchase a home at the current prices, and the quaint little old bungalows are getting swallowed. A place where German dogs are purchased solely because they’ll look good in German SUVs. A place where kids drive nice cars and stopped riding bikes when they graduated from kindergarten. A place where adults drive nice cars and only ride bikes if they can put then in their cars and drive them to a “bike path”. Well this is where I used to live and this is where I spent the weekend. This morning I went into “the village” to buy some beer and return in time for the Seahawks game. I strapped an 18 pack on my CETMA rack and was riding home on Federal Avenue East, which is rather bumpy. The beer was rattling, clattering, clanking and making unusual noises. Noises perhaps never heard at 9:30am on a Sunday among the uber- mansions  It made me laugh. And the looks I got from the elite Seattle residents out walking their elite dogs made me laugh even more.

Happy New Year

 

 


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finale in the alley

December 30, 2006

 

 It's a race. A bike race.

1:00pm  12-31-06 at Mobius Cycle be there or Cory will kick your ass.

 


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at the fishin hole

December 28, 2006

taking a jaunt outside the city, helps to keep the city in perspective. I had to dig in the archives to find the last time I did this. (it was 10/5/6). Once again I was trying to serve papers on some guy on that island. Different case, different guy, same island. But like I said, a  boat ride across the sound is a nice break from riding on the sidewalk between 1201 and 1111. I have ridden my bike on those wheelchair ramps at 1201 about 2.7 Billion times. Seattle is a town. A small town . You see what I mean.


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once upon a time

December 28, 2006

There is no need to Re-visit, recreate, re-live the storm that surrounded the 1999 WTO meetings in Seattle except to tell you young kids what really went down that week. Usually when Hollywood puts out some crap years down the road, it's just to put a little more spin on their story, on what they want you to believe actually happened. But we were there on N30. We inhaled the tear gas, we watched the events unfold and picked up handfuls of rubber bullets the next morning. If you have any questions about it, this sappy love story WTO film will not answer them with the truth, but that's entertainment. And if you believe Hollywood is just for fun, watch some more TV.

That's a Jay Grisham photo on the cover of kickstand #10. 


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on your bike

December 27, 2006

Alistair sent me this, and I like it, I like it a lot.

"Bicycles let people move with greater speed without taking up significant
amounts of scarce space, energy, or time. They can spend fewer hours on each
mile and still travel more miles in a year. They can get the benefit of
technological breakthroughs without putting undue claims on the schedules,
energy, or space of others. They become masters of their own movements
without blocking those of their fellows. Their new tool creates only those
demands which it can also satisfy. Every increase in motorized speed creates
new demands on space and time. The use of the bicycle is self-limiting. It
allows people to create a new relationship between their life-space and
their life-time, between their territory and the pulse of their being,
without destroying their inherited balance. The advantages of modern
self-powered traffic are obvious, and ignored. That better traffic runs
faster is asserted, but never proved. Before they ask people to pay for it,
those who propose acceleration should try to display the evidence for their claim."
 
You can read more of this guy's writing here     

 


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sorry somehow

December 26, 2006

Now I guess it's your decision now you decide

Take me to the cleaners baby, take me for a ride

Who ever cares for your affairs will sort it out for you

Send me a subpoena baby tell me what to do

 
"Sorry Somehow"
Candy Apple Grey
     Husker Du   
 
I've said it a few times and I'll keep saying it...
If you can't say it with 80's song lyrics maybe you just can't say it all. 
If you need to send me a subpoena baby, do what you need to do.  
  

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I don't feel so good

December 26, 2006

But like Lane Kagay says, "It's all in your mind". He sent me this photo a couple weeks ago. It's spooky. It's disturbing. It's all in your mind. What can I say. You get out there on a bike and ride around all day and you're bound to see some things.

I've been hauling my camera around for a while now and haven't taken many photos at all, but I've been digging in the archives and getting shots like this emailed to me helps.  Do you copy that?

Nausea. Social awkwardness. Cognitive dissonance. Normal. Abnormal. Sober. Intoxicated.  It's all in your mind.  

 


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baby bear

December 26, 2006

 

This porridge is too hot. This porridge is too cold. But this porridge is just right. Yeah whatever. It's all in my mind. Should we talk about the weather? No. Let's talk about geography. This triptych is taken from Pier 70, looking east on Broad Street on three different days, different times. As more large law firms move out of "the core", last minute court filings start to take on new meaning. Everyone is 5 minutes away from everyone else downtown and Seattle is a small town. But as the core grows and spreads and morphs, Belltown and South Lake Union get more developed at least one Huge law firm I go to everyday will jump ship and jump on Paul Allen's boat and move North. That's all fine with me and maybe I won't still be a messenger when they try to call in a 'teener to King County from their new office. But I like to imagine it.

 

 

 


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is it raining?

December 23, 2006

They offer examples of how the heightened moments of life -- to be found in heroic action, the dignified exercise of power, passion, courageous death, the noble pursuit of pleasure -- should be lived, or, at least, should be seen to be lived.

-John Berger Ways of Seeing page 101

he's not talking about bike messengers, but let's pretend he is and that he's explaining to a pasty office worker why she finds messengers so attractive. You got it, that's right you got it  


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another bike

December 23, 2006

what the world needs now

is steel, lugged steel

it's the only thing

that there's just too little of

 

I got sucked into some kind of consumer holiday mode. Buying a few small gifts for family members inspires the buying of "gifts" for myself. Like that crazy old lugged steel time trial bike from yesteryear you see in the photo above. (don't adjust your screen those tube angles are crazy) Don't need it. But it sure would look good built up as a single speed with a yellow 26" deep V up front and a pink 700c in the back with a flatbar of course. Visualize me riding it on the sidewalk from 1501 to 1001 all day long with a few jaunts to the courthouse too.Visualize it locked to a bike rack in front of a coffee shop on a sunny day. I didn't buy it but I thought about it, a lot. Since I sold this bike I've had an empty feeling, an itch to scratch, a hole to fill, a hollow void. And buying another bike will help me with all that, but not today.

So for now I will think about new bikes and look at other people's like Brandon‘s  That is a sweet bike. versatile. travels well and looks good.

Traveling...

It's not too early to think about SF And when you think about it, think of driving down there Thursday night after work with me in your car or truck or van and my bike too. I don't smell bad and I have a pocket full of gas money and it's only 800 miles. I'm serious. I want a ride down there and a ride back too. My commitment and attachment to RAGBRAI as well as timing and financial constraints will prevent me from attending to the festivities in Dublin unless I win the lottery and I'm unemployed. Therefore I would really like to attend the party in SF. Keep me in mind. Or maybe we...

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neo retro

December 21, 2006

you gotta draw the line somewhere. I put my bid in before work because it's my size and I would proudly wear it in Iowa this summer but tack on shipping and I wouldn't pay that much for it. The auction ended this evening and I was only outbid by 50 cents. But like I said you gotta draw the line somewhere.


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Ways of Seeing

December 20, 2006

Don't change the things you look at

Change the way you look at things 

There's a little Art history in all of us. Thank you AVA Real Estate, Counterbalance Bicycles, KNR messengers, Monorail espresso, Professor Zirkle, Jimbo's Pizza, Miller Brewing Company, Molly Foster and the people of Spokane, Washington. Happy Holidays.


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Superior Court in and for the County of King

December 19, 2006

This is a scenario based on reality: Lawfirm A called in a filing to Courthouse B at 4:20pm. Newkidbadassfastguy picked the documents and made it to the courthouse in 4 minutes and filed those documents. However he took a Seattle District Court monetary filing and quick-filed it in the King County Superior Court drop box and stamped out all the return copies, showing-off the 4:29pm time stamp to his co-workers and bragging about how he got the call when he was across town oblivious to the fact that it was filed in the wrong court. For a few brief hours, the buzz on the street was “have you seen the new kid?” “have you seen the new guy?” “He’s fast!” “He’s a badass!” “He’s got skills!” “he made that filing in 4 minutes and he was in Queen Anne!”


Newkid has some skills. He can ride a bike. But getting from A to B is less than half the battle when he gets to point B and fucks it up. So he’s quick,if he’s dumb, he won’t make it too far. That 4 minute badass cross-town last minute court filing he fucked up will take 4 hours of experienced messenger work to correct, because he filed it in the wrong court. rookie. Numerous phone calls. Favors cashed in. Back tracking. Tracking back. mopping up. Bringing in the office staff, the dispatcher, the problem solvers, the crusty old messengers.

Do it right the first time and take 10 minutes if you need to or even 12. Save us all the hassle and shut up about your 4 minute court filing.  

And that’s all I have to say right now. Go get ‘em champ! Tear it up!

 


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chestnuts roasting

December 18, 2006

This is Dan today in front of the Four Seasons Hotel, just after I handed him a RUSH roundtrip King County filing. But roasted chestnuts are way more important than some bullshit legal documents. He had to buy a bag of chestnuts to get these women to pose for the photo. They seemed to be out there just to promote the chestnut sales. He ate one and tried to get me to eat one then he put the remainder of the bag in the judge's mailroom at the courthouse after he wrote "free chestnuts" on it. It stayed there for the rest of the day, untouched. You can Supersize the photo and send it to all your distant relatives, just like Dan is doing as we speak.

...Tonya, Tamika, Sharon, Karen, Tina, Stacy, Julie, Tracy...
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sixteen hours of daylight

December 18, 2006

As the shortest day of the year approaches, I'm wearing 2 T-shirts, 2 sweaters and a vest. But I'm thinking about summer and July 22, 2007 when I'll be sweating my beer out across Iowa. Chris Murray photo 2006.

RAGBRAI
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right turn Clyde

December 16, 2006

Set out on an adventure, looking for one thing but stumbled upon several others that turned out to be more interesting than the original objective. Like a spooky scary dream bike ride . Tripping hard with the monkey kids making a bike safety film, and listening to Ugly Casanova. 

am is are was were can could shall should may might must BE


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a pair of dry socks

December 15, 2006

Should we talk about the weather ? I'm not complaining but yesterday was rough, and will be recorded in the top ten "wouldn't want your job..." elevator comment days of all time. Perhaps you know what I'm talking about. But all you officetrons, you don‘t know . Riding in heavy rain and wind for nine hours, you will be wet, no matter what technology you're wearing. You may or may not be cold as well. But it won't take the full 9 hours to realize the weak points in your wardrobe choices that day.

Let's talk about something else, like large law firms with afternoon holiday parties featuring free flowing hard liquor for hard working messengers.

Have a nice day.

Is it raining out there?


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Time is on my side

December 13, 2006

i see
older lions
on the
street and
wonder if
they have
a wisdom
i lack.
--unknown author

Today was Olde-school day. I saw Andy Friday on the street. I saw Tonya at the flower shop. And I got a great email from Eric Bergland too. All this nostalgia inspired me to dig up some old photos from kickstands past and I’ll be scanning a few of them in and posting them soon. I found a picture of the old City Grind and believe it or not, Matt Case was not in it.

The meat of EB's email is reprinted below because he knows what's up and has known for years and it's worth sharing. You can contact EB at iamericb70@yahoo.com

Mister Pilder:

I worked as a messenger in Seattle from '89-'96, where I like to think
I served with distinction. Most people just called me EB. After the
inevitable burnout I made the switch to dispatch. I did that for a few
years before general self-destructiveness made me impossible to work
with.

I found your site a while back and have been meaning to write. I
thought I didn't know what to say and I guess I still don't, other
than to tell you that your site, and the pictures and ramblings
therein, have lit a fire that I thought was long dead. I've been
dreaming a lot about messengering. I mean a lot, like more than a few
times a week. I've started thinking seriously about a comeback. I'm
realizing that it's not out of my system, and I miss it terribly. I
miss Seattle and I miss the camaraderie. I miss carving perfect lines.
I miss splitting lanes. I miss using all the little tricks I learned
the hard way. I miss seeing weird random shit go down in the city. I
miss feeling like I'm part of something that most people don't get. I
miss bombing down those hills, and yes, climbing up them. I miss the
feeling of... [More]
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blood, sweat & beers

December 13, 2006

 

I love bike messengers!

I hate bike messengers!

I’ll take the good with the bad but I give both of these statements the same weight, and cannot take either one seriously. The first statement is often overheard at a party, spoken by a young woman who doesn’t really know any messengers but thinks they look cool, or wear colorful clothing or have nice legs. Seeing packs of messengers hanging out at a coffee shop. Or bored office workers seeing only the occasional messenger dart in and out of the elevator, they catch a whiff of “the smell of freedom” and smile.

The second statement is often spoken by bus drivers or cab drivers or building security guards, who don’t really know any messengers but see only the antagonistic responses they antagonize out of the messengers they come in contact with. Or another type of bored office worker that catches a whiff of that “smell of freedom” on the elevator and scowls.

An attorney that hands me a court filing at the last minute and says “thank you so much” because she wants me to get there in 5 minutes, will have no problem honking and yelling at me on the street 20 minutes later, when she’s trying to get back to Mercer Island and I’m white-lining next to her BMW on 5th Avenue. Love the service you provide. Hate the way you do it.

Love. Hate. Whatever. Some people love the essence, the spirit, the idea of messengerness.  These same qualities bring out the hate in other people. I’m saying both sides are uninformed. Many people have trouble with the big picture and can only focus on a little portion of it. The “smell of freedom” is a great concept, a philosophy, a way of life. But when you get up close and experience it, it doesn’t smell so great.


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Blue Heeler

December 11, 2006

 

When gas reaches $245 per gallon. When gas is no longer available at the pump. When gas is worth more than water. You’ll wish you'd bought that bicycle at that yard sale last summer. If you haven’t gathered this already, I don’t give a shit about gas prices. And if you want to tell me that even though I don’t drive a car, gas prices affect many things in my life, like the price of my FedEx deliveries or the price of my bananas at Safeway or the price of my ink cartridges at Office Depot. Yeah whatever. OK. Sounds good. So what. When gas goes sky high. All I need is a patch kit, some duct tape, a few zip ties and I’m good to go.

And on that same line I’d like to take a moment to think about the not-so-far off MadMax days. I am very partial to Australian Cattle dogs. They’re smart, very smart, painfully intelligent and intuitive, tough as nails and would make a worthy companion when the shit goes down.

But mostly I'd like to warn you that the flatbar tribe will dominate in the gas-free world. drop bars are functional, pista bars are trendy, riser bars are cute, moustache bars are stodgy, but flatbars kick ass. These various bars have their place in specialized competition or recreation but the flatbar does it all and will dominate when doing it all will need to be done.

 

 

 


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pit stop

December 10, 2006

When the price is an object. When you have to get something to eat or you won't make it through the day. When you ride a bike all day long. When you're looking at the happy hour menu half-price appetizers and trying to visualize which one is the biggest. You may not have realized it, but you've been unconsciously measuring Calories per Dollar (CPD). I like to think that I came up with this measure. Not the actual practice, because any cyclist who's a smart shopper does it all the time, but most people have not verbalized it this way. When it has been verbalized it was usually in reference to low-income parents making uninformed nutritional choices for their children. But I'd like to keep it upbeat (in other words, I'd like to continue to exist in my own little disconnected realm.)

Bike messengers use up a lot of calories, therefore they eat a lot of food. In this context "counting calories" takes on a new meaning and most of us don't have unlimited money to spend on food. I've spent a lot of time at the Spitfire during happy hour, and I know from experience how to rank the appetizers by their CPD. I also know that a common over-the-counter candy bar is a lot cheaper than all those wanker energy bars and does much the same thing.

RAGBRAI is another situation where CPD is important. Once again many calories are burned and therefore consumed while riding bikes.

I don't need to remind you that beer has a great CPD rating.

CPD is as important as MPG, MPH, PSI, RPM and TPI.


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on a steel horse I ride

December 9, 2006


Sometimes you tell the day by the bottle that you drink…Tuesday is a licking day. Clarissa told me that Wednesday is the new Thursday. Yesterday was my Friday.

If you need a new bag, Cory makes a fine product. I own three of his messenger bags and four of his top-tube pads. If you're interested you can find him downtown, on the streets. Seattle isn't that big and word travels fast. You'll find him, or someone who knows how to find him. How much beer does your Messenger bag hold? I can carry 36 cans of beer when I need to. A 12 pack is no problem. But after years wearing a one-shoulder bag my left shoulder is much higher than my right one.


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jonny sundt

December 8, 2006

Jonny is a pro racer. The one and only pro racer fully endorsed by pilderwasser. When I say endorsed, I don't mean some little sock deal, or logo, or sports drink little lame bullshit. I'm talking philosophy of life. I'm talking a handshake deal. A beer drinking discussion. No superficial little lame little lycra spandex stuff.

What do you get when you take a guy from Okanogan County that comes of age as a bike messenger in Seattle?

You get a badass bike rider that can scrap You get a racer that can ride through pain and kick some ass. A bike rider that has some wicked bike handling skills and the attitude to go with em. You want some of this? Look for Mr. Sundt in 2007. You won't see any pilderwasser logos on him when he's kicking ass on the road, Buy maybe when he's living large in the bar after the race.


The photo above, from the 2003 SF Grand Prix was borrowed from this web site
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scratch & sniff

December 8, 2006

Mirror check. Signal. Head check. Change lanes.

Remember Driver's Ed? What if people actually drove that way, the way they did when they passed their driving test. Traffic wouldn't be traffic if it was predictable, uniform, and consistent.

Mirror check, signal, slow, slow, slow, stop.  Ok then proceed to the point of the turn and wait for a safe opening.


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fa rah rah rah rah

December 6, 2006

You can almost smell this thing. The over-the-top holiday bouquets found at 1001.  Mary and Case have you met my friend Toni she’s really hot, especially this wonderful time of the year.


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proven technology

December 5, 2006

the cover story in last Sunday's New York Times Magazine was about cyberintelligence in DC and national security and spies. You can read the full article here But below I've pasted my favorite paragraph, which includes my favorite line, my favorite six words. The bottom line is send a messenger. Some scrub on a bike is more dependable than the technology used by the super supreme of all super powers. When the shit hits the fan call a messenger.

The computer systems were designed to be “air gapped.” The F.B.I. terminals were connected to one another — but not to the computers at any other agency, and vice versa. Messages written on the C.I.A.’s network (which they still quaintly called “cables”) were purely internal. To get a message to the F.B.I. required a special communication called a “telegraphic dissemination.” Each agency had databases to amass intelligence, but because of the air gap, other agencies could not easily search them. The divisions were partly because of turf battles and partly because of legal restrictions — but they were also technological. Mike Scheuer, an adviser to the C.I.A.’s bin Laden unit until 2004, told me he had been frustrated by the inability of the systems to interpenetrate. “About 80 percent of C.I.A.-F.B.I. difficulties came from the fact that we couldn’t communicate with one another,” he said. Scheuer told me he would often send a document electronically to the F.B.I., then call to make sure the agents got it. “And they’d say, ‘We can’t find it, can you fax it?’ And then we’d call, and they’d say, ‘Well, the system said it came in, but we still can’t find it — so could you courier it over?’ ”

The following is from Alistair, and is too big to post in the primitive comment box. Thank you Alistair.

EYES ONLY FOXTROT ROMEO

Matt Morello

The following letter was sent in August 1996, by the Army War College Department of Urban Warfare Research to Army Colonel Dick F....

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Random Patterns

December 4, 2006

This is a Jackson Pollock painting

 

This is the sidewalk outside 1501 4th Avenue, today around 10:30am. Supersize me

 

I'm a big fan of random events. I'm a really big fan of the patterns that occur when seemingly random events occur over and over and over. For example take a look at the chewing gum patterns that occur around bus stops, not just on the sidewalk but extending into the street. They're amazing. If you don't know what I'm talking about you probably don't live in a city. Chewing gum spit onto the street flattens out into a semi permanent glossy circle. Add a few hundred more wads of gum to what you thought was a random disgusting immature display and you've got yourself some art.

I am a Pollock fan. You don't have to be an art historian to pick out the horrendous fakes or junior high splatter paintings that attempt to copy Mr. Pollock's work, most of them are insulting. He had a gift, the ability to echo patterns found only in nature.

I think these birds outside of Century Square, given enough time could echo Pollock. Nature imitating art that imitates nature. 

12/6/6

this is how Alistair's post should look:

JACKSON POLLOCK WON’T FLY

James Kerns

When she turned to art metaphors
To describe her feelings
I beg
an studying the bottoms
Of kitchen drawers for patterns.
I didn't get it, but I worked hard.
At first she was understanding:
"Tell me what is the shape,
Color, and texture of your confusion?"
she asked.
"It's like a tunnel under water," I told her,
"Cold, gray, and streaked with spiny lights."
"I'm not reading you," she told me.
I wasn't surprised, but I stopped
Poking around the kitchen at night.
You can't miss what you haven't had
After all, anymore than you can get
Airsick without ever leaving the ground.
She told me the world looks a lot
Better inside the proper frame,
But I think art is something...

[More]
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Can't we all get along?

December 4, 2006

Cherry Pickin Gold Brickin Sand Bagger

Performance Pay and the Erosion of Worker Cooperation:
Field Experimental Evidence


Today Justin gave me a hard copy of the rough draft of this scholarly paper, dated January 5, 2005. The abstract can be found at that link above and I’m sure you can find the complete paper and all its findings on-line too.

Bike messengers make a good study group, displaying behaviors that are found in the general population, but it’s much more fun to get your university to fund a study that requires you to hang with messengers in SF and Zurich. It’s worthwhile reading and interesting. Taking a look at both commissioned and hourly messengers…We all know a few cherry pickers, sandbaggers, goldbrickers and total slacker shit bags. However we just don’t discuss them in the same terminology used in this paper. For example:

…the degree and selfishly rational behavior of its messengers can affect the efficiency of the firm because uncooperative behavior can lead to the misallocation of messenger resources over the geographic area serviced by the firm.


I could of have told you that in a fewer words, for less money. But don’t get me wrong, I encourage you to read the full study.

both Egoists and Altruists.

PS.

there's a little plug for pilderwasser in the Grinnell College Anthropology Department's Fall newsletter. I did go to school there and I was an Anthro major, however it still seems out of place, disconnected, A world away Hey Jimbo,where the hell is Grinnell?  All roads lead to Grinnell, Iowa. RAGBRAI is just around the corner.


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sequence of events, unfortunate

December 3, 2006

Sometimes running one red light will lead to a beautiful string of green lights. Sometimes waiting for the light to turn green will lead to an amazing streak of red lights. The timing on the lights changes depending on the hour. In the morning, bombing down Pike Street then under the convention center, Union is a nice clean ride all the way to 2nd. In the afternoon you’ll hit reds at every Avenue. Sometimes it makes no sense at all

Sometimes one little tweak of your bike leads to a long and painful maintenance session. At 7:15am on Friday I decided to take a little slack out of my rear brake cable because the pads are toast but I knew I could get a few more days out of them. Then I noticed the housing was too short. The piece of housing I put on weeks ago was hitting the cable hanger in the back and preventing the cantilevers from working properly. So I starting digging around for a new, longer piece of housing and all I could find was a big piece of white Campy housing. I would rather ride another bike to work than ride a bike with one scrap of white cable housing, so I dug deeper and found a scrap of black. The longer housing made the brake cable almost too short to use. But because I had no new cables sitting around, it would have to do. Then I noticed the pads really were toast, the chain tension was dangerously loose for a single speed, and my tire was in bad shape. I ended up messing with my bike for 45 minutes that morning before work.

This is a lesson I’ve learned before but it took that little session to remind myself. Don’t tweak your bike in the morning. I don’t mind bike repair and maintenance on my own bikes, as long as it’s not being done under pressure with the clock ticking. Unless that clock is the...

[More]
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A Little More Action

December 2, 2006

Did you get the memo regarding the new format that all memos should now follow? The email version of the memo went out first. Well, at the end of that memo there was a footnote about the meeting we're having this afternoon regarding new procedures to follow for scheduling a meeting as well as how to reserve a meeting room. The meeting next week will cover preparations for meetings and expectations on meeting participation. Wait hold on, let’s talk about how we should talk to each other. Discuss the discussion. Talk about talking. Mapping out endless contingencies, possibilities, scenarios, what-ifs, planning out the plan, working it over, talking it up.

I’ve got an idea: shut up and do something.

Office politics make me queasy. Office jobs make me sick. Tremendous amounts of energy wasted by people who like to hear themselves talk and manipulate their job descriptions into creating the need for more talking, more memos, more meetings, more bullshit, less action.

Bicycle messengers don't need to talk very much. I like that.

a little less conversation


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36 Points of Engagement

December 1, 2006

The White Industries freewheel

Zero run out, CNC'd machined cro-mo freewheel, sealed cartridge bearing, sealed externally, 36 points of engagement, three pawl mechanism. 1.37" x 24 tpi, accepts 1/8" or 3/32" chain. 16t, 17t, 18t, 19t, 20t, 21t, 22t, 23t. I'm not just making this stuff up. I rode one across Iowa. I ride one everyday in Seattle. They're expensive, but they're the best.

 


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December

November 29, 2006

Remember when cell phones were like bricks and they cost $850? Now they're slender and smooth like little skipping stones.  They only cost $25 and they include MP3, GPS, a 6 megapixel camera, video and everything else you can think of. Set phasers to stun.

Remember when you didn't have a cell phone? Remember when you made dinner plans with a friend and you actually showed up on time. Or you stopped at the store on the way home, selected a flavor of ice cream and rented a movie based on your own decision making skills with no phone-a-friend support. Or you went for a walk without any possible access to your email or voicemail or text messages.

I was on an an elevator  recently with a few people. It stopped on a floor, the doors opened and  a woman got on and said to another woman, "did you get my email?"

the other woman said nothing, didn't even look up, pulled out her blackberry, scrolled through a huge list of emails and then said "yes, I got your email, at 11:47" end of conversation. No content. No eye contact. No substance. What's the point? why did they even try to talk to each other? keep it e.

They had it all figured out on Star Trek.

 


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Casting Aspersions

November 29, 2006

Gee whiz Mister Glasshouse, you sure can throw stones, said Jimmy

shut up kid, Glasshouse replied.


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short shorts

November 28, 2006

Rolling down Denny this morning on the way to work it was 25 degrees. That’s cold for Seattle. And on a 35mph descent on a bicycle, that’s cold anywhere. I noticed traffic was a little sparse and the parking lots were empty but I had no idea how bad the surrounding areas were until I got to work and learned the courthouses were closed. Schools were closed. And lots of workers just couldn’t make it to work today. Even FedEx didn’t make some picks because of the “severe” weather. Snow hits hard around here. I mean it doesn’t snow very hard but it affects traffic and drivers and normal flow much more here than it does it most cities. I know all you Midwesterners are laughing because you’re used to real winter weather. But you saw Monday Night Football last night, it looked like the game was in Green Bay. It’s supposed to get even colder tonight. So we’ve got that to look forward to. When it gets back up into the 40s, I’ll be rockin the short shorts again. Exposed skin…remember.


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be in good cheer

November 27, 2006

lather rinse repeat. I posted this photo last year too. But the holidays keep coming around... this wonderful time of the year. Devlin took this shot in the lobby of 800 5th in December of 1998.

yeah you're weird, and you're weird too, but Mark is weirder than both of you combined, Mark is the weirdest guy I know.

An actual quote from an actual person last Friday.  I took it as a compliment. Weird can mean a lot of things.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=1nax6tkn6uk  This video cracks me up. Toni is hot.  I sing this song to myself on elevators a lot...this time of the year. Is that weird?


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squideo

November 25, 2006

 

here's a little video of Squid on Ellen

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXR14MKTH8M

 here the NY Times covers last weekend's cross race in PDX as if it's an alien world, check the photos and tell me if you know who's feet those are riding the Surly through the mud. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/25/sports/othersports/25outdoors.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

 

 

 


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what's the point

November 24, 2006

Sisyphean adj. involving endless but futile labor.

I’ve commented many times on the similarities between messenger work and ditch digging. Except when you dig a ditch you can look back at the end of the day and admire the progress you’ve made. I’m a big fan of tangible results. Show me. Let me see what I did. What’s the point? Why? Why did I do that? What does it mean? Why should I risk my life? Why am I working so hard? What’s it for? I don’t ask these questions too often in my messenger job because if I did I wouldn’t make it through the day. I have a tremendous amount of internal motivation that keeps me going most of the time. Let me assure you I don’t ride my bike because I give a shit about the attorneys I work for, or their cases or their clients or the vast majority of the legal documents I handle. There are some very good people I work with and for and I will go out of my way for them because I care…about them…not their boss or their law firm or the nasty divorce case they’re working on. I’ll invent some arbitrary goal or deadline or challenge for myself just because. Or I’ll ride faster to pick up an overnight job at the end of the day than I will to make a Noon deadline court filing. Arbitrarily embracing the arbitrariness of it all. Over the years, I have learned that my level of exhaustion at the end of the day is not an accurate measure of what I accomplished. However neither is the dispatch log or the billable jobs I've signed-off on. When I come up with scale for accomplishment I’ll share it with you.

Sisyphus comes to mind and came to mind last week when I saw a guy outside of 925, The IDX Tower, sweeping up. It was raining and windy with a constant 30mph wind and gusts up to...

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Detroit Lions

November 23, 2006

turn on the TV with the volume up a bit too high. Football. Tradition. You can sit down and stare at it or look in its general direction and avoid talking to your family. You don't give a shit about football or Joey Harrington or the Lions or the Cowboys, but it's like watching a camp fire. Tune out. That's tradition.

then just before you sit down for dinner, turn on the video camera and record the meal. When it's over. You can go over and gather around the TV again and replay the meal you just had 12 minutes earlier, relive it, rewind, review, remember. That's tradition.

Happy Thanksgiving

don't get me wrong. I like football. And it's good to see the old QB come back to town and kick a little ass. Kitna still bouncing around the NFL...a CWU grad. Jason Hanson went to Mead in Spokane and kicked ass at WSU. and Joey there's a Duck.


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experience

November 22, 2006

I can still drop it

when it needs to get done

otherwise

fuck it

let the kids have their fun

--Tyler Goldsmith at Shortys around 9pm 11-22-6

this is poetry. Taken out of context, out of conversation. But it's still poetry. Tyler has been around for years. Longer than I have. He's an experienced messenger. He knows what's up. He knows.


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promotional items

November 22, 2006

The Old Bag  http://oldbag.blogspot.com/ promotes my shirts better than I do. Thanks Old Bag. Thankyou. Thanks.


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bike ride to the moon

November 21, 2006

 

Artist

not concerned with mechanical issues. Pays no attention to brand names, logos, bike snobbery, or competition. She rides a bike to ride a bike. He rides a bike for the flowing flow of it all. She can ride all day and looks good doing it, stylish, attractive, relaxed and strong. He can hang with the pace line if he wants to but it bores him he invests more energy in his thoughts and the line his scarf takes in the breeze.

Gear head

knows the thread pitch on a French bottom bracket shell. Knows the thread count on a German tubular tire. Knows the torque specs on your brake rotor bolts. Enjoys adjusting Mafac brakes. He can’t ride a bike for shit and doesn’t pretend he can. Sometimes he rides a bike to the shop but would rather take the bus because his mind is clouded with technical information and he likes to read parts catalogs.

Athlete

this guy can ride all day. This guy can kick your ass up that hill and not break a sweat. This guy wins races. This guy cannot stand to be passed by anyone on the road and will reel you in if you ever get by him. But this guy can’t fix a flat tire or tell the difference between a seat tube and an inner tube. He doesn’t understand the artist or the snob and doesn’t care what the gear head has to say. Wanna race?

Snob

invests a great deal of time and energy in making sure his bar tape matches his brake pads. And his gloves must match his shoes. Must have Italian cable ends on his Masi. Must have French tires on his Bertin. The snob has lots of questions for the gear head. The snob can’t ride a bike for shit, however he claims to be quite skilled. In this general category you’ll find the spandexed out roadie who will only throw a leg over when he’s decked out...

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gardening gloves

November 21, 2006

 

 

Cycling gloves: $45

Motorcycle gloves: $25

Snowmobile gloves: $25

Batting gloves: $15

Golf glove: $10

Kayaking gloves: $25

Gardening gloves: $4

My hands are cold. I ride a bike. Does that mean I have to buy the $45 Pearl Izumi gloves? They’re nice, they’re made for cyclists. But those Easton batting gloves will work just as well and I can get two pairs of them for ten bucks on eBay. I do appreciate a well made cycling product, however I get more satisfaction from finding an inexpensive quality product designed for another purpose that works great on a bike. The ensemble that gets me through the day is a mish mash. A couple high quality cycling specific items supported by a cast of thrift store items. For example welding caps make great helmet liners, and you can buy one custom made for $6 on eBay. They come in all kinds of NASCAR/pro wrestling color schemes and really stand out in the crowds of cycling caps. Everyone has a Phonak hat, but who has a purple and blue flame covered welding cap? Everyone has a $225 neo-retro Merckx wool jersey, but who wears a Banana Republic striped merino wool sweater they got for 25 cents at a rummage sale? my hands are cold.


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115 psi

November 19, 2006

Visualize a crowded crosswalk. Pedestrians walking at different speeds, each absorbed in their own little world, each the center of the universe. You’re bombing down Columbia from 701 5th and you want to take a right turn onto 4th Avenue through that crosswalk of peds. Keeping in mind pavement conditions, a steady rain and your innate sense of your tires ability to grip the road you plan your line. Taking up all three lanes of Columbia because traffic is light you begin the graceful arcing slice of a right turn not even touching the brakes you aim for the apex and look to go wide on 4th. Your gap in the peds opens and looks to be consistent. You hold your line and a smile breaks across your face as your eyes widen and you laugh to yourself. Alls well until one of those peds drops her cell phone in the crosswalk, stops, pivots and goes back for it. There goes the perfect trajectory, the ultimate line, the sweetest slice, the gap disappears…Oh well you have to hit the brakes after all. It was going in your mind at least for one brief shining moment. (see Lane Kagay’s excellent analysis of an urban intersection www.cetmaracks.com )

Thought of the day: Tire liners may prevent flat tires, holding off punctures. However, the tire liner itself will eventually slice its way through your inner tube if left in place long enough. And that’s the price you pay.


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RAGBRAI team pilderwasser

November 18, 2006

Registration for RAGBRAI XXXV is now open and thanks to Mr. Christopher Murray, team pilderwasser is once again rolling. Chris is a logistics mastermind. Thank you Chris Murray.

New jumbo pilderwasser stickers are now available. Send money. I'll send you one. Of course all t-shirt orders will include a sticker.

Here you see a CETMA rack, sporting an 18 pack of my current favorite beer in cans as well as one of the jumbo stickers we talked about earlier. Utility Cycling and beer go together like chips and salsa. Actually I believe all forms of cycling go well with beer. Which brings me back to RAGBRAI the largest organized bike ride in the world, tens of thousands of people on bikes riding across Iowa in July and at least 9,000 are drinking beer.

register for RAGBRAI here:  www.ragbrai.org

buy a CETMA rack here: www.cetmaracks.com

think globally, drink locally. Tecate.


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legal advice

November 18, 2006

muscle cars

November 16, 2006

I'm not really into cars. But this GTO was parked outside of 1001 this morning, glistening in the sunlight. How can you not look at this car. The paintjob, the wheels, the tires, tinted windows, every little detail, on top of just being one of the truly classic muscle cars. this guy obviously put a lot of time and money into it. lots and lots of time, and I respect that.  You can get a full size image on the snap shot page. Like I said I'm not into cars but this car kicks ass. I'd drive this car across Montana at 110 mph and use up six tanks of gas.


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chubby bunny

November 16, 2006

what a difference a day makes. dry sunny clear. all the elevator chat was about how great it must be to ride a bike today after yesterday. Yeah. yeah. ok. yeah. And lots of chat about the record rainfall for November...and it's only the 16th.  So much chit chat about the weather and they all work in cubicles in large office buildings, they park their cars in large underground parking garages, and they never leave the recycled air world until it's time to go home.

this photo is the view from the 26th Floor of Century Square. DWT. Save it. and in 5 or 10 years refer back to it and you'll laugh at how empty belltown was back in 2006. Soon there will be lots and lots of high rise condos out there.


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the thunder and the rain...

November 15, 2006

 her hair reminds me of a warm safe place...

you know the rest. That's Foster at Hooverville on Saturday. I didn't take this picture, somebody got their hands on my camera. where do we go? where do we go now? where do we go?

 go here:  http://youtube.com/watch?v=bPfgg27MfcQ


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water resistant : water proof

November 15, 2006

today was one of those broken umbrella days. The streets were littered with destroyed, inverted, shredded umbrellas. Stong winds, heavy rains. I enjoy watching people cling to their umbrella, attempting to shield their hairstyles from the elements even though the umbrella is completely turned inside out and worthless in the wind. And those gigantic golf umbrellas are usually more sturdy and well made but  they act like parasails in weather like this.

wet socks.  trench foot. Nine hours in wet socks. I'm not complaining, not me, I'm just letting the record show my feet were wet today, all day, and it feels good to take those shoes and socks off.


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vicious cycle, vicious cyclist

November 14, 2006

Fight or Flight. Adrenaline is an amazing thing. Last Thursday night after a long day in the saddle at work and a few hours in the bar after work, I was riding home with a friend, content to just grind slowly up the hill towards home because I really had nothing left in the tank. And then a kid in a little Suzuki Samurai honks and yells out the window, “get out of the way!” my response was to mutter under my breath what the fuck are you honking at? There are two lanes asshole, go around, it’s 10pm on Olive Way, chill out. Suzuki kid goes around us and we joke about it, but I watch him and notice the traffic ahead and the potential red lights, and I get up out of the saddle and take off, sprinting like a maniac, riding like it really matters, riding with a purpose, riding with some energy, and I catch up to Suzuki kid and pound on his window and ask him a few questions. Looking back on it, it seems stupid. A waste of time. Dangerous…blah blah blah.

Today a van full of electricians honked at me and proceeded to actually make contact with my rear wheel. I’m a scrawny bike messenger but for a few minutes I was more than ready to take on that electrician and his two apprentices in the middle of Marion Street.

I really get pumped up when drivers honk and yell at me and even more so if they hit me on my bike. I’ve tried to come up with an equally offensive thing I could do to a driver while they’re just driving along doing nothing wrong, and I have a few ideas that we can discuss someday. My point is, that I cannot just ignore an asshole in a car doing some asshole thing or yelling some asshole comment to me when I really didn’t do anything wrong. Keep in mind I don’t always ride...

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love in an elevator

November 14, 2006

On the way to the courthouse with a bag full of King filings and research jobs, I made a drop at 1001. When I cleared that rush on 44 I got back on an elevator to head down to the lobby and the buttons for four floors were lit up in a pattern. I smiled and tried to remember what bikes were locked up outside to think of what messenger left me this gift. When I pressed the lobby button it lit up and created a perfectly symmetrical cross of illuminated elevator buttons. I was holding some deadlines but nothing outrageous. I considered my options and decided to ride it out, while I thought about who pressed these buttons and the deep meaning behind it all. It had to be a messenger or somebody‘s kid on bring your kid to work day, the elevator stopped on all four of those floors and nobody got on. As the doors closed on that last floor the elevator made a strange noise, then sort of dropped a bit and stopped, then it repeated that three more times and stopped. No movement. No open door button action. Nothing. I paused, looked at my Nextel, which of course gets no coverage in the cement tower built at the height of the Cold War, what civilians call the 1001 Fourth Avenue Plaza, what I call “ten-oh-one“. Then I hit the call button, got the front desk security phone and then got forwarded to the elevator service company dispatcher. She told me to remain calm and said help was on the way and I asked her to call my dispatcher and tell him the story. So I sat down and thought about how I had no food in my bag, but I had some water. I also was very thankful that I was not on a crowded elevator with a bunch of fat guys from the IT department at Riddell. However don’t we all have fantasies about getting stuck...

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precipitation

November 13, 2006

rain, rainfall, rainstorm, shower, sprinkle, drizzle, mist, downpour, deluge, cloudburst, cats and dogs, drencher, gully washer, thundershower.

Whatever. It's always a Nice day for a bike ride if you have enough plastic bags 


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Cog, rebel without a

November 12, 2006

Rob put on a good show yesterday, the second Rebel Without a Cog race. For fixed gear bikes only. And on an overcast Saturday afternoon, 21 hearty racers showed up and registered and huddled under the viaduct until the race started at 3pm. A couple hours later after miles and miles of riding in rain, hail, lightning, and thunder the race ended a few blocks from where it started, at Hooverville. Of course I did not race. I witnessed the start and finish and drank beer in between. See a few snap shots in the snap shot page. And I bet you can find a site or post and read about the grueling checkpoint spread from a racer that actually rode it.

Pilderwasser email has been corrupted and overwhelmed by spam scam impersonating scamming spammers. So I shut it down. If you have something to say, send me a message, in a bottle, and then I'll send you my real email address.


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100% Merino Wool

November 11, 2006

If you manufacture bikes, bike parts, bike accessories or anything bike, the best way to test the durability of your product is to give it to a bike messenger and let them ride it in the winter time. No one on earth can destroy bike parts like a working messenger in winter weather. Brake pads melt in a few short days, chains are used up, rims don't last long, tires, tires, tires. Every part on the bike is beat much harder in rain, snow and wet conditions. The stop and go, race to the next pick, short sprint work day of a messenger is, in my opinion much harder on a bike than any race could be, aside from cyclocross, but a cross race lasts a few hours, a messenger rides 5 days a week.  Commuting in the rain is hard on your bike, but once again most commutes last a couple hours at the most. Riding, even racing a bike in a long straight line for 4 hours isn't very hard on the equipment. It's like comparing highway miles to city miles. But in this case city miles are harsh little sprints up and down hills, almost riding like a taxi driver drives. Hard on the equipment.  (But I'd like to think messengers are smoother than cab drivers.)

I'm not joking, give me your product, let me ride it. Let me ride it into the ground and I'll write a review for you to publish if you like what you hear, if you don't like it, I'll publish it here. Why should some wanker from Bicycling who calls himself a journalist get his hands on all the product. He just takes it out for a nice dry spin around the block then writes a happy little paragraph about the wonderful performance of the new technology. Because that's his job, that's what he's paid to do and that's where his money comes from. that cheesy magazine is brought to you by those bike companies and their money. I'm...

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roman numerals

November 11, 2006

Sitting inside on a rainy November Saturday, my thoughts are off in July. If time and money were not issues, like if I had no job and had a lot of money, I would do everything and anything. CMWC XV in Dublin sure looks like a good place to be next summer. But of course I know RAGBRAI XXXV is a great place to be in July.  Both? maybe, but I need a corporate sponsor and a note from a doctor to give my boss, and some S & S couplings would help too.


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know knew no new spew

November 10, 2006

I just needed a little push, and then I started rolling down the hill. And now I'm rolling and I think I figured this thing out. what will they think of next? Lets party like it's 2005.


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