Archive for March, 2010

Like an Old Blanket

Well, the past couple of days have provided a great opportunity to actually get OUTSIDE and ride. So I’ve taken advantage of this warmer weather to commute to and from work like I normally would be doing this time of year. Driving to work this winter has been making me crazy. I realized I hadn’t ridden to work since around late November of last year (although I’ve been riding indoors on my rollers). This was in part due to my little altercation with a car which kinda messed up my hand for about six weeks. And then it got cold (and I turned extra wimpy) and then all the snow came. Needless to say, one week led to another and I ended up missing a significant amount of road time (that’s sad).

Sometime last year I decided I wanted a smaller commuter bag. I had been using my mammoth Ortlieb messenger backpack. And because it was so large, I wasn’t always careful with what I packed around, meaning I’d just throw whatever in there I could fit (MacBook Pro, work papers, entire change of clothing for work, lunch, extra bike clothes, the kitchen sink, whatever) and nearly 30 lbs later I’d be hauling all that around VA, DC, and MD. So I figured I’d downsize and economize on what I carried around. (Believe me, I’ve tried this before.)  So I purchased a Timbuk2 commuter backpack and tried that a few times. It seemed to do okay and it didn’t even get too scuffed up when I laid down (is that right, laid down?) my bike in November.

However, when I recently started commuting again, I noticed the Timbuk2 was actually pretty small. I tried jamming in all the usual things but I couldn’t fit in everything. I forgot some stuff the first day and had to leave some things at work because they wouldn’t fit. So I pulled down out of the attic my trusty Ortlieb messenger bag, put it on this morning, and it felt like wrapping myself in an old blanket.

I realized I’ve been using this bag for about 10 years (sans the times I’d think I’d find something better).  We’ve actually been through a lot together: Cold, heat (with lots of sweat), and unexpected torrential downpours (keeping everything completely dry inside). The bag is nearly bombproof. About seven years ago, while riding to work, I slipped on some ice and my bike whipped out from underneath me. I hit the ground hard, got tossed over, and then I spun around on my Ortlieb like a turtle spinning on its back (and nothing happened to the bag!).

As goofy as it looks, and as goofy as I look wearing it, I’ll keep the Ortlieb (again) until it finally wears out and then I’ll probably replace it with a more current version. I hope I can return the Timbuk2, or sell it on eBay.


Bought Some Art

So I just purchased my first couple of pieces of bona-fide, real art. I guess I’ve purchased signed photos from artists before, but this is original oil on canvas stuff. Two toy robots. (Haters keep to yourselves.) Robots are pretty cool in my book.* Oddly enough I’ll occasionally look for robot art but I rarely do anything but look. This time I decided to pull the trigger. Now I have some actual art.  (Oh, I have some original poster art all the way from my hometown in California, but I’m not sure that counts…but it’s nonetheless matted and framed.)

I ran across the artist doing a Google search for “robot oil paintings.” (I know, who would’ve thought?) The artist is Linda Apple from Ohio and her work can be found here. She was pretty cool to work with as one of the pieces was up for auction on eBay and she pulled it and allowed me to purchase both of her robot pieces at a two-fer price.

My plan is to use these two pieces in conjunction with another piece of artwork I’m looking for. Stay tuned for the details (I know you won’t be able to sleep at night). Just one of many ongoing projects…like my always half-done kitchen.

* Note: I re-embraced my inner-geek many years ago as an adult.  I pretty much grew up a geeky kid but then squelched that inclination during my latter young adult and college years when I figured I was supposed to be cool.  Later as a more secure adult I determined I could easily blend the cool with the geek into a hybrid super cool geek.  Obviously it’s working.