Constant updates (2)

4 AM, I just got a taxi to the airport, Quick Cab, the only one that was OK with my large box. I have to give a shout out to Veterans Cab, though- they called all over to find this place, and it’s not the first time they’ve helped me out with an unconventional situation. It’s still before Southwest has somebody here to accept bags to check, so I’m just standing around with a boarding pass and my boxes.

Feel a bit Nervous!

It’s Sunday, and tomorrow at 6 AM my plane leaves for Seattle. My bike is packed into a cardboard box, my gear is laid out for the final check, and I don’t need to get into a taxi for almost 12 hours. Although I think I’m reasonably prepared, I have some last minute jitters!

I guess it’s normal to feel like this before doing something for the first time. I have a flight up, and no return flight or hotel, just a friend who’s letting me sleep on his floor the first night. There will be no turning back or backing out. My main worry at this point is that the airline will damage my bike. I packed the box as well as I could, with internal bracing and extra cardboard to brace and protect delicate parts, but I know that Southwest will have me sign a paper releasing them from responsibility for breaking it.

After I get my bike re-assembled, inspected, and loaded, I need to take the ferry to Bremerton where there’s a three mile spur from the Adventure Cycling route. From there I’ll be aiming to get to someplace south of Bremerton where I can camp for the night.

Check your gear.

Today I went for my final training ride with nearly all of my gear packed on the bike. I think that the only things missing were my towel, camp stove, and plastic sheets for under the tent and over the bike. I would have left for an overnight trip earlier, but not all of my gear was ready.

Another thing that I am testing is my ability to post to my WordPress blog from my iPhone. I may find Internet cafes while I am on the road, but it is far more likely that I will just use my phone.

It’s good that I did a dry run- I apparently need to install an app before I can upload pictures!

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And there it is- my mostly loaded bike, posted from my phone.

Go Ride a Bike!

One of the motivations for starting this blog was to give me a site that I could easily send people to without the unstructured mess of the blog I’ve been maintaining since 2003. I want Totally Should to be a place where I can talk about projects and adventures that are worth sharing with strangers. The first major adventure, one of the things that gave me an idea to start a new blog, is a long coastal bike trip.

In June I was laid off, and since I found myself able to significantly reduce my bills by moving in with a friend, I found that I was able to spend some time traveling. I’m still looking for work, but not as frantically as the last two times I was laid off. I am thankful for my friend’s willingness to rent me a room, and I feel lucky that my financial situation allows this break.

One July 16, 2012 I’m flying to Seattle with my bike to ride down the coast, hopefully all the way to San Diego. I’ve been reading Crazyguyonabike, trying to make sure I’m prepared, and I bought maps from Adventure Cycling. My parents are letting me borrow a small tent, and I am building a rack to hang Kingsford plastic bins off the side of my bike, like this Instructable, except with more welding and less wood. This will be my first major bike tour, and I’m both excited and nervous. I will be trying to post updates on this page, and brief tags to Facebook to let folks know that I’m alive and roughly where I am. Follow along, and I’ll take you with me!

Sample Freegan Cuisine!

I was recently out to brunch, and as I sat with my friend and coffee waiting for food I noticed that a nearby table had paid and left, but did not even touch a plate of delicious berries. I knew that the berries would most likely be dumped unceremoniously in the trash, and so I had to act quickly.

Looking around to see if anybody would notice, I got up and grabbed that plate, and brought it back to our table. My date was mortified at first, in less than five minutes she polished off half the plate.

This happens all the time. People are starving all over the world, and we’re throwing delicious healthy food into the trash. If it doesn’t look sketchy, you totally should help yourself! Just make sure that they’re really done with it.

 

Express Yourself

This post is a topic that’s difficult for me to talk about on the internet. It’s difficult, period. This April I went to the Alameda county courthouse with the woman I loved, and we filed a dissolution of marriage.

I’m not ready to describe to the world at large what my last year has been like, what it was like in the time leading up to that day in April. Suffice it to say that in the last year I have gone through a wide range of emotions, and have learned a lot about myself. I went to therapy, wrote in journals, spent many hours and some late nights on the phone with friends, and I started to create new patterns in life. I did these things to try to process what happened, to find some relief, and to begin to move on.

Most of my friends and acquaintances on the internet have seen what I’ve chosen to show- silly quirky posts on Facebook and Instagram, sharing links and thoughts that I think are fun and funny, pictures of a crazy beard that I’ve grown just for the hell of it, a new set of hipster glasses. I’ve been trying to *be* fun and happy and nutty, just faking it until I make it. It’s not the full truth. I didn’t post about how bad I felt.

Maybe the front I’m putting up is really transparent, and everyone has been watching my pain. Maybe the mask is too good, and people at a distance can’t understand why I’m not feeling worse. I haven’t been honestly expressing myself, especially not in crowds or on the internet. As a few of my close friends and family know, I have had many dark days. I’m not posting it on Facebook, but I felt it. Although I spent a long time where I was down more often than up, and nothing seemed like it would ever be OK, I had (and continue to have) amazing support from a few close friends and my family. If that’s you, thank you.

I’m on a journey, and one thing I’m working on is self expression. I’m trying to speak up in the moment and say what’s on my mind. As I get in touch with how I really feel, I’m starting to rediscover the satisfaction of creating art. This week I wanted to create a small but honest glimpse of an emotion I’ve felt, and so I created a photo to do it. Maybe somebody else can identify with what I’m showing here, and maybe if that’s you then you’ll feel a little better knowing that you’re not the only person who’s felt like that. I know that sometimes I feel better when I can identify myself in what somebody else is expressing.

Before I link to the photo, I will say that as of today I am feeling some optimism for the future. It’s not all so dark, and most of the time now I have a light heart and a good attitude. I don’t have a concrete plan for my future in the long term, but I do have plans for the next few months, and creative expression is on the agenda. Things are looking up.

This is a first draft.

After I helped her move out and I began living alone, and after it became clear that we weren’t going to work it out, I looked over at the half of the king sized frame where her side used to be. That gap was the saddest damn thing. It still is. I’d lay there in bed at night and reach out for her, and my arm would stick out into empty space, and flop down against the edge of the mattress box.

It took me a while to see that this could be the subject of a photo, and to figure out that maybe I’d better do it. “Totally should”, right?

Although this is a visual image, I have always felt more moved by music than anything else. Hearing certain songs at the right time (or the wrong time) can make me sing and dance, or cry like a baby. This is mostly true when I’m alone, and I have a hard time sharing it with others. I don’t know why.I wish that I could write music to express these things. When I played, that was a way that I felt safe sharing, expressing- even flaunting any given emotion one-on-one or in a crowd. It was totally cool to go into a fit of rage, or be sad, or manic, or lustful, and to radiate the sound of it to a hundred people at once.

Unfortunately,  I haven’t practiced in about eight years, and a drum set was never a great instrument for this kind of story. I haven’t done the kind of electronic music that would *maybe* have the required range of expression in ten or eleven years, and right now it is too frustrating to try to pick it up again just to try to make my ideas reality. It takes too long, the feelings are too strong.

I am thankful that I traded my drums for something else, and didn’t lose the ability to create. As I continue on this journey, I’ll keep making things.

Addendum- I am done with this idea. There will not be another draft.

Post a Silly Long-Shot Craigslist Ad

I thought to myself, “You know what would be fun? Tutoring some kids on track to be engineers, but only if their parents are cool enough to wink at the whole thing and have some fun with it.”

The cool thing about Craigslist is that you can throw something at the wall to see if it sticks, cast a line to see if anybody bites. Sometimes it works out beyond your expectations- other times there are no responses whatsoever, or it gets flagged for removal.

Here’s my latest: