Sunday, January 30, 2005

Forget Norway!

Just a quick post.

Made it to Norway for a week of snowboarding in Geilo (YAY-low). Really cool here! Not a terrible amount of snow, but enough.

It's a new place for me and I'm reminded again about how much I'm enjoying the expansion of my cultural horizons.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

I'm all twisted up in the game-Click me! I'm a link!

So clicking the title above will take you to a Dirt Rag thread that someone started. It's got some links to some really cool sites made by other riders.

I've been looking at a few of them, and it occured to me that my own blog really isn't all that worthwhile compared to the cool factor that I see on others. I particularly like the Singlespeed Dream guy who lives in Boulder and takes a picture every day. That's pretty inspired stuff. At the same time it sort of points out to me that I haven't done too much that's inspirational lately. I don't mean inspirational to other people, just to myself. I don't even have a job that could at least make me feel that I'm contributing something. Ok, so I haven't minded not having a job really...Most of the time I feel more alive now than when I was working.

Oh well, it gives me a place to rant.


It's my last night in New Hampshire. We had a foot of snow fall overnight, so I was able to get in a powder day on the slopes today. It's going to be hard to leave. I always have such a good time when I'm here with my sister. It's a very relaxing place here. Overwhelmingly picturesque, and quintessential New England. Every road you drive looks like it's just leapt out of a Norman Rockwell painting. The people are nice, and they know how to enjoy the simple things in life.

The only good thing about leaving is that in two days I'm due on a plane back to the UK.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Throw the cool points out the window

Yesterday I was reminded why I sometimes hate people. I was also reminded about how easily people are led, and quick to join in on something that they think will make them look cool. This time, it was shrouded in negativity though, and I got myself caught up in it trying to be a voice of reason, and point out that someone was being an ass.

I know I shouldn't get myself into these things. In the end it doesn't really do me any good to get so worked up. I just think that too many people are willing to stand by and not speak up when they see someone behaving badly. I know it's just the internet. And I'm probably guilty of hiding behind the keyboard just like people who make shithead comments. Who knows if I'd be as willing to speak my mind in 'real life'.


Got to see some sheep in a film tonight. Made me smile. I thought of Piers and his soon-to-arrive lambs.

Finally got back on the snowboard yesterday. Had some good runs, then the wind started blowing a little too much for comfort. It was the beginning of yet another Canadian Clipper that dropped the temperature to -4F when I woke up this morning. More snow is on the way, though! Hopefully I'll have one more day on the board before making my now overdue trip back to the folks' house.

Had a long conversation on the phone the other day with the Trek people. I'm very optimistic about the job at this point, without counting my chickens too soon.

5 days until my attempt to break back into the country.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

If only we could have understood sooner.

I've been spending a lot of time with my niece and nephew since I've been here with my sister. My niece is about to turn 15, and my nephew is 12. There are a lot of things that make it cool to be around them at this age. They are interactive, bright, funny kids. I see a lot in them that is unique, and a lot of other things that are typical to kids in their respective age groups. My nephew loves video games. My niece is into a particular kind of make-up, and is discovering boys.

I feel a pretty strong responsibility to these kids to be a positive presence in their lives. I think that my relationship with them puts me in a position to teach them things that might otherwise be annoying coming from a parent. I know that I'm definitely not like my aunt's were with me when I was growing up. My niece and I like a lot of the same bands, and the same witty t-shirts, and cool Vans shoes. My nephew and I share a love of South Park, Lego's, and a yeti doll named 'Fluffy'.

More than anything though, I want them to learn from me. I don't know exactly when I realized that most of the things adults told me when I was a kid were true. All those ways to handle difficult situations, all those ways to socialize with people, all those ways I could have avoided the pressures of being a teenager. In other words, 'if I only knew then what I know now' stuff. I'm having such a hard time with this one, though. I keep asking myself how I can phrase things so that they sink in...really sink in.

My niece is the one that makes me think hardest. She's in her first year of high school, and because she was smart enough she got a scholarship to a private school here. This took her away from her friends who served as her social security blanket. She's having a hard time making the adjustment to her new school, since all of her friends go to the public school. She doesn't think any boys like her because she's a 'freak'. She's a cheerleader. She's tall, and she's gorgeous. She has so many outstanding qualities about her, but because the boys haven't given her the right kind of attention, she thinks there's something wrong with her. She's just like I was. Very secure in a lot of ways, and a complete mess in others. I desperately want to get through to her that she just needs to think differently about some things. I don't want her to carry the same self-esteem issues that I still battle all the time. I want to make it easier for her. I just haven't quite figured out how to get the message across without seeming like I'm just another adult trying to tell her all the things she doesn't want to hear.

The process is very frustrating because I want them to understand. I've found myself thinking of friends who have kids and wondering how they do this. I think it takes an outstanding amount of courage and patience to be a parent.

I wish I could have listened more to people who were trying to navigate the tough times with me when I was younger. I know that there are some things you have to find out for yourself, but I also know that having someone to offer support and guidance goes a long way. I want to be that type of person to my nieces and nephews.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Arctic Blast

Frigid temperatures here, after a night of almost 60F a few days ago. More snow fell last night and brought with it a cold front from Canadia, eh. The windchill has it down to 0F. I WILL go snowboarding tomorrow! It's going to hurt...

Friday, January 14, 2005

Other people's memories

Did you ever look at pictures of people that were taken before you met them and wish that you could have known them longer? I have. Maybe it's a negative side effect of the digital revolution, or maybe it's just me. I feel like I'm playing catch up in the friends department. I didn't form any lasting friendships until recently, say the last 7 years or so. People I thought I would always stay in touch with have faded into the landscape. When I went to my 10 year high school reunion I was optimistic that I would reform some friendships that had gone by the wayside as life took us in different directions. I did with a few people, but it turned out to be a flash in the pan and again, the going of separate ways has put us out of touch.

This year marks the 10th year since I graduated from college. The circumstances surrounding my now failed engagement while I was there meant that I missed out on the years when you are supposed to meet people with whom you will form the tightest bonds of friendship for years to come. So I don't have any friends from college, either.

I do have really great friends now. They are mostly people I've met recently, and hearing stories of things they did and seeing the pictures from before I knew them makes me green with envy. It seems like everyone else has people that they have known for years and years, and I don't. All of it leaves me feeling slightly displaced, like I'm a bystander who is watching things from the outside even though I sometimes participate. This is also part of the reason why it's hard for me to be home. I have family here, but I have very few friends in New Jersey, and none of them are close enough to see when I'm there. Ok, so they are close enough distance-wise, but not relationship-wise.

I guess I'm tired of the changes that take me away from people that I really value as friends. It seems like every time I meet a quality person/group of people, something happens that removes me from the sphere of activity with them.


On a completely unrelated topic, the 'people who occupy the White House' were interviewed tonight. I'm sure that the list of potential questions was screened ahead of time, and I'm sure that 'The President' was briefed on how to respond. I wish you could have seen it. I am just amazed that people in this country can actually look at this guy and think he's either smart, or genuine. It all makes me want to curse. After it was over I immediately ordered a couple of t-shirts. One says "You've been brainwashed" and the other "Bush is not my president". I will proudly wear both of them when I'm traveling in the red states.

I can't possibly stress how strong my desire is to ex-patriate.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

There's no such thing as global warming

The weather here in New England doesn't know what to do with itself.

On Saturday, 6 inches of snow fell. Yeah, I was all over the freshies on the snowboard. Yesterday, more snow started but by bedtime it was sleeting. Today, it got progressively warmer and now, at midnight, it's chucking it down with rain. Tomorrow, it's supposed to snow again. All of this is making it very hard to enjoy the slopes. This is why they say that if you learn to ski/board in the Northeast, you can ride anywhere. I can see now why people are snobs for Colorado snow which is consistenly light and fluffy.

I hit a local newsagent here today, which is in the mall (that's 'maul' for those of you over there, not 'mal' as in mallet) ;~)
It's a good one, even carries Singletrack albeit an issue behind. The editorial pic is the one of Chipps wearing my niece's pink foam pillow on his head. She and my sister were very excited to see that the pillow is now famous. Today, I picked up a copy of Bitch. Hate the title, but like some of what the mag has to say. They call it the "feminist response to pop culture".

You'll be happy to know that there are ad's for Mooncup's and the like in it.

I've been looking for titles to add to Dr. Jon's collection of weird magazines. When I was there last he was proudly displaying his copy of New Zealand Pig Hunter. I actually found a copy of Boar Hunter which I guess is the 'Merican version. Rather than give him another likeminded mag, I'm leaning towards "Rubber Stamp Madness", for those rubber stamp enthusiasts out there. I bet they have a forum and everything.

Oh, iTunes just popped up what I call SteveM's theme song right now: Journey to the End of the Earth by AiM. If personalities had a song, that would be Steve's.

Maybe I'll add that to my list of theories. Every personality has an appropriate song. It might be harder to apply the scientific method to that one than to the "every meal has a perfect bite", or "every ride has a perfect bit of trail' theories.

At least you get an AiM song, Steve. I could have just as easily been inspired by some Chumbawumba.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Music to my ears

Today, I felt a great sense of satisfaction. There was something that I wanted, but had little information about the object, or how to get it. I hunted. I searched. I queried. I went forth and fought the hard fight...that's right, I used the internet.

I was watching a movie today that had a trailer for Vanity Fair. The most noteworthy thing about the trailer wasn't Reece Witherspoon pulling off a halfway decent British accent. Nor was it the subject of the movie. No, it was a track played during the trailer. I've heard this piece before in other movies, but had no idea who it was by or what it was called. It isn't on the movie soundtrack, so that was a dead end. Finally, I happened on some forum (the places to find the answers to EVERYTHING) and low and behold, there was my answer. Nara, by E.S. Posthumus. A quick search on iTunes revealed the album, and a couple of clicks later there it was, in my library. It's such an amazing piece of music. Click the link above (that says Music to my ears) to hear a bad 2 minute sample, or if you have iTunes go find it there. Riveting!

Here's a special shout out to mah homies Jenn and Jo kickin' it in da BES (Brighton, East Sussex). Quite possibly the only two people who read my rants.

Long live Mint Sauce/Ride Kona Bikes ;~)

No word from Trek yet. And come the 26th, I'm going to just gate crash immigration at the airport.

Monday, January 10, 2005

No joy in Mudville...

Had my meeting at the British consulate today. I was hoping to walk out of there with a visa. That didn't happen. It doesn't look good, at this point. Very sad day, overall.

I've been thinking about that saying "the grass is always greener". Well, in England the grass is pretty much always green. I think it would be easy enough to say how cool it is and 'wow, I want to live there' after the right week of exposure. That happens almost everywhere I go for vacation. This is different, though. I spent the better part of a year in the UK, and can say with some degree of authority that for me, it really is better there. Now I'm faced with the possibility that I won't be allowed back in, when all I really want to do is spend time with my friends and ride bikes.

There were some people in front of me at the consulate today who were there get their work visa's so they could transfer over. I was totally envious. I have a friend who was working in the Bloomberg office in London and she just came back to the New York office. I catch myself thinking she's crazy. She'd been there for I think 3 years. I guess she was ready to come home. When I was still working, I was trying to convince her to come back, since I couldn't imagine why she'd wanted to stay that long. Funny how perspective's change and, in this case, become complete opposites.

I truly miss it over there. What doesn't help is the idea that if I get this Trek job, I'll be in Chicago 4 times. I absolutely hate Chicago.

And love is up in the I rate this day a 1/10. I'm almost excited to go to bed so I can wake up and have it behind me.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Opportunity knocks, and another door seems to close

Today, I had a conversation about a job opportunity that I'd probably be a fool to turn down. Me, a pro mountain bike racer, a truck and trailer, and a fleet of 20 bikes on a summer-long road trip around the US.

Seems like a no brainer, but there are other considerations to think of. Or so I seems that the 'other consideration' is a little bit one sided. Very sad, really. I guess this is just one of those harsh examples of how sometimes you have to force yourself to do something that you know is good, even though it might take you far away from the one you love.

Oh, and if I do this it means that I'd have to be in Seattle instead of State College where the Singlespeed Worlds are being held. I'm not really sure I want to miss that.