No Cyclist Can Truly Feel Safe

“I delve into the mysterious and counterintuitive world of helmets and high-visibility gear later in the book. But it’s worth immediately noting this: while they’re not inherently bad, they’re less a safety device for cycling than a symptom of a road network where no cyclist can truly feel safe.”
― Peter Walker, How Cycling Can Save the World

Sculpture by Paul Perret, 1984,
Helmet by me,
French Market, New Orleans

Sculpture by Paul Perret, 1984,
Helmet by me,
French Market, New Orleans

What I learned this week, August 24, 2011

The 21 Absolute Worst Things in the World

An Unexpected Ass Kicking

— read this story… it’s amazing – and here’s a sequel, sort of –

7 Things I Learned From My Encounter With Russell Kirsch

A Big Week for Bicycling in Fort Worth

This Texas city is leaving its big brother Dallas in the dust when it comes to bike-friendliness. Just this week, the feds awarded Fort Worth with $1 million for a 30-station bike-share system, which is slated to be up and running next April.

And just yesterday, Fort Worth installed the Dallas region’s first green bike lane

The most amazing quotes and graphics. I would buy all of these if I had the cash – they are so… perfect.

Blog – You Are What You Underline

Etsy Store – Buy them here

Nobody writes short stories like Alice Munro.

A new one… Amundsen, from The New Yorker.

Read it here

Then there was silence, the air like ice. Brittle-looking birch trees with black marks on their white bark, and some small, untidy evergreens, rolled up like sleepy bears. The frozen lake not level but mounded along the shore, as if the waves had turned to ice in the act of falling. And the building, with its deliberate rows of windows and its glassed-in porches at either end. Everything austere and northerly, black-and-white under the high dome of clouds. So still, so immense an enchantment.

E-Mails to My Past Self: 5 Facts I Wish I Could Send Back In Time

The 3 Most Poisonous Movie Clichés of the 60s and 70s

Nurse Ratched, My Hero: 4 Female Movie Villains I Love

Shopping Spree

Candy is in New Orleans helping Lee get all his crap back for the spring semester at Tulane so I’m holding the fort down alone (except for the dogs). I was in the shower when the doorbell went off (as it always does). There is a bunch of stuff (video games, clothes) that various kids have left in our house over break and they need to pick their crap up before they leave for school so I scurried out, threw on some dirty clothes and went to the door.

There was nobody in person, but a Fedex envelope was leaning up against the door, addressed to me. I wasn’t too happy because I rarely get good news Fedexed to me. This time I was wrong.

I remember a couple of weeks ago at work I received a junk email from some Industrial Trade Magazine. I usually ignore the hundreds of emails like that I get every day, but there was a link to a survey along with the usual “You Might Win” teaser. I had a few minutes to kill before a meeting so I went to the survey and filled that sucker out. I assume you all have done that – bland questions on what kind of equipment you specify and what sort of software services you outsource. I realize that this will generate even more junk emails going forward… but once you get to a certain point it doesn’t make any difference.

So I was pretty happy when I realized that the envelope had a hundred dollar gift card to Target. It said, “Congratulations! Your name has been randomly chosen as 1 of our 3 winners of a $100 gift card from Target in ***** ********’s recent “EAM/ERP” survey.”


That did leave me with a minor moral dilemma. I firmly believe that money is money – so that I should add this card to the family fund, like anything else. There is no such thing as “Found Money” and what comes in goes out. There is a Super Target near our house, it has a grocery store, and there is a list of groceries that we need on the refrigerator – eggs, yogurt, cottage cheese, sandwich meat, sliced cheese… plenty of stuff.

I should either give the card to Candy when she gets back or, better yet, go to the store and buy the stuff on the list.

But still…. I’m here by myself. I earned this money by my work and good luck. Why don’t I just go out and spend that motherfucker on stuff I want.

I tried to think about what I wanted that they had at Target. There isn’t much, really. Luckily, this wasn’t a gift card to a pen store. I do need a new bike helmet and I’m always up for a new Moleskine… but there isn’t much else I could think of.

So I grabbed the food list off of the fridge and went to Target. I do not like shopping usually, but going to the store like this, with plenty of time and a gift card burning a hole in my pocket, was sort of fun.

I wandered through the electronics and found nothing much that I could afford. Then on to the office supplies and the Moleskine display. It was picked over and they didn’t have anything I wanted.

On to sporting goods. It’s hard for me to find a bike helmet at a mass-market store that will fit my swollen melon – but they did have one model that fit. I had looked at it before. The problem is that it had this fancy flashing light-thing built in and cost, like fifty bucks, which seemed excessive to me for a hunk of Styrofoam. I found that they only had two of these left and that they had been sitting there for so long the little batteries in the lights had gone dead. Because of this, they marked the helmet down to eighteen bucks. Score!

I picked up the helmet, a water bottle from a clearance endcap, a plastic tote that I want to attach to my bike rack, and all the groceries on the list.

I still have forty bucks left on the card. Hmmm, I wonder if some other Target Store in a little less literate neighborhood might still have a pile of Moleskines? I just might go for a little drive.