Friday, December 17, 2010

Old Picture of The Captain

An old friend sent The Captain a facebook message recently with the message, "What's this?" He opened it, and it took him a few moments to figure out what it was. He saw himself in the picture, but didn't recognize himself. Eventually it clicked though: that was, in fact, The Captain- just a vintage version of himself. He had to take his mental picture of himself, subtract a few pounds, a few wrinkles, and a lot of gray hair to reconcile that image with the image of the cocky, young Captain smirking back at him.

At the time, The Captain was a member of a group called DeMolay- which, for those of you who don't know, is like a junior version of the Masons. The girls were in their version of DeMolay, which was called Rainbow. So where did The Captain fit into this? The Captain was about to become the "Rainbow Beau." I know, that's silly. It even seemed silly then. But whatever, it was a chance to hang out with girls.

You might think from looking at this picture that The Captain was a little bit cocky, a little bit stuck on himself back in those days. But you would be wrong. The Captain was a lot cocky, a lot stuck on himself back in those days. He can't even tell you how much so. But he doesn't need to- you can tell just by looking at that smirk.

Those were good times for The Captain though, happy times.

Oddly enough, the old friend that sent this picture to The Captain was actually an old girlfriend. It was never official- he never asked her, "Will you go with me?" But they spent a lot of time together and had a lot of fun. It seems safe to say girlfriend, he thinks. The Captain has many, many fond memories of her. He'll never forget those long, lush, blonde curls, sitting next to her in German class, or that one night at The Cliff.

Also, he doesn't know if he ever told her so, but he thought (and still thinks) that she was quite possibly the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. He can't even tell you how beautiful he thought she was- there just aren't words...

So, old (girl)friend, if you're reading this, know that The Captain thanks you for the picture. And know that he often thinks fondly of you and of the times you and he had together. Thank you for those times.

Friday, December 10, 2010

And speaking of tattoos, I think I am going to ink over my USMC tattoo

What is it going to take to let gay and lesbian people serve openly in the military? We all know they're in there already, so why do we continue to insist they stay in the closet? I really don't understand why it's even an issue anymore. Are we really that puritanical and homophobic? It really pisses me off.

The military's command staff says, "Repealing the 'Don't Ask-Don't Tell' law will have a deletirious effect on our troops' combat readiness."


Oh, Im sorry, was I not emphatic enough? Shall I say it again? No, I think I was clear. Well, just in case:

That is the same bullshit logic they used when they didn't want to integrate African-American troops. It's the same bullshit logic they used when they didn't want to integrate women. And guess what? In both cases it was BULLSHIT. African-Americans and women were integrated and the military is better for it. And if they would give up this homophobic facade the military would be better for it as well.

Not all sailors, soldiers, and airmen are homophobic, I know that. Certainly some are gay or lesbian, and certainly many are straight but have no problem with gays and lesbians serving alongside them. But to those who are, I ask you, what the fuck are you so afraid of? Perhaphs it's time for another little FAQ.

Q. Are you afraid they will hit on you?
A. Don't flatter yourself. If you're that homophobic, they probably are not interested in you. And if they do, deal with it the same way you would deal with a straight person that you weren't interested in hitting on you. No big deal.

Q. Are you afraid they will have a deleterious effect on your combat readiness?
A. Don't be. I'm sure there are plenty of very tough gay military people and plenty of not-so-tough straight military people. I really don't see how one's sexual orientation affects their fitness/toughness. Need proof? Come to Portland, I know drag queens who could kick your GI-Joe-wannabe ass.

Q. Are you saying homosexuality is immoral? (Bonus points if that's based on a religious belief!)
A. Didn't you swear to uphold and defend the constitution? The one that guarantees freedom of religion? Separation of church and state? I think you did. Believe what you want, but you have no right to force it on your fellow servicepeople.

Q. Are you secretly afraid that maybe you'll find out something about yourself that you just don't want to know? Are you afraid that maybe you'll be a little bit curious?
A. That's something you need to work out on your own.

And now, back to the tattoo....

I have the letters USMC tattooed in great big letters on my right forearm. It pains me to say it, but it's lately been more a source of embarassment than pride. And yesterday, when I read that 60% of marines polled said that they were morally opposed to allowing gays and lesbians to openly serve in the military, I felt ashamed to have been a marine. I want to cover that ink up so that people don't think that I too am a BACKWARDS, IGNORANT, HOMOPHOBIC ASSHOLE.

Sorry, but that's how I feel.

To the marines who aren't homophobic: I'm sorry if I offended you.

To the marines who are gay and lesbian: I support you. I'm sorry you have to deal with this bullshit.

To the marines who are homophobic: I'm NOT sorry if offended you. I hope I did. You need to handle your shit, let this go, and get over yourselves.

Captain's orders.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Thoughts on Tattoos

Tattoos have been coming up a lot in my conversations lately. I guess it could be in part because I live in the most tattooed city in America (that's probably not literally true, but sometimes it seems that way). Maybe it's because people are curious. I assume so since I get tons of questions about mine- Did it hurt? How long did it take? How much did it cost? Are you going to get more? Why did you choose that for a tattoo. I honestly don't mind the questions, though I know some of my inked friends find it overly-personal. My feeling is that if you're going to wear art on your body, you should expect to be asked about it. When I wear a concert t-shirt, people ask me about the show; when I wear my Surly t-shirt, people ask me if I have a Surly (yes, I have two, thanks). I don't see why it should be different with ink. But that's just me.

I also get asked about the locations. I have four tattoos, three of which are on my forearms. I can't believe how often people ask me, "Why didn't you get them higher up where they'd be easier to hide?" I find that funny, but I usually try to humor them and answer. The reason is that I don't want to hide them. I want them where people can see them. They're art, not some dirty little secret. I really like my tattoos and each of them says something about me, so why would I want to hide them?

As I'm sure you're aware by now, I really like my tattoos. I enjoy having them and have no regrets about them. Still, I never encourage or discourage anyone from getting tattoos. I tell you this because often people who don't have tats will ask me if I think they should get one. And the answer is, "I don't know." I only know my experience, which is that I love my tats. But that's me. Here are some things I do tell people though:

  • Don't get something trendy
  • You will have it for THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, so make sure it's something that will still be meaningful to you in 50 years. Or at least not embarassing
  • They cost a lot, so make sure you can afford it (i.e., don't shirk other responsibilities to pay for it)
  • On that note, tattoos are not something to go cheap on
  • Don't get it impulsively
  • Go to a reputable shop
  • Get an appointment if you have to. And be patient. It won't kill you to wait a week or two for something you're going to have for the rest of your life

Those are just my thoughts and things I like to tell people. I know some people who have gotten inked spontaneously and love the tat still; others who don't. I know some people who won't do it if they have to make an appointment. Again, these are just my thoughts. But it's my blog, so...

As for the questions I get, here's an FAQ.

Q. Does it hurt?
A. Depends on where you get it and your tolerance for pain. In my case, not too bad, but mine are on fleshy parts of my body and I have a high tolerance for pain -or so my dominatrix tells me (joke, people...).

Q. How much does it cost?
A. Depends on the shop and the artist. Seems like in Portland $80-120 per hour is pretty standard. Some might be more. Celebrity artists cost more- you ain't gettin' inked by Kat von D for $120. Don't go cheap. You're dealing with an artist, not getting your car washed. And TIP! Which leads to...

Q. Should I tip the artist?
A. Yes. How much, I don't know what the standard is. I tend to tip about the same as in a restaurant- %20 or in that neighborhood. (Note: if anyone is more knowledgable on this, please do tell.)

Q. Why did you get them somewhere where everyone can see them and they are hard to hide?
A. Because I want everyone to see them and I don't want to hide them.

Q. Do you ever regret getting them?
A. No, absolutely not.

Q. Why did you get a Black Flag tattoo?
A. Because Black Flag is the greatest fucking band ever. EVER.

Q. Are you going to get more?
A. Yes.

I have more thoughts on this, and I will add to the FAQ soon, but right now it's time to go meet my friends for drinks. So we'll talk more later.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

New Bike, part 2

In my last post, I stated that my new LHT doesn't really look much different than the stock photo on Surly's website, and here's proof:

Admittedly however, I think the setting is better in my shot- even if the lighting isn't.

Sadly, that's where it's been since I got it- waiting patiently in the spare bedroom for some TLC... Hopefully this weekend I'll be able to slap some parts on- pedals, at least!- and take it out for the inaugural ride.

And speaking of new things, today I shot my first "Danger Panda:"

My inspiration for that came from fellow randonneurer (randonneusse?) and flickr contact Gersemalina. She looks way better doing it than I do (click here if you don't believe me), but she did give me the idea.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

New Bike!!!

Yes, I got a new bike. Yes, another one. I picked it up and took it home last night, but I had left my camera at the office, so no pictures of my own yet. I will post some soon. At present though, it's stock, so it looks just like this (from Surly's website):

Soon enough (this weekend most likely) I will begin the customization process. I like it so much as is though that I don't plan to change much. Still, there are some things I will add: a Brooks B17 saddle; Shimano dualie pedals; fenders; tubus racks (front and rear); cyclometer; lights; some kind of small handlebar bag with map case; a Carradice saddle bag. I will post some pictures of it when I can.

Also, I'll need to come up with a name for it. I think I will take a few rides, get to know it a little before I choose one. Maybe Rocinante? We shall see... I'm open to suggestions!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Yehuda Look-Alike-Contest

Originally uploaded by goodsterman

A few days ago, I was contacted by Rick Smith, who writes the comic Yehuda Moon and the Kickstand Cyclery. He had found this photo on my flickr page and wanted to know if he could use it in a banner advertising a Yehuda Moon look-a-like contest! I am a huge fan of Yehuda and of Rick's work, so of course I said yes! People- or at lease bike geeks- all over the world read the comic every day, so I guess I'll be sort of famous! You can check out the comic here:

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Races this Year

I ran my last marathon in 1997. Since then I've continued to run, but not particularly consistently. Just a few miles here, a few miles there, a little hashing. I've also done a lot of physical stuff- hiking, mountaineering, road cycling, moutain biking, skiing, snowshoeing, etc. But I haven't been consistent and my fitness has suffered. I feel relatively fit, certainly better than the average American, but nowhere near where I've been in the past. So I've started running again. Because I miss the way I used to feel when I was running 40-60 miles per week. I also miss the way I looked, but more importantly, I want to feel like that again. If I can look that good again too, that's great, but that's a secondary goal. I just want that old feeling back. I miss floating through a solo ten-miler in the country in 75 minutes. I miss the camraderie I felt after a brutal group workout. I miss the anticipation of racing. So I've been running more, but still not as consistently as I'd like, and I decided that having a goal would help me out with that. So yesterday I registered for the Seattle Marathon. I'm going to go into like I'm a total newbie, since I haven't run a marathon in thirteen years. I'm going to try to train smart and not get injured, and I'm not going to worry about time. I'm just going to do it to finish and to have a good time. In the meantime, I've signed up for some shorter races- the S.O.B. (Siskiyou Out and Back) 15k in July, and the Haulin' Aspen Half Marathon in August. I may jump into a few more here and there too. I'd like to try to do one race each month from now til November. Currently I'm running about 20 miles per week, and I'm forcing myself to only run every other day for the time being. It's hard because I feel really good and I'm really enjoying getting more consistent- so I want to be out there every day- but I'm trying not to do too much too soon. When I did my first marathon, I went- no kidding- from running, at most, 12-15 miles per week to 40+ with no injuries at all. But I was also 24 years old... I'm trying to be smarter now. Running every other day, cycling every day, and I've just recently started doing core-strenght exercises. I'd add speed work, but I don't need to- trying to keep up with G-Man at the PTR (Portland Trail Runners) Thursday night runs is speedwork enough! I'll be blogging about my running experiences over the months to come for those who are interested. Encouragement and tips are welcome. But don't worry, this won't become a workout-log-blog,the captain will continue to provide you with all the poignancy, drama, excitement, and adventure you've come to expect from him!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

To the Girl I Offended on Williams Avenue Yesterday

On the off-chance that you will read this…

Yesterday I was riding home from work, heading North on Williams. I saw some cyclists standing beside the road, not quite on the sidewalk but not quite in the bike-lane either. I slowed down to ask if they needed help, and you passed me. Politely and with an “On your left.” Once I knew the cyclists were okay, I proceeded on and before long, caught up with and passed you, also with an “On your left.”

And I guess that’s when I offended you.

Just after I turned onto Alberta, you pulled up beside me and angrily said, “What is it an ego thing? Gotta pass the girl? Cause I’ve been right behind you the whole time since you passed me.”

And I replied, truthfully, “No, I was just going my pace and you were there, so I passed you.”

And you looked at me like I was pathetic and disgusting and said, with painful sarcasm, “Whatever, dude.” Then turned off at your block. End of conversation.

I am sorry I offended you. It was not an ego thing. I didn’t need to pass you because you are a girl. I was just riding my own pace and happened to pass you- just as many people do to me every day. In all honestly, not only was I not thinking about you being a girl, I really wasn’t thinking about you at all- other than to make sure I said “On your left” and gave you enough room. I was thinking pretty intently about getting home to take my dog for a quick walk before heading off to have pizza and root beer with my son, as I do every Wednesday night.

Again, I am sorry I offended you. I promise it was not intentional. I’m sorry if some of my gender have treated you unfairly in the past. But please know that that wasn’t the case with me last night. And perhaps in the future, you could give a fellow cyclist the benefit of the doubt rather than jumping to the worst possible conclusion.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

R.I.P. Cyrus. 1997- March 29, 2010

Cyrus, when I adopted him from the Oregon Humane Society.

It was time. For the last four months or so, Cyrus was very incontinent. The vet said it was normal for a dog his age. So it sucked, but I lived with it. Then he started having more and more trouble with his hips, to the point that he didn't want to walk or play much. Just wanted to eat, go to the bathroom, then crawl back on his bed and sleep. Then he got to the point that he was pooping and vomiting in the house almost daily. Then, daily. On his bed, on my bed, on the couch. Wherever. He usually didn't even know he was doing it. He couldn't hold down a meal for the last 10 days of his life. He got so weak that he could barely get off his bed. And he lost all control of his bowels; he'd poop on his bed while he was asleep and never even know he'd done it. So I took him to the vet and he said that there were drugs to palliate the pain and discomfort, but that, at this point, it was all downhill. So I decided to put Cyrus down. I took him to the park for one last little play time and, of course, he suddenly started acting like a puppy again. Clearly a little more frail, but moving around, seeming curious about things, having fun. And that made it harder, and more miserable. But still I knew it was time. It was miserable for me, but he was so calm and happy the whole time, and that just made it worse. I'm sure he had no idea what was going on, and I couldn't help feeling like I was betraying him. He was even licking the vet's hand as the vet administered the drugs. For a moment I thought that was about the saddest thing I'd ever seen, but it wasn't nearly as sad as holding his head on my lap and petting him and crying after it was over. I'm trying to forget all that and just remember all the fun times we had, but it's hard. In time, I guess. Meanwhile, rest in peace, old buddy, and thanks for the good times. You are missed, very much.

Last picture of Cyrus, just a few days before the end.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Get your own knuckles at the knuckle tattoo gun.

Sunrise over Little Tohama, from Ingraham Flats, 2007