Thursday, June 22, 2006

Communified Ride (A Pedalpalooza Event)

I was running late getting out of work so I really had to huff it over the Hawthorne bridge to make it to Jonathan's communified ride that started at the Salmon street fountain. 

I made it just in time.  The ride rolled out shortly after I got there.  We mosied down the waterfront at a social speed and I chatted with Evan Manvel of BTA fame.  I was surprised to find out that he only has one bike! But I guess that's all you need. (My fantasy bike stable has about seven bikes...commuter, road, MTB, bent, tandem, get the picture :)

When we reached the steele bridge, we had to wait for a train to go by so I took the opportunity to eat some of my dinner, chat with the other riders around me and snap a few more pictures.

After the train passed, we continued on and, to my surprise and delight, turned right after the train tracks and onto the walkway along the river underneath the river front apartments.  One thing I love about PP is how it's gotten me into new places, even in the neighborhoods I ride every day.  The new perspective is so refreshing!

At the end of the walkway, we stopped in a parking lot for more chatting.  I got to talking with Donna about her fine looking red Breezer. Little did I know I was letting a tiger out of it's cage.  5 minutes of talking to Donna about the joys of internal hub gears, step through frames and getting respect from drivers while riding in a dress will have you ready to trade in your steed if you're not careful!  Our conversation was very enlightening since I'm still on the search of a bike for my mom.

When we got going again, we went back along the waterfront, across the steel bridge and down the Esplanade to the Hawthorne bridge.  Our journey ended, but Jonathan snapped portraits of folks with their bikes and there were even props if you wanted them.  There was general milling around and good bikey feelings and Aaron helped a couple of guys brainstorm about how to carry their rafts on their bike for a long trip they are planning.  The trick is how to carry the boat and also how to carry the bike the boat so you have it for your next destination.  I think they made some progress.

It was a lovely way to begin the evening and I left feeling good and rode home at a nice mellow pace.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Welcome Joe!


Welcome to the Portland cycling family. So sorry for your loss...of popularity that is. Because in a town where we just held the first ever Bike Summit to look forward at the future of biking in Portland, you'll have to do more than just ride your bike to get attention. Perhaps you could try riding a really little bike or a big tall one. Just don't try to stand out by being the only Black person at every event, cause I've already got that covered. :) Hell, even Bunnies on Bikes get respect around here!

Looking forward to seeing you around town. And hey, when you get here, if you need help moving your stuff, be sure to check out the Shift website. A few emails to the right people and you too, can experience the phenomenon known as Move By Bike (or help out with one...I hear you know a thing or two about hauling stuff!).

And when you need to get your bikey bearings, Jonathan is sure to have a report on everything bike-related at his site,

Just think you can have your flats within walking distance of the nearest *bike shop* instead of a Wal-Mart! Get ready for cycling nirvana. :)

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Friday January 20th: Date #2

Friday I stayed home since the bosses were both in Seattle and I worked an insane amount of hours on Thursday. My plan was to sleep in, do a little bit of work from home, chill out, write maybe a few chores and then go to my massage at 4:00. I made an appointment with Davina, who is someone I went to college with and is now dating my roommate. I hadn't gone before because I love Jessica S. and I'd have her babies and plus she comes to my house with her table which has a heating pad. But it's more expensive and I was feeling spur of the moment.

Of course things didn't work out quite as planned. ::sigh::

First, around mid-morning, I felt a tell-tale tickle in my throat that made me want to swear like a sailor and brake a lot of dishes. Could there be a worse time to get sick? I don't think so. And if my symptoms were still light enough that I could've stayed in denial, that meant I was probably contagious and couldn't really afford the luxury of denial.

Carrie was home and we spent some time hanging out and she was cracking me up with her reactions to stories from work. Finally I had her feel my glands to see if they felt swollen. She took one quick feel and ran straight upstairs. She came down with a box of Chinese herbs and said to take five or six every couple of hours. She also said I should, "drink some of this Chinese tea..." as she hid a box of Theraflu behind her back.

I was willing to try anything at that point. I drank 'tea' and popped pills and took some Echinacea and vitamin C for good measure. I decided I would wait till the afternoon and if I still felt like a germ, I'd call Jess and give her the chance to back out of our date. I figured she deals with enough germs at work and I really didn't want her getting sick and possibly missing work, because of me. But I was pissed.

Other shit hit the fan as work crisis' developed and designers and programmers went AWOL. I finally got things settled down just barely in time to take a shower and get to my massage. Fortunately Kara was on her way back from Seattle and I made sure she knew that I was unavailable after 3:30.

Once I left the house, things improved. On the way to Davina's I called Jessica.

"I have a confession to make," I said.

"Uh oh."

"It's nothing terrible but I'm not completely well. I feel a cold coming on and I'm probably contagious. I just wanted to let you know in case you want to back out." And I hope you're disappointed, not relieved...

"Oh. Well that's OK. I mean, I probably won't get very close to you--but are you sure you still want to go?"

"Oh yeah, definitely. I'd just feel bad if I got you sick."

"You're cute."

"OK, see you at 6:00."

My massage was so, so, very good. Just exactly what I needed. It took a while to settle down and stop thinking about work and dates and how Davina's methods differed from Jessica's but eventually I hit the zone. I hit it so hard in fact, that I was nanoseconds from falling totally asleep before I snapped out of it and got up at the end. Out in the lobby there was a cup of water sitting on the counter for me. I set my oil, which I'd brought with me, down next to it while I chatted with Davina and Carrie. I picked up the oil.

"Are you about to drink your massage oil?" Davina asked.

I looked down. "Oh. Yeah. Thanks for catching that." I picked up the water instead and drank it. Yeah, I was relaxed alright.

When I left unfortunately I couldn't go straight home and enjoy the after effects because I had to run to the store to get some more firewood and then over to the most crowded gas station (but also the cheapest) to fill up.

I got home about 10 till 6:00, just in time. Luckily Jess was running late so I had time for a fashion crisis. Brown cords, stretchy long-sleeved orange scoop neck shirt from Title IV.

When she arrived there were hugs hello and I gave her the tour and she met Willow. She has a cat of her own, so she was totally enchanted by my little princess.

I altered our plans a little and suggested we go to Zaytoon's on Alberta, so as to stay in the neighborhood. It was happy hour and not crowded at all. Neither of us were super hungry so we split an appetizer platter with hummus, babaganoush and some herb dip that I can't remember the name of, but was really good.

When we got to the pub, it was packed of course, but we squeezed up into my spot from the week before, just behind the merchandise table. We had a good view and the band was having a good night. We were able to talk a little despite the loud music. I filled her in on who was who and told her a little my history with Lara. Anyone I'm going to date has to be OK with my back up girlfriend. :)

I felt like a big walking germ so I was working really hard not to touch Jess but she solved my problem by moving right next to me and putting her arm around me.

During the announcements portion of the show, they revealed the winners of the raffle to be on the first Stolen Sweets CD. They need people to come in and say things like "Yeah man," and "Yowza!" I bought five tickets in December for a dollar each, figuring that even if I didn't win, perhaps Lara would rig it for me. Mine was the last name to be announced. I resisted the urge to whoop and holler, since no one else had.

When the show was over, I took Jess over and introduced her to Lara briefly. "Did you hear your name called?" she asked me.

"Yup. But I was trying to be cool."

"And you are."

"Mmmmm...yeah..thanks for lying." I said. I gave her a hug and Jess and I headed back to my place.

Davina and Carrie were home and hanging out in front of the woodstove, so introductions were made, as well as small talk, and then I pulled Jess away and dragged her upstairs.

She had said she needed the night to end early so I didn't know how long she would stay...but I took it as a good sign that she didn't leave till almost 11:00 and I practically had to kick her out for her own good. In the meantime, there was much talking and cuddling on the couch in my room and *not* kissing, which was frustrating in a pleasantly torturous way. She found a way around it by kissing my neck as we hugged goodbye, which left me pleasantly lightheaded.

I tried to put it in perspective by telling myself that it was just the Universes way of making sure I kept my promise to go slower this time. But at that moment I was really resenting the assist. I really needed to get well! I popped some more herbs and vitamin C and went to bed.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Skate date and other stuff

Well, this weekend sure turned out well. It's got a nice little TV drama/happy ending story arch to it too. From my pathetic call to McKinley and stag one-hit-wonder outing on Friday to a real live date tonight. Not bad.

Saturday I slept way in and then fought the resulting headache for the rest of the day and night. It wasn't incapacitating, just enough to make me completely unmotivated to do anything productive around the house. I went out to breakfast at the Tin Shed with my roommate and she surprised me by picking up the tab. It was crowded as it usually is on weekend so Shannon and I sat at the bar. The same bar where N and I had our 'after breakup/exchanging stuff dinner. If I'd been trying to torture myself, I couldn't have done any better. First the Imbibe (site of our first date and many others) and then Tin Shed. But I was actually feeling pretty good and it didn't bother me too much.

After breakfast we went to the store to pick up some quick burning logs. We just got a cord of wood delivered last weekend and it's pretty much useless as it's wet all the way through. Basically, we got royally screwed and there's not much we can do about it. I haven't had the time or the energy to fight with trying to get fires going, so I've just been buying the cheater logs, as I call them. It sucks, cause I really don't have the money to be doing that! Oh well.

Anyway, we got our logs and went home and chilled out. Watched my Titanic documentary and then I took a nap on the couch when she went out for a while. Basically didn't get much done to speak of besides making some kick ass fried chicken and spaghetti squash.

When I was done feeding myself, I decided to spend the evening updating my profiles. As much as I hate online dating, the fact is it's winter and I just don't get out as much--nobody does--so it just makes practical sense. I figured as long as I avoid craigslist--the Jerry Springer Show of the personal ad world--I might avoid the urge to tear my hair out.

One of the main things I hate is trying to summarize yourself into these neat little paragraphs and categories---ugh! But I sucked it up and made myself sound halfway decent on MySpace, PlanetOut and the new Just Out personals page. On JO, I did a search and found a few promising looking ads. I wrote to pdxgirl--a 30 year old non-smoking Libra who likes cross country skiing, biking hiking--typical Oregon stuff. She wrote back the same night and we exchanged a few emails over the next 36 hours.

Tonight we met up at Gay Skate night at Oaks Park. Gay Skate has been going on for years, but I had never been. Just Out has just taken over sponsorship and the turn out was great. I went over to my friend Erica's and had dinner with her and her gf and then we all went to the rink together. Laura and Meredith, my former Kinkoid buddies showed up and I saw a bunch of other people I knew. It only took twice around the rink before I saw someone waving me down. I had correctly told her that I'd be much easier to spot, and she should find me. I rolled over to her and straight into a really good hug. A good beginning.

I took her over and introduced her to the gang and then we rolled off. We skated almost the whole time and chatted about first date type stuff while we rolled along. From time to time, I'd roll up to one of my friends to check in, or show of my one skate trick (shooting the duck) to Kimmie over on the sidelines. I skated backwards and we held hands for couples skate and sat out all-girl skate because of the crappy song (and pointed out that since it's gay skate night, they really should have trannie skate shouldn't they?). I had to take her over to the bumps of course and I gave her a short lesson in skating backwards that didn't have much effect.

During the course of the evening I learned that she:

is a nurse and has a major in geology.
grew up in Wisconsin, moved to PDX in August from D.C.
lost her mom to a stroke two years ago
has at least one sister
is much hotter than her online picture lead me to believe
gives great hugs.
is out to her supportive dad
loves Portland
ended a 7 year relationship one year ago
seems mature for her age
wants to buy a house soon
is a better skater than she lead me to believe
hates smoking as much as I do
likes kids but doesn't necessarily want to own one (hallelujah)

All in all it was a great evening and we mutually agreed to get together again. She works three 12 hour shifts a week at her hospital but her schedule is a bit wacky so I don't know when that will be. But I'm hoping she'll be able to go to the Anti-V-Day DM show at Doug Fir next month.

When we said goodbye, there was the slightly awkward goodnight-kiss-decision moment which I chose not to take advantage of--one because I desperately needed some gum after having soup at Erica's house and two, because I've learned my lesson about jumping in too fast. At any rate, hopefully there will be plenty of time for figuring that out on date two--with less of an audience.

I got a txt from Jess on the way home that said it was great to meet me and she had a good time.

I'm going to do my best not to get ahead of myself, but it's nice to feel optimistic about my dating life again.

I so don't want to go back to work tomorrow. But it's already started...Kara called me with some urgent request and I spent half an hour proofing a file at 11:30pm tonight. I fear the rest of this month is going to be crazy.