gurdymonkey: (Default)
Was I that timid
When I faced the o-daiko
At the beginning?
Sticks in hand, I stared into
That blank eye and found myself.

Hopefully the classmate I'm thinking of will as well.
EDIT: For those unfamiliar with taiko, O-daiko is kind of like being an arm's length away from the eye of Sauron, at least at first.  For a new student, it involves a significant position change, plus the realization that o-daiko work means you may eventually have to (gulp) solo. Here's the inimitable Kenny Endo, who is not afraid of smacking Sauron in the cornea with impunity. I wish I played like that:

We have a few students who have advanced from the beginner class this session. Shannon-sensei put all the drums up on stands tonight and had us work in that position on a simple drill. D_____ had played around with it before during the last set of classes. L_____ was working hard and struggling with where his arms should go on recovery from each stroke. I could tell M____ hated it. (She likes lurking in the back row on a PVC sewer-pipe drum and always refuses offers to go up to the front row and play on one of the wine barrel taiko.)

I remember how it felt when I started on o-daiko work. Of course, me being me, I went all stubborn on the Eye. I'd make myself go first when Sensei asked for volunteers, to the point that the entire class began to assume I liked going first, no matter how crappy my solos were. I'd channel my inner Toshiro Mifune and kiai, even if I sound like a shiba inu whose tail's been stepped on.  Which is how I ended up with a solo in our signature piece "Jisshin," in front of live audiences this past year.
gurdymonkey: (Default)
Tired and sore with a slice of strawberry rhubarb pie for breakfast and a chance of chair massage this afternoon.

To elaborate, I did go into SF on Friday night  to check out [ profile] kproche's entry in the Barbot 2012 thingy. The spectral glow of LED lights led me to the proud parents of Thinbot and I got to be the first victim of the night.

The little black box on the table at lower right is a touch-screen controller which allows you to order one of several pre-programmed cocktails (or mix your own). Once ordered, Thinbot dispenses the necessary ingredients in the necessary amounts via a nifty multiple nozzle unit into your waiting cocktail glass, or in this case, plastic champagne flute. My guinea-piggery was a classic Gimlet, and the discovery that the hollow stem caused the ingredients to layer instead of mixing themselves. A stir with a plastic straw improved matters. If the guts of the thing interest you, visit K's blog. I'm not an engineer, but I thought it was kinda neat, myself.

There were other entries, of course, including a brass and wood steam-punkish elixir producer and a beautiful, bright red 50's looking butler robot. I only stayed about an hour though, as it was crowded and noisy, conditions I don't particularly enjoy. More photos can be seen here.

Got up Saturday morning with delusions of trying to go to the Oakland Library White Elephant Sale early, as it's just across the estuary. Parked on the Alameda side of the bridge, walked two blocks, saw a HUGE crowd and snarled traffic when I hit the corner and turned around. I had to be in Sebastopol by 3 for a taiko workshop anyway, so I got in the truck and decided to hit the outlets in Petaluma: the haul includes some clearance priced tops, bras and panties (my main goal!) and a pair of Bass clogs.

I drove through Sebastopol and had a leisurely tuna melt with sweet potato fries and very good coleslaw at the Henweigh Cafe and caught up on my latest issue of Smithsonian, then headed back to the south end of town to the local Buddhist Temple for a three hour workshop with Sonoma County Taiko. Some of you may recall that they played at Takeshi and Sora's Investiture last January, which is why Micah had tipped me off about the workshop and invited me to come up. Pretty good turnout and a mix of complete beginners, plus ringers (me and two of my classmates who had come up, plus a couple SCT members). In the course of the workshop we learned a piece for performance, which we did in front of an audience at the beginning of a concert in the evening. Then we got to enjoy a performance by our hosts. I made some mistakes during the performance, by which time I had a pounding headache that the Advil was not touching - the room was a wooden gymnasium, basically. Still, it was great fun and I got some nice photos of the performance.

The rest of the set (huge and unretouched) is here. .

And on that note, I need to eat some breakfast and pleat my mo already.
gurdymonkey: (Default)
I did a little hand sewing and got through a couple more Season 4 episodes of Farscape, then met up with the rest of the crew to perform at the J-sei crab feed. The corner they gave us for stage space turned out to be a little bigger than originally announced, so we had a little more room to play. I think it went very well, they seemed to enjoy the performance and now I have to sit on my hands for two Tuesdays in a row before the spring session starts up.

In the meantime, Emily's Dad's video from the Sakura Gakuen gig two weeks ago is up.
I'm in the back row behind Josh (second from right) in this one.

I have a solo in this one.
gurdymonkey: (Default)

I think there must have been something in the air at taiko last night. We've got a performance Sunday during a fundraiser crab feed at a local community center and Shannon-sensei was told the "stage" would be a section of floor 12' x 8', so we can only have so many drums and bodies in said space. He marked out those dimensions and we practiced all cozy like.

At one point, Shannon-sensei said he should issue clown wigs and red noses to go with our happi because of how much goofiness went on. Josh, Clint, Emily and I were probably the worst perpetrators, but in spite of the kidding around - of which, I admit, there was much - we not only managed to make the arrangements work on the pieces we're doing in the stripped-down for, we ROCKED.

Because of the staging needs of this gig, half of us are playing on "Shinkyoku" and half on "Jisshin." Of necessity, "Jisshin" has solos in it so our less experienced drummers are doing "Shinkyoku." The first time through it was pretty ragged. Gail looked completely lost and there were a couple spots where everyone was coming in at different times. By the third run through, though, Dave had figured out "Ignore 'em all, play like you own it," which gave everyone someone confident AND loud to latch onto and it was sounding much more solid.

I had a brain fart during "Shinkyoku" on the first time through, but got myself together and hammered through my solo anyway. Da Boys were their usual powerhouse finish, Little Emily always looks amazing and Other Emily was playing harder than I've ever heard her from my side of the o-daiko.

And all this accomplished with the sort of goofballery I cannot possibly imagine flying at some taiko dojos.

gurdymonkey: (pretties)
Please to be enjoying this funny from the Nice Young Samurai From An Tir.

Taiko was awesome with a side of Whee! Clint being Clint (i.e., a taiko maniac who likes makin' stuff) built a pair of shime daiko with stands and brought them to class last week. Shannon-sensei decided to incorporate them into class and I got to play them twice. The first time was fun, the second time, paired with Josh on a break-neck duet* of Shinkyoku was a-freakin-mazing. *That's right, just two of us. Josh is the guy with the wicked hand speed on o-daiko and he started fast, but with the small, light sticks we were playing with (and the fact that teaming with him had me a bit amped to begin with), I kept up. Hung out a little bit after class to noodle around with them a bit in a room at the other side of the building before we all had to go home. So much fun!
gurdymonkey: (Default)
Snagged from Facebook courtesy of the lovely and talented Joshua Diamond. Well, Josh and whoever pushed the button on his camera, seeing as he's smack in the middle of this first shot.

I suspect I'm smirking in this shot. I remember blasting through 'Shinkyoku' with a grin. Just five of us sounding like a runaway train on a 10% grade.
Please note the lady at the far right. If I had to guess, Gail is a fit 70-something who plays in sparkling white golf gloves. NOTHING beats the jubilant "I GOT IT!" grin with both sticks brandished in the air when she finally figures out how a new phrase goes. 

That's my backside dead center of the shot. The man directly across from me, the blonde ponytail lady over his shoulder and the man to my left with his back to the camera are all students who moved up from the beginner class eight weeks ago. They got chucked in the deep end to learn this piece in time for the recital and they kicked its ass!!!!!!!!!


Aug. 17th, 2011 10:38 pm
gurdymonkey: (Default)
Taiko recital went very well. I know where my mistakes were, but the audience didn', and I can get away with a lot of "I meant to do that!" attitude to cover the occasional brain fart. Got a great turnout and raised $570 in donations for Japan disaster relief. Students and audience alike had a good time. Presumably someone got video and we'll be informed when it gets uploaded somewhere we can have a look at it. Ryan came to cheer us on, still with his arm in a sling and a spectacular scar. Poor guy's got weeks of phyisical therapy yet. I hope he'll be back with us before too long.

Decided to treat myself to a massage at On The Spot today. This time it was a young man who told me his name several times in that I-Want-You-To-Be-A-Regular-I'm-Here-Every-Wednesday kind of day, offered me a dinky little hair clip to put my masses of bushy hair up with (I opted for a hair tie from the linty depths of my purse instead) and announced dramatically it was gonna be like - I shit thee not, O My Readers - a Day At The Spa! So there I was, face buried in the head ring on the massage chair and couldn't see to refuse the double handfuls of lotion headed my way. Worst of all, it was coconut.  A shame, really, because Mr. Remember My Name had thumbs of steel and otherwise managed to deal with the worst knots in my neck and shoulders in a useful fashion. I thanked him - he'd given me 20 minutes at the 15 minute price, threw in an extra couple bucks "lemonade money" just 'cause anyone who has to pummel on my knots has earned it. I walked through to the Feel Good Bakery thinking I might treat myself to a brownie or something for dessert tonight - and all I could smell was vile coconut and the Windexy watermelon (?) mist he periodically spritzed in my general direction (no doubt believing it was refreshing). I gazed at an exquisitely gorgeous slice of lemon tart and wanted to hurl all over the glass case instead. I rode home with the windows down and took a shower when I got in the door. I think I'll try to stick with the lady chiropractor who's there on Thursdays from now on.

Reminds me, I should return that nearly untouched vat of Karma Cream to the Lush store the next time I'm headed toward Emeryville. It hadn't smelled bad when I sampled it in the store, but I discovered it's very heavy on patchouli - another scent I'm not wild about and does not smell very good on me. They're good about giving credit for things and maybe I can get something I like better.
gurdymonkey: (Default)
Woke up ridiculously early and couldn't get back to sleep, probably because my subconscious didn't want to oversleep. Biked over to the temple in good time to snag a fresh char siu bao right out of the box (SO much better than donuts!) and get pre-parade instructions as well as snap a couple pictures before things got underway.

Ryan had broken his arm playing football yesterday afternoon but showed up to see us off. He was heavily bandaged and in a sling and looking a bit glassy eyed, but he said it was a clean break to the humerus and he's in his 20s so the prognosis is good. That still left us seven drummers to rotate on and off four drums set up at one end of the truck. Sean-sensei, Shannon-sensei, their wives and the two kids (one a stroller-sized toddler) were going to walk the parade route along with a couple of kids from the temple and pass out fliers. (I did see Sean striding by at one point with his son slung over one shoulder like a bag of rice.)  The dancers from the temple were in happi or yukata and I felt distinctly under dressed in a Kajiyama tee shirt and black pants, but what are ya gonna do?

The float rolled out on time to get in position on Lincoln Avenue with some folks riding on top, while some of us walked over the couple of blocks. The parade stepped off more or less on schedule and we were off. Kudos to our truck driver, Carlos, who drove us through town with very few bobbles and got that big flat-bed around turns like it was on rails. I got to lead off our first two renditions of "Jisshin" (simply because I was first to volunteer while folks were still sorta milling about). The basic routine was to alternate the Bon dancers (dancing to recorded music) with taiko. I decided to stick with a flat-drum variant of my old solo so I didn't have to think about it. We were loud, we were enthusiastic, we rotated so those who were willing to solo could do so(pretty much everyone but Julie), shared water, played along to the canned dance music, waved to the crowd. I even played the railing when I wasn't on a drum because I felt like it. The spectators seemed to enjoy us and before we knew it, we'd completed the loop and were cruising back up Lincoln Avenue to the temple.

Spotted Sylvia as we rounded the turn, shouted instructions for her to head down Lincoln and cut over to Pacific at Oak to get to the temple. Got unloaded, grabbed my bike and caught up with her on Lincoln, walked back to my place to lock up the bike as she'd walked over from the Fruitvale BART and most of the way across Alameda to see the parade. Jumped in the truck to drive back downtown to the garage near the theater and find some lunch. We ended up at Burma Superstar on Park, an unknown quantity that turned out to be quite tasty. We both ordered ginger lemonades, I had the sesame beef, she had mango chicken and we split an order of coconut rice. Then with room for dessert, we walked a couple doors down to Tucker's Ice Cream for peach cobbler ice cream (me) and lemon sorbet (her).

Dropped Sylvia at BART after a nice visit, then came home, took some Advil and drank a huge mug of water and went down for the count on the sofa for awhile as I was a bit headachy.  Currently uploading my few photos and contemplating dinner possibilities.

Photos are up at
gurdymonkey: (Default)
Biked over to the Buddhist Temple of Alameda for the pre-parade meeting to check out the truck and do a short rehearsal with the dancers. It's literally about a 5 minute bike ride from my place on a side street I don't usually go down to get to Park Street. It's in a huge old Victorian house behind a high wooden fence. Nice photo of it linked to here as I didn't take it.

I found the door in the gate unlocked and rolled my bike inside and locked up against a pole. There's a little postage-stamp Japanese garden with a small pond and some lovely trees. I would like to try to shoot pics of it on Monday morning if I can, because the light was too harsh when I took one this evening. Still, you'll get the idea.
It's a Jodo Shinshu congregation, which produced a small inward squee as that particular sect is period for Saionji and would likely have been the one she would've followed had she really existed. I bowed to the bronze statue of Shinran on my way into the hall (promptly causing one of my bachi to fall out of my bag.)

Met Yumi again, who came to our class Tuesday and some of the other folks (names having of course been exchanged and not stuck in my head). Chatted with one lady who looks 60, claims to be 82 and told me she'd lived in Alameda until her family was sent to an internment camp during WWII.

The truck arrived, we clambered onto it with a ladder and the driver slowly backed and pulled forward a few times with a bunch of us on it. It should be fine, particularly after they put some railings on it tomorrow.

Did a runthrough with the dancers (See? I toldya accompanying "Tanko Bushi" isn't rocket surgery!) and a couple choruses of "Jisshin" in the echoey social hall with the drums arranged in a small square roughly the width of the truck bed. Ate a hot dog and had some iced tea, courtesy of the temple. Have been informed we will not be needed to assist with railing installation on Saturday, but if we want to help with float decorations on Sunday morning, we'd be welcome. And of course, we need to be there to line up for the parade bright and early on Monday. (NOAA Weather still predicts a high of 79 for Monday. We'll have to see.)

I really need to sit down and practice my flat-drum solo. It doesn't feel automatic yet. At least I have some time to work on it.

Note to self, their Obon celebration is July 30. Might be fun to check it out.....
gurdymonkey: (Default)
Taiko went well enough. We had eight or nine people raise hands about playing in the parade. Given the weather predictions (sunny and in the 80's, though the current NOAA weather forecast has a high of 79 for Independence Day.), it'll be good to have enough bodies to rotate between routines. That said, I would not be surprised if anyone wusses out: it's gonna be a long day. We have to arrive to line up for the parade at 8 AM, the parade begins at 10 AM and the route is more than three miles.
A representative from the temple came by as well. Friday, Sean and Shannon will take drums over to the temple. The truck/trailer will be arriving Friday afternoon and there will be a rehearsal of sorts for those who can show up with the temple's Obon dancers who will also be performing on the float. We may or may not be drumming to their recorded music: we won't if we're likely to drown it out.

Naturally someone asked, "Do we have time to learn their pieces?" (Dude, it's drumming for dance, it's keeping a beat, you can learn that in three minutes or you don't belong here.)  We will not have an odaiko set up, not on a moving truck. I agree with Shannon-sensei that it doesn't seem terribly safe, especially as none of the student body have ever tried to play on a moving vehicle. (I did play while someone towed my practice drum in a wagon at Mists Cynagua war, but that's a whole other process.) We're supposed to have a set-up with four drums and folks can rotate in and out in turns. Reminds me, I need to come up with a "Jisshin" solo I can play on a flat drum that's not either "Three Line Drill" or phrases stolen from "Shinkyoku." It'd be nice to do something different.

That said, I did just  cut up a 1" dowel and sand myself a new pair of bachi. The old ones are pretty dinged up and starting to splinter in ways that necessitate unsightly tape.

We're also invited (expected?) to help out on Saturday and Sunday with installation of a railing on the float and decoration of said float.

I figure on biking over to the temple Friday night and putting in some time on Sunday if I can - I really, REALLY would like to spend some time shoveling out this apartment.
gurdymonkey: (Default)
Biked to work today. The ride in was chilly but uneventful. The ride home sucked due to a constant, momentum sucking head wind that made me get stuck at a long light, miss the usual BART train that I catch and have to catch a slightly later one. Despite sunny skies and temps in the upper 60's, I kept my fleece on all the way home.

Decided not to kill myself and took the truck to taiko instead of riding another four miles into a 20 mph head wind. Then decided to kill myself at taiko. Played good and hard as we worked on "Yodon," soloed three times in the rotation on "Jisshin" because we had uneven numbers of bodies on each side of the o-daiko, and decided it would be cool to attempt to play "Shinkyoku" on o-daiko just to see if it worked, which was fine with both my sensei. I made it through one full sequence and about halfway through the repeat before I hit the point where I didn't think I could lift my arms.

Whole new class of beginners started trickling in as we finished "Jisshin" and went into "Shinkyoku." I can remember when it was me goggling at the advanced class in April, 2008. Wow, I've been doing this for three years....  

My copy of The Japanese Way of Tea arrived Saturday. I've read the introduction, translator's notes and made a good dent in the first chapter, which is about tea traditions in China before contact with Japan. Written by a grand master of the Urasenke tea tradition, it's a scholarly study which should actually help answer my questions about what was being done with tea in Japan before tea ceremony as we now know it.

My copy of Heart of Oak: A Sailor's Life In Nelson's Navy arrived this afternoon. [ profile] crimsongriffin (and any hardcore Aubrey-Maturin, Horatio Hornblower fans out there), this is a gorgeous book. Have had little time to do more than feast my eyes on lavish photographs of Royal Navy artifacts, but those range from rope to old stockings and dungarees to medical implements to navigational instruments and on and on.
gurdymonkey: (pretties)
Many of these performers have been evacuating civilians, ferrying supplies to disaster areas and serving on burial details. I give you the Japanese Self Defense Force, live at Budokan.

gurdymonkey: (Default)
Decided to bike to taiko last night. The first mile sucked because I was too cold, then I was more than warm enough. The last half mile my LED headlight died, which is a bit odd because it's not supposed to be a battery vampire and all my other lights were fine. I can only assume that when I came back from Arizona and found six gallons of water weighing down the bike cover it may have tripped the switch.

You may remember that the decision was made to combine the beginner and intermediate/advanced class in the last session due to lower enrollment and have everyone in one big class drumming together for 2 hours. This session we were supposed to split back down to two - which means the four beginners from last session stayed in the intermediate/advanced class and maybe four new beginners started in the beginner class. Last night's taiko-robics drills were, shall we say interesting? Mostly because there were so damn many of us trying to cycle through exercises at two three-drum-stations without putting a stick in anyone's eye, partly because we're trying to get folks who've never done it up to speed. It'll get better.

Riding home without a headlight wasn't as bad as I feared. My tail and spoke lights still work and I was not riding against traffic. (Still, I replaced the batteries as soon as I got home from work this afternoon!)

Today was Ash Wednesday. I decided to reprise last year's routine of full-day fasts from sunrise to sunset on Ash Wednesday and the Fridays of Lent, with lunch money savings earmarked for the local food bank. Of course, I got home from what was essentially a two hour workout on Tuesday evening too jazzed and sweaty to eat anything more than some peanut butter on a slice of toast for dinner. And of course, our Human Resources person's continuing plot to torture me meant springing a United Way bake sale on us at the last minute. I don't even LIKE Costco breakfast pastries. I like them less when they're taking up counter space on MY counter at eye level all damn day. I was headachy by eleven AM, so I consulted the internet, located the nearest Jamba Juice to the office and got one of their fruit-and-juice only smoothies as my definition of "fast" means I can have anything I need or want to drink.

But why is LJ sending me an ad for meeting Single Mormons?


Mar. 1st, 2011 08:36 pm
gurdymonkey: (pretties)
After a two week break, between sessions, taiko started back up again tonight. I arrived as Sean-sensei and Shannon-sensei were moving drums around while a very pretty young Japanese woman stood watching. Turns out she's a visiting friend. Shannon-sensei introduced me as one of his "good" students, which was quite gratifying.

We plowed through "Shinkyoku" a couple of times. I felt like I'd been trying to play with crowbars in each hand - amazing what a couple weeks off does to my forearms, and we won't even talk about my pitiful excuse for hand speed. Then we worked on "Jisshin" so folks could rotate around on o-daiko solos. That's when Shannon-sensei told me I was their most improved student.

I wasn't doing anything special tonight. I felt out of shape and sloppy. But I'm the most improved. This week, at least. ;-D
gurdymonkey: (Default)
1. No bike-o to taiko, not with a heat advisory yesterday evening (and another today). New Phrase Of The Week: "crazy choices."
The new piece is still an ass kicker, though I now mostly have the section we're working on memorized. Sort of. We spent the last 15 minutes of class trying it paired up two to a set of drums, fraught with the challenge of having to pass between the drums while turning and playing to get to the opposite side and then come back again!  (Yikes!!!) Made plenty of mistakes but at least Bob and I didn't crash, or worse, hit each other.

2. So, just how much fun is taiko? THIS MUCH!
[ profile] sasha_khan  caught this one of me on Friday at GWW, red faced, sweaty as a racehorse glowing joyously and rockin' my Plaid Rags. Oh, and yeah, happy to see him, while we're at it.

3. Posted to the Tousando yesterday by JAF: "It was so nice to finally meet you and participate in your sake tasting YUM! You are a great hostess and the other members of my camp couldnt stop talking about you and the time we shared. Hope to see you again soon!!!"

Clearly!  someone!! is enamored of exclamation! points!!! Which does not mean this wasn't equal parts gratifying and humbling. Inside the hostess is the painfully shy teenager who was still sufficiently uncomfortable about having chosen to camp with a bunch of people she hadn't met before. Who needs games when you role play to get through your day?

3. a. I should keep a sake "diary".  I forgot to crib names from bottle labels before recycling the empties, however, several were known quantities and I at least remember where I bought the one I hadn't tried before and should be able to recognize the bottle, as it was definitely yum-worthy. Things to think on while planning for Estrella....

4. Now THAT'S what I call observing Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Found a letter in the mail from Kaiser when I got home from war, saying it's time to save myself from neoplasms by blasting my chest with electromagnetic radiation. (Yes, I DO find this ironic.)  On Saturday morning. Depending on how long that ends up taking and what sort of mood it puts me in, I may or may not day trip Coronet.

5.  Got an email from on Sunday night, announcing a "tweed ride" for this Sunday afternoon. When I inquired as to the route, it was obvious the gent at the other keyboard hadn't figured that bit out yet, but the round trip would be about ten miles. In San Francisco. With it being dark by the time the after party at Rickshaw Bagworks got done and not knowing which streets are one way only back to the BART station. It would be different if I had someone to buddy up with, particularly on the way home, but I'm not so sure I'm ready to attempt city streets, even on a Sunday. And with a bunch of strangers - see item 3 above. Must think on it further.

gurdymonkey: (Default)
Lamps brighten windows,
A dog barks behind a fence
As I pedal by.
The quiet streets are all mine
Mine and the bright autumn moon.

In fact, the ride home completely made up for the momentum-sapping head wind I fought all the way out to the Point on my way to taiko class. (Current wind speeds according to are 20-25 mph and expected to get even gustier through the night.) [ profile] baronalejandro  will laugh at me, but I actually shifted gears (!) in a vain attempt to keep a reasonable cadence riding into that wind.  My tee shirt was soaked through before I started playing.

The new piece continues to kick my butt, even as bits of it are starting to stick. It's great stuff, but it's a lot to remember.

Plaid kosode is most of the way assembled: just need to hem the bottom and put a collar on it, but not tonight. I should give my hands a break.

Reason # 37 why The Royal Navy is cooler than pie rats:

gurdymonkey: (Default)
Senator Mark Leno counters with a proposed bill to make PG&E shareholders responsible for costs due to negligence b y PG&E.

It's September. Once again, two hours before the eye exam which has been on the books for a year, I get a phone call from the nitwit at Dr. T's office telling me she has to reschedule. Now this ridiculous ritual is going to eat a couple hours of my Saturday afternoon, which pisses me off. If I'm told I need new lenses, I will demand they be fit into the older of the two sets of old frames I will be carrying with me. They pulled the you're-covered-so-we're-going-to-sell-you-new-glasses routine on me last year, refused to mount lenses in my old pair, insisting I HAD to have a spare, then tried to bill me for more than I was quoted because The Nitwit didn't know the lenses wouldn't fit the frames I picked and more expensive lenses would be needed. This racket is wasteful, stupid and costly to both me and my insurance company. I actually take care of my glasses, I'm not vain about them. I do NOT need three pairs of prescription readers.

Taiko kicked my ass last night, but in a good way. The new piece we've started work in is challenging, I don't have all the bits memorized yet and Sean-sensei is pushing us through a lot of it at a time.

Thanks to prevailing wind direction and the subtle change in elevation that only appears to be noticeable to Old Slow Me,  the ride home is always easier than the ride out. You'd think I'd be more tired than less, but it feels good. I actually kind of like riding after dark too. Traffic is fairly light most of the way, the streets are decently lit, there are traffic lights to cross with at the busier intersections and I like the atmosphere of the neighborhoods I ride through, even at night. I've been waved at by folks watering lawns, nodded at by other bikers, waved through intersections by motorists with eyes. Even the knot of teenagers hanging out in front of an apartment building or by the 7/11 is likely to wave or call "Hi."

Finished reading Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried at lunch today. If it didn't say right on the cover that it was nonfiction, I'd believe it was true. Maybe it is in its way. Read The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, (another Dad recommendation, because "the protagonist lived in your old dorm!") before that. Actually it's got a great deal more merit than the Rutgers connection and it's a terrific novel, but I'm due for something light. Yeah, like The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Oy.


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