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Random bits...

Okay, having just realized that I've only posted twice in over a month, and both of those posts were V.O.D.'s, I feel compelled to post something that is NOT GRIM.



Okay, earlier today I was reading a couple of reviews of the new Hulk film. My attitude towards it remains unchanged: *yawn*, with a side order of, "Boy, I hope there's some way to see the Tony Stark cameo in it without having to watch the whole damn film!"

So imagine my surprise when I was watching the TiVo of TDS from last night, and I see... the Tony Stark cameo in a TV commercial. "Huh!" I said to myself.

On reflection, I guess I really shouldn't be surprised. It's been kind of an open secret, hasn't it? Ever since "Iron Man" tore up the box office, haven't a number of articles or interviews mentioned it? I haven't gotten the sense that it's a tightly-kept secret, the way the after-credit scene on the end of "Iron Man" was supposed to be. So anyway, it occurred to me that for Marvel, it makes a lot of sense. They could sit on the cameo and have it be a nice surprise for the audience... or they can use the massive popularity of RDJ's Stark and "Iron Man" to try to give "Incredible Hulk" whatever boost they can.


... I'm still not going to go see "Hulk", though. Stark would have to be a much bigger player in the film, to get me in there.

ITEM: I'm thinking of buying a bike.

Every once in a while I contemplate the idea. I used to LOVE biking, but I have never biked up here in MA, and to be frank, the idea of riding around here kind of scares me. Let's put it this way. The last time I was a regular biker, NOBODY wore helmets.

However, Deborah has been riding her bike in to the office (it's about 5 mi. from her house). And today she and a friend went on a bike ride in the afternoon where they just followed the Charles from Harvard all the way out to Waltham, and had drinks at Margaritas right on the water there before going back. 15 mi. round trip.

And the thing is -- that's do-able. If I am not mistaken, I could take the Charles River path nearly the entire way in to work. Hmm.

So, armed with some birthday money from Mom, I started thinking, hmm, maybe I'll get a bike with some of that.

Now *this* is what I DEEPLY DESIRE:


*grabby hands*

And that put me in mind to ask my flist if anyone who HAS been biking in, like, the past 20 years (*gah*) could comment on the advisability of buying a cruiser-style bike over something with speeds and junk. (I used to primarily bike on LBI, where my Mom now lives; it's 18 miles of utter flatness. I have never ridden a bike that had gears, or hand-brakes, or anything. I rode a 1960s Schwinn cruiser that I adored, which had coaster brakes; and I would routinely ride it on 18-mile round trips down there. But I have no experience with biking anywhere that has hills.)

But I'm not going to *GET* the above bike. I've already emailed one person on Craiglist advertising a used mountain-type bike who's very local. *crossing fingers*.



( 31 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 14th, 2008 12:46 am (UTC)
If Tony Stark was completely present in that movie I'D go see it immediately.

I haven't biked in years, too afraid of the traffuck. But that is one humdinger of a bike. I'd like to have it just to ride down the hallways in my condo. Too bad about the having to put it together part. Meep.

I hope your bike hunt goes well.

Jun. 14th, 2008 02:23 am (UTC)
:) Yeah, see, that's what I think Marvel is figuring. "Holy crap, everybody loves RDJ/Tony Stark! Get a shot of him into the TV commercial, stat!" (I hear that the scene he's in is a substantive one; but I think that's it.)

I'm going to be interested to see what kind of business Hulk does. I have a feeling it's not going to do that well, esp. in comparison with Iron Man.

I'm afraid of the traffic around here, too. But cautiously hopeful about the idea of bike-paths...
(no subject) - jenlev - Jun. 14th, 2008 11:14 am (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 14th, 2008 12:46 am (UTC)
FWIW, I have a 3-speed cruiser, and it's fine for bike paths. I don't think I'd commute with it, and hills can be a chore, but the bike paths are graded for minimal hilliness anyway.

(Mine is also designed so that I sit upright with my arms out -- like on a hog -- rather than strain my back leaning over.)
Jun. 14th, 2008 02:25 am (UTC)
*nods* That kind of biking posture would be nice. My problem is that not having ever ridden other types of bikes, I'm not sure how to conceive of them as being "better for this type of riding" (commuting, say) than a cruiser.

Hmm. Perhaps if the one inquiry I've made falls through, I should beg you to borrow your bike for a few rides, to see how I really feel about it. (Try to do the commute ride on a Saturday, for example.)
Jun. 14th, 2008 01:16 am (UTC)
I have a good friend who is an avid biker and lives in Somerville. Can I put you two in touch, and maybe you can meet for coffee and discuss it? She is not one of those scary-intense people; she's totally awesome and knows a lot about biking.
Jun. 14th, 2008 02:34 am (UTC)
Hmm. Let me get back to you on that, okay?

The problem is -- well, a couple of things. I believe you when you tell me that she's not scary-intense. But you also say she's an "avid biker". Right this moment, I have no idea if I am going to get involved in this to that level. And I'm always wary of being a dilettante in the face of someone else's avidity.

I also have to confess that the modern attitudes towards "serious biking" kind of turn me off. There's so much specialized equipment these days, and a lot of it I don't understand, and here's the thing: I'm not sure I WANT to understand it. In my mind and in my very fond nostalgic memory, biking is... simple. The only equipment I ever had for it was the bike itself, and my bikes were always dirt-simple. I used it to get to and from work, and for recreation, alone. (Remember, I didn't get a driver's license until near 30.) Biking occupies this "beach" place in my brain. I've never thought of it as a "sport".

In a very strange way, I think I would feel more pressured by the attention of a relative stranger who is expert in the thing that I'm just at the stage of dipping my toe back into, than I feel by telling my friends "oh, I'm thinking of doing this". If "this" doesn't work out, I will feel absolutely no pressure about saying to my friends, "oh, I tried it, it didn't work out". But with the stranger-expert, it makes me feel like I am disappointing them if I don't wind up adopting their level of commitment to the thing.

I don't know why the stranger's hypothetical disappointment should worry me in these cases more than what my friends think. I only know it's generally true (I have felt this way about every instrument-playing class I have ever taken; I felt this way about hula.)

Right now, this brainstorm of mine is less than 6 hours old. Knowing myself, this will break in one of two ways. Either it will become difficult to sustain, or I'll find I don't like it, and I'll drop it. Or a switch will go off in my brain and I'll actually make a serious effort to commute to work via bike for some chunk of the summer. I can't quite tell which it's going to be yet, though.

So anyway, as I say, let me see how it goes. ;-) Let's see if this sudden impulse survives the weekend; or survives buying a $40 bike from someone on Craigslist; or survives borrowing Jane's bike and giving it a whirl.
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 14th, 2008 02:38 am (UTC)
Hmm. I'm definitely thinking that my area is probably less hilly than yours! Although there are some hills around here, boy, are there. And there are probably hills that I don't even notice, because I always drive them, and seldom walk them.

As I said, while I covet the bike above, what I'm actually pursuing at the moment are a couple of $40 or $60 used bikes off Craigslist. Because yeah, I really DON'T know how it's going to pan out, and how much I'll actually do. I wouldn't want to blow +$100 on something like that.

But it was Deborah's example proving that it's a 7-mile commute ride from my house to work that makes me think I might actually try to do that, while the weather's nice. We'll see! It may be best if the two leads on Craigslist don't pan out (they may be sold already), and if Jane agrees to let me test-ride her bike first. I could do it a couple of times and say "This is for the birds! Forget it!"
Jun. 14th, 2008 04:46 am (UTC)
Huh, I didn't know there was a bike path down there! I wonder if there are some bike shops around that might let you rent a bike for a week or two, to try out different kinds to see what suits you best?

I'm considering getting a new one myself... my old one needs new tires and probably another overhaul, and I never did get the hang of shifting gears on it, and a basic street bike probably wouldn't cost much more than a few seasons of work on the current one.
Jun. 14th, 2008 04:53 pm (UTC)
They've really extended the Charles River Walk to the point where you can just about go all the way from downtown to Waltham on it. You have to cross streets, of course, but that's it. And lots of people bike on it.
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 14th, 2008 04:54 pm (UTC)
Yay! We'll see -- I'm still poking around options. (Dammit, Craigslist people! Write back to me!)

I have this other problem: as I've mentioned in my LJ before, I own a Mini Cooper. I don't have a bike rack for it. This somewhat limits my ability to haul a bike around. :P (I'm gonna need a bungee cord...)
Jun. 14th, 2008 12:38 pm (UTC)
I'd recommend a Hybrid over a cruiser, myself. Eliza and I bought Raleigh C30s, kinda like this http://www.rockyscyclery.com/c30.htm, 7 years ago or so, and I've used mine to bike to work from Mt. Airy to Center City Philly (occasionally) 10 miles each way, mostly along the Schuylkill path. I LOVE biking on the river in the morning - so beautiful.

I hear your desire for a simple bike, but biking really is harder on bodies our age than it was when we were kids. With any kind of hills, you're really going to want some gears. You wouldn't want to decide that biking was for the birds just because you got discouraged because you were riding a bike that made it unnecessarily difficult, if you see what I mean.

Hybrids give you the upright posture and the straight handlebars. Upright posture makes you more visible in traffic, and is very comfortable for relatively short rides like you'll be doing. (On longer rides, sitting upright can be hard on your butt, because when you lean forward you distribute your weight between your butt and your hands.) Hybrids and cruisers both are HEAVY, which means you're pulling more weight and therefore not flying quite as fast, but you get comfort and stability from that weight.

I would recommend a hybrid over a mountain bike as well. Mountain bike tires are really knobbly and great for, well, mountain trails. On pavement, they have too much surface in contact with the ground, so they'll make the going unnecessarily difficult. Hybrid tires are heftier than road bike tires, so they can better handle what city streets have to offer, and I regularly bump over curbs on mine and I've (knock wood) *never* had a flat, but they're smoother and faster than mountain bike tires.

Our bikes have an amazingly useful feature that I'm not sure you can get anymore. It's a little gauge that displays what gear you're in and which direction will make pedaling more difficult vs. easier. Color coded and everything. The sales guys at the shop where we bought them said they were for "old people," but I guess we qualified because we LOVED them. After years, I finally broke mine and found I didn't need it any more, but it was REALLY useful for a long time.

Don't forget to invest in a helmet that fits. I know forty bucks is most of what you're planning to spend on the bike, but you really need to spring that much for a helmet. You can't get those puppies used, either. The materials break down after a few years and they're no longer safe. You don't need the super-light ones with eight million vents. Bottom-of-the-line will do, as long as it's new.

But really, bike and helmet are the only "equipment" you need. Oh, and a lock (or two) if you're not going to be able to bring it inside at work. As I found myself getting into it more, I invested more in it - more comfortable clothing for different kinds of weather, panniers, a new saddle - but that's just the kind of thing you spend money on when you find a hobby you love. I still haven't replaced my 7-year-old, $200 bike.

By the way, one of the single most important ways to be a happy biker is to keep your tires inflated properly. I keep mine at about 75 lbs of pressure (a pump with a pressure gauge might be handy, but you can prolly use the gauge for your car tires with no problem). The softer the tires, the more surface grips to the ground. This is handy in icy weather, but in normal conditions, it'll only slow you down and make it feel like a slog.

Okay, I hope I haven't overwhelmed you in too "avid" a biker kind of way. I have lots to say about biking in traffic, too, (we took a Saturday urban cycling course from our local bike coalition that was INVALUABLE) but I'll hold my tongue for now.
Jun. 14th, 2008 05:00 pm (UTC)
:) Oddly, I can take people info-bombing me with expert advice a lot better through the medium of the computer. That's because it feels less intense, I guess. Plus, you can't *SEE* me, and you can't see whether I'm ignoring your advice or not! ;-) And you can't see whether I follow up on your advice or not, either. And somehow, I'm just a lot more willing to be blunt about what I do and don't want, and what I do and don't intend to do, over the computer. I breathe much easier about admitting failure to follow through, for example.

Hey, I didn't say any of it was *rational*!

Rest assured, I am factoring in new-helmet cost. :) I've been talking about never having worn a helmet before, and about not being sure about all these new-fangled features like handbrakes and gears and stuff. But don't worry -- I'm not meaning to imply I'd go without a helmet!

I've been eyeing some, and will probably try to go to Target or Sports Authority to try them. (I have an unusually large head.) (Keep your jokes to yourself! ;-) I did know that you can't use a used one.

My basic feeling is that people will sell perfectly good bikes, good for my needs, for quite cheap on things like Craigslist. That's where I seriously want to save my money. But the helmet, I'll get new.

(This is very similar actually to how I have approached kayaking. I bought myself a new lifevest that fit me really well that I was comfy with; I bought myself a breakdown carbon-fiber paddle that is very light. I always RENT a kayak -- well, not least because I cannot store one where I live now, and I don't have a rack for it on my Mini anyway, and I'm dubious about my upper-body strength being able to handle one by myself. So I skimp, in a way, on the kayak part; or at least I make compromises. But I don't skimp on the peripherals, as it were.)
(no subject) - emmieyiza - Jun. 15th, 2008 01:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 14th, 2008 04:12 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the birthday wishes!! :D
Jun. 14th, 2008 04:52 pm (UTC)
You're very welcome! I hope it was a lovely birthday. :D
Jun. 15th, 2008 02:53 pm (UTC)
I feel precisely the same about the bike thing. When I last rode a bike regularly, I'd never heard of a bike helmet.
Jul. 3rd, 2008 01:37 am (UTC)
I know, right? I just stopped riding regularly right before anyone was talking about bike helmets at ALL. It was simply never an issue.

Ah, the good old days, when parents would give kids instructions, and then send them out to hurt themselves or not, it was up to them.

I will say that the most serious accident I ever had on a bike was the one time I was biking wearing flip-flop (which I ALWAYS did, because it was summer at the shore) and something odd happened and I wound up with my foot trapped beneath the pedal for a moment, top-side-down. It really wedged my foot but good between the pedal and the road, and it got dragged along the asphalt a bit. You can still see the scar on my left big toe's knuckle, where many layers were scraped off. (That toe took the brunt, but the others were good and scraped-up too.)

Good times! But that was really way more of an argument for *wearing shoes* while biking, not for wearing a helmet. I've never been hit by a car or knocked off a bike, or fallen from one, or anything. *knocks wood* (Also: did I, thereafter, eschew wearing flip-flops while riding my bike? Oh, of course not.)

(Okay. You know what's eerie? If I sit here and try to remember the shoes - or in this case, the sandals - that I wore in middle school and high school, during the summers, NOTHING comes to mind. I can remember in the early 80s, having a few pairs of Aigne sandals that I liked a lot. But... but I MUST have just worn ye olde standarde cheapo beach flops, and... try as hard as I can, no mental image appears. Weird. It's like for my entire high school and college years, I can't remember my FEET for a 3-month period of each year.)
(no subject) - lynxreign - Jul. 3rd, 2008 12:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 16th, 2008 07:36 am (UTC)
I hope it's ok?
I added you as a friend,
I've just started reading the pegasus B stories and noticed you were credited with writing a recomended guide explanation thingy, but when I tried to go there the link was being guarded by armed monkeys or some such LJ tomfoolery so I came here to see if it was around here somewhere.
anyway I decided to just get stuck in and start reading
I may be some time
Jun. 17th, 2008 12:27 pm (UTC)
Sorry for butting in but I think the PegB links show up readily enough if you join the community (I did it about a year ago when I discovered those fics and they ATE MY BRAIN but that's another story)
And yeah, eregyrn's summary is pretty awesome
(no subject) - scarlettandblue - Jun. 29th, 2008 10:36 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - eregyrn - Jul. 3rd, 2008 01:28 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - eregyrn - Jul. 3rd, 2008 01:28 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - eregyrn - Jul. 3rd, 2008 01:27 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - eregyrn - Jul. 3rd, 2008 01:30 am (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 17th, 2008 12:23 pm (UTC)
Happy birthday yourself! You made my transition into LJ fandom a smoothe one with your PegB links (boy, was I ever throwing myself in at the deep end 8)
Jun. 17th, 2008 06:49 pm (UTC)
Jul. 3rd, 2008 01:24 am (UTC)
Thank you! *hugs*
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 3rd, 2008 01:24 am (UTC)
Thank you, by the way! ;-)
(no subject) - eregyrn - Jul. 3rd, 2008 01:24 am (UTC) - Expand
( 31 comments — Leave a comment )