Tuesday, September 30, 2008

UCSC Bicyclist Shot Dead

I just heard about this today...


A UCSC graduate and bicyclist was shot dead outside his Richmond home. Don't know what to say or think - I've heard Richmond is a rough town but, well, this is horrible.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Viva Bicicleta Banditos!


Sunday Car Free Streets in Mexico City:


San Francisco is also closing down their streets to car traffic on the weekends too:


Sigh, it almost makes me miss living in a big city.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


The Democrats have once again put their tail between their legs and caved in to the Bush Regime/Oil Companies demand that the offshore drilling ban be lifted.

From Democracy Now:

"...congressional Democrats say they’ve agreed to let a ban on offshore drilling expire. The move would pave the way for oil drilling just three miles off both coasts unless the next president reinstates an executive ban. Democrats say they caved to the White House to avoid a showdown over the broader government funding bill....Both Senator John McCain and Senator Barack Obama have come out in support of oil drilling, although Obama has called for stricter limits."

Wow. You know, I've come to expect such behavior from the jackasses, but not when they're the majority party in both the House and Senate. The only difference I can see between Nancy Pelosi and her invertebrate cousin the worm, is that worms are useful in breaking down shit. The Democrats do the opposite.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Let It Collapse


Why bother pretending like I wouldn't enjoy seeing the entire industrial Capitalist system collapse? I mean, I long ago stopped believing that each individual consumer has the power to make a difference in the degradation of the environment by shopping wisely - I mean, I know there are plenty of adults who do believe this, or at least pretend to, but then again, there are plenty of adults who buy lottery tix and talk to Jesus too. And besides, I'm fucking tired of being referred to as a consumer, as if there weren't nobler aspirations for each individual human being.

And yeah, if a total financial collapse does occur I'll probably be one of the first casualties, either out in the bread lines, or put in prison like everyone else for protesting the power of the state. But I'll be comforted knowing that the bulldozers and oil rigs will stand still and with any luck begin to rust as fuel supplies shrink and all the capital that has greased the cogs of this horrible machine that's been raping the earth for the past 200 years disappears. I'll be comforted knowing that there are still indigenous peoples not polluted by industrial societies that will be safer because of its demise.

What's the alternative anyhow? Keep propping up this system in hopes that it's going to reform itself? Get fucking real. It wouldn't/couldn't happen if we elected Ralph Nader or Dennis Kucinich to the presidency.

Regardless of who wins in November, this mad rush to concentrate total power within the hands of the state will continue. I'm not just talking about FISA, but the ubiquitousness of surveillance cameras in everyday life, the excessive use of force (often lethal for poor people) by the police against dissent (see the RNC and DNC), the detention centers for "illegal aliens," and the recent disclosure that the U.S. Army will be deploying a unit inside the United States next month in case of "civil unrest" and "crowd control." We are much farther down the road of fascism that we realize - the very fact that I'm cautious about even writing these words is a testament to that.

So yeah, the bailout, it looks like once again, the bad guys are going to get away while the rest of us are left holding the bill and since there's no guarantee this won't happen again (Enron, Arthur Anderson - and that's just within this decade), I'll be real happy if it doesn't do a god-damn thing to resuscitate the economy and everything completely falls apart.

Let it collapse. I'll see you in the streets.

Friday, September 19, 2008

My Perfect Score

Never mind all that shit about the world's financial markets teetering on collapse, this week i broke a new record in getting harassed by drivers!

Honestly, i don't know how i did it. In the 4 instances (one for every day this week so far, and Friday ain't over yet) that i managed to raise the ire/almost get hit by a driver, I'd been riding 100% within the law. Here are the highlights:

Monday afternoon - Heading home, the intersection of Center and Pacific by Depot Park. i've come over the bike bridge and am waiting patiently at the stop sign for my turn. The problem is, all the drivers seem to view this as a 3 way intersection as there's no oncoming car traffic from the bridge, when in fact, the bike path makes it a 4 way. I start to cross the street for Pacific, a black compact making a left in the opposite direction doesn't see me and stops mid-way in the street. Luckily for me, he doesn't accelerate.

Tuesday morning - Riding in the full lane heading south on Soquel where it intersects w/ Front St. The road is practically empty (hence i'm riding in the middle of the lane) and everything's green including a left turning signal which i'm about to take. Unfortunately, a woman in a compact doesn't see me coming head on and starts to make a right - right into my lane. As i'm breaking, i don't have time to reach for my bell and end up yelling, "hey, Hey, HEY!!" Woman stops in the middle of the lane and i pass with maybe 3 feet between us.

Wednesday morning - The signs on East Cliff Drive right by the train bridge state something like "Bikes May Use Full Lane" or "Watch for Bicycles" - For about 30 feet I have to take the full lane in order to make a left to get on the bridge path. On this morning, i do as i always do, and signal to the cars behind me i'm about to make a left. As i do this, a guy in a truck rolls down his window and says sarcastically, "NICE SIGNALING!" Maybe he didn't see me?

Thursday afternoon - I'm at a stop light at the intersection of Morrissey and Soquel, heading south, trailer in tow. It's "rush hour" and the cars are thick. I'm in the bike lane but once the light turns greens, my intention is to move two lanes over so I can get onto Soquel again as going straight would take me onto Water St and that's not where I wanna go. But i dread this intersection - the space for getting into the left merge lane is short and hard enough to do in an auto. The issue here being drivers have a short temper when it comes to being behind something slower and smaller than them, which translates to me having much pressure to haul as much ass as possible.

Luckily today, there's a backlog of cars ahead which means I don't have to ride like there's an angry multi-ton mechanical bull breathing down my neck. The light turns green, i pass the intersection and get alongside cars merging to the left. I signal left and look directly at the closest driver and mouth "can I get in?" - she lets me in, and because of the trailer, I take the full lane. As we're all slowly inching forward, a large truck with a moose logo and something about electronics passes me on the right, and yells "ASSHOLE!"

Maybe he used to bank with IndyMac.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Bird Watcher Spotted Me

the bird watcher spotted me
i was flying by on my bike
so angry
so angry at the pig
who warned me not to post a flier
for a bike ride
"Don't do it!" he growled from his car/tank
but i waited for him to leave
and put one staple into the telephone pole
for every time a pig has threatened someone
for being free
but the bird watcher spotted me
brought me back to my senses
you are a crow
you are a heron
you are a sparrow
your bones cannot carry anguish
so fly my friend
that is one thing a pig
will never do

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A Quiet Statement Against Argumentative White Men

"So let me ask you something...What kind of war would you support?"

"None," I say with a smile and return to my book. It was a hot hot day and I'd been sitting in the shade after a long ride, reading and eating artichoke bread from the bakery next door. The guy posing the question had also been on a long ride too from the looks of it - yellow spandex, gray hair, expensive racing bike - a bona fide weekend warrior.

Upon first spotting him, I had thought to offer up some of my bread as it was still warm and exceptionally tasty but had figured nah, this would invite conversation and I'm really tired, and this is a good book. He decided to question me anyway.

"What if you were being attacked by someone?"

"That's different. That's between me and whoever is attacking me..."

"No. War is the same thing," Weekend Warrior says testily.

At this point, it dawns on me that this guy is looking for an argument; that the "Bicycling - A Quiet Statement Against Oil Wars" sign on my pannier had somehow upset him which was surprising considering he was also on a bike. I should have seen it coming. His initial snickering of "Ha, I'd like to get rid of all the horses on the road," and "the Sierra Club, that's what really needs to go," had failed to rouse my interest, but now, well, he insisted on verbally sparring.

Weekend warrior continues...

"The Iraq War isn't about oil."

My back stiffens, and for the first time, I put my book down and give him my full attention.

"Who said anything about Iraq?"

"Isn't your sign about Iraq?"

(yes to a certain degree. But it's also about any military involvement over oil with Iran, Somalia, Nigeria, Israel, Saudia Arabia, Venezuela, Pakistan, etc).

He continues, "The British and the Turks fought over the oil there. But we aren't there for oil." (Pausing to wait for my response. I say nothing). "We just liberated 60 or 70 million people."

"Do you always go around picking arguments with people you don't know?" I ask.

"Do you always carry ridiculous signs on your bike? SADDAM WAS ONE OF THE WORST DICTATORS THE WORLD HAS EVER SEEN!"

I look at him, and ask, "Really?"


I nod my head, turn my back to him, and return to my book. He begins to walk towards the bakery...then adds,


I yell back, "So if I understand you correctly, you're upset because I'm exercising the very freedoms you've sacrificed so much for?"

He walks away.

* * *

A couple minutes later he comes back and says there's a water fountain out front if I need to fill up my water bottle (I already did). I offer him some of my bread, he declines, gets on his bike and says, "Peace bro."