24 February 2005

The Everyday of a bicycle commute.

Start with the best thing about a bicycle commute: you aren't stuck in jams. Now the worst: automobiles don't really acknowledge you. Autos rolling blissfully unaware through red lights in Dupont Circle are so commonplace, I'm not sure why the District doesn't set up a few red light cameras there.

At seven a.m. there really aren't any jams to speak of, and the light snow isn't even making the ground slick. When there's a nice snow, Dupont Circle looks ghostly beautiful as you round it, but now it just looks wet. I can make the ride from Adams Morgan to Foggy Bottom in ten minutes, even with a child seat thumping empty on the back. Since late November there have been fewer bicyclists out here, but the spring will bring them back.

My son is almost too big for the child seat that's carried him around for nearly four years. The seat itself is worse for wear: what little foam padding it had has long since rubbed thin and the leg straps, which were always useless, disappeared into the street some time ago. I don't know what I'll do when he gets too big for the seat: trail-a-bike attachments seem too bulky for the way we store our bikes and he's not big enough to ride his own along the street behind me.

Anyway, he's home because DCPS cancelled school. It's positively unreal that school could be cancelled with absolutely no accumulation on the streets, but that's life south of the Mason-Dixon.

23 February 2005

Basketball Diaries

Midway along the journey of our life
I woke to find myself in a dark wood,
for I had wandered off from the straight path.

I've had ankle problems for years. I've sprained my right ankle so many times I just got used to lacing them tighter and worrying about it later. That worked until about two years ago when I broke my ankle then sprained it so bad a few months later that I thought I'd stick my hand down there and feel bone. As they say, sprains are worse than breaks. Ankle problems I can accept because I grew up with them, and always the same way: landing on someone else's foot underneath the basket. So I thought I'd get clever and buy myself a brace I could wear all the time on my ankle. It works great and I haven't had a sprain since.

Then today, right in the middle of a lazy game of two on two, I felt something new. I felt the inner side of my right leg twinge from a few inches below to a few inches above the knee. Now that's not right. I've never had trouble with my knees, never. But there it was, everytime I stepped, a little shock reminding me of the time I'd seen another guy's knee go. This guy wasn't doing anything, really, just standing on the perimeter dribbling and walking slowly looking to pass, and he just buckled. He went down on the floor and lay there until a few other guys carried him to the sidelines and the game continued. Later on I found out that it happened to him almost once a year, but he kept on playing.

And I kept on playing, feeling the jabs streak across my knee, stepping slowly instead of cutting hard. I didn't chase down rebounds or challenge shots, but I kept playing for that game and two more games because I didn't want to quit playing. And I certainly didn't want to admit that my body was betraying me in a new way, a way I hadn't suspected or even imagined before today. My ankles I can stand, but not my knees. Not my knees.

Reading 1: Untimely meditations.

I probably should have started this blog about fifteen years ago so I could get in all the horror and the glory of growing up. Too late, though. So now I'm too old to give my random thoughts on last night's puke in the bushes or the three shows I saw at the Black Cat this week. Maybe I'll give a review of the three shows I saw anywhere at all last year. I can say this: about five months ago I saw Dan Zanes and Friends at National Geographic. My four year old loved it, and so did my wife and I. It beats the living sh--oot out of the wiggles.

Missed him at Strathmore though.

Can't get out to the Wilco shows at 9:30 either. But they'll be streamed on NPR. Seriously, though, where else in DC would Wilco get airplay these days? DC has absolutely no "alternative radio" -- using alternative in the original sense of off-beat and out of the mainstream -- and as for college radio, well it's a travesty that in a metropolitan area that boasts so many universities that none of them have a musical impact on the community. Most of the universities sold or shut down their radio stations years ago. It's been a long time since WHFS ran the "Reggae Splashdown" weekly.

So I'm not going to comment a whole lot on the great bands coming through town or the club scene in general or even on new movies. My movies come mainly from netflix or Pixar; that's life with young children. That being said, here are the last three movies I've watched:
1. 200 Cigarettes
2. Blow Up
3. Mary Poppins (about twelve times over the course of two weeks)

Beginning a blog is a great excuse to avoid writing things you're supposed to be writing. Like dissertations.