Paying the piper

It finally happened — I pushed it too far on the bike and bought the farm. Mike and i took a ride out Redwood Rd. to go to a gear shop in Castro Valley. Had a great Mexican lunch. On way back, we were really flying – felt so good to be on familiar twisties again. Was thinking how nice it is that the bike is finally all broken in and that I’ve found my zen with it.

Was in a decreasing radius left-hander doing about 45 when the turn suddenly got much tighter. Cranked it over harder, but started to freak out when I realized I was getting too close to a drainage ditch at edge of road. Because I couldn’t lean any farther with confidence, I should have been pushing down sideways on the bars to eek out a few more ounces of angle. Instead, I panicked and tapped the front brake. That’s all it took to stand it up, which sent me straight into the ditch.

Rambled through the ditch for a few feet, then the front tire bounced out and caused the bike to catch air and sail back toward the road. Bike came down nose first at an angle and i went head first over the handlebars. Had a moment to think about how to roll. Landed on my left shoulder and elbow, plus side of helmet. The bike came crashing down behind me with an evil, expensive sounding noise.

I immediately jumped to my feet and out of the road, then realized the bike was at the end of a blind curve and liable to be run into by a car or to become an obstacle for another bike. I went to it and grabbed the handlebars and tried to lift it. As soon as I pulled, I felt a rippling run through my upper left arm and something felt like it was out of place. The pain was pretty intense and I sat down on the side of the road. Everything was chaos. Realized later that I probably started the arm fracture in the crash but actually broke it trying to lift the bike.

Mike had been right in front of me, and though I knew he couldn’t see it happen, I knew he would turn around soon and come find me. Minutes later, another biker stopped to help me out. He was able to get my bike out of the road and to a pullout on the other side. It looked pretty messed up. Another guy showed up, then another. Some bicyclists were there. I started to come out of shock and was sweating like a pig. One guy had some medical experience and did some coherence and visual tests – I was fine, or at least didn’t have a concussion. But the pain in my upper arm was really starting to kick in. A bicyclist gave me 800mg of ibuprofen. Had a few sips of water.

Somewhere in the middle of all this someone rode down to the ranger station to call the paramedics. They arrived 15 minutes later followed by the CHP. More questions and more tests, then climbed into the back of the ambulance — first ambulance ride. CHP wrote up an incident report.

Went to Alta Bates emergency room where the interminable waiting began. Was in there for hours. Finally took x-rays. Big fracture running diagonally across my left humerus. Amazingly though, everything is in tact and in alignment. Doc predicts it will heal nicely but will take time.

Amy and Mike showed up around 10:30. Mike had taken care of having the bike towed down off the mtn. Amy had been teaching and saw Mike arrive with tow truck. She was worried sick. She has always been so worried for me and this is the last thing I wanted to put her through. But she was a trooper.

Finally got sent home with a splint and sling, a bottle of vicodin, and a prescription. Had fertility duty, then slept fitfully. Today it’s all still sinking in, what it means to be pattially disabled for the next 8 weeks, what I did wrong, how it could have been avoided.. Every little thing is a goddam hassle now (like buttoning my pants), and I need to start making money. Life is so weird. Went to see orthopedist and he said I wouldn’t need a full cast — just the sling and another x-ray in 12 days.

Pretty ironic that I just finished a 3500 mile ride without incident, then all this happens on a 50 mile afternoon jaunt. Helmet will probably have to be replaced. Jacket is deeply gouged but still viable. Aerostitch looks fine. Protective gear saved my life today. Head would have been smashed open without the helmet. Bike will need quite a bit of work and I can’t afford that until I’m working again. I won’t be riding for a while. May even make a bigger decision about riding. Can I trust myself to reign it in?

I’ve typed this out one-handed, hunt and peck. It has taken a long time. I’ll have to get used to it.

Time passes swiftly by

Let me respectfully remind you,
Life and death
Are of supreme importance.
Time passes swiftly by
And opportunity is lost.
Each of us should strive to awaken.
Awaken!
Take heed:
Do not squander your life.

– The Evening Gatha

Turning Point

BYTE ran a piece I wrote two weeks ago:

Turning Point for Be, Users

about the BeOS situation as it stands… just how bad it is, who should keep using and why, etc. Ignited quite a firestorm on BeNews, but most people didn’t begrudge my position… most agreed with it. A few flames, easily extinguished. The weird thing was that I got messages from old Be engineers and employees… people I hadn’t heard from for quite a while writing to commiserate, and to remember what it used to be like. Interesting that they’re still following Be after all this time, long after they’ve moved on personally. BeOS gets under you skin that way. People are never the same after they start using. Was kind of nice reconnecting with an older segment of the community.

Between that and the recent “Adamation leaves the BeOS scene” announcement I had to write, I feel like a Benedict Arnold. Except that I’m not a traitor – I’ve done everything in my power to keep things alive. Why there were never dozens of journalists on the BeOS beat is still a mystery to me. I shouldn’t have been alone.

Anyway, it just amazes me that there are people today who think I’m being unfairly harsh on Be. “They’re going through hard times. You shouldn’t be so callous.”

For godssake people, open your eyes.

In Absentia

Went to see the new Brothers Quay film In Absentia with Amy and Amy after work, preceded by five other Quay shorts. It’s been a long time since I’ve watched any of their stuff. This was a big departure from their earlier works. More live action, less puppeteering. About a woman in a room writing over and over again in these tiny, cramped, heavy loops, nothingness onto a page over and over again, breaking pencil leads with her heavy hand and placing the stubs on the windowsill. Eerie soundtrack by Stockhausen which I loved but the Amys hated. Took a while to shift gears. Brain still in work mode through most of the first shorts, then I slowed down and got into it more. Felt really good to get out of the office and into the theater, especially to see something more abstract.

Broccoli of the Subgenius

Picked up a used copy of the Book of the Subgenius at a garage sale to replace my decades old, dog-eared copy. Tried to watch Conceiving Ada, but it was so badly acted and so corny we had to quit after 20 minutes. I’d love to learn the story of Ada Lovelace, but those filmmakers should be ashamed. Ended up watching some of Short 6 instead.

arenacross

Took off early from work (well, 6) and went to the Oakland Arena with Mike to check out the arena cross — sort of the “superbowl of motorcross.” What they do is take a basketball court and fill it with dirt, then make this ridiculously torturous, windy whoop-de-doo track and pack it down. Kids and 20-somethings from all over the state race 125 and 250cc motocross bikes around, spending a full 1/3 of their time in the air. The jumps are absolutely insane. A 30 foot take-off run in 1st or 2nd gear off a 12-foot jump, and they sail in these perfect arcs halfway down the court, land and brake suddenly, hairpin turn, then two or three medium size jumps on the way back, a run of small whoop-dees, and back into the main jump. Over and over again.

I don’t know what they burn in those things, but the smell of dozens of two-stroke engines buzzing with this whiny noise and pooting out this acrid chemical smell. It smelled so bad and so brain damaging I can’t even believe they did it indoors. Afterwards we could taste the chemicals in our mouths it was so foul.

There was also a class of 65cc bikes ridden by 7 to 11 year olds. Cute, but not nearly as daring. They just roll over the jumps. Would have been more exciting if one of those kids were mine. In fact it seemed like half the audience was composed of friends and family of the racers.

I was hoping for a real white trash experience, but it was kind of ho hum. Graceful to watch, but it got boring pretty quickly, and there just wasn’t enough space to make for a good race. Whoever hit the first turn first always won. Wish they had trotted out more spectacle — big boobie babes, show-off stunts, etc. Think we’ll have to go to a monster truck rally for that.

$8 for parking
$6 for a beer
$4.50 for what they straight facedly call “nachos”
$27 for the ticket with all those absurd ticketmaster “service” charges (what f*cking service?)

Kinda fun, kinda gross.

buddhas take hits from rocket launchers

I am disgusted and amazed at the Taliban and their intentions to destroy some 2,000 year old statues of The Buddha, 174 feet high and carved into the side of a sandstone cliff in Afghanistan.


The Taliban claim that the statues encourage idolatry and are un-Islamic. So they’re going to rewrite history. They’ve already started blasting at them with rocket launchers, and have chipped away at the heads and feet. It’s like blowing up the Parthenon or the Sphinxes. Human idiocy and arrogance know no bounds. The whole world is against this, but of course they’re not listening, not letting anyone into the site. It’s on their turf, they can do what they want. It’s one of the saddest things I’ve heard in a long time.


Of course, it’s not like they can kill off the buddha spirit. They’ll only make themselves look miserable and pathetic. The whole thing isn’t much different from the Chinese occupation / destruction of Tibet. The world hasn’t done anything to stop that either. Mostly because no oil is involved.

Steamer

The pressure is intense. The politics make it much worse than it needs to be. Feel like I’m being pulled in two dozen directions at once. And I’ve only got four limbs with which to be pulled. From.

Requiem for a Dream

Just watched Requiem for a Dream with Amy… what a heavy way to end the week. What an intense movie. Also one of the most originally shot and edited I can remember seeing, ever. Inspirational in that sense, but if anything has ever sent a successful “don’t play with fire or you might get burned” message, this is it. Also about delusional goals, irrational justifications, and the seductiveness of the rabbit hole. Unh.

Front lines

It’s funny… I thought I knew everything about the history of Be and BeOS… but I’m learning so much more working where I’m working. Not all of it is stuff I necessarily want to be learning, either. I mean, it’s not like I shun the truth, only that I’m realizing that I’ve only known part of the story, and have been naive in some respects. Won’t say more about that here. Only that I’m feeling a little down on account of having my eyes opened.

Jazz pt. #7 was tonight. WWII, Bird and Diz. Intense and amazing tonight, as every episode has been. Made me realize… if there was a war right now and I got drafted, and they brought the music of the day to the front lines to entertain me, I would curse the stars that it was Ricky Martin and Brittany Spears. 50 years ago, it could have Ellington, or Basie. Amazing that those geniuses *were* the popular music of the day, not some historical curiosities. What has happened to great music? Is it really all but gone?