Sunday, January 28, 2007

Inland Empire

I kept wanting david lynch and his hair to appear in this movie.
The light and sound were wonderful, I spent most of the movie thinking about them and whether or not Polish people would be offended by the film. Seeing laura dern generally drives me nuts. She did a wonderful job; I should know I just saw her face close-up with every wrinkle and oddly shaped tooth for 3 hours. Did you know she is married to ben harper? is that lynchian?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Man oh man...I think I know what you mean...why does the Holocaust always seem to pop up? I got into a fight with a boy at the bike shop last night about israel/palestine because I introduced myself as Sarah; one reference led to another and then I find myself going from wife of Abraham to Moses and Ishmael...and I'm like FUCK how did I get here? and why am I fighting and offended when certain things are said about Israel?

It turned out the boy I was arguing with's mom was born Jewish and then converted hardcore into christianity and i realize that the fight he and i were making was with our parents and the idea of inheritance... the struggle with understanding how much of who we are is a result of our parents, our genes or history because the older you get the harder it is to believe we're each a special snowflake. Neither one of us would call ourselves christian or jewish even though we both grew up with Christmas presents and at the same time we could get a free trip with birth-right-israel to go and eat falafel and see the wailing wall.

When we talked about Palestine he and I were fighting about how we wanted our parents to fit into our lives, how much control we could have as much as much as we were fighting about God and political lines...because in truth I don't know much about the latter 2.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Chicago Pride

Tons of Chicago Pride as the Bears pound NOlA. Lots of people going around the city shouting "call me Katrina". Some fucked up shit.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Good Folks on the Ice

So Proud of
Ilana, Rebecca Grady, Charlie, and Aay.

Even their website is pretty.
Andrea and I made a three legged octopus 'troctopus' for them, but I fear it is too little too late. But I do like the sultry snuffleupagus eyelashes.

Mechanics Making Sense

My new job is all about teaching youth about bicycles. So I get paid to take bike mechanic classes! Awesome.

A couple months ago I took a bike building class at a community shop. It was one of the most FRUSTRATING experiences I have ever had. Everything took forever and nothing was done correctly, and by the end I was just happy to roll out with a wobbly, untrued, bent spindle, ill fitting bicycle. The 25+ hours spent tearing apart and putting back together seems not to be in vain, having spent 6 hours adjusting a bottom bracket was actually just prepping me for actually understanding how to do it two months later.

The 9 hours spent yesterday at Blackstone Bicycles with Christopher Wallace was one of the best classes I've ever taken, everything he said made clicked...either he is the best teacher in the world (very possible) or all the frustrating hours spent before had propped me for beginning to understand bikes.

In order to spread bike love and mechanic exposure I'm going to list a few things I've recently learned. (I also work with a great mechanic who teaches 14 year olds...he is also really good at making me understand how a bike works or fixes.)

1. when you take things apart on your bike, don't actually take them all the way apart if you can help it. For example if you are changing brake pads, just loosen parts till you can pull what you need off, that way things don't get out of order or lost....sounds like we're morons, but it actually helps.
2. Righty tighty lefty loosy...FORGET THAT SHIT! When working with bolts, screws, etc it always drives me nuts trying to figure out which way I should turn. To remember pretend you have a screw in your hand and turn it to tighten. REMEMBER THE FEELING. Always remember the way it FEELS to tighten and then you can figure out anything (except for pedals...and a few other left threaded pieces). Using the feeling is good because you can work upside down and backwards and underwater etc.
(evidently Yellow Jersy is famous ...even in chicago... because they make all their mechanics work on bikes that an urban bike legend?)
3. Toe your breaks so the front hits the rim before the back. The slant should not be big, you can get the right distance by putting a rubber band on the back end or a thin piece of cardboard at the bottom as you adjust to get the right slant.
towing will make your brakes more effective and stop squeaking. If your breaks are squeaking you should take a sponge with a little scrubby and some grease cutting soap and clean the rims, take a little sandpaper and run it over the brake pads to clean them and you should be alright.
4. Test your brakes after change or adjust them by squeezing the handle bar levers 10 with should try to break them while testing them...that way you'll be more sure it won't break while on the road.
5. There is a really genius easy way to make wheel hubs adjusted is based on the theory of 'finger tightening' I would be happy to teach anyone
6. Despite everything I learn ...fixing brakes is always the most rewarding cuz it is easy and I use them all the time. The picture is of the brakes I took off this morning I should be shot for riding with them, they are completely smooth. My teacher told me a story about running over a biker and dragging him under his car for a while...the moral of the story=old fashioned metal is always best, his bumper was some old chrome so the biker could curl his fingers over the bumper and hang on as he was dragged under the car! For some reason mechanics always work in ways of telling you older metal was superior. The other interesting part of the story is that now the guy who told the story goes and steals bikes he sees without brakes and puts brakes on them...he figures this theft is a public service for stupid boys who don't know any better.

--oil is oil (goes on chains etc) grease is 30% oil, the rest is dirt!
--brakes and deraillures are controlled by CABLES, not WIRES. don't call them wires, and remember they are kept in Cable HOUSING.
--A spindle spins an axel stays still. Inside your bottom bracket there is a spindle, connected to your cranks, rolling over bearings. I think inside your wheel hubs there is an axle, which the wheel spins around.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Watch This:
an exerpt from a poem :

At my work
there are a number
of(like me)bearded
freshly woken
resembling unmade beds.

by nate

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Notes From Work

there is something very gratifying in saying you HATE your job.

I love hating it so much I find myself almost bragging about it to my superiors. This would be a poor career choice. I guess I shouldn't really have bragging rights to such a full extent because I work in a cubicle with fluorescent lighting with a computer screen that is almost like a tv for everyone who walks by to see what I am doing and make sure I'm not on gmail etc. I have been so busy working and/or hating work I haven't been writing, not even email. Not writing wears me out like not being able to get a good night sleep (maybe that is why Rebecca blogs during fits of insomnia).

The bizarrest part of the new office environment is a woman, I think her name is Jackie, or I just think that because she looks like one of my old neighbors who also dyed her hair and consistently left an inch and a half of silver roots showing, making it look disturbingly like her hair is slipping off her head. She always puts a variety of candy, cookies, chocolates and mints out on in front of her cube. Is it to make all the bikers fat (she is not a biker, I don't know what she does)? Is it to make friends (most people just whip by and snip something)? Is it to foster 5th floor community and does she get a grant from the Department of Transportation to fund such extravagance? There is also a lot of free hand lotion in the women's restroom. Who is resonable?

Back to Jackie. I feel like she is always wearing dressy sweatshirts and knit pants. She has big glasses. They slide down her nose the same way mine do, but hers are so big even from the tip of her nose they cover her whole face from cheek to eyebrow. In the kitchen area I tried to make conversation with her, the water. I was filling up my water bottle, being "spartansarah" ...I'm all into drinking tap water. I told her my cousin in Orlando is jealous of the water in Chicago. (what was I thinking? that was my first sentence I ever said to her) She laughed that she would never drink the water here as she filled a water bottle like mine. She just uses it to water her plants.

I've been wanting to make my cube into a jungle if not to improve air quality then at least to give myself some privacy behind a big rubber tree or fern or something, but I fear that nothing will grow in the horrible I asked her about plant health on the 5th floor. She said they do great, there's tons of light (she must be crazy) our widows are tinted almost black. I think she is my favorite person on the entire 5th floor.

My second favorite is Kathy. She has a real office with a door across from my cubicle. She is a tough wiry lady with short blond hair, you could easily imagine her as your PE teacher in middle school. I was warned from the beginning not to touch her coffee...I imagine she is so tough she'd kill and suck the caffeine out of my blood if I was ever so foolish or bold.

I don't know what she does beside walk quickly to the kitchen and coffee pot and get a lot of visitors, mostly people passing by in the hallway sticking their head in to talk to her because she's tons of fun/opinionated.

One day someone stopped in and asked if she had an escape plan. They talked for a really long time about how everyone is supposed to have one. Evidently one of the acting commissioners in the building has a raft in the office, and should the shit ever hit the fan (every time I walk in the revolving doors at work I think about what a terrorist target I am walking into and it is very easy to imagine dust and marble shrapnel exploding around us in the lobby as thousands run screaming out of the building...Luckily I work on the 5th floor). The commissioner with the raft is pretty smart, she figures with the roads impassable during a state of emergency she would just paddle up the Chicago river back to her house/apartment/condo/whatever commissioners live in. Kathy grunted at this story, "I'm just going to walk along the railroad tracks" she says. I guess this is the kind of talk you can expect from people in the Dept. Of Transportation...they love that shit. The same thrill I get out of going to a job I HATE, they get out of going to a job where they imagine they're targeted by terrorists and ready to rough it transportation style.

I've been so sick of work I've actually gotten sick. My mom somehow convinced me that riding 45 minutes each way in the freezing weather was not a good way for a person with the flu to I took the train into work a couple of times. On the way home today there was a HUGE 15 minutes before a train went by (during rush hour that is equivalent to 45 minutes without a train). A LOT of people were massing on the platfrom...a lot of ...attractive men. It was nice because they didn't look like business men and they didn't look like students, they looked interesting, I wonder what they do downtown. Luckily I was so sick and full of hate I didn't really care who existed. As I waited I imagined there was some sort of disaster...the train would never come. We would have to walk through the tunnels for a while to safety. I started thinking about all the bike tools I have in my bag, wrenches, screwdrivers etc. And how I would have to lead everyone to safety with my bike would put all those cell phone lights to shame. Ahhh, how the city worker loves to martyr...and dreams of being useful.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Instant Chicago Illness

As soon as I got to chicago I got sick, in bizzare ways. Notice the visual aid above.
1. Globs of grease in my hair
2. Eye hurt (result of staring at a computer screen in a cubicle)
3. Nose is red and full of snot
4. DARK skin appears under my dark I look bi-racial
5. pimples...not oral herpes... appear
**over all look burned out, over exposed, and green...not to mention my body suddenly morfs into a geometrically perfect rectangle.