Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wide Butt, Thin Tires

It’s about a 12 to 14 mile round trip from the casa to work. I got the wild idea to fix up the old circa 1980 Miyata 10-speed and ride it to work sometime last June. I thought I would have more problems than I did, but I guess it’s true -- riding a bike is like, well, riding a bike. It had been a few years since I strapped one on, but it only took a few days for the initial aches to subside and swelling to go down. I was also spurred on by the total lack of empathy on the part of our good Arab and Venezuelan friends when it came to the price of a gallon of gasoline.

It is interesting to catch the smells of various areas of the city as you ride by. You don’t get that added bonus when you're driving. I like to get an early start, avoiding most if not all of the traffic. You pretty much have total control of the road at 4:30 AM. Well, me and every newspaper carrier in the valley. Anyway, back to the smells. There is the smell of the Great Harvest Bakery. That’s a nice smell (must…keep… pedaling). It seems there is always somebody up early brewing coffee and burning toast. You get this mostly in the summer when their windows are open. There is one neighborhood, however, where many mornings you catch a whiff of burning cannibus (hippie lettuce, Mary Jane, or as Jim Rome would say, “The chronic”). I’m not sure where I learned how to detect that smell, I think it was the first rock concert I ever went to at the Salt Palace. I was about 14 years old, and Santana opened for Crosby, Stills and Nash, but I digress.

There is something to be said for motivating under your own power under the light of a Summer’s full moon. The brakes on the old Miyata don’t work so good, but that is ok. I think the ride is uphill both ways, so brakes aren’t much of an issue. There aren’t any surprises because everybody knows I am headed their way because of the excessive wheezing.

The ride back is a different story. This takes place any time from 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM. Rush hour traffic and all. Most afternoons I take advantage of the Trax train from 600 East to 1400 East. It shaves about one mile from the total, and is a nice option when the temps are hovering in the mid 90’s. You could track my progress home by the circling buzzards.

I have noticed there are many bikes around the city. Maybe because now that I ride, I am more aware of other riders. I wonder how many people are laughing at me because of my skid lid. It's about as old as my bike, and I probably look like what the Danish call “ond svaeg”(mind weak). Styling was never my strong suit (see previous post).

I probably won’t ride too much more this year. It’s pretty and all, and the temps are great, but that can turn on you in a hurry. Baseball season is officially over until March. It also makes it hard to take coworkers to the Maverick for a quick break. Hard to steer with a 44 oz. Diet Coke and a Church employee on the handlebars. Ok then.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Reflections on a Haircut

The Clip Joint Du Jour

This used to be the $1 Shop
Good Ol' Rays

“How you want it cut?” she asked in my left ear. “Oh, go ahead and cut it so that I’m the only person on earth who can’t see the bare spot on top of my head is edging ever outward.” I had once again stumbled into another in a long line of haircutting establishments I have frequented over the years. I think back on some of the other places I have been, and there are a few that come to mind.

Fred the Barber was a favorite of my dad’s. I only remember that he was downtown somewhere in a two seat shop, and he was so old he could have apprenticed under Methuselah. After a couple of times I refused to go any longer, but I believe my younger brothers continued with Fred long after I had graduated to other places.

As a youngster the place I remembered most was Ray’s (I think) up by what was then the old grocery store on 21st East and 13th South. You walked in and grabbed a seat because there were always four or five heads in front of you. The beauty part was that Ray (if that really was his name) always had comic books to read while you waited. I remember many a fine summer morning wasting away reading bad humor from magazines with half the pages missing (hard to find any continuity).

Years later I went more of the “stylist” route. Bad smells, truly lousy magazines, and over paid artists (pronounced arteests). I even followed a couple to new locations when they had fallen out of favor with management or some of their cutting buddies. The results were always the same…. $30 bucks and a haircut that always looked the same after four days. Sometimes that was good, and sometimes that was bad.

But I digress. This week I was getting my latest hair fix and started making some observations. This place only charges $5 a cut, and they never seem to run out of heads to trim. There is a steady stream of hairy people walking through the door. This is a rectangular building about 25’ by 60’ with 12 chairs in it, six along each wall. There are mirrors along each long wall that give the impression that the place is much larger, but it ain’t. They are too busy to sweep up after every haircut, so you have to watch your step. If you have to wait for your favorite cutter, you have a choice of either an old molded plastic chair (red or orange) from a U of U medical department, a low wooden bench, or a folding chair. I think the magazines on the big round table in the middle of the room were donated by Fred’s estate sale (remember Fred?).

The barbers come from all walks of life, male and female, old and young, Asian and Eastern European. One lady barber sports an oxygen tank on wheels at all times. As diverse as the cutters are, the clientele are even more so. I am usually the only “white shirt” there, as I am stealing 15 minutes from work or lunch. It doesn’t matter, because we all look like refugees when the mismatched plastic covers are put on us around the neck. Some are faux leopard, some black, or a variety of other colors made up to match the rejected Crayola crayons from the 102 box set that nobody every used because they had funny names. Rockwell couldn’t have captured this one.

I found this place because of my old habit of following a barber from a previous location. I was delighted to find out that I could now get my old $12 haircut for only $5. Even with a $5 tip, I was still ahead of the game. Thing is, I am on my third barber in the same place. I got tired of going to Greg, so being hooked on a cheap haircut, I had to figure which day Greg took off, and try somebody else (I’m so shallow). Anywho, this last haircut was as good as any, and she seemed to appreciate the tip. Things is different from the old days. I don’t remember having to have my eyebrows trimmed every month. Don’t want to be a unibrow, do we? And a bushy one at that. Or the hair in my ears tamed. I seem to be growing hair everywhere but where I want it to grow. “And would it kill ya to not comb over that mole on my head?” Sheesh! OK then.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

"Kat! Hit Ball! Hard!"

That's what Emma says when I tell her we're going to a volleyball match at the U. Because, you see, our lovely (and tough!) daughter-in-law, Kathryn (Andy's wife), is on the women's volleyball team and she hits the ball HARD! That's her down there in the middle, in the white. On Thursday she achieved her 1,000th career kill (a "kill" is when you punch the ball so hard over the net that the opposing team can't return it...I used to not know that, being generally ignorant of sports-related terminology). Only 10 other women have done that in the U's history. Way to hit the ball hard, Kat.
Emma attended the match, dressed in Utah red. She hung with the cheerleaders for awhile...

...and didn't know which direction to face for the national anthem...but she got the hand position right. It was a fun evening.


Wednesday, October 01, 2008

A Handsome Missionary Nephew

One of my nephews, Russell, went in to the Missionary Training Center today for 9 weeks of training before he heads to Naga, Philippines, for his 2-year mission. Above is a photo of me, Russell's grandparents and Aunt Barbie at the MTC. It was a gorgeous, sunny day and we had a glorious experience helping to send him off.

Good luck and God bless you, Russell. You will be an outstanding missionary.

Some of our family have decided to read the entire Book of Mormon during the month of October. That's roughly 18 pages a day (or 36 pages every other day ...). Hope I can keep up. It's not too late to join the challenge....