My Picks for the Western Conference All-Star Team

In a just world, this would be the Western Conference All-Star team:
Deron Williams
Brandon Roy
Kevin Durant
Carmelo Anthony
Dirk Nowitzki
Tim Duncan
Kobe Bryant
Steve Nash
Pau Gasol
Chris Paul
Tyreke Evans
Amare Stoudemire

The Western Conference was much harder to pick than the Eastern Conference. The following players really deserve to play in the All-Star game as well:
Chris Kaman
Monta Ellis
Zach Randolph
Andrew Bynum

My Picks for the Eastern Conference All-Stars

In a just world, here is who would be selected for the Eastern Conference All-Star team:
Dwight Howard
Lebron James
Chris Bosh
Dwayne Wade
Joe Johnson
Antawn Jamison
Rajon Rondo
Gerald Wallace
Danny Granger
Derrick Rose
Brook Lopez
David Lee

Still Waiting for Video on the Web to Work

It is 2010 and video on the web is in a sorry state.
– It is choppy on all OS X web browsers, no matter the video source. It is better on Chrome and Safari, worse on Firefox, but definitely choppy on all three.
– It doesn’t work on the iPhone.
– There is too much buffering on all platforms. Really, software developers, set it so it buffer enough before it starts playing so playback isn’t interrupted.

Sometimes, a lot of the time, modern technology seems like it is in one giant beta test. Being a sysadmin, I see hardware and software fail to do really basic things all the time. Things like:
– servers locking up with no useful error logging to let me know why
– Apple’s Mail.app crashing, with no error messages
– my new keyboard, of all things, needing to be unplugged and replugged at least once per day to work correctly

And with video, well that is supposed to be the new hotness on the web, but I for one still find it remarkably frustrating.

Honeymoon Update!

We’re going to Copenhagen in September or October, for about ten days!

Yeah, it’s a long way away, but we’ve got to save up our paid time off 🙂 Immediately after the wedding, we’ll go to a bed and breakfast for two or three nights.

I’m getting pretty excited. Things are moving along pretty smoothly. Invites will start to go out tomorrow night.

Honeymoon

I decided recently to start blogging more in lieu of certain posts on Twitter. I find that, whodathunkit, it is hard to fully contain a thought in 140 characters sometimes.

Mags and I talked tonight and it seems like it will probably make the most sense to have a short two- or three-day honeymoon immediately after the wedding, with the full honeymoon coming some months later. The short honeymoon will probably be at a nice bed and breakfast. Here are some ideas for the longer honeymoon – maybe about ten days in length…

Copenhagen. Cute, European city from what I hear. The most appealing thing, though, for both of us I think, is the huge bicycle culture here.

Tokyo. I’ve always wanted to go to Tokyo. Seems like there would be endless partying and world-class food here.

Mixed trip: Napa Valley and a cabin in the woods somewhere. This would probably be the most relaxed, peaceful option. The days would be filled with wine tastings, hikes in the woods, and lazy days in small towns.

Obligatory island somewhere. This option obviously has to be explored.

That’s all I can think of for now. I am sure we will come up with more ideas. I’d love to hear your ideas, too!

Project Tuxedo!

So as y’all probably know via word-of-mouth, email, Twitter, Facebook, or otherwise, Mags and I are getting married. I’ve decided to buy a tuxedo for the occasion rather than rent one. And I’d like to lose some weight for the wedding. So if I want to buy the tuxedo sooner rather than later, I’d better start losing weight now.

The goal is to lose ten pounds. I am at 161 this morning. Two pounds per week will put me at 151 on November 12.

I can certainly do it. I’ll be alternating running and biking along with push-ups, chin/pull-ups, and ab workouts. Of course I am going to try to improve my diet as well. I’ll go with my previous strategy of cutting something out of my diet if I get off track.

Wish me luck!

Worst Motorist Intimidation So Far

After more than a year of using a bicycle as my primary means of transportation, today I experienced the worst yet dangerous confrontation on the road.

As I was going down the hill on the 200 block of Chenery St, one block from my home, I heard a car behind me trying to pass in the oncoming lane. There was a car in front of me already, a stop sign coming up, and I was already going fast, as I was going down a hill. So I put my left hand out, palm facing the passing motorist, to tell her to “stop.”

Indeed, she did stop trying to pass me, and also yelled out a few things like “Move! Move!” and “Hurry up!”

Keep in mind that this is a residential street. Also keep in mind that on this downhill, bikes go faster than cars.

Of course, I point out all of this to you, my logical reader. Unfortunately logic literally does not enter into the decision-making process of many people. Moving on with my story…

So I am still in front of her, and I come to a complete stop at the stop sign. I turn around and ask “Just how fast do you think you’re going to go on this street?” She only responded, “Move! Shut the fuck up!” She then went around me at the stop sign, almost hitting me.

I am glad I am not a naturally violent person, because I did have a strong urge to kick out her tail light, but obviously I didn’t do that. You can probably guess that I easily caught up with her again, showing that in this case cars slow bikes down, bikes don’t slow cars down. I pulled up alongside her car at the next stop sign and said, “Did you happen to notice that I am going as fast as you are?” to which she responded (using her immense powers of logical argument) “Shut the fuck up! Shut the fuck up!” She then sped off.

This is the worst confrontation I have had yet with a motorist. Mags and I did have another person yell at us on Chenery a few weeks ago, though. This time, we were going up the hill. I was hauling 60 pounds of bagged compost on my trailer, and Mags was riding alongside me. A car behind us gave two light beeps. Mags motioned for her to go around us. For some reason this really pissed the motorist off, and she passed us, cursing up a storm as she did so. She was an elderly woman, acting this way. A nice pedestrian on the sidewalk remarked, “You just can’t win, can you?”

Oh, but we can win, and we will. It is incidents like this that show the continued need for Critical Mass, which just so happens to be tonight! And, as long as it is taking, we are getting better bicycle infrastructure in the city, starting soon.

Bikers are pissed, organized, and we’re going to stand up for ourselves. Motorists don’t have that going for them, that’s for sure.

This Time Last Year

This time last year, I was living in the Tenderloin. Peter-man was “the guy on the couch” (or the floor, or the air mattress). It was good times. I had only recently met Mags, I think about a week previously, and I had a major crush on her but I waited about another week to take action. My birthday was celebrated with Fun-yuns and Slim Jims at the Brown Jug Saloon in the Tenderloin, along with a sandwich party in Dolores Park. Last year’s celebration was a lot of fun, but I dropped the Brown Jug, kept the sandwich party, and added a small meal with a couple of guests at home for this year.

I was working at IS Logistics, and generally enjoying that. I was probably about 8 pounds lighter. Oh, and another major difference is that a year ago I had basically no savings, but that has changed drastically. I am much better with my money now.

Also one year ago I was going to school and working at the same time, both full time, which gave me three near-breakdowns. Not doing that again 🙂 I value my mental health too much.

Overall, I had a good life one year ago, and I have a better one now. I am working at EFF, living happily with Mags and two great roommates in Glen Park. I am about to move my Mom out here, and I am excited about what is going to happen on that front. Also, I am becoming more politically active, and I have made a lot of new friends.

If it is this good at 26, could it possibly get better at 27? Well, I’m not going to worry about that too much. I am just going to do what feels right.

Last Night’s Critical Mass

Last night, I met up with a couple of awesome Couch Surfers for Critical Mass. The weather was absolutely perfect. Since it was oppressively hot, by San Francisco standards, during the day, it was just pleasantly warm by 6pm when we left the ferry building.

There were a good number of us, and spirits were high, as always. Three guys had fog machines on our bike, which I initially mistook for someone’s electric assist bike catching on fire. As we rolled down Market Street, a young woman tisk-tisked us, talking about how there were more emissions because of us from the idling cars. Oh, sorry! Our fault. Because we’re the ones that drove the cars to begin with… And climate change is the only reason any of us ride…

Anyway, moving along. We went through Union Square, then down to the ballpark, where a game was getting ready to start. There were so many pedestrians that I think they could have had a critical mass of their own, if they had asserted themselves in crossing the street, that is…

At one point, I saw my good friend Derrick, all dressed up in his shirt and tie after work. I talked with him briefly and then escorted him across the road through the mass! That was funny. Another time, in SOMA, a young woman in an SUV honk-honk-honked at us, which only makes us cheer, wave, and flash the peace sign. This, of course, pissed her off even more, because – damn! – she couldn’t get under our collective skin! She flashed us the most pissed off look accompanied by two middle fingers… Even with a few annoyed people, the vast majority of the pedestrians and drivers, even, were in a celebratory mood with us, cheering and smiling, giving us high fives.

We made our way through the wiggle and then through Golden Gate Park. We ended with a perfect sunset at the beach.

All in all, this Critical Mass ride was right up there with the Halloween ride as the most fun.

It was also exactly what I needed. I found myself getting more and more bitter every day. I was thinking about politics and the negative aspects of society all the time. But Critical Mass is adding something positive instead of combating something negative, and I need to make sure I make this type of activity a mainstay of my life so I don’t get too depressed just thinking about everything else. So, I certainly have some ideas on how to bring this about, and I’ll be working on it!

Man’s Economic Motivation

This is a great quote from Karl Poyani, in The Great Transformation:

The outstanding discovery of recent historical and anthropological research is that man’s economy, as a rule, is submerged in his social relationships. He does not act as to safeguard his individual interest in the possession of material goods; he acts so as to safeguard his social standing, his social assets.

This idea is central to the concept of an anarchist gift economy, and it is great to see a non-anarchist historian talk about it. I’d love to read more about research on this idea.