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February 28, 2006

Maybe we need to rethink our whole approach

We often become reactionary thinkers. We go down a path like a chain-reaction – one thing leads to another, one choice is based on a previous choice and we find ourselves in the current position and what we have created and what we are choosing now is situation-based.
Where is the line between accepting who you are and working to change/improve yourself? Basically we should have love for our self. Which means sometimes we have to do what is good for us. And we can learn to define our choices based on who we are verses defining who we are based on our choices. It doesn’t mean you are a bad person because you chose a certain path to go down. By necessity choices have to support our current path or we are on a different path. But maybe getting off our chosen path is not so bad. Sometimes the time is right to take a new approach.
Our value and self-worth as a human being goes along with us on whatever path we choose. We are no less valuable to God if we are a Dentist or Delivery Driver. Sometimes we can make better choices in life though, and this is where change/self-improvement comes in. We should continue to love ourselves no matter what. This is why we should always be in the process of changing/improving ourselves. We should always be involved in the process of change. It’s not something we order up that someone else prepares for us and accept or reject it. In Eastern traditions we are constantly in the process of becoming enlightened and we should not stop seeking this. Really enlightenment is the process of self-improvement, or purification and like purifying water there is a process we go through to do this. It’s not something we arrive at by accident. Change is essential and ongoing regardless of what activities we are doing in these bodies. Everything in life becomes an education. School never ends and we are perpetual students. How good of students are we? I don’t think self-acceptance really means being satisfied with where we are at in life. I think true self-acceptance, is acceptance of ourselves no matter what path we are on, and loving ourselves no matter what path we are on. Change comes when we accept who we are and try to make better and more loving choices for ourselves.
If I am mean to others and I become aware that I am, do I accept that as who I am? Or do I try to change? The loving thing to do would be try to change. I accept myself as a human being and don’t bash myself and counter-act what is good for me. It’s good for me to be kind to others. I feel better when I do and it’s good for my soul. So I seek to change how I treat others. I feel like we confuse our choices with who we are as a human being and spiritual being, all part of God. When we make bad choices we tend to be hyper critical of ourselves and devalue who we are. We stop accepting our own value and self-worth. But really it’s our bad choices that we should stop accepting and make better choices.
Since choices are often based on a chain reaction in life, one choice leading to another, down a specific path, sometimes we need to rethink the whole approach. To arrive at a new, creative choice, we have to look at the big picture and choose a path that will have the desired chain reaction of choices.
But no matter what path we choose, we still (lovingly) carry ourselves down the path and constantly learn and improve who we are, making better and better choices. This also means (lovingly) we don't need to correct things that are working and that are good and right. We make choices based on who we are and it works.

Posted by carl1236 at 1:53 PM

February 27, 2006

I'm officially in...CRAFTSTRAVAGANZA!

I'm offically signed up for the CRAFTSTRAVAGANZA on Saturday, July 8, 2006. I'll be there with my eggs and wax-resist prints and also demonstrating how it's done. Cool huh? It'll be fun.
Things are shaping up for the St. Paul Art Crawl. Today I got permission for JAAK to display his cool Bike Art in the entryway next to the Bike Shop during the Art Crawl. He'll be the door greeter extraordinaire! His guitars and banjos made out of bike pieces welded together are awesome! You have to see these in person to believe them. But the pictures on his site are good enough to get the idea.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:47 PM

February 26, 2006

Amelia Earhart

Imagine knowing that you are going to die. Imagine knowing that you are lost and your fuel is running low and you may never find the tiny island you are supposed to land on to refuel. Well, now imagine all of our lives as crossing the Pacific, with a tiny island to land on, but being lost, realizing we are going to die. Life is like that. We are going to die, but it's not until we realize that we are lost do we realize it's imminant. Until then we think we are alive and are going to make it. The fear she went through at first was like being more worried about the loved ones she was going to be leaving behind. Then hoping that people might find her, if only she could survive and they would look for her. Then acceptance that she might die. Then a prayer that it's not painful. Then just "Oh crap, here it comes. Then unconcious. Then witnessing what happened and all the reactions and how it effected specific other people what it meant.
You know, it's really difficult to predict how or when we are really going to leave this body. But it will happen. Not to be pessimistic here, but realistic. Whenever we get too self-important or lose our way, it's good to remember that this life is very temporary. If we are lucky we can have this realization before that moment right before our death is imminant. I know I will run out of fuel and I will crash in the sea, never to be seen again. But I'm still going to take that flight, because I will inspire millions of people to fly. Being the first woman to cross the Atantic has made a difference in this world. I am not there to take the glory, but to inspire. This is my legacy. So being alive still and realizing I have a legacy to leave, and that my impact is not determined by how I die, but by how I lived my life, what will I do? What will I do with my life knowing that it's limited? But I'm still going to live like Amelia. I'm going to ride my bike and fly in the sky and explore life to the fullest, and help people wherever I see the need. And it will be enough. As I crash into the ocean, I will accept that I lived and have no regrets. It's not about self-pleasuring, but being true to who we are and living according to our inner-compass. It always leads the way. And in the end, the pacific ocean doesn't scare the death out of us.

Posted by carl1236 at 8:40 PM

February 25, 2006

The End of Spokes Pizza, R.I.P.

I like the people and the concept of Spokes Pizza. And their pizza is good too. But sadly, tonight was their last night of business. There were a lot of people there tonight! I invited a friend to meet me there and I ran into several people I know. It was fun. I was happy to see this kind of crowd there. But now sadly, Spokes is a cool idea is down the tubes, for now. Maybe it will spring up again somewhere else. We'll see. But for now I'm going to miss it. too bad.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:32 PM

Burger King Drive-Through Refused to Serve me on a bicycle

So tonight I rode my bike to Minneapolis and then later rode back to St. Paul. It was a long ride and I was hungry. I stopped at the Burger King on Grand Avenue close to Smith Avenue, 35 E near downtown St. Paul. Their inner store was closed but the drive-through was open. So I rode through the drive through. I went to their ordering mechanism and no-one came on the loudspeaker to take my order (must be weight sensitive). There were no cars around at that time, so I rode up to the serving window and the kid at the window said he can't serve me. I asked to speak to the Manager and the manager sounded angry and told me to leave, that he could not serve walk-ups. I told him I didn't walk up, I drove up on my bicycle. Then he stammered and said, "well we can only serve motorized vehicles." I said that was discrimination and that my bicycle IS my vehicle. It's a legal street vehicle and my only means of transportation. Then he told me it's too dangerous, that a car will hit me, so he cannot serve me. Then I asked him if he serves motorcycles and he said yes. I asked him if a car would hit a motorcycle. He then told me he'd serve me but made me get off my bike and put it on the other side of the drive, past the bushes and stand over there out of the way of the cars. There were no cars at that time. Then as he was yelling across the drive at me, he asked me what I wanted and I told him. Then a car came and he told me that the car was his priority and he served the person in the car. Then when no-one was there he took my order and then told me this was the last time and that he would not serve me again in the drive through. I told him that that's discrimination and he told me, "no, it's safety. And told me again that the drive through is for motorized vehicles only. So there it is. In my view I cannot see how a bicycle is any more dangerous in a drive through than a motorcycle. Also, it was very clear to me he did not see a bicycle as a vehicle, but saw me as a pedestrian. This is the way our society sees bicycles now. There was a time however when the bicycle was a major form of transportation, a technological innovation and used extensively in everyday commerce. Road were built for bycles. Now days, a drive through discriminates against a person on a bicycle because it's not a car or truck. I've eaten at that Burger King before but now I've lost my appetite. Here's a news flash, "Burger King discrimates against the bicycle." and "Burger King thinks a person on a bicycle is a pedestrian." and "Burger King says that because a bicycle does not have a motor (ie. motorbike) it's not a legitimate vehicle for a drivethrough."
Oh well, It's not worth it to me to fight to change this, I just won't go to Burger King anymore. I have too many other options that are more appealing.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:56 PM

February 24, 2006

Spokes' Demise

Well, I'm sorry to report that Spokes Pizza is closing shop. They had awesome pizza and a great, green delivery style. So, what happened? I don't know, but I still like the idea of collectives and shared ownership. Our world is full of kingdoms and empires where the few reap the profits at the expense of the many who make it all possible. There is no justification for millionaires in this world. That is simply someone taking more than their share. Sharing in the wealth is a better idea.

Today I read an interesting related idea...In the St. Paul Pioneer Press today an ignorant woman, Kathy Vittum of North St. Paul said, "Reservations no longer a benefit to Indians. Indian reservations have outlived their purpose and ar doing mor harm than good for today's indians. The Feb. 19 New York Times article "Drug rings find havens on Indian reservations" illustrates everything that's wrong with them. They are isolated and economically unsustainable, which breeds corruption, crime and government dependence. In this era it is not acceptable to have large tracts of land where criminals can operate with impunity, especially near the borders. And with extremely limited financial resources and ever increasing government entitlement costs, we can no longer afford to subsidize them financially. There should be an expiration date for these treaties. American Indians are entitled to the same government resources as every other citizen, and in today's world that should be sufficient."

Haha. Reservations were never a good idea and never economically sufficient. That wasn't their purpose ever. their purpose was to encapsulate and make the Native American's insignificant and out of sight and out of control. Reservations were obsolete and not sufficient right from the beginning. Yes, let's expire the reservations, dissolve them and return this country to the Native Americans, who are the rightful owners that we stole it from by making treaties and lies. American Indians are entitled to their land back. That should be sufficient. Ignorance is ugly and self-centered. Yeah, you may be compassionate and see that Reservations are not self-sustaining, be we created them to take what we wanted. The guilt is all ours. We cannot repay this ever except by getting rid of reservations and letting the Native American's have their country back. Will we do it? That would be sufficient.

Why are we so arrogant and ignorant? Yet we claim to be Christ-like and truthful. It comes down to greed and power. We take what we want. This is why I love the concept of collectives where everyone shares in the profits and the losses. No-one is greater in ownership. I'm sad to see Spoke's Pizza go and sad to read things like this, ignorance and self-centered greed. Reservations were NEVER a benefit to Indians. They were a benefit to those who wanted to take power and control and ownership of what never belonged to them.

We need to figure out how to live together and share everything!

Posted by carl1236 at 9:53 PM

February 23, 2006

Beautiful night for a bike ride!

Tonight I rode from St. Paul to Minneapolis for a meeting then back. It was absolutely beautiful and fun! I'm beginning to get Spring Fever!

Posted by carl1236 at 11:59 PM

February 22, 2006

I love frictionless lights!

I just put the rear blinky light on my bike. finally! I had the front one on there already and I love it! Tonight I added the rear one, because i had to change my rear tire since the sidewall busted out. While I had the tire off I put the light on. It was an easy installation and it works great! The best part is that they take no batteries and there is no friction to slow me down. It's all magnetic.

My highlight tonight was getting to help a friend who is out of work fix his rear wheel and brakes so he can keep getting to his job interviews. Someone had slashed his tire with a razor knife. Actually I didn't change the tire myself exactly. I taught an impromptu class with a couple new volunteers and they did it! It's cool!

Posted by carl1236 at 9:58 PM

February 21, 2006

Direct and to the point

I'm happy to be working with a person who is direct and to the point. I like to get things done too. Tonight we accomplished something by working together and laying out a direction and setting tasks to be done. But at the same time, I'm thinking that this should be fun and we should be enjoying the process. Getting things done is enjoyable also. I want to be productive and have fun. Productive as in 'produce results.' All in good time. Just meeting tonight with another person working toward the same goal was productive. Honestly, when one person has an idea, if we really listen to others, we can clarify and help our idea come to fruition. Our egos tell us we need to do things by ourselves. But it is often involvement by others that will make our Ideas succeed. We may have a great conceptual idea but to make it happen we need other people. So it goes that our attitudes about working with others and our willingness to compromise and cooperate with an overall vision in mind, will help the overall idea succeed. Tonight I learned something valuable. I learned to keep the overall vision in mind and be thankful for a direct person's involvment.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:49 PM

February 20, 2006

Artist Trading Cards

Well, I'm nearly finished with my first set of ATC's (Artist Trading Cards). ATC's are like Baseball trading cards, same size and meant to collect. But the difference is they are not supposed to be sold, but traded with other Artists. An Artist participating in this hobby gets to meet other interesting Artists and get a collection of artwork that acts as inspiration. Each Artist creates some original artwork at a small size and then trades, in person usually. Nowdays artists are trading online and mailing their cards all over the world. It's a strange but fun hobby. I like this better than trading baseball cards. I made a numbered/limited set of signed cards with four sketched designs. I have my first interested Artist to trade with, we just have to connect soon and trade cards. Probably at the Art Crawl.
Aside from the Artist Trading Cards, I'd like to offer a free piece of my artwork to anyone who reads my blog that comes to see me during the Art Crawl. I'm making these wax-resist mini prints for you. But you have to mention to me that you read this free offer for a print on my blog. I'm really interested in meeting people anyway, and I don't bite and I'm happy to make new friends. You can buy a Pysanky for $25.00 too if you want. It's a great gift for your mom for Easter! The last two designs I did were probably the best I've done so far. They turned out so nicely that I don't want to sell them, haha. I'd just like to display them and have people see the beautiful eggs and artform. But truthfully, I can make more, I have the technology and creativity to do this. That's the beauty of it. And the process of making them is better than the product themselves anyway. It's very cool. I'll announce for sure when my demonstration is and you can help create one yourself. I'll even give private lessons and help you get started if you like this artform. Life should be fun and full of art. Why do we keep trying to make it dull and stripped of creativity? I think our attitudes get in the way. Like the attitude that life should be all work and no play. Or like the attitude that we need to make a fortune and our activities all have to be focused around that. We need balance and living creatively can be rewarding in all aspects of our lives. But it doesn't always come naturally, we have to practice being creative and nurturing that part of us. Then when we run into problems in life, we are equipped to deal with them with creative solutions. Anyway, Back to where this started. I created ATC's and already it's going to pay off with a new friend, and a collection of interesting, inspiring mini pieces of original art. I'm excited to see where this leads.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:03 PM

February 19, 2006

Wax on Paper

Yesterday I tried applying my Pysanky techniques, wax-resist dying method, to paper. I did a nice design with white, yellow red and dark red in the shape of an egg on a piece of tagboard. I used a cue tip swab to brush on the dye. Then I heated the paper next to a candle to melt the surface wax off. It turned out nicely and is pleasant to look at. I experienced a little bleeding of colors though, so I'm not sure if this was a function of the paper or the process of melting wax making the ink flow more. Anyway, it's not too bad so the picture still looks nice.
Every time I work on eggs now, I'm going to do a small print using this method also. I have to wait for the eggs to sit in the dye anyway, and I'm expanding my experiences and applying this artform in a new creative way for me.
Tomorrow I will work on more artwork in my studio and produce a second print in a different color scheme.

Today I met with George at a local gallery and tentatively set a date for a Pysanki demonstration in April. There is a lot of art-related activity going on for me in April! Hope i can handle it all.

Posted by carl1236 at 7:46 PM

February 18, 2006

Innovation

Tonight I'm going to start with two quotes, then tie them together with my experiences today:

Goethe said something like, "“Whatever you do or dream you can do - begin it! Boldness has genius and power and magic in it.?

Stemming from an ancient Roman saying, "Necessity is the mother of Invention."

These two phrases ARE related in a big way. I'm kind of a creative, inventive person and a troubleshooter. I do software technical support for a living, so pinpointing problems and finding a solution has become more standard procedure for me than an oddity. I love to solve problems. And I love creating beautiful things!

Today I was at the bike shop teaching Ying how to rebuild a bottom bracket. Bike repair is interesting, but even more interesting when we find out two key things about the bike we are working on. One is when we discover that the part has not been serviced in a very long time, as evidenced by the congealed, hardened grease, or what's left of it. The second is when we discover that this part has been altered by someone and is non-standard. It takes a long time for grease to get into this condition! And so, thinking about the alterations on this bike, I have to think that the repairs were also made a long time ago. The crank was stripped and had to be replaced, so we either had find a crank and sprocket that was right for this bike or improvise as the original mechanic had done. We tried but found out that this old three-speed bike originally had cottered cranks and the crank we were replacing was a single-piece crank. Well, that was fun! But we weren't going to put an old cottered crank bottom bracket together, though we probably could have done it. We instead put another single-piece crank together. We improvised with an old Huffy single-single piece crank using the original chainring that the bike had on it. Then when we put it together discovered that it wasn't an exact fitt because the s[rpcket ended up too close to the frame. So we improvised again and found a safe way to make this work. When things did not work, we used creativity and found a good solution. We were actually inspired by the original repair job, but did it better.

Then after the bike shop I went to my art studio and worked on some Ukrainian Easter Eggs. On one design I splattered some water on it while draining the egg and got some white splotches on the egg. I then tried to correct this by using a cue-tip and wiping some die on the egg to cover the lightened areas. That didn't work. It made it worse. So, instead of trying to match the original darker tone of the surrounding areas, I found a natural division of areas on the egg and made that whole area a lighter shade by rubbing the color with the cue-tip dipped in dye. It made a striking image on the egg and the design was actually improved over the original intent!

This is where the genious, power and magic come in. Once we get into something and it's not working so well, if we are creative we invent a solution. This is why we are encouraged to follow our dreams and just do it! Because if we do, once we are in it, being creative beings, we will find solutions to whatever obstacles we come across. In fact, before we begin many things we don't even comprehend what obstacles or challenges we will face because they are hidden from us. Necessity is the mother of invention. Once we discover the problems we can work on a solution to the problem. We can be creative.

So whatever you dream of, just begin it! Be creative and the magic will follow.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:16 PM

February 17, 2006

Brrrrrrrrrrrrr

Yeah, I know, everyone who rides their bike at this time of year is saying, "what's the big deal!" haha. Well, maybe not, but I do know there are some people still getting around on bikes. I hope you don't get frostbite or hypothermia! It's cold out there! It's -9 F. / -32 Windchill. How nice. Here's the Windchill Advisory:

bitter wind chills expected into saturday morning...
A bitter arctic airmass in association with arctic high pressure over south dakota will continue to push southward across central and south central minnesota and western wisconsin on northwest wind of 10 to 15 mph overnight. although wind speeds will likely drop off to near 10 mph late tonight...wind speeds of 10 to 15 mph from the west and southwest are expected after daybreak on saturday. the combination of expected wind speed with the extreme cold and will will continue to produce wind chill readings of minus 25 to minus 35 into midmorning on saturday.
therefore...wind chill advisories for south central and central minnesota as well as part of western wisconsin have been extended until 10 am cst saturday morning.
ensure you have a winter storm survival kit in your vehicle if you are planning on travel across greater minnesota today.

What if my vehicle is a bicycle? What would I put in a winter storm survival kit for a bicycle? I'm already out in the elements and if I'm not dressed properly for it then I'm already in trouble. Seriously, If you go out, at least put a hat and scarf on and skip the mini-skirts and high heels. Weather like this demands practicality.

My ride home was uneventful and I was overdressed on my core, as usual. But man is it cold out there! So I wasn't going to take any chances. By the time I got home, my two big toes were starting to get cold and a couple of my fingers were cold, but notthing too bad. I get to do it again in the morning on my way to the bike shop!

Posted by carl1236 at 11:49 PM

Wind Chill Advisory

WIND CHILL ADVISORY
Warning Issue Date: 857 AM CST FRI FEB 17 2006
Warning Expiration: 500 PM CSTFRI FEB 17 2006
...Wind chill advisory remains in effect until 5 pm cst this afternoon...
A wind chill advisory remains in effect until 5 pm cst this afternoon.
Northwest winds of 15 to 25 mph will combine with arctic air to create wind chill readings of minus 30 to minus 45 today.
A wind chill advisory means that cold air and strong winds will combine to generate very low wind chills. Weather conditions today will result in frost bite and could lead to hypothermia if precautions are not taken.
“IF PRECAUTIONS ARE NOT TAKEN? is the key phrase. With winter biking this sums up the whole experience. This morning riding into work I did not suffer. I did not get frostbite or hypothermia. The head-wind was very strong and slowed me WAY down, and I felt a slight air leakage around my wrists and two fingers started getting cold, but I curled them in to warm them up. The temp this morning was -9F (-36F windchill.) So, I think this qualifies as the coldest day I’ve ridden this year.

Clothing: Long underwear, normal pants, wool socks, insulated work boots, normal work buttoned work shirt, polar fleece jacket, winter jacket, US Military issued “Mask, Extreme Cold Weather? stocking cap, helmet gloves. (I lost one of my choppers, which are clearly superior to gloves in my experience). And last item which I’ve only used a couple times to test out…which was incredibly useful this morning…
Downhill ski goggles over my glasses and ski mask. Thank you Hugh! You saved me this morning! I had no exposed skin except for my lips and the very underside of my nose. If I was really worried about that, I could have used petroleum jelly or something on the exposed skin, which does work. I did that when it was minus 18 degrees last year.

So for me experience talks louder than any words on the subject. My experience tells me I can do this whenever I want! It doesn’t mean I have to or that I will choose to, but I am no longer under the illusion that it’s crazy or impossible. I have no reason to say it’s not possible, because I’ve already done for almost two winters now. I can because I did, if that makes sense.

On a related note, this is a good example of ‘faith.’ I have faith because I have experienced a relationship with God. I no longer have to ‘prove’ God exists because I’ve experienced the Love of God. Faith is a knowing. If we are low on faith we need to experience God. This is the way winter biking works, or any other activity. If I want to know what it’s like to be a musician, I have to practice music. On my trumpet I have faith that when I press a certain key, use my lips in a specific way, I get a specific note, so when I’m reading the sheet music I don’t even think about the mechanics of pressing the key or the position of my lips. It is an experienced-based faith. There is the line that says, ‘blessed are those who have faith without seeing.’ But I think about it this way: God is Alive, God is Life, God is Love, and I am experiencing that whether I believe it or not. My faith is based in this experience, because I already am experiencing and have a relationship with God. There is no gap in faith or lack of life in me.
As I ride my bike in the winter, at temperatures I previously would have thought un-doable, I think, wow, life is really strange and great! No words can even explain or do the experience of it justice. I just had to get out there and do it. And when people start talking to me about how it’s too cold to bike now, or that I shouldn’t ride because it’s too cold, I just nod and smile inside and know it’s ok for me.

For your viewing pleasure, here are some ice-biking pictures taken last weekend by Karl. I'm the one with the Orange Mongoose mountain bike with the number 17 on it:

http://www.basementfreaks.com/gallery/gallery.php?gal=2cb2a60813005fe1345dd8283818d074

Posted by carl1236 at 10:05 AM

February 16, 2006

In search of answers without knowing the question

Today I did a google search and ended up riding down the middle of the street on my bike on a ten-degree night at midnight alone. No cars, just me, my bike and the wide open road. So I took my lane and it felt not only wierd but unexpected. Like when you start out to do one thing and end up doing another because circumstances led that way. And there I was experiencing a an odd, but delightful thing. It was cold and the wind was even colder, and biting at my cheeks. I kept trying to tuck my face down into my jacket collar, but it was hard to ride that way. I contemplated stopping and putting on my extreme cold weather mask, but then thought I could make it home and it would be a waste to stop at that point. I did make it home, and it was ok. As I was riding I discovered my last turn had taken me on a course that put the wind to my back. That not only made me go faster, but I felt much warmer!
Sometimes in a search we end up with results, but there is another kind of search, which is a process. It is a process of seeking answers to questions that we don't know we have. At least until we know the answers. Tonight I knew it was a perfect night as I rode home from the Bike Shop down the middle of the empty street. If I would have followed my original plans, I would not have experienced this. And prior to riding home, I discovered answers to problems I did not know needed answering. I learned so much tonight and got none of my original plans accomplished! Interesting how that works isn't it?!

Posted by carl1236 at 11:52 PM

February 15, 2006

My Life is Preoccupied with Bikes and Art

Mainly bikes right now. I'm learning a lot about how non-profits work, being the new President of one Non-profit organization. I have to learn. It's my fiduciary responsibility after all. Actually it's going really well, and I just signed up our third educational program for the year, so it's exciting and fun. Tonight was hopping and we got a lot done.

And tonightI almost finished my Art Trading Cards I plan on exchanging with other Art Nerds. The Art Crawl is approaching and I'm getting nervous about not having enough art to display. But it'll happen regardless. I have to get my display cases made soon!

Where does time go? Sleep, Work, Bikes, Art, Study, Repeat. And now it's time for more artwork, then Sleep. There is a season for everything, and this is a season for hard work and dedication. Time for rest and more balance will come as I learn and increase involvement by other volunteers.

Posted by carl1236 at 9:25 PM

February 14, 2006

Snapshots

I've talked about this before I know. But on Monday night I was talking with Andy about blogging and he reminded me about the problems of recording our thoughts down in a journal format. What can be a blessing is also a curse. Each item posted to this blog for instance is a snapshot of one particular thought I had or one event, or a linking of several events and emotions, but it's not a complete picture of my life in this moment. Twenty, Fifty, or a million thoughts or events, significant or insignificant could have happened in the same day, which go unrecorded. For instance, If I kept writing just about this thought, I would not write about my experience of being interviewed and photographed for an article in the paper today. Or how nice it felt while biking today, or that I got my first flat tire of the winter while I was riding home today! Coincidentally, the reporter asked me if I had gotten any flats during the winter and I told her how lucky I was so far. haha. So on the way home tonight I got a flat. I was not bummed out or mad or anything, but made a choice to not bother fixing it tonight. I walked the last mile pushing my bike. I really enjoyed slowing down and taking advantage of the nice weather and fresh air. Sometimes we need an excuse to slow down. But even this is a snapshot, because it doesn't mention the artwork I did tonight, or the conversation I started with another artist through email, or my efforts today to work with the non-profit org I'm affiliated with. Too often I think we like to categorize and neatly order our lives. But life is not really like that. True life is more involved and is not a series of snapshots or anecdotes. It is about living and interacting with others and doing our things, whatever that may be. In my blogs I like to take an event and make it into a theme or topic for a blog entry, then apply a category for it. It's not intended to be an account of my life, though it's one of the most complete documents I've ever created and is better than not recording anything about how I feel or think or events in my life. But it's still not my life. This blog and the entries in it are still just snapshots of a particular feeling or thought or event.
Some people blog in a more random nature that defies categories, just as I could have also put this entry under the 'Winter Biking' category, or 'Attitude,' or 'Life.' The more things a person talks about in one blog entry, the harder it is to put it under one narrowly focused category. I chose to put this entry under blogging because overall I'm talking about the nature of blogging or journaling and the sometimes expectations we have about what it is we are doing when we are blogging. Even blogging can defy categories, because we can be doing something we do not realize we are doing. For instance, we can be posting a snapshot of an event in our lives, but really what we are doing is creating or continuing a conversation with other people. People leave comments or we meet in person and the conversation goes on.
When I first started blogging I read that a blogger has to have their own motivations for blogging. It's true. Every person I've met who has a long-standing, ongoing blog has their own reasons for blogging, and likes doing it. Of course life situations may change the direction the blog takes or make it obsolete and no longer necessary. One of my friends killed his blog and started a new one with a totally unrelated focus and feel. Another person I know has several blogs, not just one. Each blog in a way is one of his life's categories, each dealing with a different 'segment' of his life, such as his artwork in one blog, work in another blog, etc. It works for him to do this.
There is no wrong way of doing this. There can't be, because we are the authors of the blog, and blogs by their nature are undefined and difficult to categorize. Even when people say their blogs are about politics or biking or whatever, I read things from other aspects of their lives creeping into the writing. I think it's because we are writing snapshots while our lives are much more than snapshots and we know it. We want to share everything we are feeling or living, but can't possibly do that. It would take more time to document every thought, emotion and experience than it takes to live it. For instance, after all this rambling and talking about this, I still haven't told you that I read an interesting article tonight about how Steven Segal was discovered to be a reincarnated Tibetan Tulku:

"The degree to which tulkus have been able to actualize and utilize their potential depends upon how they have been able to use their past circumstances and how they currently use their present circumstances to develop their potential. Each tulku must work to develop themselves to the best of their ability. The essential point is that a tulku should strive to help others in whatever life situation they find themselves. It is out of such an aspiration to help all sentient beings that I have recognized many tulkus in my life and it is with this motivation that I recognized Steven Seagal as a tulku. If all beings seek to have this motivation, what need will there be for controversies and confusion over the motivations of others?
Penor Rinpoche"

I like these thoughts expressed by Penor Rinpoche, that all people should strive to help others. We should all seek to have this motivation. So now I can categorize this blog entry under 'motivation' as well. But back to the point... If I kept going, I could write about my entire life and it would take me multiple lives like the Tulku to do so. haha.

So today was valentines day and my wife and I shared speghetti and wine, like Lady and the Tramp...No, better get to bed now. It's late and tomorrow is another day to write, and bike and work and play and love...


Posted by carl1236 at 11:51 PM

February 13, 2006

Tonight I taught a 16-Year old how to rebuild a bottom bracket

Tonight was really cool. Yeah we got some stuff done at the bike shop, but the coolest part was helping a local youth work on a bike. I taught him how to take apart and service an old single-piece crank bottom bracket. He was doing a great job until he had to leave at 8. He was excited to come back on Wednesday and put it all back together. I told him I'd wait for him to come back before finishing it so he could do the work. So as soon as he left for the night I bagged up all of the parts and attached them to the bike.
In the six months I've known this boy, I have never seen him work on a bike. I decided tonight was a good night to change that. He loves bikes and loves hanging out at the bikeshop. Now he's cookin'! The bike we are working on is an old Hawthorn three speed that a customer and volunteer brought in. It's an exciting project and learning tool, because it's and old bike and we have a lot of old bikes that need work. And it's exciting because I got a new guy involved in fixing up bikes, which is what he wanted to do in the first place.
So it's all good and a bike is getting fixed.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:15 PM

February 12, 2006

Sometimes I don't know If I'm making a difference

I sometimes feel so helpless when it comes to the problems of other people. My natural tendency is to want to help solve the problem. I care about people and don't like to see people suffer. But I can't always do or say anything that helps. But I may not always know the impact I have on others. I just told that to a friend tonight. She may not know how she effects other people or what choices they will make because of her interactions with them. I was trying to help her feel better about her friendships with some other people she knows. But I'm in the same boat. I don't always know. If we are lucky we see and know we are making a difference. I'd like to say I always see the light at the end of the tunnel, but I can't. But maybe it's not the result that really matters, but the process of going through the tunnel that makes the difference.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:56 AM

February 11, 2006

MnHPVA Ice-bike Races

Today was a great day! I went to the MnHPVA Ice-Bike Races on Rogers Lake. It was a lot of fun playing on the ice. My studded tires worked great! I gave it my best shot and came in second overall. That was a blast. As a prize, I got some smoked fish. I can't wait to eat it.
There were some very interesting vehicles there and about 22 participants. And what a beautiful day to be outside! On the way home, Karl and I were talking about how it's important to get outside and learn to enjoy our northern climate. The alternative is near hybernation.

It was a lot of fun and I look forward to future events put on by MnHPVA. Ice-bike races are definately a cool thing!

Posted by carl1236 at 11:59 PM

February 10, 2006

Hiawatha Cyclery Window

Ok, Here is the sign I painted for Hiawatha Cyclery in the window. And here is Jim also...

HiawathaC1.jpg

HiawathaC2.jpg

This was a fun project! More large art to come.
See the new shop info and blog at:
Hiawatha Cyclery

Posted by carl1236 at 6:14 PM

February 9, 2006

House of Flying Daggers

I don't really care for movies that have sad endings. The man who said he loved Mai, killed her twice. The man who really loved her had her die in his arms. I'm not buying it. In our world there are too many people willing to kill the people they love, proving they don't really love them. If they really loved them they would not kill them. They would rather kill themselves than kill the person they love. Because to love someone is also to want them to be happy. Do you want your children to be happy? Or your mom? Of course. Even if we lose our love, we gain by our love being happy. If it were not so, it would be possession. If we possess what we love, we have already lost, because it is not free like the wind. In holding on to the wind, it slips between our fingers. We cannot possess the wind. In possessing the wind we are thinking of our own happiness, not the happiness of the wind. And the wind dies at our hands. Is this love?
As the dagger flew, we see that Mai lost her life because of someone else's greed and pride. He would have rather seen her dead than with someone else. So he killed her. He could have walked away. It's tough for an ego to do that, but he could have given her life instead. Instead he killed her. Where is the love in that?

Posted by carl1236 at 1:25 AM

February 8, 2006

Can we change?

Can we change ourselves, or are we changed by something?

Posted by carl1236 at 11:39 PM

February 7, 2006

Cooooooolddddd riiiiiiddddde

Yep, tonight at the bikeshop after our Board of Directors meeting, three of us rode off to our homes on bike. We were able to ride a good chunk of my route home together, so that was fun. Then I just had about a mile to go to get home. But it's cold out there baby! It's the kind of weather a person tolerates on a bike just because they are already committed to riding, regardless of the temeratures. But by the time I arrived at my house, I was all warmed up and the conditions were actually pleasant. Winter biking will scare off many people, and sure it's cold out, but dressed properly for it it's really like a winter sport. I wouldn't give up skiing just because it's cold out for instance.
And I keep being reminded that it's already February 6th and Winter is on it's way out.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:43 PM

Paradise Lost

The 'Garden of Eden' or 'Paradise on Earth' they just found will soon be lost. There is a reason it's so pristine and untouched, with hundreds or even thousands of species of plants and animals unknown to mankind living there. The reason is because we didn't know about it or it was too far removed from our access before. I know this sounds pessimistic, but it's not so much that we destroy things on purpose, but over the centuries we as human beings have moved from respecting all life as equal to us and being grateful for all life, to exploiters of our environment for gain, to consumers of resources available to us. Just think of all the 'untapped' resources available in that remote jungle paradise! Creatures who previously lived without our presence now must live with our presence. Unless this newly discovered pristine wilderness is protected somehow from the exploitation of human beings, it will no longer be paradise. There is a reason it's a paradise now.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:29 PM

February 5, 2006

Window Painting Letters

Today I was painting some letters on a store window. This is an interesting project. Writing very large and making sure all the letters are aligned and the same shape and thickness is a challenge not only visually but mechanically. I had to draw big arcs to get the guidelines on the window, and even that was more challenging than drawing on paper. It's big! So getting lines straight and even is a challenge. Anyway, all of this window painting is still good training for one of my ultimate goals of creating a mural somewhere. I'm still looking for an appropriate wall in public view that is free for me to paint on. If I got paid to do it even better, but that's not the point. I just think it would be fun to do a huge mural. Someday the opportunity will present itself and I'll be ready. I'll have experience at least on a larger-than-life canvas such as a window. Granted these were only letters but they are large letters that require spacing and alignment over a large expanse of glass.
Today I had fun laying out and painting the outline of the letters. Now it's starting to look like something! Too bad I was running out of dailight to the point it was difficult to see if the paint was becoming opaque. I had to do two coats of paint on the letters to darken them. But I'm not sure how well that turned out yet. I might need a plan b.
I'll finish this at the end of the week, then I'm planning on doing another window painting on the bike depots windows. Not yet sure what I'll paint there, but I'm sure it will come to me when I get to it. I still have to finish my wheel table.
Art and life go well together. Having and doing artistic things in life is very fun and rewarding. I think it's mainly our desire to be creative in things we are doing. Human beings like to create things I think. It's part of who we are. We don't have to be professional artists to use art in our daily lives and live creatively. It's part of who we are.

Posted by carl1236 at 9:06 PM

February 4, 2006

The Art Store

Tonight I made it over to Wet Paint art store on Grand Avenue. I just love that place! I can easily drop 50 dollars each visit haha. But I got the paint I need to paint Jim's window, and a few other art supplies I wanted to get and a book I just had to have, lol. Oh yes, and a pencil that's guaranteed to draw on glass, which wipes off easily. Much better than a china marker with a softer material, more like pastels or something but in a pencil. We tested it on glass before I bought it. I'll be drawing on the outside of the window, then painting on the inside, then erasing my lines on the outside. So I needed something I could sketch with. I would just sketch on the inside since I'm painting on the inside, but I'm doing lettering so it's easier for me to not have to do that in reverse. It has to be legible from the street.
Wet Paint is a crowded little store full of art stuff. Very full. I've never been disappointed by their selection of supplies. I highly recommend it and the staff is very friendly and helpful. Now I'm off to do some more sketches and other fun stuff with the art supplies I bought.

Posted by carl1236 at 8:47 PM

February 3, 2006

Power outage, perfect timing

Haha, tonight as I was blogging, I had my entry half done and the power went off and I lost everything! We have a little space heater by the computer and it overloaded the circuit. So, you were all spared the dribble I was writing. Now I realize it's not worth repeating.
Now I'll tell you about my plans for tomorrow. I'm going to the Bike Depot in the morning to teach a young man how to rebuild a bottom bracket and headset. Then at 1pm I'm riding over to Minneapolis for the Stupor Bowl. I don't know, it seems like fun and I hope to meet a lot of down-to-earth cool people on bikes. Registration starts at 1pm at One On One Bike Studio.

Posted by carl1236 at 9:19 PM

February 2, 2006

Spokes Pizza

I'm really happy right now for several reasons. First, that Spokes Pizza is getting back up and running after having all of their Pizza ovens break down. I was there tonight and really enjoyed a slice of pizza and some coffee. Spokes Pizza is a collective, which is a concept I really like and support. I am still trying to grasp what it means to be part of the collective, but basically it boils down to, what is in the best interest of the other members is also in our best interest. It's collectively sharing in the profits and the risk and the responsibilities and duties. So, to me this form of business bound to not only be successful but also good to the worker-owners where no one person takes all the profit while exploiting the workers who make it happen. I don't know, but this seems like a good thing to me. In practice, I think it would be difficult for many people in the U.S. to be part of a collective. I feel like much of our culture pushes and admires the 'me-first' attitude.
Then, I got to watch part of the bike messenger movie, Quicksilver. Very cool stunts! I have to find that movie and watch the whole thing.
I also met Peter and Zach and played my second-ever game of GO. It was a good learning experience and fun, though I floundered around, not quite what I was doing. But I'm just starting to learn so it's ok.
All-in-all a great night. Welcome Back Spokes!

Posted by carl1236 at 11:50 PM

February 1, 2006

A lost and found

Sometimes we cannot explain how things happen. But we should be thankful sometimes. Yesterday I lost my cell-phone and hunted all over for it. Tonight when I came home I was walking in the living room and some silver glimmer caught my eye under my recliner. I got close to the recliner and felt this urge to search under and bihind the seat. I did and found the cellphone I was missing. It evidently fell out of my pocket and landed there. I had no idea that I even should loook there, but I followed my urge to look and there was my phone! Amazing huh? Now I have my cellphone back. Sorry if I missed your call! Talk to you soon.
Peace,
John

Posted by carl1236 at 11:04 PM