New York Pickup Stories

I’m from a small town in Wisconsin, and the men in the Midwest are not very assertive when it comes to making the move on a woman. In fact, the only way you can know if a Midwestern man is interested in you is if he’s not talking to you.
So since I moved to New York a few years ago, it’s been interesting to see how men of other cultures try to get the attention of ladies. … 

 

Why I Engaged a New York Crazy

Normally I don’t engage the crazy people in New York. You look in their eyes, and see that there’s nobody really there.

Today I was sitting in a Starbucks, at a table for four. When someone approached, I could see peripherally the gesture of “can I sit here,” and I started to take out my headphones to make my usual crack of , “Do you have candy?”

As I looked up though, I realized the man requesting a spot was a homeless man I’d seen in town before. A big man, with a full head of gray wavy hair.

“What?” I could see him struggling with my question.

“I was just kidding, you can sit down.” He looked relieved at not having to process my question, and sat down across from me. He slowly started unwrapping and eating a sandwich, and I went back to my work. Except I noticed his odor starting to drift over to me. I hoped he would finish his sandwich and leave.

But he didn’t. He carefully wrapped his trash, and put it inside a canvas sack he had next to him.

Then he started picking. At the scabs. On his hands.

It was really gross, but I tried to be compassionate. He was a homeless guy. He wanted to be in somewhere warm, and maybe he liked sitting by a pretty girl.

But he kept picking. and picking. And then he pulled out some lotion, and started applying it to his dry and scabbed hands and arms.

He was sitting right across from me. I couldn’t help but see everything. It was really making me feel sick. But what could I do? I sat there and contemplated my options. The easiest thing would have been to move. But there weren’t any other tables for me to move to, and besides, I really needed to finish what I was working on so I couldn’t find another coffee shop at that moment. I really wanted to say something. But what would I say? Beyond that, how would he react? Would he yell? Would he flail?

I kept thinking on one hand, “oh poor guy,” but a growing voice was saying, “he’s got to know that it’s gross, he’s probably used to people just retreating from him, what if you engaged him like a normal person and just told him how it was affecting you and asked him nicely to move?” You know, just like I would ask a smoker to put out a cigarette indoors if it bothered me (back when you could smoke indoors). But I still couldn’t say it!

But it had been 20 minutes of the picking I just couldn’t stand it anymore. Part of me wanted to just yell

DUDE THAT IS DISGUSTING STOP IT!!!!

but just then i noticed a table close by so I opted for

“Excuse me, I have to ask you a favor. Could you please move to that table? Your keep picking your scabs and it’s really making me feel sick.”

He stared me straight in the eyes for a moment.

He slowly got up from his chair, still staring at me. I carefully closed my computer and moved my coffee away from me. It was a weird moment. He kept glaring at me, and I didn’t know if he was going to throw a punch, or yell. But he just got up, picked up his things, and moved over to the next table like I asked.

 

Using Wool Combs

Hand combs are one of the old-fashioned tools available to prepare fiber for spinning.
While you can purchase prepared roving for spinning, you will often have fiber that requires some preparation in order to spin high quality fiber. You can prepare fiber by hand either using hand carders or hand combs. There is more “waste” fiber produced when using combs to prepare fiber, (versus using cards), because combing helps to expose more of the “short bits.”  Only longer fibers remain on the combs, which produces a higher-quality roving. Combing (or carding) will also remove any vegetable matter (VM) from the locks. The sheep were outside you know!

Steps
Step1: Get out equipment
Step 2: Lash fiber onto combs
Step 3: Combing Passes
Step 4: Pull fiber into roving

Step 1: Get Out Equipment

Get out your combs and a hunk of fiber to be combed.
Here’s a lump of super crimpy locks ready to be combed.

Step 2: Lashing Fiber Onto Combs

The combing process is basically combing out fiber, and moving the fiber staples from one comb to the other.
ADD PIC HERE

Step 3: Combing Passes

Holding combs (ADD PIC HERE)
The photo below shows some locks that I have “lashed” onto the combs.

CAREFUL: the combs may be very sharp while you are lashing. Don’t cut yourself!

To use the combs, you hold them perpendicular to one another, and

When combing, you need to hold the combs perpendicular to each other, as shown in the photo below. The fiber is on the left comb, and I’m just starting to use the right comb’s teeth to dig into the fiber. You move your hand straight down into the fiber, then pull right.  Just hit the tips of the fiber on the left comb with the tines of the right comb, slowly transferring the fiber from one comb to the other.

There is more “waste” fiber produced when using combs to prepare fiber, versus using cards, because combing helps to expose more of the “short bits.”  Only longer fibers remain on the combs, which produces a higher-quality roving. The lump in the front of the picture below is the waste fiber from the combing process. Even though I won’t use it in this particular roving, I save all the waste in a little bag for spinning later. It’s good to use in novelty yarn if you want to put in some “nubbies.”

You want to keep combing until everything is smoothed out. It will entirely depend on your fiber, but it will likely take several passes. Note: As you comb back and forth, there will be little bits left on the comb. Oh by the way, it’s impossible to comb it TOO MUCH.  When it’s done, it’s done, you will just keep moving the fiber back and forth between combs.

Step 5: Remove Waste Fiber

In the picture below, you can see there is still a bit left on the left comb. This is fiber that is too short to be used for making a roving, and must be taken off the comb before continuing with the next pass.

The photo below shows the locks after a second pass. It looks more combed out, but it’s still pretty bundled together. If I tried to pull it off the combs right now into roving, I’d have to pull very hard.
<img src=”http://www.craftyredhead.com/LJpix/comb_4_pass2.jpg”>

Finally, after four passes, I’m satisfied with the condition of this fiber. I’ve combed out all the VM and short fibers, and all I have left are the longer soft fibers.
<img src=”http://www.craftyredhead.com/LJpix/comb_5_4pass.jpg”>

A note on vegetable matter: If you are combing out fiber and locks that are not far from the sheep, you will see vegetable matter coming out of the fiber. See the little black specks on the table in the picture below? That’s vegetable matter.

Step 6: Pulling Fiber Into a Roving.

Now, you probably could try spinning this blob of fiber into yarn, but it’s much easier to pull it into a long roving instead.
(PIC OF BLOB, PIC OF ROVING)
These particular combs have an optional table clamp that one of the combs fits neatly into, (shown below). This makes for easier pulling of the fiber into a roving. You can either use your hands to pull it out, or use a diz.

A diz is just a piece of something (usually wood) with a small smooth hole in it, through which you pull the fiber to make a roving of consistent width. This particular diz is multi-purpose. It has two holes, and the chunk taken out of the middle also makes it a “wraps per inch” gauge tool.

Here is the fiber after I have pulled it off the combs and into a small roving. I used my hands to make this roving.

The following picture shows me pulling the roving through a diz to make a consistent roving.

PULLING THROUGH A DIZ

After I’ve finished combing, I clamp down the comb to the table in preparation for dizzing. I pull a little bit of fiber through the hole, and just pull gently.

 

My dad has cancer vs. my dad will die of cancer

augustcancerLen

My dad’s cancer

My dad has cancer.

My dad is dying of cancer.

I have accepted the former, but I think I have to figure out how to accept the latter.

I was completely unprepared for the roller coaster that I’ve been on since last summer when my dad was first diagnosed.
He started with stage 4 lymphoma.
Then they wondered if it had metastasized to his brain (which meant he could get no treatment, and 4-6 months to live).
Then they said no, and he could get on chemo. Two months of chemo, and they find the chemo is not working, and cancer got crazy in his body.
Then he gets on second chemo, all last fall.
I went home for Christmas, and my Christmas present was a PET scan that showed 90% of cancer was GONE!! they thought two more rounds of chemo would take care of rest of it. Two more months of chemo, and last week, another PET scan.
Unfortunately, between Jan scan and last week, chemo had stopped working, and cancer had started aggressively growing back. Enter possibility of clinical trial, with good chance of remission. Then Friday they find that if growth is leukemia (vs. lymphoma) then he isn’t qualified for trial.

Every time we get bad news, I crash, and I wonder if I should move home. I’ve told my dad that he should tell me if he wants me to move home, because I will, but then I wonder if he’d ever actually tell me, because he knows I love NYC.

The good thing is (if there’s any good to come from this) is that my dad is at peace with whatever happens. He’ll keep fighting as long as there are options, but over Christmas he told me, “I’ve had a good life,” and “You have to play whatever cards you’re dealt.” So, I’ happy for that. But I

UPDATE JUNE 2014

Since I started writing this post last year, my dad died of cancer. August 5, 2013. I wasn’t planning on a trip home until after my contract had finished in September, but in June 2013 I had a bad feeling, so I flew home and spent three weeks with him. He was not doing well. He had terrible “tumor fevers” that we were worried would melt his brain. After three weeks I flew back to NYC, and was home for a week when I happened to call him to tell him a joke. He was in the hospital. “what are you doing there?”

“I’m dying, Charlene.”

His poor body just couldn’t take it. Couldn’t take more cancer, couldn’t take more chemo. He was in hospice. I flew home immediately. He was conscious for a day after I arrived, then slipped into what the hospice nurses called “between worlds” where he wasn’t conscious but he wasn’t gone. A day later, he was gone.  It was a year ago that I had just arrived home, and saw what bad shape he was in. I miss him terribly.

 

How Not to Be an Idiot on Online Dating Sites

The following are some posts I’d written on experiences on various dating sites when I started a few years ago.

Top 10 Most Boring Conversation Starters on OKCUPID:

in no particular order:

  1. hi
  2. hello
  3. hey
  4. want to chat

ok so I guess I only have four.

If someone diverges from this list, I usually will chat with them if I am bored at work or waiting for a file to process or something. If I’m really bored, sometimes I will attempt to engage them. The other night I had this chat with a 21 year old guy who was “attempting to break into modeling”

him: want to chat
me: sure, do you have a topic?
him: what are you doing (*he did NOT have a topic!!)
me: avoiding work. you?
him: looking for a hot women
me: for what
him: sex
me: wow, that’s a direct approach. How’s that working for you?
him: you tell me.
me: you could be a little more creative. How about: “nice profile, wanna fuck?”

He didn’t have anything after that. :)

Sometimes I’ll go off on non-sequitors like, “I like frogs” then usually they’ll reveal their true purpose, like a guy yesterday said, “i looking for love.” in which case I was sad because he obviously had never learned to use contractions. Also that he thought he thought he was going to find love chatting up strangers in rooms with boring conversations like that.

Since you asked, how to improve your profile

Since you all asked, here’s what I can suggest for improvements of profiles (none of this should be new to you):
P.S. although i am available for children’s parties, I’m not available for private review of profiles.

1. Have a picture.

  • Have a good picture, one close enough where I can see what you actually look like.
  • Make sure it’s a somewhat RECENT picture. Yes, you may have been a hottie 20 years ago, but unless you can give me a lift in a time machine to meet your young hotness, don’t put that picture up there. If you’re not happy with how you look, why not try to improve it instead of hiding it? Work out, tone up, get a haircut.
  • This is my own personal preference, but put in a pic that looks like you are enjoying life. SMILE! If you are miserable, why not spend time figuring out what will make you happy instead of looking for fulfillment in a relationship on here?

2. Have something in your profile.
More than just “I haven’t decided what to put in here.” Yes, it’s hard to describe yourself. Yes, it feels a little funny putting yourself OUT there. But it’s the same thing in the real world every day, isnt’ it? And the nice thing is here, you actually have time to THINK about what you’re going to say! So, put a little effort in.

3. As for what to put in the profile, I can’t help you there.
But be honest. If you ARE just looking for a “a good woman to settle down with,” and that’s your goal, say that. I’m sure there are plenty of women who would enjoy that too (although they might be over at match.com). But most of us are (at least mostly) happy in our lives, and looking for other people that enjoy the same things we do. The wonderful thing about the world is that there really is someone for everyone, whether that someone comes in the form of a friend or lover. If you put yourself honestly out there, hopefully people will respond in kind. But no one can respond if you don’t put something unique of yourself out there for someone to relate to. On the Internet, it’s all about personality. I know it’s easy to get too serious on here though. i’ve been told my profile doesn’t accurately reflect how funny i can be in person.

4. Don’t be TOO HONEST.
I am going to contradict myself a little bit here. As much as I believe in being honest, there’s also something to be said for a little bit of mystery in a person. There’s no need to spell out EVERY SONG YOU’VE EVER CRIED TO or EVERY SINGLE MOVIE YOU’VE EVER LOVED on the profile. Give me enough to get a taste of the kind of stuff you like. Give me bite sized chunks of you. If you get along with someone, all that stuff will happily be revealed to you over time, like peeling an onion, only without the crying.

5. Don’t talk about sex, unless you are a prostitute and it’s your occupation.
Yes, we know you guys like sex. Yes, we know you think about it all the time. Yes, we know you think you’re AWESOME at it. and maybe you are. But that’s something I’d like to find out for myself please. For the love of Pete, we don’t need to see it all over your profile! Think about it this way: the more you talk about it on here, the less you will likely get.

6. Don’t sound desperate.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen profiles in which the guy says, “I’m so lonely.” That is a sure way of NOT getting a reply. Unless there are some “I’m so lonely” gals out there that are responding. Also not appealing are the following answers to the question, “What are you doing on a typical Friday night?”

  • nothing
  • bored to tears
  • masturbating (yes I saw this on a profile once)

We’re all looking for companionship, or we wouldn’t be here. But no one wants to be with someone boring, except other boring people. If you are boring, why not spend time making yourself interesting? At worst, you’ll be able to have fun by yourself. At best, you’ll attract other interesting people.

Yes, there is a theme. I know I touched on natural selection in my last post, but I do think it’s true. Interesting people attract interesting people. If you aren’t attracting anyone, maybe it’s time to take an honest look at yourself to find out why. Interacting on here has taught me about stuff I need to improve in myself. We’re all here on this planet to learn, so why not do that? It’s all good. :)

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t

If you’re on a dating site, you have two options if someone messages you that you’re not interested in: don’t reply, or reply and say “not interested.”

I’ve tried both. In the past, if men had messaged me, and I wasn’t interested, I just didn’t write back. That got me called “rude” and a “bitch” a few times, so I thought, oh, maybe I’ll try writing back then and saying, “I’m flattered, but we’re not a good match.” Well that doesn’t work either. Some guys write back saying things like, “But you just have to get to KNOW me.” This is the kind of guy who has a second job as a stalker all lined up.

But recently I got the mother of all twisted rejection responses.
A dude wrote me and asked if I’d like to get a cup of coffee. This was totally out of the blue, I’d never so much as chatted with him or exchanged an email. I looked at his profile, and not finding much of resonance, emailed him with, “I’m flattered, but I don’t think we’re a good match.”
He wrote back with something like, “If you weren’t interested, you wouldn’t have written back at all. The fact that you’ve written back and said we’re not a good match leads me to believe you’d like to pursue a “friends with benefits” situation.”
Um…WTF???
I did the stupid thing and instead of blocking him, I wrote back and said, “In what twisted world would “no” mean, “I want you as a fuck buddy?” please don’t write me again, I won’t reply.”

But of course he DID write again, and shockingly, it said, “Do you have a few hours tomorrow, want to meet for coffee?”
So just so we’re clear, if I’m not interested, I won’t write back. If you bug me as to why I’m not replying, I still won’t write back.

REASONS I MAY NOT RESPOND TO YOU IF YOU MESSAGE ME

  • You’re WAY older than me and only comment on my looks in your message. That’s just kinda creepy.
  • You’re way YOUNG and only comment on my looks in your message. No, we older women don’t all want to bring young ‘uns under our sexual tutelage.
  • We don’t have much in common.
  • You mention God a lot in your profile. Or how good you are at sex.
  • Your user name is some permutation of a sexual slang, i.e. Ilike69 or cunninglinguist69 or cameltoeliquor (actual names I’ve seen on here)
  • You aren’t smiling in ANY of your pictures. if you can’t bother to smile in your online advertisement of yourself I’ll likely assume you’re either a serial killer or a grump who just sits at home and eats dried corned beef.
  • I’m just not interested for whatever reason.
 

Al Jaffee in Brooklyn, feh!

aljaffeeI am not one to be star-struck. The fact that New York is one of the most celebrity-laden cities on earth is not one of the reasons I moved here. But when I met Al Jaffee tonight in Brooklyn, I found myself gushy and blabbering!

I was raised a white Catholic girl in a little burg called Bluff Siding, WI, population 200. I was one of seven families literally on the side of the bluff. This is in the 70s, pre-internet, pre-anything. I was this girl who loved the paranormal, and dinosaurs, and egyptology, and i felt utterly alone and misunderstood. Until I discovered MAD magazine! (and UFO magazines, but that’s another post). MAD magazine told me about popular culture, and Al Jaffee told me about sarcasm! And yiddish! I was the only girl in the tri-state radius using Yiddish words like “blech” and “feh!” I bought all the “snappy answers to stupid questions” books, but it was his smart articles and accompanying drawings that hooked me. There was always something secret going on in the corners, or in the background. If there were babies, they were always swallowing something evil in the background, or tormenting some animal. I thought his fold-ins were the least entertaining of his art. And his humor was SMART.

All this came flooding back to me when I read on some “free New York” website that Al Jaffee was going to be speaking at some synagogue in Brooklyn THAT NIGHT! So I rearranged my schedule and tootled on down there. I realized that this was the first time I’d been EXCITED to go meet someone “famous.” Charlene’s internal dialogue: *OMG i might get to ASK HIM QUESTIONS!!! *OMG I WONDER IF I CAN GET A PICTURE WITH HIM!*

So anyway I get on down to Brooklyn and I’m LOCKED OUT of the synagogue! When this has happened in the past, I would just head on to something else. But this was DIFFERENT, dammit! I walked around to all the doors. LOCKED. I started buzzing buzzers. I had just pulled my iPhone out of my pocket to start calling all the numbers on the synagogue website when a nice man across the street motioned me over – the meeting had been moved!

I got a seat in the synagogue basement and THERE HE WAS! My, he was old! The Al Jaffee self-portrait I had remembered from childhood was of a middle-aged jewish man with curly hair and pointy beard. I came in mid-way of a story of his childhood in Lithuania (stories of which will be included in a book on his life coming out in 2010). He’s an excellent storyteller. (*Charlene’s internal dialogue: wonder if he’d consider speaking at the Moth?)

Here are some of the topics he touched upon:

On early life in Lithuania: Hearing stories from the elders was very much a part of life. There was a Jewish character (I don’t know Yiddish so I’d mangle the name) but they would tell stories about the foolish things he’d do. For example, this character had a pen-knife. In those days pen-knives were very hard to come by, so he thought he’d plant the pen-knife so others would grow!

His childhood in New York: He was childhood friends with other artists, like Will Elder, whom he’d known since they were both 12. They had attended a special arts school (High School of Music and Art) which was visited by the well-loved New York Major Fiorello LaGuardia. He imitated LaGuardia’s sing-song voice saying, “OH MY LITTLE GIRLS AND BOYS,” and said that LaGuardia was a “sweet and wonderful man.” (Note: I just watched the PBS New York documentary with a big section about LaGuardia – he was a bigge- than-life force that rebuilt New York after the Great Depression!)

On being a generalist: Jaffee said he was an anomaly in the cartoon industry. In those days, there was a group of pencilers, and a group of inkers. The pencilers couldn’t ink, and the inkers couldn’t draw. He did it all: he wrote, he penciled, he inked, and he lettered. But not everyone thought he was good at it; Al Feldstein, (editor of MAD after Harvey Kurtzman left), said, “Al, if you didn’t write this funny stuff I’d never hire you as an artist.”

On the early comics industry: He said the comics industry was started by Jews. In fact, Bill Gaines (publisher of MAD magazine) father started the first comics. He was a print salesman. He’d go around to all the newspapers and ask if he could have the comics after they’d run in the Sunday edition. Then he’d reprint them into little magazines and sell them as “Famous Funnies” for 10 cents in the candy stores. He told the owners that he’d take back any issues that didn’t sell, but there were never any left! It didn’t take long before the big publishers caught on to this! Jews like Joe Siegel and Schuster started Superman.  There was a lot of anti-semitism in those days in the publishing and art world, and was hard for Jews to get work. Comics gave a lot of them jobs.

On working for Wil Eisner: Right out of high school, Jaffee was looking for any kind of drawing or illustration work. Superman was big back then, and he got the “half-baked” idea to draw “Inferior Man,” a wimpy little man, accountant by day, caped- crusader wannabe who had to wear garters to keep his socks up. He presented it to Eisner, who surprisingly said he could use it as one-page “filler” for his Military Comics. Jaffee made $10 a week.

On working for Stan Lee: after Jaffee got fired from one publication, Stan Lee sent him freelance work. Jaffee drew something called “Super Rabbit” and Stan Lee liked it well enough to assign him “Patsy Walker,” which Jaffee said he didn’t think he was very good at, not knowing how to draw girls, or fashion. Lee said, “You’ll draw it or ELSE,” so he did. Jaffee said one thing he knew he could do was write good stories.

HUMBUG and Harvey Kurtzman: Harvey Kurtzman, the “Pied Piper,” came with his “siren song” to Jaffee and other illustrators/cartoonist to work for/invest in his project called HUMBUG. It only lasted eleven issues and nobody got paid! However, i just saw it for sale on Amazon! Jaffee said it’s worth checking out.

On the origin of the fold-in: Jaffee came to work at MAD magazine in 1957, then edited by Al Feldstein. He had noticed that all the glossy magazines like National Geographic, Playboy and Life had these fancy fold-outs to showcase beautiful pictures or diagrams. He thought, “what about a fold-IN?” So he came up with a fold in of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. He took it to Feldstein and said, “there are two reasons you’re not going to buy this,” (self-depricatingly says “i’m the world’s worst salesman”) 1) it’s silly, and 2) it mutilates the magazine.”  But Feldstein took it to Bill Gaines, who liked it!

On MAD, Harvey Kurtzman and Bill Gaines: Harvey Kurtzman started MAD Magazine, but Bill Gaines came in later. They had a difference of opinion on how they wanted to run the magazine. Kurtzman wanted to improve the quality of the magazine by bringing in better talent (i.e. Illustrators whom they’d have to pay more) but Gaines had more of a “comic book” mentality – he didn’t want any “stars,” and he didn’t want to pay much.

Questions

I spoke up and thanked him for making me not feel like an isolated WIERDO back in Wisconsin, and asked if he ever feels he should get credit for inventions before their time he parodied in MAD. Like the “steering wheel breathalizer.” Or this dog pooh epoxy. He laughed and said no, but he’s always delighted when someone lets him know about one. Like a guy from Austria who sent him a magazine article about a ferris-wheel car parking device (I’ve also seen them in Japan!)

I tackled him again on the way offstage and asked him a few more things –

  • Who does he like to read/find funny? (the New Yorker) I asked if he liked Roz Chast, but when I compared him to her he said “oh NO, she’s MUCH more sophisticated than I am!”
  • What’s with all the pointy footed people? Answer: “I think I wanted everyone to be ballerinas, to bounce.”
  • And do you draw for fun? Answer: “Does a bus driver driver after he’s done with work?”

Oh also, he’s next in line to have an anthology published (Don Martin got to be first).

And Sergio Aragones’ wife is also named Charlene, although Joyce Jaffee (his wife) said that he pronounces it CHAR-lene.

One more starstruck detail. I was chatting with Al and Joyce and they asked what I did for a living. I said, *giggle* I do geeky web stuff, build websites for people, and write. They said they didn’t have a website, and perhaps they should get my card. SQUEEEEE. I WOULD TOTALLY DO AL JAFFEE’S WEBSITE FOR FREE but my good friend Chris says that I need to be professional and even charge Al Jaffee.

Feh!

 

Bicycling Adventures, or how Cappy found me

Way back in 2009, when I lived on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, I spent months looking for a bicycle. After I found her, a mint green Fuji cruiser, I spent money tricking her out, getting racks, lights, and the bigass chain locks that NYers scared me into getting. After I was all set and ready – I never rode her. Well, I rode her once down to Union Square, and there really aren’t good bike lanes from the UWS down there. Being unsure about riding in NYC plus the fear that I could never leave her anywhere lest she be stolen meant that I never rode her anywhere. After a while, i felt so bad keeping her cooped up in my house, that I sold her to a woman who promised to ride her.

It’s 2012, and now I live in Brooklyn, near Prospect Park. I see bicyclists everywhere. Bike lanes abound. So I did what my roommate did, I bought a shitty bike from a guy who sold shitty bikes. There are some in NYC who say that you should ONLY own shitty bikes in NYC. It’s not a matter of IF your bike gets stolen, but WHEN. So I bought a shitty bike. I didn’t expect it to be awesome. I only spent $140 on it. But when I took it to the bike shop for a refresher, I figured, lube the chain, maybe replace the bike pads. Nope, the cost to get the bike into riding condition was more than I paid for it. Annoyed, I emailed the dude that sold it to me. He was interested in keeping relationships with his customers, so he did something all my friends are shocked about: he bought back the bike. (I of course give him good word of mouth for more customers, which I’m sure is worth more to him!).

I tried shopping for a used bike on Craigslist.com. I visited a few bikes. When I moved my price point above $250, I expected them to be less shitty. Most weren’t. So when i viewed $300 used bikes that were shitty, I started thinking JESUS CHRIST if I just pay another hundred more I can get a new one!! So that’s what I did. For two weekends I visited different bike shops. I had decided to get a “girl” bike so I could wear a skirt. i didn’t want to hear myself with the excuse, “but I CAN’T ride the bike, I have a skirt on!”

I tried the Public bikes (link) but it felt like a big high center of gravity.

I tried the Globe Daily 2, which felt like buttah, but sadly didn’t come in many pretty colors – and for $629, I wanted a pretty color!

Finally I discovered the Biria! After a few niggles with size (am I short legged LARGE or a long torsoed SMALL?) I had decided: Biria Citibike in SMALL. I had it down to Red or Cream. Wouldn’t you know it – I couldn’t HAVE the cream! Apparently Biria hadn’t ordered enough to keep up with demand, and I’d have to wait until the BOAT FROM CHINA came over in July to have one. Apparently no one in NYC had one. I could have the red one, anytime.

I thought about this for a few days, but decided dammit if I’m going to buy a new bike, i want to have the color I want. and the color I wanted was cream. I made a list of every bike store in NYC who carried Biria bikes. I started calling. After a while, they all had the same story – “no cream, no one has it, have to wait until July.” But for some reason I kept calling. There were two stores taht took my information and said they’d call me back when they checked inventory. One store in particular in Queens though, I had a *feeling* about…

I called every single bike store in NYC, and in Jersey and near Connecticut too. No bikes. I took a break (it was suddenly 2 pm in the afternoon) and showered and made lunch. When I went back into my room, I saw the Queens bike store had left me a message. I already knew what it would be – THEY HAD ONE FOR ME!! It was the last cream bicycle in the city. They put it together for me, and in a few days I had my bike!

I feel about inanimate objects sometimes like they are faithful dogs. I felt that way about my motorcycle (the one I had in college, anyway), the second one I had wasn’t so alive.

I got on the bike, and KNEW it was mine. I had them do some adjustments, but I rode him all the way home. And named him Cappy – because he looks like a cappuccino. He’s sad right now, because I didn’t have a chance to ride him last weekend. I wore myself out running too much. :)

 

Peter Aguero Venn Diagram

peterham

 

Moodle.net is dead, the end of an era

Way back when the internet was just text pages and marketing had not yet taken over everything, I bought moodle.net and put up my very first website. It had an animated GIF for the front page and everyTHANG.

“moodle” was a handle I had chosen back in 1996 when I joined one of the first Bulletin Board Systems (BBS) on the young web, Bitstream Underground (BSU), where I had made lovely friends that I still have today. Moodle.net became a place where I tested out my web design skills, and put up stuff that amused me.

I did hard coding for moodle.net, but I eventually discovered blogging platforms and I moved on to blogger and livejournal. I kept moodle as my email all the way up until 2008 until I sold moodle.net domain to the gentleman who authored the moodle programming language. I kept charlene@moodle.net and he provided a forward to my new domains. But nowadays I have become theredheadsaid as my online identity, and sadly the moodle.net email has become a spam magnet, having been on the intertubez for 13 years. So i made the decision today to pull the plug on my moodle.net identity.

Goodbye moodle.net, I have loved ye.

 

Make something 365 Blog

If you’re a creative person you know that sometimes you need a box to design your way out of. Many people find the “make X once a day” idea very fruitful. And there’s a lovely blog that chronicles just that!

http://makesomething365.blogspot.com/

One woman makes an owl a day

This gentleman makes one imaginary creature a day

Oddments & Curiosities: odd creatures on odd days

One guy just decided to  Make Something Cool Every Day like this awesome “emoticikhans”