Sunday, September 21, 2008

Hub On Wheels 2008

I'm going to sleep well tonight. Early this morning, my Biker Gang, the Boston Ramblers joined four thousand other cyclists for this year's Hub On Wheels Ride. It was incredible. Storrow drive and the Riverway were closed off for us, and for once, we bikers ruled the mean streets.

Hub On Wheels benefits Technology Goes Home, which is a great cause, but regardless, the tour of Boston is well worth the modest registration fee. We started out early at City Hall Plaza, our ride starting not long after 8 am. The Ramblers rambled, logging just over 30 miles in a stretched-out 2 1/2 hours.

My big "technological" breakthrough for the ride was my handlebar camera-mount. I'm a little proud of it, even though it launched relatively untested. In 14 hours, I've been stopped, talked about, and questioned about its source. I'll post supporting materials shortly. My favorite incident was today along the Riverway, when a gentleman rolled up next to me and asked, "How are the photos?" I told him pretty good so far, it's a little untested, and this is its big premier. His next question: "Where did you buy it?"

"I built it," I said. He rode on...

Here are some pics from the ride, along with as much narration as I can provide. I'm rather pleased with the camera mount. I own what is not known as the nicest, most expensive, or technologically advanced camera. But it seemed to do a good job holding up through the 30+ miles of H.O.W.

Without further ado:

Not long after the beginning of the ride, about to join Storrow Drive:

Yeah! We own Storrow Drive! Reverse THIS!

We rode out to Cambridge, where the route turned around. The sun was in our eyes, the signs said Cars Only, but no cars were around, so we took some liberties:

We exited at the Fenway,

Made our way onto the Riverway,

I pulled over along the route for a costume change. I handle a ride like a Cher concert: Lots of flash and many, many outfit changes. I'm a showman, what can I say?

Here's a shot of the Ramblers at the first rest area, at the Arnold Arboretum, 14.4 miles in, still fresh-faced and optimistic:

From there we went through the Forest Hills Cemetery (one of my favorite places ever, but especially pleasant to bike through) and through Franklin Park. I had some technical difficulties with the camera system here, so few photos, except this one:

Later, after drifting through parts unknown to me of Roxbury, we ended up along Morrissey Boulevard, along the UMass, the JFK library and the beautiful water. Many of the Ramblers said they were now thinking of attending UMass, simply for the view.

I'm not positive, but I think that's a Mark DiSuervo sculpture to the left:

(*addendum: yes it is.)

Eventually we ended up along the water in downtown Boston, and I was forced to rethink my earlier stance that Boston has some of the most stale, boring architecture around.

Here is Chris, freshly arrived at the finish. Look at that grin! Accomplishment much?

The Ramblers: L-R, Chris, Andrea, Jed, Christine, Nancie, me.

(AKA: Nugget, Crash, La-Z J, Sweet Ass, Pokey, Captain Awesome.)

And, of course, no ride would be complete without a photo taken with Zebra Man:

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Dental Damnation!

Last Friday I had my wisdom teeth extracted. Looking at it from this side, it wasn't a huge deal, but as I sat down in the chair my stomach was filled with trembling, vomiting butterflies. I'm a bit of an anxious person to begin with, so it was with not a small bit of nervousness that I entered the office that afternoon. I had done some Googling of the process, reading about the healing and recovery period, a few blogs on the issue, and a horrifying Youtube video which had me gagging and retching, and I came away with this overriding thought: I don't want to do this.

Well, turns out, it really wasn't so bad. When I checked in at the office, I asked to be pointed to the bathroom, and spent a few moments sweating and shaking, splashing water on my face. I figured I would then spend a few moments in the waiting room reciting "calmblueocean,calmblueocean, calmblueocean..." But there was no chance. As soon as I stepped out of the room someone said, "Mr. Sullivan we can take you right now in here." It's a trap!

The worst part was taking the Novocaine, which hurt a bit, but when the doctor gave me a huge shot WAY back in my mouth, my gag reflex was triggered, and I flipped out, flailing and coughing. I shoved the doctor and his assistant away, coughed and kind of sobbed, my eyes runny with tears, drool hanging in ribbons from my lips. Apologizing, trembling and sweaty, I reached for the cup of water offered to me, and was alarmed at the amount of blood as I spit. This wasn't even the gory part. Good lord help me.

The actual process wasn't bad, and went rather swiftly. For this I am grateful. I have to say I highly recommend this doctor. To anyone in the Hub, hit me with an email and I will send you in his direction. I got to keep my teeth (ugly little fuckers), which was a major sticking point with me to begin with. My plan was to make cufflinks from them (wasn't that in The Great Gatsby??) but they're really not all that pleasant to look at. Plus, there's still some blood and "tissue" stuck to them. Not a pretty starting point for jewelry.

So I spent the next few days in a Vicodin haze, wearing pajamas and an ice pack on my face. Black Eyed Susan insisted in coming over to dote on me, something I'm very grateful for. Not that I was helpless, but for the sheer nurturing kindness of her actions. And the back-handed compliments were priceless: "You don't look that bad," and, watching me eat breakfast, "Look at you! You're chewing!"

So, considering how bad it could have been, and how bad I had it cooked up in my head to be, having an extraction wasn't the worst thing in the world. But I don't think I'd recommend it to anyone just yet.

In other news:

I approved the proofs for my inclusion in the latest Make Magazine this morning. It comes out in October, and I'm very excited. I'm sure I'll be posting a lot more about it here as the release date nears.

On Sunday I will be riding 30 miles around Boston for Hub On Wheels. It's a charity ride that raises money for Technology Goes Home, and the route looks awesome. I can't wait, and it should be a lot of fun. To prep up I've gone on a bit of a shopping spree and bought a new seat and fenders for my ride. I'm halfway hoping it rains so I can give the fenders a real go-around. But not really, because riding in the rain sucks.

And in todays primary election, early results say that my candidate for Senate, Sonia Chang-Diaz has won, so WooHoo democracy!