Thursday, February 24, 2011

Make that extra salty, please!

Salt Soup!

So for some unknown, very annoying reason, Seattle had decided that it's still winter. Yes, I know officially it is still winter, but it's almost March. In Seattle, the flowers are starting to bud and it's time to start thinking about spring. Except, not now. Snow, temperatures below 20 ARGHHHHH!!!!

So all week long there has been lots of talk about snow. In fact, that's pretty much all anyone has been talking about all week. The snow that was falling, the snow that wasn't falling, the snow that might fall etc. I think actually there was a lot of snow in surrounding areas, but in Seattle we didn't actually get much snow. What we did get was salt! So here's the seattle salt story. A couple years ago we had a really big snow storm. The Seattle powers that be decided that they didn't want to salt the streets. I guess salt runs off the road and gets in the water and is bad for the environment. So Seattle leaders decided no salt, but lots of dirt (oh, maybe sand). So it snowed, they dumped tons of sand on the street, the snow didn't melt, driving wasn't any easier and we just had lots of very dirty 6 - 12 inch mounds of snow all over our streets. It made driving very nearly impossible and cycling absolutely impossible. So, as people will do when the weather has the audacity to impact their lives, they complained. A lot. The politicians got nervous. And, now we salt. (Okay, there were actually quite a few reasons to legitimately complain about how the city handled that storm, salt may or may not have been one of them.)

So, all day yesterday there were warnings of snow and the city went crazy with the salt. I was riding my bike home thinking, oh, it must have snowed, but then realizing I was actually crunching on salt not snow. Last night it finally did snow. It was kind of warm when it snowed, then quickly got cold. Usually, that is a recipe for ice disaster. And sure enough, in the morning, there was a thin layer of ice on everything...... EXCEPT where it was salty. Guess what Seattle, unlike, sand, salt actually MELTS snow and ice. So, on the salted roads NOTHING. Totally clear. And guess what, it was awesome. I got to work easily. I didn't have to worry about near death from slipping on ice. And now the streets are completely clear.

Now, I don't know what the environmental argument is here. I am not so sure that dumping tons of sand on the streets is really any better for the environment than lots of salt. They probably both suck and kill plants and wildlife and fish. And I'm sure the steel on my bike is developing rust right as we speak. But, personally, I'll take salt with my snow. Thanks Seattle!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Bike Lock

Out with the old.

I believe I purchased this lock in 1989 in honor of the purchase of my first ever, shiny new road bike, the Specialized Allez Pro. The Allez Pro needed all the protection it could get, as it was very cutting edge for the time - 8 speed handle bar shifters and clipless pedals and who knows what other fancy innovations. Those may be nothing now, but in 1989, they were the bomb. (On a side note, the handle bar shifters did wonders for my bike handling, but the clipless pedals not so much. They were a tight and many a stop light involved slow motion crashes when I was unable to get my foot out of the pedal.) The Allez Pro is a little less shiny today, but it is still my daily commuter bike and is still being locked by the above vintage Kryptonite ulock. (No, I am no longer falling down at every stop.)

There is a slight possibility this lock appeared in my life in 1996. In 1996 I was riding my GT Karakoram. Ah, how I loved that bike. Unfortunately, I would leave it outside Seattle Central Community College where I was taking night classes. One night I came out and the bike and the cable lock that was attaching it to the bike rack were long gone, never to be seen again. Very sad. It's possible I bought the ulock in response to the theft, but the more I consider it, the more I'm thinking that I had the u lock, and I just used the cable lock because it was so much lighter.

So, we're going with 1989. That means I have owned and used this lock regularly for about 1/2 my very long lifetime. At some point, 2005 or so, Kryptonite came out with the announcement that these ulocks had a fatal flaw. Essentially they could be jacked open with the end of a Bic pen! At the time I thought seriously about replacing it. But just never did. I think I even went into bike stores to buy a new one on multiple occasions, but some how always talked myself out of it. I also meant to test the Bic pen trick, but never did that either.

But today was the day. I went into a bike store to buy brake pads and walked out with a new bike lock! Good bye old lock!

Whew, what a week. A new recycling bin and a new bike lock. Who has time to be depressed about Valentine's day!

In with the new!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love is in the air, or not.

Ah Valentine's day and the single life. A day of watching frenzied flower shoppers. A day of smiling couples walking hand in hand. A day of super sweet facebook posts between husband and wife. A few weeks ago, I had some hope that although my valentine's day might not be all romance, candle and flowers, perhaps it would be, well, neutral. Unfortunately, in the last few days a couple events occurred that downgraded the day from neutral to 'meh'! Fortunately, a wonderful company named Green and Black, makes an absolutely amazing 85% dark organic chocolate that can put a little pep in the step of even the most lovelorn (and I am certainly not the most lovelorn). And while, I did have to buy that chocolate myself, it is on sale at both Madison Market and Whole Foods. So there's that.

And don't get me wrong, I am 100% in favor of the romance and the uber sweetness! And can certainly be happy for those who have it. May you all have a fabulous Valentine's Day full of lots and lots of love and satisfied expectations!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Look What I Got Today!

It's new and it's blue and it's going to roll like crazy!

Big excitement in my life today. After 5 years of using a broken recycling bin (wheel that didn't work), I just got a shiny new one. And not only is it shiny and new, but it's blue!

My recycling bin was broken when I moved into my house. I didn't do anything about it, because, even though it was kind of a pain to move every time I needed to take the recycling out, the bin never went very far (about 5 feet) and was never very heavy. But then two weeks ago, it was gone. Poof! Disappeared! Stolen? Absconded by the recycling bin fairy? Sold on the black market? Taken by a stalker? Who knows, but I'm pretty happy it got lost!

I'm not sure which is more pathetic, the fact that this is all I can find to blog about. Or the fact that my life is so dull that this is a semi exciting event.