Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Cancer

I've been fretting about the big “C" since I was four years old. My Granddad picked it up through a steady diet of bacon, scotch, cigarettes and cigars. I watched it kill the man. It wasn’t pretty.

As a result, I was the only 12-year-old scared to sneak smokes because my oncologist advised against it. I load up on antioxidants, even if that is just marketing speak, whenever they're around. And, I generally fear the worst.

Short of moving into a bubble, I am hyper-aware of my environment and do my best to avoid cancer-causing agents (my wife argues the build-up of creosote in our chimney is causing us cancer, but I'm gonna roll those dice).

And besides, our bodies will do what they are pre-disposed to do. There's no fighting genetics.

In the last week, I've heard of two people I know indirectly, who have both contracted terminal cancer. Both women in their early 40s and mothers of young children. Pancreatic, lung and brain cancer between them. Another friend died last year at the age of 36 to ovarian cancer.

I'm not gonna lie to you - I'm totally freaking out.

I know the precautionary CAT scan for an otherwise healthy adult won’t be covered, (those insurance bastards probably figure what you don’t know, you won’t treat, and thusly, they won’t have to cover). So I’ve gone and run the numbers. $3470 for a whole body scan.

Anyone wanna go half-sies?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Slow Down Obama

You're not president yet. And while I truly hope you will be soon, I don't quite have the same faith in my fellow Americans that you do to make it happen (I currently have $60 in wagers that McCain will win in November - any takers?). You see, most people that share this great nationality of ours think you're a lot like the guy in the picture to the right. Complete with flags burning in the fireplace and portraits of Bin Laden mounted on the wall.

Which was the point.

I'm not morally aghast that this cover was published, like all the of the uppity liberals who think this will only feed the fears of many Americans (the Americans we need to be worried aren't exactly reading Hendrik Hertzberg's skewering of the Bush administration or
checking in on David Denby's movie reviews - sorry. Do they even sell this magazine south of the Mason Dixon line?)

No the Americans we need to be worried about are the ones who barely even know how to pronounce your name, Senator, or that you just edged out Hilary in the primaries. The ones who will learn that there is a presidential election coming up from all the tv ads they will see in late October and will pull the lever
100 times for a white, war hero named McCain over a young black man named Obama, if they could. And I think they can in Florida.

They're the same Americans who complain about the rising cost of fuel but drive SUVs they can't afford and believe that it is their inalienable right to do so.

The same Americans who think 2nd cousins are plenty removed enough.

Sadly, they're the same Americans who might just catch enough of the nightly news to see your tour of the Middle East and question your association with Afghanistan's president, Hamid Karzai, because you're not the president yet. sort of beat me to the punch on this one, but it does seem odd that a man who has a lot of work to do before becoming America's first black president is
behaving like one in a part of world that would like nothing better.

A bit presumptuous some might say, even if some don't really know what presumptuous means.

Monday, July 21, 2008

It's Official - Your Taste in Movies Sucks

The box office numbers are in and The Dark Knight is apparently the best movie ever created.
  • Top grossing opening day.
  • Top grossing opening weekend.
  • I heard somewhere the movie made $62 Million in one minute with the midnight showing, last Thursday.
  • And it's expected to break first week numbers as well.

Don't you people know that comic books on the big screen aren't good?

Iron Man, despite all it's hype was only ok and only because Robert Downey Jr. is cool. The first Spider Man installment, which previously held all these records, casts Tobey "Sea Biscuit" Maguire as the hero for chrissakes. The first X-Men may be the only flick to debunk my comic book movie theory but that's only because it started with a decent story.

Now, the only good thing people are saying about Christopher Nolan's latest addition to the Batman franchise is Heath Ledger's performance as the Joker. And that guy's dead.

You'd think after DC and Marvel trot out their big-budget circus acts summer after summer, the movie-going public would get hip to them and go for something a little more... oh, I don't know, entertaining.

I don't imagine Gonzo: The Life and Work of Hunter S. Thompson will break any summer movie records but we all need our heroes.

Friday, July 18, 2008

More Insecurity. Less Anger.

As you can see, this space is no longer titled "Anger Becomes Me."

I fucking hated that name. Here's why:

1. The name pigeon-holed me into recounting stories focused solely on my own hate and personal misfortune. I figure I can always hate, but sometimes I just want to love a little too.

2. The whole "angry man" thing is played out (and no one does it better than Larry David).

3. It just sounded a little fruity, like "Color me Angry" or "Does Anger Make My Butt Look Big?"

All very self-conscious motivators. But as a coworker put it the other day, the whole idea of a blog is pretty narcissistic. I argued that point, making up some crap about how I only do this to get in the habit of writing regularly and I don't care if anyone else is reading. But in retrospect, he's right. I'm just a vain motherfucker.

So enjoy the new title (a nod to the point of view of an alter-ego I hide behind when I don't want people to think I really think these things), and the content to follow. Hopefully it makes my butt look a little smaller.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Bike Rage

This story, published in today's Oregonian is too good not to share with those unaffected by "quintessentially Portland thing(s)."

The basic gist: Biker runs a red light. Driver of nearby car, who is also a big bike advocate in town, tells biker that he's giving all bikers a bad name. Biker, who is drunk and happens to work for the city's dept. of transportation begins beating man and his car with the bike. Random passerby sees this and knocks biker out with one punch, then leaves the scene. Other bikers ride up to find downed biker on ground in front of car. Angry biker mob attacks innocent motorist.

Ed. Note: I was nowhere near SE Belmont and 20th on the night of July 6th.

Perhaps us Portland riders just need a few less rules.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Musings of a Self-Riteous Cyclist

I don't know if I live in Portland because I bike. Or, if I bike because I live in Portland.

Frankly, I'm not very good at it. I had four crashes in a seven-day-span last month, which merely capped a lifetime of bike accidents that started with a car knocking me off my Huffy dirt bike and the two front teeth out of my mouff on the way to school back in 7th grade.

I've stuck with it, though and currently ride my wife's 15-year-old Trek mountain bike almost everyday to work (my sweet ride was stolen a couple years ago out of my garage, which to Portland riders is considered some kind of f-u rite of passage). And the city of Portland, often likened to Amsterdam, is embracing the effort, holding bike fests, enacting traffic laws to protect the biker and hopefully, with enough critical mass, will move toward
bike only thoroughfares. ( with it's 40 or so blogs related to biking in the area and links to proper legal counsel, sort of confirms Portland as Bike Town).

So what does all this bike love create? A happy little village where drivers and bikers co-exist in commuter harmony?

Not quite.

People who drive are typically in a hurry, talking on their cell phones and they just paid good money for gas so they don't really want anyone telling them what to do with it.

We bikers think we own the roads and every last SUV, bus and wheelchair must yield to us. We get off on cars making an illegal motion so we can chase after them dangerously, and teach those drivers a thing or two about "sharing the road." We delude ourselves into thinking that if everyone got out of their cars and onto their bikes, the world would be a better place, when in fact, the current riders would just be pissed about all the bandwagon bikers that are clogging up our narrow little bike lanes.

Since this blog is essentially a forum to discuss all the venom I spew and the hate that is subsequently directed toward me, I will share my recent run-in with a driver who I am clearly superior to because his vehicle is motorized and mine is not.

I was heading south on NE 16th around Lloyd Center at my usual 7:15 am ride time. As I started to merge out of the bike lane and into the right turn lane (which bikers use when making a right turn and not going straight), I extended an arm to let the oncoming Ford Explorer know I was coming over. I heard the SUV gun it's engine to cut me off and speed ahead in the right turn lane and so held off on merging to save my neck. I then followed the driver through the right turn and up to the first traffic light which was red. In my favor.

His windows were up so I exaggerated my lip movement to say, "Yield to bikes, dude!" He waved his hand at me, in his scoffing way and tells me I should have been in the bike lane. Which was just about the worst answer this pinhead in a suit driving an SUV could have given. Because now it's time for some driver's fuckin' ed.

I leaned up against his car and unloaded - "Listen you mutherfucker - I was making a right turn, so I had to get in the right turn lane. I was ahead of you when I put my arm out, so I had the right of way. And I'm on a bike so you gotta yield to my ass whether you like the previous two rules or not, you fuckin' SUV oil-hog bitch."

I watched the man shrink into his seat throughout my rant with great delight. But just as the last "fuck" emerged from my lips, I noticed the young child strapped into the car seat in back, terrified that the angry biker man was going to eat his daddy. As a father of a young girl, I felt some shame and left the incident at that. However, faced with a similar situation next time, I'll probably do it all over again and exonerate myself here.

In the meantime...