Cold War Kids

Baby Boomers can claim they were cooler than their parent’s generation. But they could never claim to be tougher. Millenials, on the other hand, can’t claim either over Generation X.

I’ll use the classic video game Missile Command to make my point.

In the 80s the Cold War was still a thing and the US had a formidable foe in the Soviet Union.

Despite their wicked ways, even the Taliban couldn’t wipe us all off the map in one afternoon like the Ruskies.

So what were we doing for fun under the shadow of mutually assured destruction? Smoking cigarettes and shooting missiles with a shotput sized trackball before they nuked all the major metro areas. Eventually, the stream became a downpour. Game over. You lost, you failed. Everyone died. What did we do? Stand back and enjoy the mushroom cloud finale.

Do you realize how warped and twisted this is by today’s standard?

Granted, there’s no shortage of violent video games today. But they’re mostly shoot and blow shit up. Everybody is some form of mercenary out to save their own ass. Oh and you get infinite lives. You never really lose. There’s no skin in the game, not even a lousy quarter.

Even though the enemy in Missile Command wasn’t stated, we knew who it was and what they wanted to do to us.

You could never have a game now and call it Al Qaeda. Despite their clearly stated desire to destroy us.

 

School of Hard Knox

I have a kid going off to college soon, we hope. Or at least we think we hope he’s going to college.

He’s a really smart kid with decent grades, just not valedictorian great. He’s got what I call pay to play grades. He could easily get into some of the more prestigious schools in the country as long as we’re willing to pay 100% of the tuition. There will always be a desk and dorm for those willing to pay sticker.

The funny thing is, college wasn’t cheap when I went over 25 years ago. Back then, “not cheap” was choosing between 4 years of college or a new Pontiac Fiero. Today college costs more than separating conjoined twins or a Mars rover. It’s like holy fucking shit expensive.

Usually when the price of stuff spikes there’s some noticeable improvement. You know, like bars. A regular bar had one beer on tap, a pool table with all its balls, and a cigarette scarred Galaga.

Today, you throw in more hops, add pumpkin to the beer, serve fire-roasted something or other, and put the brewery where people can see it. Viola! It’s a gastropub.

College, on the other hand, has blown right past dive bar and gone straight to nightclub with bottle service. Kids have all these things we didn’t have. They have food courts, wifi, iPhones, friends with benefits.

We didn’t have any of that great stuff. When I was in college, nothing was brand new. You couldn’t even buy a dorm fridge. You had to rent a used one full of mold, and it kept everything at 73 degrees.

Every restaurant was a dump and dirty, but at least you could smoke in all of them. There was no where nice to go. When you’re parents came to visit, you didn’t take them on campus. You made them drive you to the edge of town where the normal people ate. Everything had kind of a college grunge to it, and we all liked it.

Does it really make sense to send your kid off to some gentrified pseudo city with Apple Stores and Starbucks, when that’s pretty much the world they’re leaving and most likely going to return to in four years?

As far as I can tell, the only thing that hasn’t improved in 25 years is the actual learning.

God this ad is nauseating

NY Times ad

This popped up on my phone, either in Twitter or Facebook. The couple in the picture is so precocious. It practically looks like a parody of Millenials. If there were a caption contest, I’d enter:

“I was thinking of this for lining the cocktail cabinet shelves.”

Sea Otter Racing Stats

As mentioned earlier, I raced in the Sea Otter Classic two weeks ago. I was in Category 3, and an older age group, so it wasn’t the most competitive bunch. Here are the final stats.

Flat tires 1
Stops to put more air in tire 2
Wrecks 1
Time 1:45
Rank 34 / 38
Shoulder Separated
Ribs In tact, bruised
Damage to bike Front wheel warped, snapped wire
Repair costs
Lost Sunglasses 1 pair

I’m feeling much better today. My shoulder is a little sore and the bruised ribs still hurt a little. I just got word yesterday that my bike has been fixed and is ready for pick up.

I’m not going to stop riding, but I might quit racing.

Sea Otter 2016

Another Sea Otter Classic has come and gone. This year didn’t disappoint. My buddies came out from Chicago and rented a rather large RV. They learned the hard way that Monterey, CA gets cold at night.

This year we bailed on the organized ride and did our own. We rode into the towns of Monterey and Pacific Grove and on to Carmel by way of 17 Mile Drive.

We had perfect weather and met a cast of characters out of central casting. The best being a bleach blond 48 year old beach bum who told us his life story no less than 3 times because we gave him a beer. It was like someone gave a seagull one potato chip and it wouldn’t leave. We learned he has 6 kids. He’s lived on 8 continents and visite 88 countries. Not to go to Santa Cruz because it’s a bad scene and they stole his bike.

Sunday, I entered my first mountain bike race. First I got a flat 3 miles in. Second I flipped over my handlebars on a washboard descent. I tacoed the front wheel on my new bike and separated my shoulder. I managed to straighten it out enough to finish the race. I managed to place 34 out of 38 in my age group. Not bad.

I have some great pictures to share when I’m not writing on my phone.

Minor observations

Just a few interesting things I notice about people in my day to day observations.

I love Trader Joe’s, but I can’t stand a lot of their customers. There always someone there who’s only buying 30 of the same thing. The other day it was a woman buying a bunch of cartons of egg whites. Another guy was buying 20 boxes of Puffins cereal. These people shop like they live in a bunker.

We went to a flea market where the people are often more interesting than the wares. No matter what, there will always be a couple of old hipsters sporting a western look. Both will be wearing horn rimmed glasses. She’ll have severe bangs, and a flowery dress. He’ll have a crew cut and a short sleeved plaid shirt.

 

Oscars 2016

This year’s Oscars was so boring, it wasn’t even worth making fun of it.

I haven’t bothered to see the latest “Star Wars” movie, but I’m surprised it didn’t get nominated for a bunch of stuff if “Mad Max” did. I had zero interest in seeing either movies, mainly because I’m so tired of sequels, reboots, and remakes.

What little I heard of Chris Rock’s monologue was funny. His joke about Wil Smith getting $20M was the best. Second, was Louis C.K.’s joke about the Oscar going home in a Honda Civic (for short documentary).

Training logs

This weekend I got in a couple bike rides, both marred by equipment failures. I went mountain biking on Saturday. I found some great single-track and ran out of steam going up a gully. I cranked too hard and broke my chain. Fortunately, I was only a mile from the car. Sunday, I had a 25 mile ride according to my plan. About 3 miles from the end, I must have hit some construction debris and got a flat. It was more than the tube, the tire has a hole too.

Jury duty

Within three months of getting my California drivers license, I received the letter that makes us all cringe – a summons to report for jury duty. I managed to kick the can down the road for a year and now the chickens have come home to roost.

I don’t even remember why I postponed it the first time. I assume I had a good enough excuse. This week is one of the worst possible times because we are about to launch Cola, the app we’ve been building for the past year.

I’m hoping to just get passed up and sent on my merry way as the odds of getting picked are usually pretty low.

The last time I reported for jury duty was in Chicago, and I got picked. I honestly didn’t think I would. Insiders tell me if you’re going to get picked hope for a criminal trial. They’re likely to last one day, and can be interesting. Otherwise, you could get stuck in a trial for something like a malpractice suit or insurance fraud. Those are the worst because they’re boring and can last a lot longer.

My case was about a guy who was accused of shooting his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend. The boyfriend and the accused had been friends at one time when they were both working together as “pickers”, guys who salvage scrap and sell it.

I may have written about this in the past, but long story short, we all though he was guilty and figured he did it. In the end, we found him not guilty. The prosecution did such a bad job, there was all kinds of reasonable doubt. Granted, it’s a single data point, but I can see how many seemingly open and shut cases don’t go the way most of us would expect.

Lake Chabot Ride

Linda has decided to take up Mountain Biking with me and last week we picked up a new bike for her. We’ve been looking for something to do together that gets us outside and is also a good  way to kill time when we go camping. We had toyed with some other activities like kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, or surfing, but all those water sports require, well water. On a good day, we’re at least an hour from the ocean. With biking, we can go right from the house.

For her first ride we decided to check out Lake Chabot, an East Bay Regional park near San Leandro. We read about it on a bay area bike website, and sounded like a good place to start.

While we weren’t looking for level 10 technical single-track, we didn’t want a flat asphalt trail either.  What did get was a mile-plus climb up some incredible steep fire roads. At one point it we had to walk the bikes up a 24% grade. Overall, a great place to ride, just not your ideal first ride. For future reference, we’ll probably go back.

We finished off our ride with a little brunch next to the Westy.

Apple eating.
Apple eating.
Sunday brunch.
Sunday brunch.
The bikes together
The bikes together
Shh, that's supposed to be water in the cups.
Shh, that’s supposed to be water in the cups.
Linda's new bike a Specialized Jynx
Linda’s new bike a Specialized Jynx
Lake Chabot
Lake Chabot
Lake Chabot Marina
Lake Chabot Marina