Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Pay them, ignore those..... What, are you stupid ?

Hi there again....

You've read this before, maybe.   If you're one of the regular readers of this blog (and I know there are a few of you), email me and tell me you're there.

Anyhowz, I have another notion that I'd just like to state, if for no other reason than to say that I did.

Some work and get paid, some work and get paid incredibly nice wages, some get paid really crappy wages.   If you've read my previous posts, you'll know where I place myself in that list, but this one isn't about my plite.

This perspective comes in regards to athletes.  

Major league baseball player -  Hit a ball, catch a ball, stand out in a grass field and now and again run a bit, and get paid millions of dollars per year.   The worse that happens to you is maybe a sun burn if an inning goes on a bit long.   Maybe an ingrown nail for those that get paid to sit on the bench.    Must be a truly rough life.

Badwater135 Ultramarathon -  Run, and run, then run some more.  Run through the hottest place on the planet,  for hours on end, with no let up.  The sun beats down on the runners.  The usual that happens -  Dehydration requiring IV fluids,  blisters on blisters,  stomach cramps, leg cramps, hallucinations,  and thats just in the first day of the event.  Most Badwater runners will be out on the race course for over two days.  The winners still typically see the heat of the day twice in the span of a race.  This is one of the toughest events ANYWHERE.  Some would argue that it is THE TOUGHEST.    Some would say the Spartathlon, some would say  Western States 100,  Me,  I'll take Badwater as the king of the events.

So, just for the sake of sheer randomness, lets take a baseball player from say, the SF Giants.   Matt Cain.   He gets paid 20.8 million dollars per year.  To throw a ball.  This is a pitcher so he's not really expected to be able to hit a ball with a bat.  20.8 million dollars.  You've got to be kidding me ?

Now let take a look at another athlete, just randomly.  Scott Jurek.  He's won Badwater twice, The Spartathlon once and various other ultra events around the globe.   I would challenge anyone to stand in front of me, and with a straight face, tell me that someone like Scott Jurek shouldn't be listed as one of the greatest athletes in the world.  Jurek doesn't live in poverty, but he's far far far from being in the economical  class as, oh, say... Matt Cain.

So, compare what  Matt Cain does for his money.  Now look at Scott Jurek.  This is wrong, wrong, wrong.

Oh sure,  you'll say that what ever the traffic will bare...  People are willing to buy the products that the sponsors are hawking at the events.   People watch baseball, alot of people do.   Not so many watch Badwater.   Whats more difficult to do,  throw a baseball around over the space of an afternoon, or  run through death valley in the middle of summer.  Consider that a rhetorical question.

So,  go out and watch baseball.  Have a beer, and some popcorn, and a hot dog.  Realize that a good portion of that $5 for the beer is going into the pocket of an over paid, over pampered, under trained, under utilized, pathetic excuse for an athlete.    Go out and watch baseball, and if you happen to be watching that game during the first weekend of July, remember there are athletes running through death valley, for hours on end.  They do it not because someone is going to pay them 20.8 million dollars, they do it for the sport, because they can.  When you're done watching that baseball game,  and stretching out  and  think about how those baseball stars are so amaing, remember:  Pro baseball players aren't even close to being worth what they're being paid.  Not even close.  You want to look at REAL athletes,  look up  Badwater on the web.   Those are athletes.


Friday, April 10, 2015

Me and the San Jose Bike Clinic... A nice story

Hi there...

First of all, if you follow this blog, and there are a few (3, I think) that do, you'll know that it's where I vent when pissed, angry, disgruntled, or just bored.  

For this posting, none of those apply.  This is a story about a very enjoyable encounter I've had in the past few months, one that I hope continues on into the future.

For the sake of clarity, and/or brevity, if this is being C&P'd to another venue, feel free to leave these first few lines out, otherwise....

Me and The Bike Clinic.

I still do on occasion, but not as much anymore, ply my trade as a street musician near the Camera12 theatres in San Jose.

In the winter of  2014, I happened to notice a group of bicycles, a few bike stands, and a miniature troop of bike mechanics in an area of the Camera12 theatre.

I once attempted to ask someone what they were doing in there, but the person didn't hear me, and pedaled away.

I'd say it was about two weeks later that I happened to catch the ear of one of the SJBC's people.  I learned that what the bike clinic was about, and that yes, they were accepting volunteers.

Now, I don't really hit on cycling much on this blog, but it is a rather well known fact among my friends, that I'm a bit of a cycling fan.  Actually it would be more accurately described as a rabbid cycling fan, closely akin to that of a English soccer hooligan.  I salivate at the notion of Paris Roubaix, I await incredibly impatiently for July and  Le Tour de France.  

I am also fairly well versed on working on bicycles.  My dream job would be to be shown to a bench with a truing stand, with boxes and boxes of spokes, hubs, and rims, and to be told to start building wheels...   Don't tell any possibly employer, but a job like that I'd do for next to nothing.   I LOVE WHEEL BUILDING.

So, after a discussion with the guy I refer to as  "Out Top Bannana",  I volunteered to work the next weekend.

Ah, the first day, I wrenched on a couple of bicycles.  The first time in a couple of years.  Don't tell Danny "The Top Bannana" but I would have paid to be allowed to be there.

The next day, I think is where I somewhat convinced a few that I might be in the right place.  We had a woman come in with a road bike, that wanted to learn how to do regular maintenance.   The whole idea behind the bike clinic is for people to come in and either just use the tools that are available, or to come in and we'll teach them how to use those tools.   Well, a moment after the one woman was in the shop, I had her bike up on a stand, and basically went through brake repair and adjustment, derailer adjustment,  chain cleaning and lubing, and general bicycle checkout.   Just what we wanted to do,  teach people how to do it themselves.

So, I became a bit of a  SJBC staple, manning the shop on the weekends.  Performing the odd jobs, such as hanging lights and such.  All in all, had a very nice time.

As George Harrison wonderfully pointed out,  'all things must pass',  and proving to this, the SJBC is not open these days.  We hope to re-open  the doors soon, and still have 'skill share' days on occasion.  Me,  I'm not so involved these days.  I read about what's being done to raise funds to re-open, and when it's relevant I put my two cents in.   Me, I'd rather be just the wrench, with lots of bicycle stories, and a passion for the sport.

One thing I can say about downtown San Jose,  it really sucks in a major way, but in the middle of that giant suck, there are a few really nice islands of paradise.  One of those islands was and is the San Jose Bicycle Clinic.    If you're out and about, and we're having a skill share, stop by.  If you hear we have the doors open again, stop on in.  Always have room for another bike, and always have time for another turn of the wrench.

Until then, keep on riding....
keep the rubber side down....
and never ever walk up to a full grown bison and smack him on the nose with a stick.


Monday, April 6, 2015

How to be rude to a street musician

Hi there...

Again, I see people (a few) are actually reading this stuff, so I start the same thing up again... If you're reading this, email me and let me know....  walthansen753@yahoo.com.

Anyhowz, todays blog is  'how to be rude to a street musician'.

People in downtown San Jose are truly great at this.  If this were an olympic event, these people would be the Eric Heiden mixed with Bob Beaman contestants.....  Truly gold medalists.

The first discipline:

First, you have to find the street musician.  It's best if you find one that is playing out there for the real purpose of raising money to eat, and for shelter,  not the  'once a week' pretender, thats out there trying to raise money for another video game cartridge.
Once the musician is found, you'll need a couple of items....  An mp3 player, preferably something that is bluetooth capable, and then a set of  bluetooth speakers.
Wait for the musican to be in a complex and/or truly remarkable piece of music.
NOW....  Fire up that mp3 player, connect via bluetooth to the speakers, and start blasting that lovely rap music, the more offensive the better, and loudly, as loud as your speakers can go.
The street musician will be so amused, and grateful that they get to take a break while you're blasting everyones ear drums with  M en M,  or  Justin Beiber, or just some joyous rap tune that promotes shooting innocent people, or cops.
If  anyone complains that you're playing your crap too loudly,  just flip them off, and turn it up louder.  Isn't that what the first ammendment is all about, after all ?

Second event.    It starts out much like the first one.  Find the street musician.  Wait for them to be playing a tune.  Again, this is best done to street musicians that are trying to earn money for food and lodging.
Stand near the street musician.  Maybe dance a bit.  Tap your feet.   To really earn extra points, when the street musician is between tunes, tell them how much you enjoyed what they were playing.
Next, pull some  money out of  your  wallet/purse.  Bend down as if to put it in the street musicians hat/box/etc....   ah hah!  And stop.    Put the money back in your pocket, and walk away.  The street musician will find this especially nice.  (Yes, I have seen this a few times this past week alone).

And finally the third event.  This doesn't take muck skill and practice,  no real finesse, but it will cost you just a bit.   Yes, see part one of  the first two practices,  search/find/be rude.
This is the simplest of all the disciplines really.   Reach into your pocket and find a few pennies and maybe a nickle or two.  Anything larger than a dime just wont do.  It's best if the total is less than seven cents.   Drop your donation into the street musicians hat, and then act like you've just saved their day.   Remember,  less is better....  Less than five pennies really makes you an expert at this stage.

Now, I know what you're probably thinking.  People couldn't really be this rude.  There's no way I've actually seen this.....  But you would be wrong, with a big stinkin W.   Yes, I do see all three of these things, almost daily.   Not in nice places like Mountain View, or Palo Alto, but in downtown San Jose, yes I do.

Which leads me to the usual conclusion of my blogs.   My approach towards the vast majority of the people in downtown San Jose.  YOU SUCK!  I  piss on your graves, and all the graves of your ancestors and descendants.

Oh, and by the way,  if you're one of the nice people I run into in Mountain View,  thank you.  You're really really nice.

And remember, if you read this,  email me....  Or not.

If you read this, and are one of the people that practice these events regularly, especially in SJ..... uh, in not so many words,  GO FUCK YOURSELF.