Archive for the ‘Rated PG+’ Category


Fun with Bicycles (or, How Not To Ride One)

July 23, 2009

I’m going to make a confession now that is actually less embarassing than one might expect: I never learned to ride a bicycle.

(Gasp!  Shock.  Really?  Yes.)  Why?  Numerous reasons:

One, I was a coward as a kid.  I’ll be the first to admit it.  I also didn’t learn to swim or climb trees, for exactly the same reason.

Two, the bicycle is an insidious device.  With only two wheels and (in my case) a seat designed to give you crotch bruises, these suckers are anything but fun for the novice.

Combine that with certain feelings of inadequacy (having an older sister and cousin who could already ride perfectly and certainly weren’t patient enough to help me learn), frustration with relatives (PLEASE, Dad, do NOT walk up to me after I’ve killed my ass and ask me in the perkiest tone you can muster if I’ve been “practicing riding my bike”), and an uncontrollable feeling of terror whenever the thing goes too fast and you have a recipe for disaster.

Fortunately, I learned a few helpful things today that should help to minimize discomfort, panic, and injury for anyone who’s just starting out on a bike, but especially me.

Lesson One: How Not To Ride A Bike

1. My sister’s method: Start at the top of a shallow hill and coast down, keeping your feet a short distance from the ground.  Repeat until you stop going into panic attacks.

Why?  Because this happens: The bike starts going too fast.  You try in vain to brake, by touching the ground with your feet, but by this time it’s already too late.  You have two choices: fall over or stand up, hold on, and skid along the ground while the bike humps you from below until it finally stops.  Then, if you have something else in common with me, you hyperventilate for the next few seconds.

2. Mother’s advice: Disregard sister’s advice.  Get on the bike, push off, and start pedaling.

And be ready for Panic Attack #2, because – again, only if you’re like me – as soon as the bike starts to pick up speed, you freak out.  Assuming the bike ever picks up speed in the first place.  The alternative: you try to pedal, the bike tips over.  You try to correct the problem.  It fails and you have another panic attack.

(Although this might seem a bit self-serving, I do not consider “having a panic attack when I lose control of the bike” to be the same as “being a coward”.  I am fairly sure that a coward wouldn’t have gotten on the stupid bike to begin with.)

Anyway, this is the method I found that actually works:

How To Actually Ride A Bike

First of all, you know all those seasoned bike-riders you see out there with their feet on the pedals?  They’re not you.  Unlike you, they’re actually comfortable with what they’re doing.  You are not – or so I assume, because if you were I expect you would know how to ride the thing.

So here’s what you do: Keep your feet on the ground.  Lower the seat until you can get a good grip on it.  Start at the top of a slope (a gentle slope), sit on the bike, and walk your way down.  Yes, walk.  While you’re on the bike.  When you’re a bit more comfortable, you can even start to pick up some speed.  Run a little.  Walk it back up the slope and go down again.  Whee.

All right, so it’s a little childish.  But let’s be serious here: would we rather look a little childish, or kill our elbows, knees, shins, ankles, and nervous systems trying to ride the thing some other way?

(Oh, and here’s a fun tidbit for future adult bikers: a podcast about adults learning to ride for the first time. We’re not alone out there.)


iApprove: “Brownie Mary” Rathbun.

May 3, 2009

While browsing Oddee (a site of which I heartily approve, if only because I’ve been viewing it nonstop for hours), I discovered something rather surprising – an easter egg, if you will.  Something that may lay to rest many of the unfounded and rather disturbing claims made about certain American individuals.

I’m talking about Mary Jane Rathbun.

Mary Jane Rathbun, aka “Brownie Mary”, was what one might refer to as a medical activist.  She spent much of her life fighting to legalize cannabis – a plant better known as marijuana – in medicinal use for sufferers of “Aids, cancer, glaucoma, and other diseases” (Wikipedia).  One of her better-known stunts, for which she received her nickname, was the baking and distribution of several “Alice B. Toklas brownies” – that is, brownies made with cannabis.  She once said on the subject “my kids [people with AIDS and cancer] need this and I’m ready to go to jail for my principles.”  Before her death, she was named a living saint, and christened “Saint Brownie Fucking Mary” by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

Wait… what?

Well, no real nuns would have touched Brownie Mary with a ten-foot pole.  She broke laws, after all (or bent them, anyway).  And she was promoting drugs (or something equally untrue). So Mary, a lifelong atheist, was honored by a (rather eccentric) humanist organization.

We could all learn a lot from Mary.  Atheists and humanists could learn to follow her example and fight for what they believe in.  And religious folks could learn that not all atheists take their cues from Joseph Stalin.


DoNotWant: My Breasts Enlarged!

November 21, 2008

Nor do I appreciate your continual insistence that I CAN afford better breasts.  I also do not need you to keep asking me to claim a nonexistant gift certificate or reminding me that you need nurses.

Okay, I’ll be honest here.  From a strictly vain, measuring-up-to-my-sister standpoint, larger breasts would be nice.  There are a few problems with that, though: one, I can NOT afford larger breasts, despite your claims otherwise, and two, I’ve seen what those things look like.  There’s a word for it: FAKE.  I would much rather have my small, pointy, natural breasts than a pair of round, silicon fakers.

And from a practical standpoint, just NO.  My breasts do a fantastic job of obstructing me during certain tasks as it is.  I do not need them to be larger just so they can do it more.  I also do not need to have to buy larger brassieres right now, nor can I afford the hundreds of dollars worth of liposuction that it would probably take to fix the rest of my body to that my new bigger breasts would actually be worth something.

Thanks, but I’ll pass.

(I do, however, appreciate you advertising to the right demographic this time.  You have no idea how many companies send me e-mails saying that my wife wants it bigger.)