You’ve probably heard this advice from well-meaning magazine articles, self-help gurus, or spiritual advisers. Maybe you’ve even accepted it as the gospel truth: cultivate an attitude of gratitude, and it will change your brain, make you a happier, better-sleeping, nicer person who can leap tall buildings in a single bound, yada yada. Google it and up comes all manner of scientific studies proving it to be true. But is it? I mean, it seems like a no-brainer, right? Simply write things down you’re grateful for every day and through the magic power of gratitude your life will be better. Well, wait just a minute there. I’m going to call bullshit. Or at least for a time-out.Continue reading
Back when the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Jr., was running for president, he gave a speech at the University of Texas at Austin. By the end, he had the crowd of 5,000 Longhorns and some townie interlopers like me all riled up. He said “Repeat after me: “I am somebody. I AM Somebody! I AM SOMEBODY!” In true call-and-response gospel fashion, we chanted in full voice back. I believe that most of the time. But other days I’m just some dude who rides a bike and stuff, edits my bike memoir, and writes this blog. Sometimes there is no one theme for a post, so only a hodgepodge will do. This is one of those days. To quote John Lennon, another American icon of peace and justice: “My momma never told me there’d be days like these.”Continue reading
It was the traditional yule affair for A Dude and relatives: Jewish delicatessen pickles, nova lox and bagels (hold the bread), a White Elephant gift exchange that included glares when a liked gift was stolen, but for once that did not end in bloodshed (not literally), a movie, walk and bike ride. I did receive some cool stuff so I figured why not share. Thanks to my relatives for their kindness and generosity.Continue reading
Late autumn conditions have been dry, mostly sunny and not too cold here in Central Texas. Waking to some light rain and grey skies was a welcome change, just in time for winter which officially begins tomorrow. For a car-less dude like me, going places generally means getting on Sophie the Fairdale Weekender Archer bicycle and dealing with whatever Mother Nature throws at me. While I was prepared to ride in the rain, it turned out that I didn’t need to and so I chose not to take advantage and rest.Continue reading
Recently I was reading something that suggested the reason most people are not wealthy was really our own damn fault for having negative subconscious thoughts about money, usually from growing up. Change your thinking about money, the mantra goes, and you’ll magically remove those obstacles. Of course that’s just pure illogical bunk and New Age hooey, right? There are real world factors like education, disability, corporate capitalism, class, sex, racial and other forms of discrimination, lack of access to resources and connections and more that all work to keep most of the 99% of people down.
Attracting abundance is an idea that’s not new to popular culture and the self-help world. Remember The Secret? Even though just wishing for more loot and stuff and having it show up seems ridiculous, I decided I would give it a try. What do I have to lose, right? Well, within 30 minutes of telling a friend about it, I had a half-day paying gig watching a TV show. Just for watching three episodes of a show that I hadn’t heard of but would like to see, I was going to be paid the tidy sum of $100. It was the best job I ever had. Did I get it because I had already signed up on the mailing list with the market research study? Or because I was intentionally telling the universe I was available? Who knows? But it isn’t the only time. It keeps happening!Continue reading
If you ride your bicycle regularly, you may have noticed that lots of little stuff happens that probably doesn’t happen for people dependent on cars to get around. Sometimes it’s big stuff, like you: go on a long ride, compete in a race, get a new bike, set a personal best on that Strava segment. The little stuff that goes on, while not as headline-worthy, is just as interesting, to me at least. There is often more than meets the eye if one is willing to look deeper. Let’s take a look at four things that happened to A Dude and find out.
Thursday was my birthday, and for the fourth year in a row, I pulled off a bike ride (one year was on the weekend instead of the actual day). It was a nice, cool day, and I was joined by one friend in the morning and another in the afternoon. Since it was a workday others were busy (or just not into it). Dinner and dessert happened with the first rider and some other friends. And along the way I picked up some freebies. Some of them are good for a few weeks, so the celebration continues. Traditions are nice.
He awoke early with the sun for a change. Groggily, from a late night when sleep did not come, as it often did not. He waited for slumber to arrive like a spouse waiting on the partner who had to work late: restlessly. To pass the time before her return, he watched a digital video recording of thin, super strong young men riding their bikes across Spain. A place he’d been many years ago and found himself pining for. He pined a fair bit these days, to anyone who would listen. About his underappreciated, unpaid blog and book writing. Or the aches and pains of an aging cyclist. And his unwillingness to settle for another low-paying job with a boss and all that jazz, while he struggled to start being an self-employed contractor. He couldn’t figure out how to do the job without a car but paradoxically he needed money from a job to get a car. After 13 years since his vehicle was smashed by a reckless driver, a car seemed like it would be nice. Yet it could also mean certain death to whatever modicum of fitness he had, he thought, because biking is sweaty, hard and uncomfortable, and driving a car is easy. And easy is boring. Which rhymes with snoring, which is what he should be doing, he mused.
200 Followers: I’d Like to Thank the Academy
I recently received the awesome news that my count of blog followers has hit 200! (Actually, it’s now 209, thanks to one more and those getting it through email.) It’s not a huge number compared to many, but I’m really grateful, since I started the year at 20 followers. So thanks to everyone, especially if you are actually reading my stuff! You know who you are. My intention was to list followers 101-200 in a post, as I did with the first 100, but there’s not an easy way to do that. If anyone knows how to download one’s follower list in a spreadsheet format, please let me know!
Well, I’ve done it! I’ve made it to the mythical 100th blog post. It’s my 69th of 2018, and I’ve totalled over 102,000 words since I began blogging on January 1, 2016. It’s been an interesting, fun, exhausting experiment telling my story as a bicyclist as well as exploring other topics like health, politics, culture and more. In this post I’ll review my progress thus far this year and look at what I still need to work on. I stayed in today and unpacked more, organized alot, and cooked, and so I’m itching to go on at least a metaphorical ride. Got your helmet on? Good, let’s go! Continue reading