PAgent’s Progress

Words Are My Favorite Toys

September 4th, 2006


Whenever I go riding these days, I’m under a lot of pressure. I feel compelled to be increasing my mileage, so I can improve my endurance. Or trying out new routes. Or increasing my average speed. And I go riding because I need to stay in condition, or to decrease my insulin resistance, or to compensate for the ice cream I had for dessert last night.

I rarely go riding just because I want to.

But I rode to work last Friday, and I will be aggressively riding to work all through September as part of the 2006 Bike Commute Challenge, so when I decided to go for a ride today, I could do so without pressure. I could just ride for the fun of it.

I could just go ramblin’. Because I’m a ramblin’ guy.

So, I rode into downtown Beaverton and checked out the new coffeehouse Ava Roasteria. You can see my comments over at Portland Metroblogs. After that, I rode a few blocks down Hall to The Bike Gallery to get some new cycling socks. Unfortunately, it was closed for Labor Day. No worries, no pressure. So then I pedalled over to the Tualatin Hills Nature Park, although I didn’t even get off my bike there but just circled the parking lot. I came back to Murray and, because I’m just a bit of a masochist, I climbed up and over the big hill on Murray, then came home via Brockman and the Fanno Creek Trail.

When I got home, I was good and hot, so I stood under the oscillating sprinkler in the front yard and let the icy drops of water bring down my temperature a bit.

Labor Day. The end of summer. There’s so much I didn’t get done this year, and soon the rains will begin. As I recall from last year, by the time we reached the end of September, it was already getting dark and cold in the mornings, making it hard to get motivated to keep riding. I’m really not ready for the summer to be over.

Well, at least I’m not going back to school tomorrow. Ha!

September 4th, 2006

Failed his Saving Throw

The Crocodile Hunter is dead. According to Time Magazine, Steve Irwin was snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef when he “happened to swim over a large ray which, startled, whipped its barbed tail upwards into his chest. He died instantly.” It was, apparently, a reaction of the ray to feeling ‘boxed in’ by Irwin and the cameraman who was filming him.

I expect the mourning and accolades to pour in thick and heavy for the next week or so. And I feel a great deal of sympathy for his widow and the two children he has left behind, children that he apparently adored. But I have to say that this is a case of the odds finally catching up with Steve. When I (infrequently) watched him on television, I usually found myself screaming at the screen, usually telling the “Croc Hunter” what an idiot he was. He routinely took chances that were avoidable, and played fast and loose with his personal safety, and the safety of his family. Remember the infamous ‘dangle the baby while feeding the croc’ incident?

Irwin always made me angry because he sensationalized the serious work of wildlife biologists and conservationists, who are often placed in danger, not for ratings, but because they are trying to save a species or a habitat, or to advance the body of human knowledge.

But as much as he pissed me off, I have to acknowledge Irwin’s deep and sincere love of animals and wildlife. And although he did things that I would have considered foolhardy, he was doing what he loved. I just hate that he has left behind children that now have to grow up without a father.