Saturday, December 18, 2010

Abducted by Aliens

Last night in  a dream I was was abducted by aliens. Seriously. They swooped over me with incredible acceleration, and in the traditional fashion, a blue shaft of light came down and levitated me into their saucer shaped craft. I had a pair of xc skis in my arms. And I was smiling as the blue force field picked me up.

This is how it happend

A few things contributed to this strange dream. First of all I watched the trailer for Cowboys and Aliens last night (looks like an hilarious movie eventhough it's not supposed to be). Secondly there's this new humidifier I bought and placed at my bed side. The product boasted about calming effects, which sounded good while I was in the store. But when I got it home and set it up next to my bed, it turns out that the calming effect is that it emits a shaft of sleep-deprivingly-bright, blue light at the ceiling and makes a loud humming noise not unlike a hovering spaceship. But the third is perhaps the most complicit factor. . .

. . .I picked up some classic xc skis yesterday afternoon and spent the rest of the evening watching various youtube videos on waxing (about four hours worth) until I couldn't keep my eyes open. I know a lot more about wax now. There is about a bazillion (that is 10 x a gazillion) different waxes for different snow temperatures and conditions. They sell little thermometers you can stick in the snow to get a reading to the nearest tenth of a degree. On top of that you need to know the moisture content of the snow, wind direction, does it have sharp or rounded crystals, did it fall on a full moon,  etc. I believe you also need a telescope and astrological calender to determine the arrangement of certain planets and stars, their alignment being a chief factor in how fast or slow your skis will be be with a given wax. And that's just what goes into selecting "the wax of the day" (that's right, you have to do this every day). I wont even go into putting the stuff on, which involves hot irons, toxic solvents, scraping tools, wire brushes, two sacrificial goats, and a pact with the devil.


Aliens are rarely confused

My unconscious mind, completely confused and disoriented by the world of youtube, concluded that ski waxing is a task beyond human comprehension and thus a job only an advanced species could get right. In my dream I actually wanted to be abducted. I was standing on my roof with my skis under my arm, shouting at the sky. The aliens, with their advanced knowledge of physics were going to show me how to wax my new skis. They were going to dispel myths of layering and tip-to-tail. They would tell me the optimal iron temperature and the exact amount of time I should let the wax cool. These brilliant creatures were going to give me waxes that defied the laws of molecular chemistry.

Whether they did or not I cannot say. See you on the trails! I'll be the one leaving a track of blue light in the snow.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Focus CX For Sale

My Focus Mares 2, fancy-dancy race machine is for sale. Full Carbon frame and fork. Ultegra. BB30. Tappered Steer-tube. Size large 56cm. Will do complete bike for 17 or frame-set for 12. Here's the website.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Snow Fort: Tunneling into All-grown-up Land.

mine was more awesomer than this
 When I was younger snow like this meant one thing. It meant that my dad would go out in his Chevy pick-up and plow all the snow form our driveway into huge piles. It meant days and days of endless digging, tunneling, and carving out huge rooms in the snow. One year when we got a lot of snow, I made the biggest snow fort in history. It had several large rooms all connected eith tunnels you had to crawl through. It was a never ending process, the rooms always growing. As I scraped snow from the walls and hauled out sled-fulls of the stuff, I imagined the parties I would have, who I would invite. Certainly my older brothers would not be invited. And not Joe, my next-door-neighbor (he was the kind of kid who would ride his bike up to a jump like he was going to do it but veer off at the last second). No cry-babies would be allowed in my humongous snow fort.

Perhaps my standards were too high because no one ever came to the fort, and the parties I envisioned, where me and a dozen other kids would sit around drinking apple juice from crystal wine glasses, never happened. I suppose I knew there wouldn’t be any parties. No apple juice. No soft jazz playing in the background. So why did I keep digging?

I remember having a collection of icicles. They were diamonds and I was rich. And come to think of it, I never just sat in my fort, relaxing. I was always digging, making it bigger. My hands would get cold, my thin Power Rangers gloves soaking wet, but I wouldn't go inside. This fort was going to be bigger than my bedroom, bigger than my parent’s bedroom, bigger than the whole house! When the fort was big enough, I would know it because I wouldn't have a bed time anymore; wouldn't have to go to school; all of the sudden a beard would sprout under my face mask and Stephanie from down the street would be my wife. When the fort was big enough I wouldn't be a kid anymore and I would be able to do whatever I wanted; even eat a whole batch of cookie dough without getting sick.

When I went inside that night, I kept my fort a secret, but somehow my mom knew. She told me about a kid in the next town over who suffocated when his snow fort collapsed on him. I wondered if it was the same “kid from the next town over” who lost all his fingers when he reached under the lawn mower, or the same kid who burned his house down playing with matches. Nevertheless, I imagined the snow fort collapse as if it happened to me. I imagined the weight of it all; trying to take a breath but not being able to. Not being able to move my arms to dig myself out. The next day I continued enlarging my snow sanctuary anyways. But my desire for a humongous fort, and thus freedom, was weighed down by thoughts of suffocation. Was I making the walls too thin? Would the roof hold? I contemplated the thought that this thing that made me all-grown-up could collapse and suffocate me at any moment.

At some point I got bored of being an adult and went sledding at Dead Man’s Hill with all the other kids.


catching some sweet air

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Art of Neti-Potting

When I woke up this morning there was 12 inches of fresh, fluffy snow on the ground here in Northfield. It was all crap though. You couldn’t even make snowballs out of the stuff, or build snowmen, or dig sweet snow forts. I guess you could go sledding. But who the hell goes sledding?

On top of it all, I have a cold. It’s the worst one I have ever had, ever. Probably got it from school; some jerk student who sneezed on every door handle in Armstrong Hall or something like that. My mom would say it was because I didn’t wear a scarf last week when I rode my bike twenty-five miles into the country on icy, gravel roads, and then twenty-five miles back in a head-wind. What does she know? Scarves are stupid anyways.

Whatever the origin of this disease, one thing was certain: every time I tried to blow my nose, the cement-like stuff up there didn’t come out. Nothing happened. It just felt like something inside my ears was going to turn inside out, or that I’d blow so hard I’d crap myself.

But this morning I bought a neti pot. I don’t know why they call them neti pots. They should call them awesome pots because they are awesome.

When I got the thing home, I mixed in the 1 tsp of natural, organic, free-range salt with 8oz of warm water. I stuck the end of the spout up my left nostril, and like it said, I tilted my head down and sideways so the warm water would flow into one nostril and out the other, flushing out the source of all my troubles.

On my first attempt I almost drown. “Did Dick Cheney invent this thing?” I thought. Cruel and unusual. The salt water went in the one nostril but it backed up into my mouth and went down my wind pipe. It reminded me of my first swim in the ocean, jumping in with my mouth wide open, shocked at how salty it was. It was like that except there were no hot chicks to pull me out of the kitchen sink (which I was doubled over into) and give me mouth-to-mouth.

When I finally caught my breath, I gathered the courage to try again like any bad ass such as myself would do. I was not going to let some sissy, little piece of porcelain get the best of me. Full of vigor, I cocked my head sideways like the way a stupid dog does when you tell it to sit; inserted the spout, and the warm, salty liquid into my head. My brain began to tingle and burn. It felt like I had just been dared to snort a line of pepper and did it. Despite the burn, I continued holding my breath. And just about when I couldn’t do it any longer, the dams broke free. I closed one eye and was able to see the stuff coming out of my nose. It was a bubbly, yellow, sludge. There were chunks of stuff every now and then. And I think I saw a few long lost nickels drop into the drain.

I could breathe again. I could smell that the garbage was ripe and ready to be taken out. I looked outside at the children playing in the fresh fluff. The sun glinted off the snow in just the right way. Birds were chirping. There was laughter in the world again. And I was sure, absolutely positive, that I could smell flowers—Daffodils and Daisies—under the snow, waiting for spring.