San Francisco Time / UTC Time


Medical Guesswork

"The consequences for the U.S. are disturbing. This nation spends 2 1/2 times as much as any other country per person on health care. Yet middle-aged Americans are in far worse health than their British counterparts, who spend less than half as much and practice less intensive medicine, according to a new study. "The investment in health care in the U.S. is just not paying off," argues Gerard Anderson, director of the Center for Hospital Finance & Management at Johns Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Public Health. Speaking not for attribution, the head of health care at one of America's largest corporations puts it more bluntly: "There is a massive amount of spending on things that really don't help patients, and even put them at greater risk. Everyone that's informed on the topic knows it, but it is such a scary thing to discuss that people are not willing to talk about it openly."

John Carey, Business Week Article

The previous quote came from a long email that my chiropractor sent me. It's quite interesting. I've had my doubts about the traditional medical field for a long time: nearly every time I've had a "second opinion", I've gotten a completely different diagnosis. So who's right? It's hard to know. Suffice to say, I'm starting to just listen to my own body and follow my own instincts. It's harder when you've got a 2 year old that's hardly speaking and can't really tell you what's making him so cranky: it is the runny nose, a sore throat, chest tightness, sinus pressure? "Owwweee" and pointing is about all the feedback I get. He's been on antibiotics twice since he was born: once for an eye infection and once for apparent "ear" infection. The ear infection incident ended with us spending a lot of time inside keeping him out of the sun with what MIGHT have been an allergic reaction to the amoxicillan. Without full allergy testing, we won't know. Did I mention we were on a vacation in Hawaii? mmkay? mmkay. Suffice to say, my chiro mentioned that she had been able to head off all of her own daughters ear infections when she was a child. She's worked miracles on me at times when no one else could, though there have been times when her ministrations have been effective for a few hours (mainly for my most recent back troubles: my stomach & back muscles have gotten WEAK, mainly b/c I've been babying them since my L4 herniation.)

Kai's been adjusted by my chiropractor only once, but as for the current issues, I think we're going back: both of us. My eustachian tubes feel clogged: my throat is raw and feels like I've been pouring battery acid down it for 5 days. I've been taking up to 4 ibuprofen at a time to stem the pain so I can sleep, but lying down makes all my symptoms worse. So sleeping sucks... GRRR! I won't even mention the snoring that has been a bi-product of all this, and we won't talk about how the it annoys my ultra-light sleeping wife and wakes her up everytime I do it. Suffice to say, we're not sleeping in the same bed until I get healed.


Better than Amazon?

Kipchoge at is responsible for bringing this to my attention. Abe Books has been around for 10 years, and appears to have a bigger stock than amazon. The REAL one-up they hold though is helping keep the little guy in business. See the Where To Buy Books entry for Kipchoge's take on it.

Me? I'm all for keeping the little guys in business. That's not to say I never buy from Amazon, but cheese & rice, do I really want Amazon to be my only option? (I think the answer is somewhat self-explanatory)

Like a fractal, only more interesting

My friend Rob sent me THIS link. Like a fractal, only using images… pretty damn cool. I don't know where he found it, otherwise I'd give credit. Enjoy!

CURRENT MUSIC: SolarCraft Services dancing a jig on my roof as they repair the damage the storms of Feb/March caused


Donate to charity while you shop online

Leila sent me this link, and I think it's a pretty cool idea. I know that other people do it as well, but it's nice to have resources right?

I'm partial to the NRDC, but you can choose your own favorite charity and give while you get!

I haven't used this yet, so if you've got feedback, please post it here as I'm interested to here more from people who've used it.


Bike to Work Day: What's your excuse?

As many of you living in the Bay Area may know, May is National Bike Month, and today was the 12th annual Bay Area Bike to Work Day. I mentioned this a few weeks ago… anyways, I helped man the Novato Energizer Station, hosted by Lorrie and Curtis of ClassCycle. Between 6:50 (I was LATE!) and 8:35 we counted 85 riders. Some stopped to chat or grab an orange, (artfully cut in Japanese restaurant style by Curtis), some waved or spoke greetings/praise/thanks as they passed, and a few ignored us completely. The most humorous comments were from the car drivers who couldn't overcome their guilt and felt compelled to yell out to us why they weren't riding. Most common were "I have to travel 40 miles and get up at 5am", and this seemed to be the excuse of contractors/painters/tradesmen. It's valid: very few people in the world have the physical prowess to travel 80+ miles a day JUST IN TRANSIT, not to mention the fact that at 15 mph, 80 miles takes over 5 hours! That's a long time to spend on a bike everyday: it would take a true passion for cycling and a LOT of commitment. THEN you'd have to figure out a way to carry all the tools of your trade. I see a lot of "work" trucks driving around with about as much as I could carry on my xtracycle. Then again, I see just as many driving around loaded to the GILLS with ladders, tools, paint, lumber, etc. But I digress…

My point is that most people drive less than 10 miles to work. Maybe not so in the Bay Area where housing prices are so wacko that many many people who work in the service industry travel long distances to work in communities they could never afford to live in. Marin is a good example: if you make less than $25/hr, you'd have a damn hard time buying a place to live in Marin. I know of VERY few jobs in the service industry that make that much, and most make a lot less. Once again I digress, but the whole idea of having to work 40 or 50 miles from home because of this kind of displacement says a lot about car culture: it's damn hard to change b/c it's so entrenched, for so many reasons.

The most inspiring moment of this morning was talking to Bicycle Bob. Bob is 75 or 77 years old (can't remember exactly… and I'm the young one, HA!) and rides his bike everyday. He's a pretty spry septuagenarian if I do say so myself; he just did a big cancer benefit ride up in Sonoma somewhere. He rides a low-end older Marin hybrid if memory serves, and I think I heard Curtis say that he's got almost 30k miles on it! FOLKS, that's not 3000, that's 30,000!!! WOW. He has great stories about riding bicycles back in the 40's in Marin… it's funny to hear about Marin when you could hunt through much of it, there were no trail laws and the land development for housing was a fraction of what it is today. It's almost unimaginable to me; very romantic and wild sounding to say the least. I was enthralled, and very inspired to keep up my riding. Fortunately, bicycling is something you can do until you can't see anymore… then it gets a little more interesting.

Other memorable moments:

    • Black guy, late 20's maybe early 30's, driving a BIG van, turning right from Nave Dr overpass onto Alameda Del Prado to get on 101 S yells out when he sees the Bike To Work Day sign (my paraphrase, not verbatem); "HEY! THAT'S A GREAT IDEA! I'M SICK AND TIRED OF DRIVING THIS PIECE OF JUNK AND SITTING IN TRAFFIC WASTING MY MONEY BURNING FUEL… TOO BAD I DRIVE FOR A LIVING!"

    • Guy on nice hardtail MTB w/ front suspension dressed in all choice MTB gear comes flying northbound off the bike path, slows down long enough to spew some barely intelligible rap/rant about G.W Bush (the "Bush" part was the only part we could actually understand), then says "Hey thanks for being here man" or something to that effect and speeds off. We all kind of looked at each other and went "what did he say?" "…the only thing I caught was "Bush"". Dude must have had a HEAVY wake-n-bake sesh thir morning *smirk*

    • The guy who "used" to run the energizer station where we were came by and talked my ear off for about 10-15 minutes. Nice guy, pretty smart too, but a a little heavy on the one-upmanship for that early in the morning. It was funny actually: I kept trying to throw in some playful banter but he never rose to the bait. He's a good guy and I imagine a serious and caring schoolteacher. His wife came by about 30 minutes later on her litespeed and got a sack/snack and asked us if her husband had talked our ears off… I couldn't contain myself and starting cackling… she knew the score. *grin*

    • The accountant/HR woman from Marin Bikes came by and had a hilarious story about how the IJ did an article on her, put her photo in BIG (which was a funny story too) and the TORTURE they put her through to get the right photo for the article.

    It was wonderful to be a part of Bike To Work Day… it'll be nice to smile and wave to the other commuters out there when I'm on the road. It makes it feel a little more friendly out there when you see a few kindred souls cycling!

    Oh, and in case you're wondering, yes, I did ride my bike to the energizer station. I also delivered all the powerbars for the musette bags from central Novato to Fairfax on my bike, helped them assemble energizer station kits for the stations in Marin and then rode Novato's station supplies back to ClassCycle in Novato. It was one of the heaviest loads I've carried so far (and certainly the largest): the Novato Fairfax trip cargo load was about 60 lbs and the return trip was about 45lbs. Total distance for the delivery was about 32 miles.

    Ride loaded indeed:

    Oh, did I mention that the my rig pictured above withOUT the Cliff Bar Boxes weighs about 52 pounds? Did I mention I'm not the lightest I've ever been (hovering around 190 at the moment)? Did I mention that I did Freitas Pkwy/Fawn Drive crossover route with this load? Yeah..mmkay? mmkay. Whipping my legs back into shape tout de suite!


Friends don't let friends buy B.S.O's

This is a great ARTICLE and I REQUIRE that any one I know who wants to buy their bicycle at Costco, WalMart, KMart, Sears, etc. READ THIS ARTICLE FIRST. Not to be a drama queen, but it could save your life. A poorly / incorrectly assembled B.S.O (bicycle shaped object) can put you in the hospital, and who needs that? (The term BSO belongs to Mike McGettigan, the outspoken owner of Trophy Bikes in Philadelphia, PA)

Also, the local reputable bicycle shop needs your business. If you can't afford a new bike from them, buy as good a used bike as you can, and have them check it out before you buy: keep your money in YOUR community, not at corporate HQ in some far distant state!


Kent's Bike Blog: WeWeWr: Trail of Tears

Kent's Bike Blog: WeWeWr: Trail of Tears

Awesome Article: you'll feel like you're there! For you Seattle-dwellers, you'll feel right at home (assuming your ride a bike around your city once in a while, or more *smirk*)

It's NOT cheating!

I couldn't have said it better myself, so I won't. I want to put a Stokemonkey on my xtracycle bike. I love to ride, but I've had several "purists" scoffingly question my desire for a "pedal assist". I've tried to get my point across concisely and effective but have largely failed. BTW, none of the "purist" commentators ride a 56 pound (standard weight with my "standard" load) bike: they all ride sub 20lb bikes that can't carry much more than the rider and a energy bar! Oh yeah, and none of them weigh 195lb either!

It's so nice to have a bulletproof answer for a flippant question! Thanks Todd!

"Isn’t it cheating to put a motor on a bicycle?"

Only if you use it for trips that you could enjoy, or learn to enjoy, on your own power alone. We think you should use a regular bike for those trips. A worse form of cheating is using a multi-ton vehicle for trips that Stokemonkey makes easy, while flattering yourself that you are too strong and pure a bicyclist to use a motor.

Todd Fahrner,

King of the Road?

I spend a considerable amount of my time online reading other people's blog's: Go Figure. If you haven't seen the pattern yet, I'll just spell it out for you: I love riding bicycles, bicycling culture and the possibilities it presents for solving oil addiction. One of my favorite blogs to read is TODD FAHRNER'S. If you look back, you'll see he's quite possibly the most referenced blog on my site. Shame on me for not having his links up in my sidebar: a oversight soon to be rectified. A recent post on his blog linked to an article that talks about bicycling and it's affects on cities. I like it, so check it out.


JUST the RIGHT word!

This was the word of the day from on March 10th. I know, I know, today is May 12, but I get behind in my email! This is such an appropriate word for my blog! Thanks Anu!

weltschmerz (VELT-shmerts) noun

World weariness; pessimism, apathy, or sadness felt at the difference between physical reality and the ideal state.

[From German Weltschmerz, from Welt (world) + Schmerz (pain).]

-Anu Garg (

"I hate being told to have a good time! I'll feel the weltschmerz if I want to."
Mari Sasano; Things to Do Today; Edmonton Journal (Canada); Dec 3, 2005.


Kilts and… Corporations?

I haven't posted in over a week… ouch. There's so much to see and experience and think about in this world, it's amazing that anyone has time to blog. Nevertheless, here I am with a new posting!

As some of you know, I'm fond of wearing my utilikilts. Ian BM05 RAWKcrop.jpg According to Utilikilts, "The Utilikilt is a superior tool for changing minds, and should be used in lieu of guns for that purpose." I can't agree more, though I do enjoy shooting firearms and appreciate their wilderness survival qualities.

Every month I get the dispatch from the Utilikilts company in the form of their newsletter. May's newsletter had a link to this article about corporate personhood and the 28 Words. I've read "Unequal Protection: The Rise Of Corporate Dominance And The Theft Of Human Rights" by Thom Hartmann, at least most of it, and most times I got so angry and frustrated, I'd have to put it down after about 10 pages. I had to skip to the back in order to gather some hope: the book is pretty accessable in terms of it's readability, but the content has a tendency to boil my blood. If you haven't read it and are interested, I have a second copy that is my loaner and my goal is to circulate it to anyone who's willing to read it. I'll even pay to ship it to you!

The idea of the 28 Words gives me hope. I think the idea that it will take 15 years for implementation may be realistic, but I'm not sure we have that much time to f*ck around: I'd like to see that timetable moved up to 5 years. 15 years from now I'll be 46, more than half my life will theoretically be over at that point. Corporate abuse has been getting steadily worse for the last 100 years: how much longer can we sustain it before a collapse occurs? I invite your thoughts dear readers.

CURRENT MUSIC: Neil Young: Living With War