Jackie Link's Blog

- A blog for no good reason

Saturday, January 30, 2010

A little ride

I hemmed & hawed all morning about going for a ride. The sun would come out and I'd think about gearing up; the sun would disappear and I'd go back to puttering around. Finally, at 2:00, I got myself on the road.

First, riding along Mission Bay towards the ball park I ran into a zillion young people dressed in black and heavy jewelry walking to & fro, or hanging out around huge motor-homes having BBQ-tailgate parties. There's a big deal moto-cross event tonight. A few little kids were racing around on skateboards and such, but turning the corner onto the 3rd Street bridge they'd closed off half the road for the crowd of punk black-clad fans.

So far, so good, but it was just the same ol' ride I do every Saturday, and so turning back into North Beach, heading straight up Powell from Columbus, cresting Nob Hill and turning left on California, I crossed Chinatown and the Financial District, mixing it up a bit. Fun.

Home again by 3:30, never stopping along the way. No new pix. A nice little ride.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


I woke up from a long, involved nightmare where I was suddenly working in Children's Hospital E.R. again. It was understood that I was just helping out temporarily. I hadn't been there for a long time.

I kept getting angrier and angrier over the way I was simply thrown into chaos and expected to cope with the mess made by the previous shift. Everything I tried to do was sabotaged by a mistake someone else had made. It was horrible---and anger is probably not what I was feeling, it was probably more like panic---and I was so relieved to wake up and know it had only been a nightmare. I may even have said out loud, "It was only a dream."

That's made me think about the sort of person who can go to Haiti, or any disaster, and start working with whatever they find. Talk about chaos! True heroes.

And maybe I am feeling bad, feeling guilty, for not being one of them.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Winter blahs

Yesterday I bought new rain boots. And then, in between rain showers, I rode my bike across town, just to get out for awhile. I am going a bit stir-crazy, even though I am usually glad for some undirected time---to gestate whatever is coming next in my life, give it the space to emerge.

Today I took the red plaid rain boots back for a different pair. They were a tad too tight across the instep and, besides, I kept thinking of Spiderman when I looked down. Now I have some with stripes and purple soles. Cheaper, too.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Temporal Confusion

When I lived in Oregon in the early sixties, time was a huge problem every summer. If you were shopping you could probably find a store open by both Standard and Daylight Savings time, or Fast time, but figuring out the post office or when to meet a train or bus—Ha! I no longer remember what time we’d look for the “6:00 News” on T.V.

On returning to San Francisco, I tried to explain the different times to people with some difficulty, and then I ran into this description by Ken Kesey in Sometimes A Great Notion.

. . .And watching, seeing half-remembered farmhouses and landmarks stroking past, I couldn't quite shake the sensation that the road I traveled moved not so much through miles and mountains, as back, through time. Just as the postcard had come forward. This uneasy sensation provoked a glance at my wrist, and I thereupon discovered that my days of inactivity had allowed my self-winder to unwind.

"Say, excuse me." I turned again to the sack across from me. "Could you tell me the time?"

"The time?" His stubble split in a grin. "Golly, fella, we don't have such a thing as the time. You from outa state, ain't that so?"

I admitted it and he thrust hands in his pockets and laughed as though they were tickling him in there. "Time, eh? Time? They got the time so fouled up that I guess there doesn't nobody really know it. You take me,” he offered, leaning the whole prize toward me. “Now you take me. I’m a millworker an’ I work switch shifts, sometimes weekends off, sometimes a day here, a night someplace else, so you’d think that’d be enough of a mess, wouldn’t you? But then they got this time thing and I sometimes work one day standard, the next day daylight. Sometimes even come to work on daylight and go home on standard. Oh boy, time? I tell you, you name it. We got fast time, slow time, daylight time, night time, Pacific time, good time, bad time . . . Yeah, if we Oregonians was hawking time we’d be able to offer a variety! Awfullest mix-up they ever had.”

He laughed and shook his head, looking as though he could not have enjoyed confusion more. The trouble started, he explained, when the Portland district was legislated daylight time, and the rest of the state standard. “All them dang farmers got together is why daylight got beat for the rest of the state. Danged if I see why a cow can’t learn to get up at a different time just as easy as a man, do you?” During the ride I managed to find out that the chambers of commerce of other large cities—Salem, Eugene—had decided to follow Portland’s lead because it was better for the business, but the danged mudballs in the country would have no part of such high-handed dealing with their polled wishes and they continued to do business on standard. So some towns didn’t officially change to daylight but adopted whey they called fast time, to be used only during the week. Other towns used daylight only during store hours. “Anyway, what it comes down to is nobody in the whole danged all-fired state knowin’ what time it is. Don’t that take all?” I joined him in his laughter, then settled back to my window, pleased that the whole danged all-fired state was as ignorant of the time of day as I was.

I doubt Oregon time is still that crazy, but I don’t actually know when or if it was ever changed to agree with the rest of our time zone (and that’s another story, isn’t it?).

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

for Dianna

My dear friend Dianna sent me word about the Whirley Pop Popcorn Popper after reading yesterday's post. I had read countless testimonials online about this popper but since it makes 6 quarts of popcorn I figured it was too big for me. She assured me one can pop just the right amount for one person.

She also said my hiker in the pavement pit needed a wider view for context, and that she loved my little intrepid hiker and thought I should do a series featuring him around the city. Quite right about the context, not sure about doing a series with him around town.

Well, I managed to ride to Jackson Square for a haircut before it rained, and even into the heart of the city to Crate & Barrel, where the Whirley Pop Popcorn Popper was on sale!!! I snapped it up. (I then rode about two blocks before I realized I'd left my sunglasses on their counter and had to go back. They were still there, hidden safely behind the register. Whew! It could have been a very expensive popcorn popper.)

It never did rain and I was all tricked out, ready for heavy weather.

I ate a light dinner just now and will make a big pot of popcorn later. I hope there's something good on TV tonight.

Monday, January 11, 2010

How I waste my time

Ever since my wheels got stuck in a crack in the pavement last week, I've been thinking about illustrating the pit with a picture of a little man climbing out of it.

I only think of things like that while I'm riding. Really, I didn't sit around making plans on how I'd do it, but when I went into the Community Thrift Store on Valencia on Saturday, looking for the perfect pot to pop popcorn in, there was a box near the door of all sorts of weird action figures, ranging from far-out fantasy dragons to this rather sweet hiker wearing a removable backpack. Yes! He'd be perfect for my fantasy picture! and I stood in a long line to buy him for 75 cents.

This morning, I went to class on the USF campus, a lecture class on Thomas Mann and Germany, ate the lunch I packed, rode to Clement St. hoping to find the perfect popcorn-popping wok (no luck), and then rode into Golden Gate Park, where I saw a pit, a huge crack in the pavement in a no-traffic path; and that's where I took this picture. There are plenty of high-traffic chasms, bicycle-wheel traps, and bike-eating holes on probably 95% of our city streets, but getting run over for the sake of art didn't seem wise.

On the way home I went back to the Thrift store for a pretty good, if not perfect pot that I saw on the day I bought the hiker, and it was GONE! I still can't believe it. (Price: 50 cents.) Who else could be looking for a heavy, deep saucepan at a thrift store? I was so distressed that I went over to Mission St. and the "17 Reasons Why" thrift store. (Is that sign still on top of that building, I wonder?) They had a less-perfect pot for $12.95. I didn't buy it, either.

Sadly, this picture doesn't do it for me. He needs to be reaching up higher, clinging to the top of the cliff, like he's struggling out of a deep pit. I should probably let it go, not obsess over getting it right, but I'll keep the little hiker in my handlebar bag in case another good photo-op comes along.

P.S. The box of action figures was sold out, too.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Same ol', same ol'

Jumping back on the horse that threw me, I took off for a long ride today. It was good to just keep putting one foot in front of the other, over and over, tracking my way across the Mission, skirting SF State to reach the top of John Daly Blvd. at Skyline. I stopped for a minute and took another picture of the same cypress and the same Pacific Ocean. I turned south along the ridge, joining the throng of people on the Sawyer Camp Trail, and then headed back down the hill through Hillsborough to catch the train in Burlingame. Felt good. I watched all the spreading cracks and ruts, daring one to catch me again, thinking we must have the worst pavement anywhere.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Still bouncing

Heading home from a lovely city ride, both wheels on my Bike Friday suddenly went into a surface crack in the road, one after the other, and stuck. I popped the front wheel out O.K., but the back wheel kept trying to throw me into parked cars.

I finally got out of the rut just as I broadsided a parked car, sliding along and bouncing back and forth off its side, which finally catapulted me into the back of a van sticking out into the road - and that took me down in not quite slow motion. I almost pulled it out. Almost.

Wham. Wham. Blam!

It didn't hurt me, except I hit the back of my helmet pretty hard on the pavement, enough to see stars, but no L.O.C. I popped right back up, with a string of cars easing by me, passengers asking if I needed help. Both brake levers were shoved in, easily fixed. The mirror broke. I was on Steiner, maybe just past Ellis. I thought of stopping by Judy's in Opera Plaza, but I felt fine. Bike worked fine. So I trooped on home, no worse for the wear. Well, there'll be a few new bruises and a bit of road rash in odd places, and probably a stiff neck tomorrow.

It must have been a spectacular sight from behind, with no obvious explanation. I told everyone my wheel had been trapped in a crack as they went by me; I'd hate to have them think I just went spastic and ran into parked cars for no reason!