Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Ride of Frankenstein

Nothing to do with Frankenstein, just liked the pun.

Well, I certainly surprised myself, riding every day in July, except for the two days when I was just a 40-year old.

I have two 4.1 mile photos today. I call them "Far and Near". The first is a shot, looking back as a Carnival cruise ship glides past the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge:

Seeing the cruise ships regularly at this time reminds me of my friend Tony in Los Angeles, being able to tell how he was doing on time during his daily commute by his placement on the 105 freeway in relation to a Korean Air Lines 747 descending daily into LAX.

The "near" is just a close-up of some flotsam. Or jetsam. I'm not sure how to tell the difference:

The tally for the day, 7.64 miles.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Train of Thought - George Eliot

"We do not expect people to be deeply moved by what is not unusual ...
If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it
would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel's heart beat,
and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of

--George Eliot (1819-1880), "Middlemarch"

Another "Train of Thought" on the R.

Train of Thought - John Stuart Mill

"The only freedom deserving the name, is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it. Each is the proper guardian of his own health, whether bodily, or mental and spiritual. Mankind are greater gainers by sufering each other to live as seems good to themselves, than by compelling each to live as seems good to the rest."

John Stuart Mill (1806-1873), On Liberty

The above is one of the new additions to the MTA's "Train of Thought" series. I recently confirmed that the MTA scrapped its 15-year old Poetry in Motion series. My heart aches. More on that later....

The Saddest Cupcake in the World

A respectable 6.70 miles this morning, doing a couple of circuits around Dyker Beach Golf Course
in a decent, albeit unambitious, ride.

My 4.1 picture was a blurry attempt at artistic expression: the lightening sky seen through the warped vision of a playground designer-

I'd default instead to a shot taken a quarter of a mile later on my second lap of the course. I must have missed it in the dark the first time around:

Sorry William Carlos Williams, but so much depends on a discarded cupcake, abandoned on a city street, uneaten, and awaiting certain smushing.

On a side note, all is well in Southern California, the BillyFamily there was shaken, not stirred. Read a brief account of my dear old Dad's over on his blog The Ancient One, Blessed Be He, featuring a cameo by yours truly.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Running Out of Clever Titles

Not much to report today, aside from a worrisome sound in the bike's crank that might mean a trip to the bike shop soon for a quick peek.

An ant's view at 4.1 miles:

5.54 miles this morning.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Monday Morning - Back in the Saddle Again

The rain put a damper on plans for a longer ride yesterday, but this morning we were back to business as usual. The sign-post picture above captures some childrens' art on the walking path that runs parallel to the bike path. Click on the photo for greater detail.

I did my normal Shore Promenade Bike Path circuit, a healthy 7.26 miles.

At 4.1 I snapped a shot of the sky. Nice crescent moon.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Another Rainy Day

Well, it was really only the rainiest when I planned on riding, in the afternoon. The good news was that I did a little "junk riding," as I've come to call it. Junk riding is a trip around the block (0.40 miles), plus I did a little zigging and zagging and accumulated 2.03 miles all told. After the 25-mile jaunt yesterday, I don't feel so disappointed.

The week ahead looks challenging, weather-wise. So we shall see what we can do to finish July without missing a day.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

A Two-Bit Ride

Today I was determined to make up for the paltry rides on Wednesday and Thursday. I picked up my bike at work (where I left it yesterday), rode up Sixth Avenue to Central Park, where I did a circuit. The photo above is looking out over the Reservoir.

At 4.1 miles, I tried catching the sun through the trees to the east,
but it wasn't that interesting, so I snapped an extra shot looking north:

Once I completed a circuit, I rode south, braving Times Square, took Broadway to 5th Avenue, where I turned at the Flat Iron Building. I stayed on 5th to Washington Square Park where I turned left at the arch and caught back up with Broadway, which I rode to the Brooklyn Bridge and then puttered around in Brooklyn.

I ended with a 25.05 miles, the longest ride since I started the 41-consecutive day project earlier this month.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Friday Sunrise

Rode to work on this, the 27th birthday of my sister, Alicia, and the 25th anniversary of my first alcoholic beverage (2 Screwdrivers, Galilee, Israel).

11.65 miles door to door.

The 4.1 mile photo was a bit boring. Couldn't help it, based on where I was:

The highlight of the ride, as you get a taste of above, was the spectacular sunrise behind the Manhattan Bridge, as seen from the Brooklyn Bridge:

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sorry, No 4.1 Mile Picture Today

It was raining this morning and I had a meeting this evening, so riding was not a top option. I did, however, ride to and from the meeting, so I logged a measly 2.12 miles, but I kept the streak alive!

Tomorrow is another day!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

It's Raining, It's Pouring

My ambitious plans to ride to work this morning have been thwarted by thunder, lightning, and, sigh, rain. Sporadic heavy rain.

The forecast for this afternoon looks no better.

Just as I was about to pass the halfway point in my journey.

Stay tuned

UPDATE: I got home a few minutes before 6:00 and had to pick Shayna up from camp at 6:30. I changed into my bike clothes quickly and was on my way, getting to Adelphi Academy, where Shayna's camp is based. Well, I got there at 4.1 miles, so see for yourselves if I arrived on time:

Thanks to Shayna for taking my daily tracking picture:

I rode back, with Shayna walking beside me, so I ended with 4.70 miles.

I just crossed the halfway point in my 41-day journey. Unfortunately, tomorrow's weather forecast looms even more menacingly than today's, so we shall see.

We shall see.

Note: I know, no mention of Jolee. Not to worry, she still lives here. She's just up in Vermont with her camp for the week. In case you noticed, New York City has been quieter this week.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Between Heaven and Earth Rides a Guy on a Bike

Couldn't decide at 4.1, between the heavens

or the earth

(thus the post is nameth above).

Alas, the weather forecast is threatening my ambitious plans for the week. Let's see how I dodge the anticipated thunderstorms.....

7.21 miles today.

Monday, July 21, 2008

How to Know When Your Monday is Starting Out Poorly

This was the fridge at work this morning....

The culprit:

Statues of Liberty on Parade: The Minnesota Twins

Well the All-Star Game has come and gone, but the Statues remain. For now. I saw this one at the Best Buy on 6th Avenue and 23rd Street in Manhattan.

Check out my previous posts here and here.

BillyBlog Plays 52-Card Pickup (Can't Touch This)

Found on the corner of 86th Street and 3rd Avenue today....

The following cards have been found previously:

The Seven of Hearts and The King of Diamonds (April 24, 2008)

The Three of Clubs (March 29, 2008)

The King of Hearts
and the Three of Spades.

(February 28 and March 25, 2008)

The Ace of Diamonds
(July 7, 2008)

The Jack of Hearts and Five of Hearts
(July 19, 2008)

View the whole set here.

Sunrise and Moonset (Day 19)

The moon was full Friday night, but makes a cameo in today's post. I know this is blurry, but I like it anyway.

And I was fortunate enough to catch this phenomenal light show, just prior to sunrise:

And here we are at 4.1 miles:

A basic 5.21 miles this morning. Starting off the week small, but with a couple of nice photos.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

We Three Kings Jellyfish

I swear, all I did was put my day-marker on top of this display on the side of the road. Click to enlarge for some interesting detail. Or not.

At 4.1 miles, I snapped this trio of sea creatures, moseying in the Narrows.

You may have wondered, "Do jellyfish mosey?" Indeed, they do.

7.08 miles today.

Let me add, that the general fatigue and physical exhaustion I felt the first couple of weeks has gone away, and I am thoroughly enjoying this physical challenge. I am looking to step it up this week. There will definitely be some new scenery mid-week. Thanks for sharing my journey with me!

UPDATE: From the New York Times online coverage of the New York City Triathalon:

Dozens of swimmers reported being stung by jellyfish during the swim, which were variously described as being clear, slightly purplish pink, and about the size of a salad plate. Swimmers had not been warned about the jellyfish, which had not been a problem in past races, and were taken by surprise.

“I was in the middle of a stroke, and whammo, it bit me right in the face; the pain spread across the side of my face and down my neck,” said Charlie Redmond, 59, from Demarest, N.J. “Everyone was talking about the jellyfish after the race.”

Burke said he knew of no serious allergic reactions and said the jellyfish appeared to be dissipating when the first wave of professional athletes entered the water at 5:50 a.m. He noted that the majority of the athletes were wearing wetsuits. “We didn’t go out and actually blare it on the P.A. system that there was a jellyfish situation,” he said. “I’m not going to over-alarm people.”

Still, Jennifer Shipley was so unnerved by the jellyfish that she picked up the pace to get out of the water quickly. “I totally panicked,” said Shipley, 39, from Washington, D.C., who was stung on the shoulder. “I think I had my total fastest time ever.” Other swimmers, she said, floated on their backs for a few minutes to calm down, and one woman called race organizers to get her out of the water.

Most people said the pain went away after a few minutes, and showed no marks from the stings.

BillyBlog had evidence of jellyfish posted this morning, once again scooping the esteemed New York Times!

Tenth Anniversary: Shayna's First Photo

Today is the 10th anniversary of my younger daughter Shayna's first photograph. I thought I'd share our first vision with the world:

Incidentally, Shayna finished off her summer baseball season yesterday. Here's her penultimate at-bat which was one of her best of the season. She was eventually out at first, but she really made the pitcher work. I'm sure, just as interesting, are the reactions of the photographer and the nearby spectators from her family. She also caught a fly ball at second base for her second unassisted putout of the year.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

BillyBlog Plays 52-Card Pickup (On the Bike Edition)

Found these July 19, 2008 on the Ocean Parkway Bike Path:

The Jack was found on the path between Elmwood and Avenue H. Now, I generally don't allow cards from the same location to "count" in this exercise, but the following card

was found three blocks away in the crosswalk of Webster Avenue as it intersected with Ocean Parkway.

So I'm counting it. Any objections may be submitted in writing.

The following cards have been found previously:

The Seven of Hearts and The King of Diamonds (April 24, 2008)

The Three of Clubs (March 29, 2008)

The King of Hearts
and the Three of Spades.

(February 28 and March 25, 2008)

The Ace of Diamonds
(July 7, 2008)

View the whole set here.

Saturday Ride

16.87 miles today.

Photos to follow....

As you can see, I had Coney Island on my mind.

And I tried to be a nature photographer at 4.1 miles:

Friday, July 18, 2008

"A Screaming Comes Across the Sky"

I deliberately set a slow pace, and did the old "ride for 2.5 miles, then turn around" trick today. Aiming to keep myself at just about 5 miles (I finished 5.11). With a huge heat index looming, and the generally big mileage weekend ahead, I wanted to take it easy.

And I rode through areas I rarely ride, the sleepy sections of Bath Beach and Dyker Heights. The photo above is on one of the many bridges traversing the BQE (aka The Brooklyn-Queens Expressway), not "The 278" as they'd refer to it in Southern California (as in, "I took the 110 to the 10 to the 405").

A bit earlier I snapped this shot, to which the title of this post refers:

The quotation is the first line in one of the great American novels of the 20th century (and one of the greatest opening lines in literary history, in my opinion), Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow. I love the geometry of the photo as the sunrise highlights the vapor trail of a high-flying jet.

And your 4.1-mile photo today is from the corner of 5th Avenue and 80th Street in Bay Ridge:

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

What's Up, Dock?

First of all, a thanks to Jill, who reassured me that my daily bike blogbursts are, in fact, interesting, at least to her. So I approached my ride this morning with a much better attitude. A little extra rest helped, too. I rode 7.37 miles.

Now, I had a little help this morning with the post, several of the Poly Prep Country Day School Bunny Rabbits send their regards....

I was a little ahead of where I was last week when I caught the Carnival Victory passing under the Verrazano Bridge:
And then at 4.1 miles, I got a little bit more of the cruise ship on one side:

and the tower at Fort Hamilton High School on the other:

And I'll leave you with a beautiful sunrise, as seen from the 69th Street Pier in Brooklyn: