Sunday, May 29, 2011

Happy Ending... for now.

Okay. This blog is officially wrapped.  I left the text for a read.  I closed my Flickr, because like most things, it has gone untouched in about a year.  Lots of photos be gone (cause they were from back in the day when Blogger didn't have it's own photo server-blah-blah thingy), which will make for some bizarre posts since some were photo only.   I'm sorry.  :(   

I am going to be blogging, again. But currently have my hands full with trying to build my design portfolio, and um, going to Korea with our son for 7 weeks while the husband studies at Yonsei University. 

The long/short of it?  I will post a link here to my new blog when I get to it, which will likely be August.  I'm sorry for the delay.  It will totally be worth it, though.

For now, use this to distract yourself:

Friday, October 16, 2009

I know a genuine king!!!

The Hobo King, aka Tommy the Greek, aka Inkman.

I met Tommy one day when he wandered into the shop down in SODO. He singled me out saying, "You look like a good Irish girl" in what can only be described as the one of the strongest South Chicago accents I've heard in some time.

What followed was a conversation that lasted over an hour, and had nothing to do with anything in the shop. Tommy speaks in varying rhythms. He shares openly. His pattern goes from rapid fire to ambling to quietly searching. We talk about Chicago, about food, about what brought our lives to Seattle before it all drifts back to Chicago. He tells me he's a Hobo. I tell him I can't recall ever meeting a Hobo to which he flashes his classic nearly-closed-eyes, wide mouth grin.

Since that first day, Tommy stops in the shop occasionally to check on me. He shares his history as a Hobo. It's an amazing one. He shows me some of his "hobo nickels", and comments on his tattoos. Tommy's acquaintances are just as interesting as you'd think, too. A mafia boss, professors, politicians, shop keepers, not to mention herds of other Hobos.

Tommy keeps life interesting. He doesn't mince words. Life is simple - no credit cards, no cellphone, no computers. He was off the grid until being named King of the Hobos. He's proud of his title, but was even more proud when he told me about the headstone him and fellow hobos made to honor their friend Preacher Steve.

I have met a lot of interesting folks in my lifetime, most likely due the careers I've pursued. I often wonder if these characters are meant to refresh my perspective on life. Tommy is unique, though. He's not chatting over a beer with the benefit of "booze philosophy", he's just Tommy. He's the Hobo King. He's a rough and tumble, hardworking welder. He's a storyteller. He is, as far as I have known, as genuine as they come.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

In the face of a $106 ticket, my advice to you is to remain calm.

For those not in "the know", in late June I was pulled over by a motorcycle cop while on my bicycle. I wish I could say it was dramatic, but I got nothin'. No lights, no sirens, just a mustachioed officer yelling at me over the rumble of his motor to pull over.

I complied, and unlike my youthful days, remained quiet and polite as he issued me a $106 ticket for running a red light. After issuing the ticket, the cop looked bummed. "Bicyclists must usually give him a lot of shit," I thought.

Before getting back on his hog, he flipped the ticket over and suggested I send in for a mitigation hearing. I figured he felt bad because I was so compliant, either that or he was embarrassed by the foot traffic laughing at him for pulling over a bike commuter.

I sent in the ticket and waited for my court date to arrive. As it turns out, the courts are backed up in a big way. They offered an adjudication by mail. Now, anyone who knows me a lick, knows I have some finesse with words. So after a week of stewing, I wrote this:

Dear Sir or Madam:

I do not own a car. Since moving to Seattle over a year ago, I have either walked or commuted by bike every workday. I walk or ride the same route from Beacon Hill, down Holgate, to 1st Ave South in SoDo. Walking/cycling the same route to and from work - the potholes and unused tracks, the signals and traffic patterns - became like the back of my hand, familiar and predictable, that is until 2 weeks ago.

On the day of the incident, I was cycling to work and was stopped by a red light at the SODO busway and Holgate. The new Light Rail was running, and all traffic was stopped heading East and West. After the Light Rail coach passed and the gates raised, the busway lights for traffic heading North and South turned red. I started to peddle toward the intersection in anticipation of the light change. The Eastbound traffic had started moving, and until this day the green light had never been staggered at this intersection. That is to say, lights had always changed at the same time. This day, however, the lights were staggered. The Westbound lanes weren’t getting the green light that the Eastbound had. By the time I realized this, and uttered a confused expletive under my breath, I was already a few feet into the intersection. I also want to mention that there were no public transit vehicles present in the bus way, only eastbound traffic, continuing east. As I was already in the intersection, I continued through instead of awkwardly stopping and walking my bike back. I realize that this is why I was issued the ticket.

I am asking for fine forgiveness or leniency based on the fact that I have never had a traffic citation in a year and a half of alternative commuting, and that I have never seen the lights staggered at the Holgate bus way intersection before the day of the incident or any day since. I am also uncertain as to whether this light may be an inductive one. If this is the case, the cars traveling Westbound with me that day were giving generous space, so perhaps no one was positioned correctly to change the light. Maybe it was an experiment to change traffic flow with the introduction of the new Light Rail. Whatever the cause of the sudden & brief change in light programming, I assure you that I have continued my commute with a renewed sense of vigilance, and would like to reiterate my plea for fine forgiveness based on the information above.

Thank you very much for your time.
Sincerely yours,
Audrey P.
Beacon Hill, Seattle


Two weeks later, I received notice that my fine had been completely forgiven. Needless to say, I'm glad my letter found the right judge. But what I'm really glad for, is that I kept my mouth shut throughout the entire episode.

Author Audrey: 1
Issues w/Authority Audrey: 0

Thursday, June 4, 2009

I'm glad May is over

It's been a long week, and that's saying something because I thought May would never end. Lessons learned:

•Should one get in an accident with a car whilst riding one's bike, don't be nice. Call the police. If one doesn't, the asshole driver that caused the accident will call two weeks later and try get $250 for the mirror one broke with one's leg whilst fishtailing to avoid a direct impact that could've caused serious injury. Asshole driver should just be happy that he didn't kill anyone with his mindless driving in the presence of cyclists and pedestrians. One now has a lawyer should this asshole want to be taken to the cleaners.

•Don't shop at Men's Warehouse. They will tailor a suit incorrectly, and then call one a moron because the correct fit of a suit should apparently make it impossible to raise one's arms. After attempting to force the ill-tailored suit upon one, they finally concede it's tailored like shit. Upon returning to collect the replacement jacket, they will try to sell one the degenerate suit, again. After this, they will make one feel like shit for making them do the paid-tailoring correctly. In the end, they will have tailored one in three suit coats well. Don't shop at Men's Warehouse.

•Just because one's coworkers are scheduled to work does not mean they will. Sometimes they just don't want to, or they "forget" to come in. When one fills in forgoing one's day off, one will sit at work and listen to coworkers complain about how they deserve more time off. Just because they show up for their shift, this doesn't mean that they'll work either. One can be guaranteed that coworkers will complain about about pretty much everything, though.

•Without an ass-kissing gene, one may work the hardest of everyone and go unnoticed.

More to come . . .

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Thighs of Steel

I can go on a bit - a long bit - about the absolute necessity of wearing a helmet when biking on city streets (or anywhere for that matter). The people who refuse can also go on a bit with their lame ass excuses for why they can't bear to wear one. These excuses run the gambit from allergies to uncomfortable, and are all B.S. Vanity is the main culprit, as is evidence by the number of hipsters on Cap Hill that seem to come up with head wounds, the "tough guys" on their dirt bikes charging full steam to cut off trucks in SODO, and the princesses in their floral skirts wanting to carry an air of romance into the exhaust filled avenues.

Alex bought me a new bike helmet for my birthday. As we were outside Velo Bike Shop adjusting the fit, a hiptser type was walking his bike past. He had gauze tightly wrapped around head and blood trickling down his face. No helmet to be seen, and judging from the source of the bleeding, none was worn. Given that it's bike to work month, this has become a pretty common sight.

Most people blame cars. It's easy because the cars/trucks/semis don't like to share the road with pedestrians of any kind. I have been nearly run down so often, I've considered wearing a helmet when I walk. Drivers like to cut off bikes, roll down windows and cuss at/threaten bikers . . . I've gotten "the bird", an annoyed honk or few, a handful of exasperated looks, and nearly had my toes shorn off by a person who couldn't be bothered with Seattle's cellphone laws. For all these reasons, I wear a helmet. While it would suck to lose my toes or have a limb crunched by a car, I imagine a life-changing or life-ending head injury would probably suck more. No offense intended to people sensitive about the mention of injuries of any kind.

Alex wears a helmet. Alex has been in two "altercations" with cars in a year. His latest run in was 2 weeks ago. While the helmet's stoutness was never tested, the fact he was wearing one put my mind at ease. I know that a helmet can't prevent all injury, but when you're married to Alex every little bit helps.

So a car takes a right turn into the bike lane - GASP - without looking. Alex is going downhill and has to slam on the brakes of his brand new bike. Good news! The brakes work. Alex fishtales probably saving his bike from being totaled, and broadsides the car with his leg. That's right, the Martin thigh took the brunt of the impact.

my husband (on a bike) can beat up your car.
my husband (on a bike) can beat up your car

If you think this looks bad, you should see the other guy . . . er, car. Alex's thigh managed to break the side mirror, so that it dangled useless at the vehicle's side.