Saturday, May 5, 2012

Been buzzing around...

April was quite an eventful month chez Smorg. There was a lot of work to do, both the nerdy and the not so nerdy kinds. Then I caught a nasty flu that caught the flu vaccine totally off-guard and lost me 6 lbs and many work days.
Then, out of the blue I had family reunion, called on a very short notice. No worries, everybody's okay, and the meeting went well enough that I almost considered moving back to the Midwest again.... but most likely not. I mean, I like the Midwest and all, but the California coast has spoiled me a bit. Whenever I start to go crazy after spending way too many consecutive hours in a dark computer room (because the place hasn't got WiFi, so I'm cabled in, so to speak) I could hop on my big fat mountain bike and go off to enjoy views like this...

It takes a bit of riding to get to Sunny Jim Cave from where I am, but La Jolla scenery is always worth a bit of sweat. The air is always cooler along the coast, and the lack of Midwestern weather makes most days here ideal for cycling (and other physically taxing outdoorsy activities like hotdog chasing, planning and laying ambush on the ice-cream carts, not sharing granola bars with pleading squirrels, or attempting ferocious karate moves on the marauding sea gulls that are trying to help you finish your fish tacos).

Okay, okay, so I do share granola bars with squirrels, but that's not the point!!!
Riding around town on the mountain bike has helped me recover some rather disturbing personality traits that I thought I had successfully shed and buried a long time ago. For one, I can't seem to ride leisurely... Don't get me wrong, I'm a very careful cyclist. I even stop at stop signs and signal before I turn... but let me a bit of space on the pavement and sooner rather than later I'd get into a time trial mode... on a mountain bike (and that, my friends, is pathetic... mountain bikes don't go!). It's bad enough zooming my way down the many wonderful hills in town, but I even try to sprint uphill whenever I could.
Torrey Pines State Reserve Service Road... a pity it's too busy to zoom down this thing most of the time.
Of course, there are a few hills around here that you just don't sprint up. Some are so uncivil you can hardly walk the bike up them!

Bandini St in Mission Hills
It should surprise no one, then, that every now and then my legs would say enough is enough and perform a very good imitation of the rigor mortis in protest. On days like that, all I can do is to coast down to the San Diego River to the friendlier company of the California sunflowers...

or into the delightfully flat downtown to catch some culture...

The San Diego City Ballet was giving a free preview of their upcoming performances of Cinderella and Romeo and Juliet (the Prokofiev one) at the PGK Project's Dance on the Edge in Little Italy two weekends ago.

... before catching a ride home on a bus. 

It's terrible! I have this mountain of books that I want to read, but haven't managed to yet because it is way too nice out to stay inside for long. Then when I come back from one of these rides I'm too spent to concentrate on a book.  

Maybe I should move back to the Midwest after all. It'll soon be too hot and humid there to even walk a block to the frozen yogurt shop let alone out for a bike ride!

On the other hand, there is nothing quite like the independence of getting to places on your own power and at your own pace. By the way, did you know that May 14-18 is the National Bike To Work Week? See that delicious cup of frozen yogurt I had down in Little Italy (yup, all that chocolate and cheesecake and red velvet chocolate cooler with assorted nuts and hot fudge topping)? It's a lot easier justifying such a treat when you bike to and back from the shop than getting there on gasoline!


Anonymous said...

Hiya Smorgy
Are ya callin me a nerd? Do I fit the nerd stereotype? (Ignore the fact that I have an origami Yoda sitting on my desk, that I wear pretty much the same thing all the time, that I read a lot, that I spend all day on a computer, that I celebrate Pi and Pi Approximation day). That yoghurt looks too unhealthy to qualify as a yoghurt.
If it's too hot over there, come on down here. We're having our Autumn, although it feels like winter. That squirrel is sure cute. Our kangaroos and koalas would be more likely to attack you or run away if you went up near one to try and feed them. Speaking of inclines, I found someone to go to free classical music stuff with. Her friend died over a week ago and so I'm the new replacement. I feel like an opera seat. She was telling me she lived up a hill or something. It was about half the incline of a place in the city that I thought was pretty flat. Looks flat, but it's difficult to walk up apparently.
Best regards and wishes from frosty Melbourne

berenice said...

mister Smorg!! do NOT go to the Midwest, we still have to meet, and your post exemplifies the wonders of this city!! You are NOT allowed to leave :) I miss posting on my blog, between bits I post on Facebook and NO time for fun or post, I am stocked there, but I do read you and LOVE the highlights of your life in our beautiful city! Hope you stay :)

berenice said...

i have a Smorg Sun for you! SmorgZone :)

Charlotte said...

Your bike ride images make me want to dust off my own bicycle - although the scenery around here isn't nearly as nice as in California!

Georg said...

Hello Smorgy,

Your cycling on the "lazy day" video looks as if you were driving a fighter plane, sound included.

Thanks to all your videos, I have an idea how it looks inside and around Didacus Sanctus.

But how is the Midwest? All flat fields and nothing else? What stops you to go there, landscape wise??


Smorg said...

Ooops, somehow this comment session escaped my notice. Sorry I'm late!

Hiya Andrei: You are the King of the Nerds. That makes you way hipper than most mortals, as far as I'm concerned! :oD (Besides, origami are cool. Short-flight paper planes are about the extent of my origami skill. A yoda is really quite beyond my league!)

Now, now, the red velvet chocolate and the cheesecake flavored ones may not be as healthy as yogurt are supposed to be, but nothing bad enough for a scoop of walnut won't fix, I say. ;o) I guess the saving grace of this place is that you pay by how much your cup is weighed, so you've better not overindulge or the bill is going to be hideous. :oD

The squirrels here are really curious! The ones in Old Town and in nature reserve areas seem a bit too tame for comfort (after all, we really aren't supposed to feed them...), and the ones that are in town are pretty amusing to look at... especially when they know that you are looking at them! :o)

Hope autumn is being mild and comfortable. Here we're finally getting some May gray thingy. It actually rained a bit in my neck of the woods this morning. Luckily it quit an hour or so before I had to hit the road. I'm liking it cool!

Hola bella Bere! I'm hanging around on the coast indeed. :o) Thanks so much for the lovely sun shot! Did you catch the eclipse last weekend? I got a look from a friend's solar filter, but didn't have one for the camera. Will make a pinhole projector and try to film the transit of Venus in June, tho. :oD

Hey Charlotte: I hope you do dust off the bike and go for a few good rides indeed! :oD I never got the runner's high when I used to jog in grade school year (was on track team for 2 years and hated it), but cycling around town is proving addictive. :oD I'm even liking the hills! With today's gas price (the 87 octane here is going for $4.55/gallon), it also pays to go two wheels instead of four (tho I guess our gas prices are still way cheaper than in Europe).

Hallo Georgy: You know, I'd love to cycle around the States one of these days. Found cool BBC series on Youtube the other day about a guy who rode his bike all the way around the world ( ) and another who rode his from far-eastern Siberia back to England ( ). I probably will never do either, but I've been having a lot of fun exploring the Southern California coast on the bike.

Going inland from the coast is a bit tricky, tho. The mountains are pretty high, then there is the desert. I'd love to ride up to Mt Laguna and Cuyamaca area, but will wait until perhaps late November when the weather is cooler and the fire season is finished with... and before it starts snowing up there. :oD For now, I've been frequenting Mission Trails and Mt Helix... and sometimes taking the bus up to Carlsbad or Escondido before riding back.

Missouri is quite flat indeed, though there's a low mountain range in the middle of the state (the Ozarks) and some small rolling hills. There's a good riding trail (Katy Trail) along the Missouri River that I'd love to bike one day, though, especially in the autumn when the leaves change. It's spectacular over there! :oD

Thanks a bunch everyone for stopping by. HOpe you all are having a good month of May! :o)