Mar. 10th, 2011

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March 10, 1859

P. M. - To Witherell Vale.

There are some who never do nor say anything, whose life merely excites expectation. Their excellence reaches no further than a gesture or mode of carrying themselves. They are a sash dangling from the waist, or a sculptured war-clud over the shoulder. They are like fine-edged tools gradually becoming rusty in a shop-window. I like as well, if not better, to see a piece of iron or steel, out of which many such tools will be made, or the bush-whack in a man’s hand.

When I meet gentlemen and ladies, I am reminded of the extent of the inhabitable and uninhabitable globe; I exclaim to myself, Surfaces! surfaces! If the outside of a man is so variegated and extensive, what must the inside be? You are high up the Platte River, traversing deserts, plains covered with soda, with no deeper hollow than a prairie-dog hole tenanted also by owls and venomous snakes.


Title: looking inside
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I have loved reading all the question month entries on here. :)

So I'm jumping into the fray. :) Hit me with your questions - they will be screened and let me know if you want to be identified when I answer.
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What was your introduction to your current brand of cycling activity?

I bought my first road bike in the early 90s while living in Seattle. 1991 was the first AIDS ride here in in SF - and it inspired an AIDS fundraising ride in Seattle called "Ride for a Reason" - I joined a team and did rides from Vancouver, Canada to Seattle - then the next year from Seattle to Portland (via the coast.) (fast forward to 2008) When I started spending weekends down in Palo Alto after I met Dave - - the outdoors opportunities right at my doorstep started calling. I mentioned to Dave that I wanted to buy a bike - and he said he had a touring bike in the storage unit in the basement - so (checking LJ archives) March 10, 2010 I took Dave's bike out - lubed up the chain - checked the tires and off I went. Even before deciding to do the AIDS Lifecycle 10 - I was averaging 25 miles or so a weekend. I find the bike riding very soothing and relaxing actually.

It is about you and your bike - and the road, the miles, the distance, the committment. Its not about getting home at any certain hour - its about the mile you are in RIGHT NOW, no athletic activity I've ever been involved in is so very clearly about the "now" - THIS Hill - THIS mile. It reminds me of the "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" - - which describes a a 17-day journey on his motorcycle from Minnesota to California by the author and his son. Free of your MP3 player, car radio, internet (although I do keep my cellphone with me and I've updated my facebook status from on a training ride a couple of times). 
 
You can ask HDT one question. What would it be? And why would you ask it?

I wonder if HDT (Henry David Thoreau) would be surprised that people study his writing so extensively 150 years later.

I once wrote when asked about my self-described Thoreau discipleship:

"Thoreau's Walden speaks to our modern condition because it is mostly right about the big things. Open the book anywhere: One should beware of all enterprises that require new clothes. A person is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. Morning does bring back the heroic ages. The Universe is wider than our views of it. Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads. The sun is but a morning star. At its core, Walden is about the project of personal freedom, self‐emancipation, which is where all pursuits of freedom must start."

I think Thoreau would be overwhelmed in modern culture - he once said "It's a good thing man can't fly or he'd lay waste to the sky as well." I think Thoreau would live near Yellowstone or out in near a national park - and would be a blogger. LOL!
 
Has there ever been a song that you've played over and over and over -- a single track that you felt you just couldn't get enough of it?

When I served aboard ship - (submarine Navy from 1985 to 1989) - I listened to a lot of smooth jazz and gospel. and this one song - performed by a northwest gospel singer, Roby Duke - is a song that I played over and over and over in the dark trying to simply make it through the deployment. (The military was NOT a positive experience for me) - and in 2006 - when I was going through a real hard breakup - and trying to make sense of a life I'd totally uprooted and turned upside down - he released an album of his songs acoustic - just him and his guitar - - the album was called "Relaxed Fits" - - and on it - was a simple unsynthesized version of the song that had helped me so much so many years previously. Despite the fact that I no longer find spiritual energy in christianity, and have moved to a more a meditative buddhist world view - the song still resonates.

The song is titled "Here for You":
"here in this life - there is wrong, there is right - and sometimes it's hard to know the difference. We search for love in a desperate fight - not knowing what lies belong. But when peace rules your life - and vain glory is not on your mind anymore - you will know all that you need to help you find you way. Here for you - Here for me. Love is here, and you can see - if you will try....Here for you, Here for me - only believe....."
 
 
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Not really a question per se, but a 'tell me about' I believe you once mentioned spending time in Calgary. I'd like to hear more about it!

I dated a cowboy for a little while that lived in Calgary. For the same reason I loved Boise (I lived in Boise Idaho from 1999-2006) - I love Calgary for it's wide open spaces - and it's closeness to some of the most spectacular mountain country the world has to offer.

Calgary is like Dallas - only 1500 miles north. Colder than you could imagine in the winter time. I've always viewed Calgary as the "jumping off point" - not necessarily as a destination in and of itself. (I say the same thing about Houston when I visit my brother - not somewhere I'd purposely end up - but somewhere thats an ends to a means) I have a gigantic romantic hardon for the Canadian Rockies and the American Sawtooth Mountains.

I held on for a very long time for the romantic idea I'd meet someone I could live in a small town with in the mountains and find happiness. Trouble is - that rural places like Calgary and Boise - are also the antipathy of my personal political leanings. Never have I seen more conservative queers in my whole life. People so scared to be out in even the most rudimentary ways. While I liked the cowboy in Calgary - he couldn't be out - and thats not all that romantic. I've tried my best to find the outdoors opportunities (lots of biking!) here in California and find that there is lots of beautiful nature right outside my back door if I just go looking for it.

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