The Next Three Days – Episode 3

Day Last

Hopefully, this is the last of it. We’ll see if the repair shop is the bearer of good news. Studies have shown that it takes 19 days for a new routine to take hold and I’m well short of that mark nor do i wish to cross that threshold. Caltrain is pretty bare today though. I like that.

Maybe I’m anti-social. I get looks from the train as if their eyes are asking me to start a conversation. NO. I don’t want to do that. As I was typing this some random young guy takes a seat next to me and peers over onto my screen. He takes consistent glances and I find myself opening up CS6 Photoshop to do some unnecessary editing. I don’t know why but I decided to play the role of hippie Greenpeace web developer. I’m pulling out all the photoshop tricks I know, using all the short cut keys I know, and using as much CS6 specific filters I know. Man, this is unhealthy. For all I know he’s just glancing over to keep tabs on what time it is.

There is one thing I didn’t take into consideration. I finally received a call from the repair shop from Charlie and Don (who look more like Chinh and Duong) telling me the Ranger is ready for duty. When I arrived they immediately told me of other things that need attention. If I had to estimate, Id say I spent about $1500 on auto repairs in the past year and considering I drive a F.O.R.D. (Fix Or Repair Daily) that’s the best I could have hoped for. (NOTE: SKIP AHEAD IF YOU DON’T LIKE NUMBERS) So that turns out to be another $4.10 a day across the calendar year. Maintenance on my bicycle turns out to be about $150 a year or $0.41 a day. Add that to the cost of Caltrain ($4.75 one way across two zones) and in essence were looking at $9.91 per trip. Effective cost of driving for me is roughly $14.10. The difference between the two is looking like $1,529.35 a year with the health benefits of biking being a huge variable on future medical costs. If I had a gym membership I’d consider biking as a viable replacement because my body is feeling ACHING-ly good. Isn’t it also fitting that as soon as I get my truck back I’m greeted on 101 with traffic! What’s the cost-analysis on traffic/stress/anti-psychotic meds?

Are you back? Good, your reward is this opinion. If your willing to put forth a little extra effort, the rewards of alternative commuting are well worth the convenience of an automobile. Health, fiscal savings, and the environmental good are undeniable benefits. Much like life, you’ll get what you put into it. Though I need a truck for work, I figure on adding biking and Caltrain to my new routine whenever I can. For the next 19 days huh?

The Next Three Days – Episode 2

Day 2

Oh what a struggle. I woke up 30 minutes late. The way the train is scheduled, it works out that Ill be 45 minutes late to work. That’s the convenience part of owning a car. 30 minutes late means 30 minutes late when driving. Departure time is when the key is inserted and the ignition turned. As a bike fan though, its great to match the bike with the person. Chucks, skinny jeans, and an emo haircut….well hell be riding a fixie converted from a vintage frame. Older gentleman with slacks or khakis equates to a commuter hybrid. Folding bikes belong to East Asians. If you see spandex or gloves this dude is pretty serious about biking. We’re talking a couple grand for his road bike. I see women and Stanford students on cruisers or surprisingly mountain bikes.

Oh, you want to know about me. Well my bike’s a high end road, probably $1500 on the used market. Its 15 pounds (pretty light), carbon fiber parts (mucho expensive), high-end Ultegra 6700 drivetrain, and built piece by piece from Craigslist. After constructing and selling 10 or so fixies (not on purpose), I’d say I put this bike together for a couple hundred bucks. I’m very proud of that. Especially since its probably worth more than my truck. I’m not proud of that. I also don’t want to get rid of the no-longer-scented chili pepper air freshener I hang from the rear of my seat. I’m not entirely sure what this bike says about me.

An added bonus to taking the train is it forces you to get your schedule straight. I know I was late today but when this was my mode of transportation this was never the case. 30 minutes early was the norm and I certainly was more productive when I knew I had to be at the station at a certain time.

This has certainly been an adventure. I hope by day three I can make some “Springer Final Thought” sense of this mini series. Stay tuned

Seven Deadly Sins

I can get used to this whole relaxing at the Stanford Shopping Center thing. The outdoorsy mall is ridiculously green and it’s people watching paradise. There are happy families snapping pics, beautiful women in summer dresses and the Apple Store. There’s a freakin tiny bird moving at no more than five frames a second eating a dried leaf next to me….what’s the nutritional value in leaf jerky? Dumb bird.

It’s the perfect time for me to examine what role the seven deadly sins play in my life. Past and present. Here and now. Let’s go for it.

Gluttony – My weight fluctuates as fast as a yoyo traveling up and down the spindle. When I’m cutting weight, I’m healthy, eating the right amount at the right times. When trending up on weight, I’m guilty of both nimis (eating too much) and ardenter (eating too fast).

Lust – If your beautiful and we meet, I’m sorry because the words you speak do not have my full attention. There’s no countermand to the noise that wonders if you find me attractive too. What would it feel like if the tips of your fingers were to wrap around my hand should I choose to reach for them. Would that kinetic contact act as a vessel that brings me to a world not here? I want to listen to your words, but they ground me here on Earth with all its finiteness. That the….bleh.

Wrath – True the abusive childhood may play a substantial role in the way I behave. Ultimately, I do have options, even if it means staying away from people. At work I unleash an unpleasantness so unpredictable that it frightens me to walk through the doors.

Sloth – Am I lazy? I work everyday, probably not as much as I should or can. I do absolutely nothing on Saturday without the slightest urge to see any of my friends. I take frequent cat naps throughout the day. I say it’s a wash but it is tied to the next one.

Acedia – Depression. Bleh. I tried the Wellbutrin thing. I don’t know if it helped. I was on it for a year and didn’t refill my prescription. After 2 months I see no adverse affects.

Now I question the sin two above this one. What has helped is step work with my sponsor. If your not an alcoholic I suggest you pretend your one and get to a meeting. I’m joking. No I’m not. Confused? Good, lets move on to…

Greed – Like lust or gluttony I am victim to this sin of excess. I want more money, to buy more things, to get more attention, to be the recipient of someone’s lust, to get more happy because of Acedia. I’m just too much of a sloth to get there.

Pride – If this is the source and origin of these deadly sins, then I must have it right?

Envy – If you are not a bearer of any of these sins, then I do truly envy you. Green like this freakin mall. Also, if you have the newest quad-core macbook pro. Then, yes, envy…..you bastard.

All right, perfect score for me. 8 for 8 in the sins department! I hope I do half as well on the virtues test. Well the appeal of my surrounding’s wearing off and the beautiful people are becoming scarce. I’m riding off back home on my hand built 15 pound Giant Road bike. It’s almost as light as the MacBook Air I’m typing on…..what?….there’s another one?….vainglory?……what’s tha……oh, ok makes sense.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles that need a Smog Certificate

Before rehab this is what I drove, an illusion.

It’s all in perspective.

I’m going to rewind back 4 days. Needing to obtain smog certification for my truck I do a quick search online, find a coupon, and blaze out the door. The test only station greets me with non-english speaking workers who point me out to a barely-english-speaking inspector. My coupon doesn’t work, I won’t fight it.

I hate small talk. A lady walks in needing a smog certificate as well. I’m polite but completely uninterested in talking to her about her kids. I had nothing against this lady, I’m just selfish, insecure and jealous that they’re graduating college and that I never went. I give her my coupon and tell her to try it out. It works for her, since she had a regular car.

Mr. Inspector comes in and I know something’s up. He does his best to explain why it won’t pass smog and is struggling. I’m at annoyed level 8 when he asks me if I speak spanish. He’s armenian. I’m asian. So I’m going to rewind back a few sentences. I’m at annoyed level 8 when he asks me if I speak spanish. He’s called Sol and basically there’s alot of work to be done in order for it to pass. Damnit.

I get a call half an hour later from the lady at the smog place. I left my Macbook Air there and she’s holding onto it until i get there. It’s a good thing i gave her that coupon i suppose. When I arrive, I see Sol on break and convince him to suggest a place for repair. His relative owns a shop in a gas station near my mom’s house. I’m going there.

The asian with the cigarette hanging from his mouth is very knowledgeable. So much so, he questions Sol’s inspection skills. Don’t tell me that, it makes me feel worse. I mean, I’ve never paid anyone $50 to tell me I failed. My mom does that for free. Chow Yun Fat tells me it’s a big job but his buddy Jackie Chan promises he’ll get it to pass for $250. Fine. Deal.

Or no deal, since he called back with news. Apparently, Hidden Dragon was right. Lot’s of work, big job, three days, and $550. Hmmm. How am I going to work? I’m not going to rent a car, I can’t bear the thought of adding another $200 to this ordeal. All in all that would add up to like a Macbook Air. The new ones with the i7. 128 SSD. Nerd. Bully.

So I made the decision to ride a bike and take the train to work for the next three days. It  has finally sunk in. And I am dreading it. The 20 minute bike ride that early plus the 20 minutes back in the heat? Say it ain’t so Bobby Brown. Which is weird because straight out of rehab I did nothing but walk. An hour and a half starting at 6 am. Everyday. Then I got a bike and couldn’t imagine how i walked everywhere.

It’s not just that. When I walked everywhere I felt better and loved it, but I still thought I needed to lose a few more pounds. Then when I started biking I gained another five but thought I was still in pretty good shape. Since driving I think I’ve gained 20 pounds. From my condo in Downtown San Jose to a bed in rehab. From walking to driving. When the perspective shifts, certain appreciations get skewed out of focus. Even forgotten. Walking and biking was great at the time because I was just happy to be alive. I gotta remember that.

What age were you the happiest?

Adam's 33 and seems to be hitting his stride. The Voice is hot right now. Side note vote Lindsay Pavao!

A new survey from Friends United suggests that, on average, we are the happiest at age 33. Yes! I have something to look forward to now. At first it was age 16, “Let’s go for a drive dad!’ Then it was 18, “Pack of Malboro Lights sir.” We all know 21 years brings us to the nearest bar. For me it was “Jack on the rocks.” I thought it was going to end at 25 when my automobile insurance was suppose to go down. A DUI and an accident will seriously prevent that milestone from being significant. I guess I missed out on that one.

The big THREE-THREE totally gives me a sense of hope as recently I’ve been at an alarming, though refreshingly straight-line of emotions. I’ve been used to this roller coaster of emotional peaks and valleys. So as I now look to 33 and the promises I will hold this survey accountable for, I reflect back and ask what was my happiest time.

There was the first time I held a girl’s hand. It was in a car. I was in the passenger seat and she was sitting behind. I reached back with blind faith and felt fate’s reassurance. There was the first kiss. It was in the movie, don’t remember which one but I do remember Alex drove us in his boxy BMW. And he sat through the entire make-out affair without complaint. He was a good friend. First job, first interview. Stop. I now realize this list could easily turn into one of firsts. Let’s not do that because I too now realize that following each listing would be a listing of disasters and mistakes.

72-10. Championship. G.O.A.T. status. " Nuff said.

I get that 33 number now. Everything of joy was followed by a hard lesson learned which flowed into a new first. At 33 there is enough experience and yet enough youth to conduct a symphony of smoothness. All the parts are tested and balanced. Ready to absorb bumps in the road yet broken in and comfortable to ride. In essence, Michael Jordan’s prime wasn’t when he was 25 and dunking over everyone. It was when he was 33. By that time he couldn’t leap as high as he once did. He quit and went through his baseball phase. He came back to basketball and failed to take his Bulls to the trophy. He looked suddenly human. It was at age 33 he took his his experience and combined it with his physical talents and set a team record that still stands. A record 72 wins. A championship. And he looked happy doing it.

Wrote "Nature" at 33.

I think the undulating hills of my past are signs that a tangible maturity has graced me. I’m calmer and smile more. My heart doesn’t flutter at sticky situations. Sure I’ve learned to stay away from the drama but life creeps up. It comes prepared with pencils, questions and even Rorschach cards. It’s up to me to decide what I see. I like this maturity thing. I don’t miss smoking. I don’t crave alcohol. I think I’ll call GEICO tomorrow and see if they believe me now.