Posted by: ham8cheese | November 10, 2009

why can’t we all get gay married and get along?

gay married

Boo on Maine. And, of course, extended boo on California, including the California Supreme Court. (And a special boooo-oriented shout-out goes to Criswell & Associates, the SF-based marketing firm that apparently sold its soul to the anti-gay marriage devil for $700K, having designed the marketing campaign that helped repeal same-sex marriage in Maine.)

Luckily, while the heathens in Maine and California are busy kicking puppies, there are at least a few last civilized stops in the U.S. to consider before picking up and moving to Canada:

Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont are some good options.

Don’t get me wrong – I am not giving up on California (or on Maine, either, for that matter). In fact, I think the best wedding present any California-dweller can give these days is a gift donation to one of the various groups working to overturn Prop 8 (one of which is the ACLU LGBT Project). And, although I was a bit suspicious of former Dubya Bush Solicitor General Ted Olson‘s involvement in the federal lawsuit to overturn Prop 8, I am keeping my albeit-cynical-fingers crossed that the waters will part and gay couples everywhere will be allowed safe passage into the land of marital bliss (or non-bliss, as it were – if you’re in the Bible Belt, ironically land o’ some of the highest divorce rates in America).

I continue to have straight-person guilt, and rightly so, for being able to marry my sweetheart, when so many others can’t. That guilt is not assuaged by the fact that Mr. Pigtales and I got hitched during the few months of 2008 when gay marriage was legal in California.

But the polling on gay marriage gives me hope that we will whoop Prop 8’s arse one day soon – notwithstanding the recent setback in Maine. In the meantime, stay inspired – and I’ll see you in the streets.

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Posted by: ham8cheese | November 9, 2009

it’s an unsmall world after all

I thought I would take a moment to ponder a few of the indignities associated with being less than tall. Consider:

  • First, there are the hemming bills to contend with (anyone else out there considering taking on a part time job to pay for all the alterations? Let’s form a club.). Why are designer jeans always a foot too long? Seriously, I’ve never seen a giraffe wearing Citizens of Humanity. And let’s not even talk about the aesthetic challenges that occur when the intended knee area of said designer denim ends up at your ankle, post-tailoring.
  • Not only do we walk in pools of unwanted denim fabric, but short women apparently have an increased risk of injury from airbag deployment. A friend of mine (who is probably about 5’4″) got a sprained wrist this summer from an airbag that deployed too forcefully during a 10-mph bump to the car she was riding in. It’s unclear whether her hem length contributed to the injury.
  • As mentioned in a recent post, petite women like me either have to make due with a behemoth bicycle, pay for a custom frame, or ride a bike marketed to kids. Perhaps I’d be wise to shop for jeans in the kids’ department too.
  • Short people earn lower salaries than tall people. Yep, you heard me right. According to one study, each inch of extra height amounts to a salary increase of approximately $789 per year. This seems particularly unjust, given that, as we’ve already established above, short people are the ones who need the extra money. Jeez, $789 could go a long way in terms of tailoring costs, medical bills, and custom bike shopping. Boo.
Posted by: ham8cheese | November 6, 2009

dear carbs, I’m breaking up with you

I am one of those people who will eat bread and pasta till the cows come home if you let me. Heck, even after all the cows are tucked away in bed, I will still be eating bread and pasta. Recently, after realizing that perhaps my love affair with carbs was not ideal and my sedentary office job no better, I took decisive action. Read More…

Posted by: ham8cheese | November 5, 2009

my search for a unicorn

In my search for a bike that fit my 5’2″ frame, I think I underestimated how difficult it would be. As I slowly realized, most bike manufacturers make bike frames in the 15″ and up range. The bike industry seems to have basically wholly ignored the segment of the adult population that is 5’3″ and under. I mean, yes, I’m pretty small, but the average female height is about 5’4″. So I’m not wildly far off from the mean. Yet there are very few bikes out there for someone like me. (BIKE INDUSTRY, ARE YOU LISTENING??)

I took my first test rides at American Cyclery by Golden Gate Park. They were nice, but did not seem to fully grasp my issue with needing a smaller bike. I ended up test-riding the Specialized Vita, the lovely Bianchi Milano Parco, and the Specialized Globe San Francisco 2. I found myself struggling to find differences between my existing bike and these test bikes; the reality was that they didn’t feel dramatically different — meaning that I still felt a little awkward on these bikes, a little wobbly, a little unsteady.

10_milano_parco_lady_Y0B88U47UTThe Bianchi Milano Parco (which really is a fine looking bike) has 26″ wheels and a 3-speed internal hub; the smallest frame size is 16.5″. The frame was still a little big – the standover height was a bit tall for me, with the top tube was uncomfortably close to my sensitive bits. I liked the internal hub – the shifting was a refreshingly smooth improvement on the Cypress DX – but was worried that the 3-speeds were impractical for the San Francisco hills. Of the 3 bikes, this one was the frontrunner, and I started considering Read More…

Posted by: ham8cheese | November 5, 2009

goodbye giant, hello pixie

DSCF6196 Ta-da, it’s my brand spanking new pixie-sized bike – the REI house brand Novara Pulse bike.  It is pictured here consorting with Mr. Pigtales’ excellent pre-WWII Schwinn, which in theory has the same sized wheels as the Novara Pulse (26″) but looks like a hulking monster next to it (an elegant hulking monster, though).

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I started out several months ago with a Giant Cypress DX with a 15-inch-ish frame from craigslist, a bike that turned out to be way too big for my 5’2″ frame, even though I could just touch the ground when the saddle was adjusted to the proper height.  I thought that my troubles had more to do with my nonexistent cycling skills, but now that I’ve ridden the Novara Pulse, I know better.  There were lots of things NOT to like about riding the Cypress DX, at least for me – it had a suspension fork and suspension seat post, which rather than soften my ride just contributed to my feeling of instability on the bike.  Although the bike had 24 gears which were great for some bad ass San Francisco hills, it sounded like a team of hamsters were assisting in slowly creaking the gears into place every time I shifted.  Then there was the fact that the bike was a bit heavy for me – not a plus factor for someone who, embarassingly, can barely open jar lids.   I think the Cypress DX is probably a great, moderately-priced comfort bike for someone who’s looking for comfort and is tall enough to ride it.  But woe upon woe, it was not the bike for me.

I was definitely torn between wanting to get a bike that works for me, and thinking that since I’m not a serious cyclist that I should just muddle along with my beater bike.  But Mr. Pigtales wisely pointed out that having the right bike would mean I’d love riding it – and that would make me love cycling even more, whereas riding an ill-fitting bike could inhibit my acquisition of cycling skills and all that.  So we trudged around to different bike shops in the city, test riding a few different bikes.  And, of course, I spent hours online looking at craigslist and other bike manufacturers’ websites.

The Novara Pulse was the end result of my months-long search, and I am so glad I took my time.  I learned a lot, and ended up with a bike that is a perfect fit — even if it IS a “kid’s” bike (yeah, you heard me right – twelve-year old boys in spandex apparently ride my bike).  The important thing is that, as Mr. Pigtales likes to say, it’s a bike that whispers “go faster” in my ear . . .

Posted by: ham8cheese | November 4, 2009

“swine so fine”

pigWith me being a non-Southerner, pork rinds were really never on my list of favorite foods.  I mean, what is a pork rind, really, anyway?  It’s a sort of puffy, crunchy thing, with the pig ingredient somewhat unapparent.  My pork-rind-ambivalence, however, dissipated in an instant one day at Bloodhound in SOMA when I reached my little hand into a big silver bowl filled with these light, puffy, crispy things and dared to take a bite.  Eyes closed.  The room quieted.

It was sweet.  It was salty.  And it was sooooooo good.  It literally just kind of disintegrated into my mouth, becoming one with the rest of me, leaving a sticky, yummy residue of, well, pig fat.  Is crack this good, I wondered?

I was at one of Ryan Farr’s events for yuppie foodiots, surrounded by people dive-bombing fantastically yummy plates of steak and burgers.  Yet the silver bowls filled with Ryan Farr’s heavenly chicharrones sat there quietly and patiently, ignored by the crowds.  Losers, they.  Losers, they.

Posted by: ham8cheese | November 3, 2009

halloween critical mass

halloween pigtales

. . . was awesome, although all the slow, wobbly scooting was a little taxing for my nearly nonexistent newbie cycling skills.  Here’s a youtube link – Mr. Pigtales and I are in there near the very end.

It was my first Critical Mass, and I have to say I don’t think it’s the most effective public relations tool for cyclists.  Taking over the streets is awesome, but I think drivers leave with antagonistic feelings, to put it mildly.  It’s more of a “confront” – rather than “coexist” – message.  But it sure is fun.

Posted by: ham8cheese | November 3, 2009

I heart biking

Today marked my 2nd official day as a bicycle commuter, and I am loving it.  What took me so long?  Well, long story short, until recently the last time I had gotten on a bike was during a different decade, one in which grunge was in and the 80’s were more fashion nightmare than fashion genius.  So the first time my hubby (Mr. Pigtales) and I went for a ride in Golden Gate Park, I was literally hyperventilating every time a car passed me by on my rental bike.  So it’s been a long, slow, road, but well worth it.

Mr. Pigtales, a crafty husband and longtime fantastic cyclist, helped nudge me along by buying me a cute red bicycle helmet for my birthday earlier this year.  (No pressure or anything.)  Somehow, that led to me buying a beater bike on craigslist, a boring blue Giant Cypress DX.Giant Cypress DX

I rode that thing doggedly down Page Street to the Panhandle and the Park most weekends, and somehow along the way I found myself loving watching the world go by on a bike, and forgetting the previously scary cars around me.  All this even though I hated that bike.  And even though for a while there I made every left turn by dorkily crossing the street like a pedestrian (when the choice is between being traffic roadkill and arriving at your destination, is there really any question??).   Dreadhead hipsters in drum circles are so much more fun to watch when they’re blurring by at a couple miles an hour, don’t you think?

Fast forward to today, and there I was zipping down Market Street on an awesome new road bike that I LOVE LOVE LOVE, dodging MUNI buses and cabs.  Mr. Pigtales, the best hubby ever, was like my personal Market Street bike bodyguard, ensuring my safe passage to my nonprofit office.   What I find especially fun is the anticipation of getting to ride my bike in the morning and evening – it’s not commuting – it’s FUN!   Wheeeeee.

To be continued: the saga of my search for the perfect bike.

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