Saturday, January 31, 2009

Sharing the Road with.. Runners?

Day 5 – 1/31/09

I biked up Beacon St.  To Cleveland circle, which is the end of Beacon st.  It comes to almost a T at a reservoir.  Which is a beautiful place to run during the summer.  I biked for 40 min and was just happy to be back on the bike.  For the last two days I have not been able to go biking, I don’t know if that was because I was not pushing my self enough or the fact that we got 12 inches of snow on Thursday (could be both).  I woke up this morning after having slept 5 hours last night, full of energy.  I was amazed because I had stayed up till 4 am but my body wanted to go do things, so I went and did things.  Getting my warm cloths together and carrying my bike down stairs, just build up the anticipation of the ride.  I was so excited to be biking.  Its Saturday morning so there were not allot of cars on the road (thank you weekends) but something that was strange was, instead of having to fight for my space on the road with cars I was weaving through swarms of runners.  There were runners with their spandex and multi colored outfits running in my bike lane…what is up with that?  I do have to say it was nice seeing all these people out and about (most of them were smiling) but it just struck me as odd that they felt as though they should just use the bike lane to run in.  It wasn’t like the sidewalks were full, in fact I think there were more people on the streets than on the sidewalks. I know Boston is a pedestrian town but come on!  After running a few of them over (joking…no really, I’m…joking…) I got to the reservoir.  I was hoping that the town had plowed the path that went around the rim of the water because I know that it would be a beautiful ride, but I had no such luck. I did get to bike around the frozen water, I just had to use the road which wasn’t bad.   For half of my trip I was heading west on beacon then around the water and for that entire time I was biking against the wind… It was slow and painful.  The icy cold wind hitting my face almost cutting into my skin, but I continued, I pushed through, for myself and for the future of my adventures. When I turned the corner to head back in the east direction my ride flew by.  I was back in my apartment and ready to take on the day.  This ride was one that slightly introduced me to the troubles that I will meet along my cross-country journey, which was good to have as a warning that it wasn’t going to be easy.  I was happy to see everybody’s faces as I biked past them on the road and look forward to seeing many more people through out my travels.







Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The "Documentary"

Day 4 - 1/27/09


Today’s trip was short and sweet. I went to Allston to go play games with Oliver again (the 4 year old that I baby sit) I got on my bike and I thought I would try a new route to get there….bad Idea.  I had 5 minuets to get there and got there in 10. I was late which is something I hate, but I got there.  The trip was short but I biked uphill on most of it and that made for some pain in my thighs.  Biking back I took Harvard Ave.  which some of you know is a pretty busy street, but I felt as though I was able to start holding my own on the city street.  There IS enough space on the road for all of us…sometimes.  As I was biking I was trying to think of what I could write for this trip and I thought that it might be a good idea to talk about the actual trip that I am doing all this work for.  So here is goes: The documentary is connecting with this country that I grew up in but never knew.  This Documentary will follow myself on a bicycling trip across the southern part of the United States of America. 

            As a Kid born in Boise, ID I have traveled the world and much of the Northern United States, but do not feel as though I know much about the South.  Being fortunate enough to know what much of the rest of the world has to offer and how wonderful so many other countries are, it is easy to say, I know and like what they have and want to see what this country has for me.

            I desperately want to be able to be proud and stand strong when I say I am an American.  So what does “being an American” mean?  What does that relationship with one’s country mean to others, and what does it mean to me?  To answer these questions I need to go back to the basics of relationships themselves; mainly, the relationship between my family and myself. 

            Going through college in Boston, MA and leaving the wing of my parents has been an experience in itself, but now I feel as though I have not just flown the coop but forgotten where it is.  To develop a stronger relationship with my parents is something that I want to do because I feel as though it’s time for me to really find out who they are as people, not just my parental figures.  My parents are people who have accomplished SOOO much in their lives, continue to do amazing things, and have so much to offer the world.  And I have been almost ignoring them for the past several years. They scream silently wanting to tell me their life stories and I have passed it by focusing on other things, but now I want to turn my ear to them and really listen to what they have to say. 

            My Mother has hiked to base camp of mount Everest, biked across the country, She has taught at deaf schools, worked with special ed, and looks to teach and learn with anyone who wants to listen. She has raised 6 boys and she continues to do more amazing things every day. 

            My father has raised 6 kids, survived through Vietnam, put himself through school, became a high ranking manager at Hewlett Packard, and now is traveling the world experiencing life in new and different ways. He continues to question and develop new and different ways to live in the world from making a small invention to changing your entire way you look at life. 

            These are the people that I come from…these are the people that I have at my side to learn from and gain guidance.  Who am I?  What have I done?  I am 22 and I have traveled to multiple countries, graduated from Emerson college with a double major in Acting and Film Production, made friends with amazing people who are smart and talented, and I’m currently acting and making films professionally.  These are the things that I have done and am doing.  I am learning everyday about myself and my opinions, about religion, politics, sex, drugs, music, race, and relationships. 

            How can I learn about my country?  Is that something you learn from your parents?  How could I know about a part of my country where I have never been?  The south…. It seems so foreign…I suppose it is. From the history books I get an image of wholesome religious closed-minded farmers that cling to their heritage.  Is this really true? Stereotypes are created for a reason right?  Every single person is different and I know there must be people and places in the South where I will feel right at home.  Conversely, there will probably be places and people that will make me fear for my life.  But is that specifically because it is the South?  NO! That is everywhere.

            I feel as though so many people relay on single sources for their information (MSNBC, FOX, CNN, church) I do believe that each person should not blindly follow the information that they get anywhere.  Even in the case of having been influenced by many sources, I feel as though people should not make an opinion about something until they have experienced it for themselves. That’s why I feel as though I need to travel to these places to experience them for my self. I want to go to New Orleans and see the damage that I have been told is unbearable.  I want to meet the people who play sax in the streets and bars.  I want to meet the farmers In Texas who live off the land and wake up everyday with the sun to keep their life going.  I want to see the Grand Canyon and its engulfing caverns that so many artists have created their life around.  I want to see the wrinkles in the skin of people who live day by day and call themselves Americans.

            I need to learn what truly makes this country a great country.  I need to know more than just the parts of this country that I grew up in or that my parents have been to.  I want the complete picture, because right now I feel lost and separated from what people say this great country is and what I see it as.  And I want to see where I belong in it, or even if I do.

Learning about who I am through this adventure is the goal and also along the way I hope to figure out what the hell that even means…





Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The World Keeps on Turning

Day 3 – 1/26/09

Today my adventures were clouded with death and dead ends.  After taking a day off from biking (not my choice, I didn’t get a chance to step into my apartment all day) I decided that a nice trip to take would be to go to JP licks (the Original).  Some ice cream after biking in the 20 degree weather sounds like a great idea, right? Yes it did! So I got on my bike and hit the roads. The timing was going to be perfect.  I would get to the JP ponds and see the sunset and then I would be able to swing by “Bikes Not Bombs” to get more pricing on the things that I will need to invest in shortly, and then get some ice-cream and be back in time to take a shower and get to rehearsal for “Dark Play or Stories for Boys”.  It was going to be great.  Once I got on to Washington street to get to Brookline village I saw a line of people in black coats and solemn faces standing outside of a large white building which so happened to be a funeral home. The moment I saw those people I knew that this was going to be a theme for the trip.  Every corner I turned, every face that I looked at I was expecting grief and sadness (not the best thing to think about).  I got to the Ponds and boy was it beautiful. The reflection of light off the frozen snow covered pond was strait out of  The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. It was so beautiful that I decided to bike around the entire pond before heading further on the adventure.  Although I was completely struck by the beauty of the sunset I was still thinking of a sunset being the END of the day, the END of the Light, The DEATH of the Sun. Pretty morbid I know but since only a couple of minuets before I had seen a building that had a dead body in it…I think it is justified….at least a little bit. After taking my loop around the ponds and passing the same people multiple times, I trekked on.  When I pulled up to “Bikes Not Bombs” I took some photos of the place (which I must say, Not as sketchy as I originally thought, but still up there on the scale) I walked my bike to the door and the lights were off…the freaken store was closed!!!! Well of course it was, it’s the ride of Death.  After wallowing in the wreckage of my plans (yes I am being overly dramatic, but isn’t the wallowing a good word) I thought that my one saving grace would be JP Licks.  I took my three dollars and set out to get some ice cream, because sugar always heals the wounds. I walk in to the store and to my amazement I could not afford a freaking kiddy cup of ice cream!! It cost $3.14 for a scoop of Ice cream (COME ON, CAN I GET A BREAK!!!!) so I did what any good consumer would do…I bought a double chocolate muffin and ate the crap out of that (drowning my sorrow of no ice cream with chocolate).  The Chocolate Muffin was satisfying and I jumped back on my bike and started riding back home.  Riding along the ponds, through Brookline village, past the funeral home (which still had a line of people at its door) and back to my apartment, on this last stretch of my adventure I started to think about how cyclical things are.  Life than Death, Day than night, Open than Closed,  my tires are spinning in circles, my trips start and finish at my home, and this made me feel good. Good to know that things seem to come around.  Life just keeps on going and I just keep hope that there will be ice cream along the way.

Pictures will be coming soon.






Saturday, January 24, 2009

You got to get lost before you find the "Bomb"

Day 2 – 1/24/09

I totally got lost today and it was FREAKING COLD!!!  I decided at around 4 pm to take my adventures to this bike shop in Jamaica Plain called “Bikes not Bombs” (pretty amazing name right?!?, 18 Bartlett Square, Boston, MA 02130)  I needed a helmet and some more information.  So I printed out my directions from Google maps (walking directions) and went on my way. I left at about 4:30pm and I really wanted to beat the sun setting (RIIIIGHT MARK).  I road south on Harvard St towards Brookline Village and then went down S. Huntington Ave.  This was not the best biking rout but it was much better than that dastardly Beacon street.  I got on to centre street in JP, which takes you through the center of the town. (I saw the original J.P. Licks and really wanted to stop by and get some Ice cream because it is the best in the world, but I was on a mission.) JP Licks must have distracted me because I blew right past Greene st. and kept going down Centre till I came to a Highway and felt as though I should turn around.  Once I got back to where JP licks was I pulled into a store called “Gadgets”( 671 Centre Street) I met a wonderful person whom I presume is the owner (I want to call her Sherrill so I will) I met Sherrill a lovely short woman with great thick black rimed glasses that made her look like a owl and a great smile that makes you feel warm inside, and she pointed me in the right direction (across the street!!!) so I said thank you and left to get back on my icy journey.  I don’t want to say that pulling into Bikes Not Bombs was sketchy….but…well when you are hidden in an alley, behind a tall broken down warehouse with a hand written sign, I would have to say that falls under the sketchy category. Once I stepped into the shop it felt as though I was thrust into the world of the Biker.  There were all sorts of refurbished bikes mounted on the walls and the floor was made of wood planks that seemed to have the dirt of thousands of bikes rubbed into it, there must be so many stories that have been told in this place.  Behind two bikes suspended from mechanic stands comes the voices of two Bikers. /////I would like to take a moment to describe that to me, the description of a “biker” falls into two categories, 1. The purely athletic toned bikers that do triathlons and crazy things like that (think Armstrong) and 2.  The punk underground biker that rides single speed bikes that have been put together through dumpster diving for parts.  They have short hair and often a piercing or two and for some reason there is a handkerchief hanging out of their back pockets.///// The two at “Bikes Not Bombs” were of the latter type of bikers and I felt kind of like an outsider because I am wearing four layers of sweatshirts and riding a schwinn female intended bike (total outsider, right?)….but as I started to unravel my story I felt more and more at home.  I asked some questions about locks and Helmets, lights, and tour bikes (still looking for one if you got one)  and then talked about classes that they offer for people like me that need to learn allot about their bike and want to do it ASAP.  Not much info was gathered but I signed up for their mailing list and will post that when I get it.  I left that little paradise of a bike shop with a brand new helmet and some lights ($35-Helmet $25- Lights + $3-tax = $63.00) for my trip back to my apartment IN THE DARK!!! I was given directions to take the Jamaica Bike path back to Brookline village and did. It was amazing and I will be going back to take pictures of the pond and ride the hills in which I flew down. In total I was gone from 4:30pm to 6:30pm and probably spent about an hour riding. My fingers did freeze but I will survive to ride again!!!!







Day 1

Day 1 - 1/23/09

Today I did my first ride.  I was graciously given a bike by my friend Becca today and it really felt as though the wheels were turning on this great adventure of mine.  The bike is a, in Becca’s words “cheepo Schwinn Bike” it has a lady’s cross bar that slops down so a dress wont get caught? Is that really necessary any more? (for some people I guess) it is a metallic blue and white frame.  It has 21 speeds and is RUSTY!!!  All the gears are that wonderful brown but it WORKS!!!! And that is the important thing.   I walked the flat tire bike down Beacon street to Cambridge bike shop and met Dave.  He was my first introduction to what this bike can offer.  He said that it needs a tune up and he can do that for me for 55 bucks.  Me being more interested in just getting the tires filled up rather than paying someone to do something that I really should learn anyways said “thank you but I don’t have the money for that right now…you think that it will ride?”  After him reassuring me that it will ride he offers some information on what kind of bike I am going to need for my trip.  A tour Bike.  That is what I need A TOUR BIKE. (ANY BODY GOT ONE?!?!)  My new friend Dave said that a Tour bike is the most versatile bike and for what I want to do, it will get the job done.  He listed off some names of Bike Brands that he trusts, which of course I don’t remember, and sent me on my way.  After that he went back to doing his thing as I filled up the tires and set off on my first ride down busy Beacon street….WITHOUT A HELMET!!!!!! I need to get me one of those…And my god, having really only biked  on the “busy streets” of Boise Idaho and the Back roads of Southern France (we’ll talk more later), I thought I was going to die.  There was a bike lane that was taken up by all the cars parked on the side of the road and sharing a lane with a Boston driver is more like sharing a seat with your fat uncle Albert, There isn’t enough room for the two of you and Albert is sure as hell not going to move (no offence to anybody that actually has a fat uncle Albert, but hey if you do you really know what I mean).  After surviving my 9 min. bike ride to my apartment (1.1 m) I carried my bike to my apartment and sat it down in my kitchen, took a deep breath in, feeling the burn in my calves, knowing that this is going to be my life. After a brief stay at my apartment I road my bike to Allston  (1.5 m) where I get to play games with this amazing four year old kid named Oliver.  And that was the end to my first day back on the Bike. What a start, right!



(I walked my bike back from Allston Because I was on the cell phone)