Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Blessed (and frequently slain) are the Peacemakers

This weekend which honors one of our great peacemakers, there was a story on the news about a local anti-violence activist - Terrell Rogers, who was shot outside his daughter's basketball game in SF. This story, unfortunately, is as old as history.

I was wondering "why do we kill the peacemakers"? Are we, as humans, so bloodthirsty, that we must resort to violence to remove those who preach non-violence? Is it because we'd really rather settle things with might than with reason? Do they anger us? Are they like modern-day prophets who call us to repentance, but we are so blinded in our ways that we must silence their nagging conscience cry? Do we see them as weak and defenseless? Do we want to prove we are stronger by snuffing them out? I don't know.

All I know is that we humans are terribly broken, and we need these voices of truth, justice, and non-violence to counter the voices of violence, injustice, and lies that we consume on a daily basis. We want to believe that if we personally, or collectively, become rich, powerful and fearsome, we can subdue and rule the earth. We think that these things will satisfy us and raise us above our tedious existence and make our lives sublime. But, it's all a lie. We need to stop believing it, listen to those that swim against the current, and treasure our peacemakers rather than slaying them.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Book Worm Reco's

Well, I've been keeping up with my un-resolution to read more this year. So far, I've been averaging one book per week from the Svale Library (this would become far too expensive and space-consuming if purchasing). I suppose this will slow down once racing season starts in earnest. That is, unless I end up doing feed for the rickster at some hilly road races or something. So, here's what I've come up with so far:

Best book so far:
Soul Catcher by Michael White
About a slave catcher pre-Civil War who would bounty-hunt slaves that had run up north and return them to the south.

Runner Up:
Tom Bedlam: A Novel by George Hagen (very Dickens-esque - not done yet, but really quite enjoyable so far)

Good Readin':
-Suffer the Little Children: A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery by Donna Leon (a non-murder mystery set in Venice)
-The Mapmaker's Opera by Bea Gonzalez (a Spanish story of star-crossed lovers)
-A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle (a childhood favorite, a little less great than I remember, but still good. Sort of a sci-fi meets Narnia kind of thing.)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Big Engine Strikes or PowerTap Gone Wild!

When I got back from our easy, but quite hilly (Mt. Eden, Pierce, 9, Skyline, Page Mill), training ride today, I went to see how many kCals I earned for dinner. To my surprise, the wattage display had been maxed out at 1999. When I downloaded the data, it said my 5 second power was 2,750.


Now, I'm no featherweight, but that's still like a gazillion watts per kg. This 5 second spike allegedly happened somewhere between 9 and Page Mill on Skyline. I'm thinking the PowerTap had a brief moment of insanity. But, if it didn't, then you ladies will have to watch out at the critters this season! ;)

Saturday, January 5, 2008

What is it about Perfection?

It seems we humans have a fascination with Perfection. We relish the thought of it. The perfect season. The perfect ride. The perfect day. The perfect wedding. The model body. Occasionally, we see glimpses of perfection in this life. But even perfection isn't perfect. Tom Brady didn't complete 100% of his passes that night. The opponent was not shut out. But, still we cling desperately for that which we can call perfect. It is an obsession.

It seems a part of our human condition to want to be perfect. And yet, it is also part of our condition that we are absolutely unable to do so. I guess that's part of the tragedy and beauty of being human. It's tragic that life cannot meet with our definitions of perfection. But, there is also beauty in the imperfect. A scar in an otherwise perfect face, an old piece of furniture with a crackling patina, smoke in the atmosphere turning a sunset crimson.

So, though I yearn for perfection, I'm learning to treasure contentment. I can be content with the floorboard that creaks, the little lines forming around my neck, and the general restlessness in my mind. I believe some day I will understand true Perfection, but not for now. Not here in this place. But, for now I choose to be content - content with the imperfect season, frustrating days, clumsy rides. All those imperfect things combine to make a life that is beautiful and rich beyond measure. And, I am thankful for it.

That is what I hope for this year. Not that I will give up striving for perfection or slip into complacency. But, that I will celebrate and be content with all that is good in my life and the world around me.