Ann Arbor, Cycling, Hockey, Advertising & Media, and the occasional practical joke on my dad. I work at Quack!Media.
You haven’t arrived until someone holds up your name on no-no signs. This is amazing. Thanks Ryan for grabbing it.
On a serious note: I sincerely hope the bullying doesn’t scare off anyone who is considering public service. I’ve never met them, but I’m sure these are fine folks, they just have an agenda (though I’m not sure what that is) and apparently I stepped on it. So please, don’t be afraid, step up and get involved. We need more people involved, not fewer.
I’m not embarrassed about anything on this blog (with my full first and last name in the URL), or my twitter account. Take a read; enjoy it or not. It is unchanged & unedited since my nomination to the DDA save one photo from the Huffington Post that was removed at the specific request of a councilperson… because I’m nice. Enjoy!
There’s an important election on August 6th. Crazy, I know. Well, I didn’t really know. Most of us don’t. Since Ann Arbor City Council is a partisan election, and Ann Arbor is overwhelmingly Blue (yay, us), for most city council seats the real election is the Democratic Primary. This leads to some unfortunate realities, especially in years with nothing else going on like 2013.
More voters = better representation (statistically true!).
The current 3rd ward incumbent (Stephen Kunselman) was elected in 2011 with 637 votes. You need more people to start a viable space colony, or throw a raging Bar Mitzvah.
WHAT DO I DO!?
Bonus: Agree with everything I say and do always.
EXTRA IMPORTANT RACES:
If you live in Ward 3 or Ward 4 (check map) then your primary on Tuesday is extra important as it will decide who represents you – so make sure that person represents you and not the 200 crazy people with nothing better to do that live in your ward.
If you keep driving like that, you’re going to kill a cyclist. When you do, it’s going to suck as much for you as it does for them. When you drive by my head at 50 mph I can’t have this conversation with you, so I’m going to do you a favor and talk you through all of your arguments as to why you’re driving wrong (you are) and then you won’t end up killing a human. So read on; you’re welcome.
It’s not if it’s when. You are going to kill or seriously injure someone. You are. Someone’s father, brother, mother, daughter - you are going to end their life, forever, like permanently dead. You’ll be a murderer.
You can save those lives. You need to do two things:
A few facts you might not be aware of:
This law wasn’t made up because the state hates you, or cars, or getting places quickly. This law was enacted because squeezing by a cyclist in the same lane is incredibly dangerous – to the cyclist. It’s not dangerous to you, unless you don’t like jail, or fines, or being a murderer.
NOW YOU MIGHT SAY:
“But, I have places to go and people to do! You’re in my way! Too slow!”
Okay, great, I appreciate your sacrifice. Let’s look at the math. This is math mind you and not subject to opinion. I’ll be generous and assume you’re on a 45mph speed limit road (most cycling takes place on much slower roads, but I’m in a giving mood, because I care about you). When I ride I’m traveling around 20mph. So you’re going 25mph faster than me, or about 55% faster. Again, being generous, you might be stuck behind a cyclist for 8 seconds. Usually much, much less. I know it seems like a long time, but it’s not. It’s 8 seconds. That’s with heavy oncoming traffic. However, you’re not stopped for that time, you’re traveling at 20mph. This means that slowing down, waiting for traffic to clear and passing the cyclist safely costs you about four seconds… max. Do you want to risk my life (permanently) and you being a murderer (forever) for four seconds? Really?
“But, you ride too far out in the lane, you’re supposed to ride single file, all the way to the right. You’re an asshole!”
Legally, you’re wrong (in Michigan at least). Let’s leave the law out of this though. Go ahead and see above and know that I’d rather you be annoyed than me be dead. You’d rather that too, because this way you don’t have to go home and tell your kids they can’t have a swimming pool because you paralyzed a cyclist from the waist down. Riding further out in the lane forces you to slow down and wait for traffic to clear to pass me. You’re less likely to hit me on purpose than because you drive like an inconsiderate bag of dicks.
“But, I pay taxes/registration fees/gas tax.”
This one is really dumb. See, you pay usage fees because your heavy-ass car destroys the road. Guess what, bikes don’t wear out roads like cars do. And guess what else (this is going to blow your mind) nearly everyone you’ve ever passed on a bike also has a car, and registration fees, and gas taxes (crazy huh!). However, I use my car less and cause less than my share of wear on said road than I pay for. You see where I’m going with this? You should take this argument and hope no one ever hears it because it works against you.
“But, Cyclists disobey laws all the time, they run red lights and stuff, so screw them!”
Yes, I do. I ride my bike safely. The rules say I’m supposed to pretend that I’m a car, but see, that’s dangerous if I’m the only one obeying that rule. I’m pretending I’m a car, and you think I’m a bike, and you run over me and kill me with your car. This is bad for both of us. So, the minute you treat me like a car, I’ll start acting like one. In the meantime the difference between when you break the law and when I do is that you’re endangering my life, and I’m endangering your … wiper blades? Maybe? Probably not even that.
“But, I live in Ann Arbor and Bike Lanes! Fix our roads first! Uppity Cyclists! I pay for this shit and I hate you! Bikes slow my commute! Get them off the road!”
(for reference, read the comments section here)
Here’s the thing. You’re being shortsighted. Imagine if all those people on bikes that you hate commuted downtown one-per-car. What would that do to your commute? What would that do to your parking availability downtown? What would those additional heavy cars do the pavement condition (remember that my bike doesn’t wear the road at all) ? I’ll give you a hint … you’re a lot better off with the cyclists. They’re doing you a favor. They’re saving you money. They’re paying the same as you for that road, but using it less. You should be thanking them. You should be handing me a cupcake through the window.
“But you’re wrong!”
Nope. I’m not. Who do you think knows more about cycling, the guy on the bike or the guy in the car?
So to wrap it up:
And for fuck’s sake stop texting.
This way, I won’t be dead, and you won’t be a murderer.
Since this has been coming up with increasing frequency, it’s time to write it down; you’re probably not a nerd. Also, if we’re being totally honest, it does bother me a little when you claim to be.Yesterday I was invited to something called Nerd Nite Ann Arbor to which I asked whether it was real-nerd or faux-nerd. Some responses offered up interpretations of the definition of “nerd,” all of which are way off - generally representing the result of being a nerd, and not the weird, uncomfortable, lonely sometimes even gross life of a nerd.
Watching Star Wars does not make you a nerd. Knowing a sentence in Klingon does not make you a nerd. Being into math does not make you a nerd. Liking comic books certainly doesn’t make you a nerd. Being chubby, smelly, and/or ugly does not make you a nerd - but being a nerd can make you all of the above.
So what is the definition of nerd then? As a nerd, social situations are terrifying. Being around other people is one of the more stressful things I can imagine. It’s uncomfortable, I don’t know what these people are doing and why, and I certainly don’t understand why it’s fun.
As a nerd, I spent a lot of time alone, or with a very (very) small group of other people who also can’t relate. In middle school and high school this is very hard. I spent a lot of time being very lonely. I was much to old to cry the last time I cried about not having anyone to sit with. My fundamental misunderstanding of what made people social/cool caused me to buy a ton of silk shirts (it was 1992) to wear to school. That particular stunt ended up in getting made fun of by 6th graders (I was in 8th).
In a nerd’s alone time (so much more comfortable than social situations) we watch movies. We over analyze TV shows. We eat an entire bag of Cool Ranch Doritos by ourselves (remember the gross part?). We retreat into fake worlds of fantasy, RPGs, comedy, music, comics and the other stuff that is commonly co-opted as nerd culture.
This guy explains things pretty well. If you haven’t spent six hours by yourself designing a pen-and-paper role playing character (I like RIFTS - Michigan Represent) you’re not a nerd. If you never told your parents you were going to hang out with friends and then sat alone in your car reading - you’re not a nerd. If you never spent a ridiculous amount of money on something you thought would make you cool, only to have some sixth graders make fun of you - you’re not a nerd.
Sure, you like some nerdy stuff. You like to dress up like a nerd. You like to go to Nerd Nites and drink, laugh, and possibly make out with girls/boys - but that’s not nerdy. Keep in mind that I paid for that word with tears and tittie-twisters. One time in high school someone accidentally invited me to a cool-kid gathering, so when I went to get my coat they accused me of trying to steal stuff (really).
But wait you say - “Al, I know you - You’re not a nerd then. You have a girlfriend, an expansive social network and dammit if you don’t have beautiful hair.”
Just as you dress up and play nerd, I’ve had a lot of alone time to learn how to dress up and play socially adept. Rest assured that to this day, I go home, put on some mustard-pants, exhale deeply and silently play Civilization V until 4AM because I can’t sleep from the stress.
If you really want to go to a Nerd Nite, and you really want to be a nerd; check out the basement of Get Your Game On … just about any night. Play some Magic: The Gathering. Bring some RIFTS & Cool Ranch to my office and we’ll do a pen-and-paper night - all night. What? Playing the same game for 12 hours doesn’t sound fun? You’re not a nerd.
Here’s a video of some people who are not nerds, and please remember that while you’re slumming, people actually live here.
I had a bitch of a time finding out whether we had a new library, parks/arts were funded or not, who our supreme court judges are and most importantly whether Admiral Ackbar made a dent in the Ward 1 city council race… here they are: