The Last Few Days

Sun Mar 3rd, 2002 02:25:41 PM EST

Diary Entry 80
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In which I attend a self-defense seminar, get an email from John Gilmore, ride straight up a mountain, and clean my bike.

Thursday night I went to this self-defense seminar run by a friend of my taekwondo instructor. It was based on an innocent-looking implement called a "kubotan": a rod-shaped piece of plastic about 6 inches long and ½ inch thick, with shallow grooves along its length for grip and a metal loop at one end for attaching a keyring.

The kubotan turned out to be much more effective than it looked. Consider a situation, for instance, where an attacker has you by the throat with one or both hands. In that case, take the kubotan and hold it by both hands, one on each side of the attacker's forearm close to the wrist, curling the fingers around the kubotan's circumference, and then squeeze your hands tightly into fists, clutching your two thumbs together for leverage. This is extremely painful for person it is done to. We learned more techniques than this in the two hours, of course, and today (Sunday) my forearms are still sore from trying them out.

When I woke up on Friday I was surprised to find that I had an email from John Gilmore. He wanted to know some things about GNU PSPP. Unfortunately I had to tell him that PSPP is not ready for prime time yet and not really in active development. Oh well.

Friday afternoon Joel and I biked up Page Mill Rd. to a Palo Alto community park. When I say up, I mean up! It turned out to be almost straight up the whole way. I was struggling in the lowest gear on my mountain bike, but Joel was riding his fixed-gear track bike, and I can only imagine how much work it must have been for him. It took perhaps 45 minutes to get up to the park, but only about 5 to coast back down.

Friday night, on my way from my apartment to the campus coffee house, my bike light leaped right off the handlebar mount and smashed itself into little pieces on the sidewalk. Dammit. That's two busted lights in 5 months.

Saturday I finished reading The Autobiography of Mark Twain. The last part of that book are so depressing, because they all deal with deaths. First the death of Twain's daughter Susy, then his wife, then his daughter Jean, and then, by implication, his own.

Saturday Joel and I went into Palo Alto to buy bike stuff. I bought a replacement light (sigh) and he bought a "computer" that monitors speed, average speed, distance traveled, and so on. Only $25 or so, very impressive. Then we thoroughly washed and cleaned our bikes with soapy water outside my apartment. We cleaned all the existing grease off the bike chains and put on some wax-based lubricant that's supposed to be really good. Riding my bike afterward, it seemed to shift more quickly and more quietly.

Last updated 03 Apr 2004 21:17. Copyright © 2004 Ben Pfaff.
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