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I hate commuting, but the sights are sometimes okay... - Elf M. Sternberg
I hate commuting, but the sights are sometimes okay...

Organ donor
I hate commuting, but sometimes there's something worth seeing as I tool around the city.

The other day, on the way into work, I saw three raptors over the freeway. Two of them were the more common kestrels we get, but one of them was a huge bald eagle, and it was dive-bombing the road trying to get at some roadkill, but kept getting spooked by the cars going by. It was fascinating to watch, but I was driving too fast to get out the camera and take pictures.

There's a ancient steel shack just on the edge of the Duwamish river that I've been trying to get a photograph of for months. Whatever it is they do in there, it generates steam that comes out of every window and seam, and when the weather is just right, just cold and dry enough, the steam billows out in huge gouts that would make a steampunk's heart swell with envy. Such opportunities are rare.

The light in spring is not as good as in autumn, but I keep hoping for just the right sunny day when I have same time during my commute to drive through Georgetown, one of the oldest industrial sectors of Seattle, and photograph the buildings there. There was one, about a month ago before daylight savings time kicked in, but I'd forgotten my camera that day.

One picture I did get is this one. This dude is a future organ donor. Southbound on highway 509, he goes roaring past me doing nearly twice the legal limit. The only reason I got this photo was because he was stopped by a road crew cleaning up an accident that had wrecked the highway divider and reduced the traffic to one lane. Once past the bottleneck and undeterred by the carnage he'd just witnessed, he roared off again at stupid speed. 509 is straight, flat, and relatively empty until the big hill that leads down into Seattle; it's a popular starting strip for many ovely confident young men with crotch rockets. I only hope this guy's heart and kidneys serve their next occupant well.

Current Mood: awake awake
Current Music: Fiona Apple, Sleep To Dream

18 comments or Leave a comment
From: technoshaman Date: April 1st, 2010 04:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
*peers* double posted? jeezus. I mean, even on 509... I don't even *have* a bike that'll go that fast (max on both this bike and the Ninja are both just into the triple digits)... Above the waistline he's actually being somewhat sensible - proper jacket, gloves, helmet (you'd be amazed how many barehanded waves I get from the Harley drivers around here)... but below? st00pid. The jeans would be OK on city streets, but doing what he's doing without proper leathers? Foolhardy... and looks like hiking boots, which, again, fine in stop and go (my Eddie Bauers and Keenes are standard wear for a quick run to the store) but one bit of FOD at DoD Nominal* and he's gonna need prosthetics.

Honestly, I don't see this dude getting dead. His head and torso are protected. The hell he's going to go through learning to walk again? That's a whole 'nother kettle of organs... and there but for grace (and the brains the Goddess gave me)... and frankly, it'll be a *lot* more expensive to put this guy through rehab than it would ever be just to plant him. Doubleplusungood.

For the record, that's not a sport bike ("crotch rocket"). That's what's known as a "naked bike", or, by it's more flamboyant name, "hooligan bike"... it's a snotload of horsepower and not much else. No fairing, no luggage (thus the backpack), no windscreen, not much in the way of a muffler (note the large bore exhaust under the rider's right cheek)... and it seems he was committing exactly what it was designed for: Hooliganism.


here's hoping he scares himself without too much damage before he ends up confined to a four-wheeler with disabled plates...
pixel39 From: pixel39 Date: April 1st, 2010 04:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
I am told by a Harley rider (of the authentic sort--leather and tattoos and bike club membership rather than middle-aged yuppie with too much money sort) that general feelings among bikers run along the lines of "if I wear a helmet then my head will be uninjured when the rest of me is paralyzed and that's BS--if the crash is that bad I'd rather it killed me".
From: technoshaman Date: April 1st, 2010 04:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
I can see that attitude? But there are many things a helmet protects from that won't get you dead. In particular, rain and bugs... I got *both* on my helmet yesterday...
pixel39 From: pixel39 Date: April 1st, 2010 05:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Many of the bikers around here wear goggles, but if I see a Harley rider with a helmet, it's one of those shorty styles.

The aforementioned biker and I have at this point agreed to disagree on the whole helmet question--I wear a full-face and am quite happy with it.
From: technoshaman Date: April 1st, 2010 05:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah! Rider? What? The icon above is my usual steed (different color)...
pixel39 From: pixel39 Date: April 1st, 2010 06:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yamaha V535S. Which is parked waiting for a good cleansing rainstorm to wash all the sand and crap off the roads. Unfortunately the tendinitis in my hands has been so bad lately that I don't know if I'm going to be able to ride this year or not. We won't even go into the whole bit where my feet go numb.

I am still a beginning rider--I've had the bike since 2005 and I've only put maybe a hundred miles on it due to chronic health issues and some poor maintenance in the beginning.
From: technoshaman Date: April 1st, 2010 11:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
ooooh, neuropathy. Ever tried going to Bastyr? (I assume you're Seattle-area?)
wyrdone From: wyrdone Date: April 1st, 2010 05:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Heh ever hit a Cicada at 60mph? those bugs carry enough mass to HURT.
pixel39 From: pixel39 Date: April 1st, 2010 06:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
One of the more amusing staff meetings involved the two of my co-workers who are riders sharing motorcycle-induced bug consumption stories while waiting for our boss to show up.
From: technoshaman Date: April 1st, 2010 11:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
ladyallyn (I think) said she got beaned by something like a Japanese beetle doing about that... serious ow... yeah. There's a reason I wear a full-face Shoei and keep it closed as much as sanity allows.
wyrdone From: wyrdone Date: April 2nd, 2010 05:13 am (UTC) (Link)
Large Japanese Beetle like thing......maybe a June Bug?

jerusha From: jerusha Date: April 1st, 2010 04:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
And if you don't? Then the accident that you would have walked away from (modulo some time recovering from soft tissue and ortho injuries) will leave you brain-damaged. Oops.
pixel39 From: pixel39 Date: April 1st, 2010 05:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't writes 'em, I jes' reports 'em.
elfs From: elfs Date: April 1st, 2010 04:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, it's not quite the sport bike, but every summer we see a lot of ricerocket types doing wheelies down the flat stretch through Burien. I figured the bike was a bit Mad Max in its appearance, and the pipes were pretty loud on the acceleration. Now I know what it's called.

The most dramatic moment was when he had to stop suddenly at the bottleneck: he wobbled the bike hard like he was about to dump it, but recovered at just the last second.
From: technoshaman Date: April 1st, 2010 04:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
oh, man, he *recovered* a tankslapper? LUCKY... that usually results in a highsider (when the bike suddenly grabs traction, flips, and throws you off)... Crazy.

Yah. He'll end up in the orthopedics ward sooner or later.
creepyanonymous From: creepyanonymous Date: April 2nd, 2010 12:19 am (UTC) (Link)
Looks like his boots are actually SIDIs (check both the ankle and the sole). And I've known a few riders to wear armor under jeans, so I'm not quite so sure he's a complete idiot.
ben_raccoon From: ben_raccoon Date: April 2nd, 2010 12:38 am (UTC) (Link)
I see those all the time down here, except they're usually in jeans and a T-shirt with a full-face helmet. Great for identification when the rest of their body is a pulped mass of yick.
slfisher From: slfisher Date: April 2nd, 2010 04:25 am (UTC) (Link)
My former husband would be dead if it weren't for a helmet; as a passenger, he got dumped and landed on his head and suffered ten compression fractures in his vertebrae.
18 comments or Leave a comment