Big night at the races for me tonight in that I did not come in last! I was actually fast(ish); placing in the burnout and nearly (like, eight inches nearly!) making it into the winners heat for a series of three lap scratch races. Here is a picture of my bicycle in celebration. I built it from the frame up, but I am keen to replace said frame, as this one is a bit large for me. It would be a good size for roadie trips, but it is too long for track riding. I digress, feast the eyes:

'Nuff 'bout me then, eh? Here's your Runner-Up for the night. I'm a dork and I like comics. More importantly, I help teach comics with an after-school program in Chula Vista, which I went to today before going out to race bikes. Anyways, I'm sort of a newcomer to the Graphic Novel Project, but as it is run by my roommate (the most epically dedicated teacher ever), I have the opportunity to get in there once a week and work with the kids to help them develop their writing and researching techniques. It is an amazing project. More on this later, since I swore I'd stop talking about myself!

Let's all bring the focus away from Mr. Pike and towards:

Ensure - $10 (Normal Heights)

This post seems particularly apropos at the present juncture, as there have been several blog entries dealing with the dying of loved ones. It is perhaps the saddest of sad realities that, eventually, everyone you love will die, unless you die before them. Is this an unnecessarily macabre maxim to put into words? Do we strictly need to be reminded of this, ever, as though we might somehow forget the saddest of sad realites? Possibly, in both cases. The whole "death question" commands such gravity that there's no one rule to explain the ways and means of death in the world. It's the ultimate trauma of traumas and the final finality; the thing you can't get over because there's no "over" to get to.

Now, I admit that I can't speak authoritatively on all things "death," because both my parents and my three (3) younger brothers are still alive and well. I want that none of them should die, not ever. Irrational, but reasonable as I love them all dearly and hope that their lives should be endless and free of pain. The closest relative whose death I have experienced would be my grandmother (mother's mother) about seven (7) years ago. (Remember how I swore this would not be about me?) I don't need to say how torturous it was, or how she was the matriarch of a great family, the ties binding which have loosened dramatically since her death. I'm not in the position to say what her death did to my mother. Sure, I saw her fall apart over and over again for years afterwards, but who am I to say what she went through?

Which is sort of my point.

Maybe this doesn't go for everybody, but I highly doubt I'm alone in this (and perhaps I can move away from talking about myself here): in youth, there is this terrible conviction, "I and I alone can fix my family," particularly in the case of eldest children (like myself). Until something happens to change this perception, we can't help but try and shoulder family burdens, try to do our part for the sake of our families. The death of a grandparent challenges this belief in a major way. Usually, we are young when grandparents die and it will be the first--and maybe the only--time we see our parents completely inconsolable. We don't want to see our parents lose it so completely, become emotional wrecks. This challenges everything we know about family stability. It can rock our worlds to the core, shake the foundations of our lives. Naturally, we want to help.

And there is nothing we can do. No art or trick or practice that we have is up to the task of consoling a heartbroken parent. More often than not, we are the ones who need the consoling, having just experienced the death of a loved relative. Problematically, the parents towards whom we would normally turn for solace are suddenly and totally inaccessible to us.

When my grandmother died, it was the hardest thing in the world for me to accept that there was nothing whatsoever I could do for my mother. How was I supposed to fix my family if I couldn't even be there for my mother, to be her shoulder to cry on or to pat her on the back and say, "there, there, it's going to be ok;" what was I supposed to do?

She didn't need me. She needed her mom. I couldn't just be there for her in her time of need. That's not what sons do. Sons make you proud when they take their first real poops, take their first steps, say their first words, graduate kindergartenhighschoolcollege, or just simply breathe and be alive.

I'd say it was hard for me, not being able to do anything for her when she needed it, not being able to help her by just being myself, which is the thing that always was, is, and will be more than good enough for her. But, in that one instance, there was nothing I could do to fix things, to put them right and make the problems go away. That doesn't get unlearned.

Enough about me for the time being.

More like this:

Comments

Adam92102 Oct. 7, 2009 @ 1:02 a.m.

First, I need to make a grammar-call. Now, this could be me reading it wrong but it just reads a little... weird.

"ensure cases for $10.00 per mother passed away"

Ok, two things. First, if I don't have a passed away mother, does the price go up? And wouldn't the Ensure be almost ironic in name if my mother is already passed away? In fact, what would be the point of drinking it? Clearly it didn't work. Second, don't we only have one mother? Who stockpiles mothers?

I feel like I could be just reading it wrong but it does have a strange "this for that" price-tag to me for some reason. Anyway.

Fortunately, my mother is still alive and I have the opportunity to repair our relationship. However, my grandmother passed away when I was 13 and my mother had just moved her newly divorced self, two kids (15 and 12 at the time) from NoCal to Maryland... driving. I remember how limited in my understanding I was of how to help. It was very frustrating, to say the least. Now I know sort of what you know, that there's really nothing much we can do besides "being sons" in times of our own parents' needs. In fact, we will be them one day in a similar situation, as long as there is love in a family. My father and I don't speak, and I'm quite satisfied with that. My mother, on the other hand, while we have our disagreements and her son misbehaves, well, I have much love and respect for her. That day will be crushing, I'm sure. Here's to hoping it's not for a long time.

But damn, that ad certainly sets a tone, doesn't it? I need a cigarette now.

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FullFlavorPike Oct. 7, 2009 @ 1:10 a.m.

You're right! It does look like they're selling a case of $10 Ensure for every late mother. Don't we just love us some grammatical ambiguity.

Bob provides guidance:

http://www.angryflower.com/aposter.html

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SDaniels Oct. 7, 2009 @ 1:12 a.m.

Your bike is sweet! Love the primary color theme.

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David Dodd Oct. 7, 2009 @ 1:30 a.m.

You built the bike? Impressive! Italian racing pedals? And the front chain-gear looks like anodized aluminum. How does it wear against steel chain?

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SDaniels Oct. 7, 2009 @ 1:35 a.m.

I love Bob. I teach grammar, and feel that Bob would be an excellent graphic aid, but however vehemently I share his sentiments, Bob is just a tad too "angry" to share with students already overly sensitive about the "grammer" issue. :(

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SDaniels Oct. 7, 2009 @ 1:46 a.m.

"...in youth, there is this terrible conviction, "I and I alone can fix my family," particularly in the case of eldest children (like myself)."

So true, Pike. I am fairly 100% certain that you are a wonderful and much appreciated son to your parents, the snarfhunds. :)

And the GNP is kick-azz!

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FullFlavorPike Oct. 7, 2009 @ 1:46 a.m.

Aluminum chainrings actually wear very well due to their large diameter and the distribution of the force over many, many teeth. This is, of course, provided you keep your chain tension correct. Loose chains eat rings like Twinkies because the rollers in the chain ride up to the tips of the teeth (instead of staying securely at the bottom of the valley between teeth) and whittle them down in no time flat. Totally wish I was rocking Campy pedals--nothing spins like old Super and C Record stuff--but they're MKS, fine pedals in their own right, but lacking the supreme sexiness of Campy. The nice thing about them is that they are pop-riveted together and therefore basically indestructible. They are, however, designed to emulate the Italian pedals you are seeing, so good eye!

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FullFlavorPike Oct. 7, 2009 @ 1:47 a.m.

Copies of GNP comics are for sale through Patrick Yurick (the big chef of the operation) if you want to see what they're up to!

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antigeekess Oct. 7, 2009 @ 7:15 a.m.

Weekend Suburban Road Biker (Daisi daisi)?

Mating Call: "You know, I think your seat's a little low. Want me to raise that for ya?"

-- The Field Guide to North American Males, by Marjorie Ingall

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CuddleFish Oct. 7, 2009 @ 8:14 a.m.

Thanks for the post, Pike. I agree, the subject of death is in the air. Maybe it's the season. :(

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SurfPuppy619 Oct. 7, 2009 @ 11:54 a.m.

Your bike is sweet! Love the primary color theme.

By SDaniels

That bike is SWEET!!!

I concur with SD!

FullFlavorPike, how much for you to build me a bike like yours?

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SurfPuppy619 Oct. 7, 2009 @ 11:59 a.m.

But I need a seat with a little bit more padding......

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FullFlavorPike Oct. 7, 2009 @ 12:11 p.m.

AG: Do I still get to use the mating call if I'm not a weekend warrior and have no car?? It sounds like a winner!

Fish: I really think it is the season. Something about autumn just brings the melancholy. Not necessarily in a bad way.

SurfPuppy: My bike probably cost me about six-hundred bucks. But I got a good deal on the frame after lots and lots and lots of eBay searching. It also helps that I know bike people and ingratiate myself at the LBS. (Adams Ave Bikes is the shop to go to. A bit pricey, but they keep it on the up and up which is always worth it!) You got your eyes set on doing laps at the velodrome?

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SurfPuppy619 Oct. 7, 2009 @ 1:35 p.m.

You got your eyes set on doing laps at the velodrome?

By FullFlavorPike

Err....no, not the velodrome, but cruising around town on one cool bike sounds like my idea of fun!

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FullFlavorPike Oct. 7, 2009 @ 1:41 p.m.

How tall are you? I will find a perfect bike for you within twenty minutes. Craigslist master at work!

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SDaniels Oct. 7, 2009 @ 1:45 p.m.

SurfPuppy:

"But I need a seat with a little bit more padding......"

Pike, when he says "extra padding," he's talking about adding on a doggy basket. :)

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nan shartel Oct. 7, 2009 @ 4:29 p.m.

Big night at the races for me tonight in that I did not come in last! I was actually fast(ish); placing in the burnout and nearly (like, eight inches nearly!) making it into the winners heat for a series of three lap scratch races. Here is a picture of my bicycle in celebration. I built it from the frame up, but I am keen to replace said frame, as this one is a bit large for me. It would be a good size for roadie trips, but it is too long for track riding. I digress, feast the eyes:

first off i have already download ur bike and sent it to Bobby's son who's been known to ride hundred of miles each weekend on every kind of terrain known to man

he builds his own bikes and spends all available computer time on BIKE SITES as if they're PORN sites...and he drools more

i see a BIKE OFF in our future here at the Reader......hahahahahaha

and for the rest...what a multifaceted hard working sensitive man u r Pike

and a bike hottie as well homey...thx for the pic...the bike is fantabulous!!!

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SurfPuppy619 Oct. 7, 2009 @ 5:24 p.m.

Pike, when he says "extra padding," he's talking about adding on a doggy basket. :)

By SDaniels

Heheheheheh

...............the color scheme on the bike is just incredible.........I love the way the red merges into the yellow with the blue accents........ I WANT IT!

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SDaniels Oct. 7, 2009 @ 6:14 p.m.

Interesting--that's more like bike ART.

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CuddleFish Oct. 7, 2009 @ 7:08 p.m.

Agree, SD, these pictures could be framed and hung on a wall, they are quite striking.

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nan shartel Oct. 7, 2009 @ 8:09 p.m.

Bike Porn is born!!!lovin' me some bike pics.is any one else here thinking about becoming a BIKAHOLIC????

i bought the most beautiful bike pic for Matt...Bobby's son for Christmas 2 years ago...it was a stop action photo...24x30 of a racing bike in motion...then altered with acrylics in the most surrealistic way by the artist...it knocked me out....he shows his stuff in the park in Coronado on Sundays

hey there was a wonderful avant garde artist in the last 10 years whose work was only bikes

anyone remember him..or his name???

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SDaniels Oct. 8, 2009 @ 10:57 a.m.

No--his work is only bikes? Painting them?

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