For all things Tooks, and some things, er, relating to other people. As well as to other things. You get the picture.

24 January 2009

Ok, so big news on the facial hair front. ("Big" is, of course, a relative term, depending on your opinion of the overall bigness of facial hair news in general. But I digress.)

My school's PTO planned an Active Families Night to promote health and fitness, etc. Great idea. Gym games, the rock wall, refreshments, etc.

And since I have a partner in crime this year (a second grade teacher of a similarly absurd disposition as me), I decided to do my part to promote this thing. We came up with a plan to generate student (and staff) interest in the event: a one-on-one basketball game between us two. That's right--two pale white dudes who can't shoot, can't jump, and are horribly out of shape.

Of course, inspired by the long tradition of Abe/Tucker ridiculosity, overpompulousness, and hyperlicision, we decided to bill the matchup the "Battle of the Ballers." Settling on a 1970s NBA theme, with high socks, wrist bands, and headbands (and big hair on my part), we organized a promotional photo shoot in the school gym. But before we hit on the masterstroke: matching 1970s NBA mustachios.

We made up two different versions of posters and put them all over the school, and we were delighted at the absurd buzz created. My students even started talking trash on my behalf: "You're going to beat him, mister. I can be on your team." The school seems to be evenly divided as to who's rooting for who (incidentally, "rooting" is a vocab word; most of my students told me they'll be voting for me in the game. I tried to explain that there won't be a vote, until I realized they just don't know the word "rooting" yet). The principal even noticed the buzz, and gaze us a nod during a reminder announcement of Active Families Night over the intercom. And two male fourth grade teachers added their own spin in a double-header addition: "Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing." (That's a popular children's novel, for those not in the elementary school literary know.)

For me, of course, the game is secondary to the hype. I spent way too long on the posters, and of course, the joy of an ironic mustache is its own reward. (Another aside: the speech therapist in the room next door to mine gave me a nice compliment on the new 'stache design. I told her it was ironic and promotional. She said, "It looks good anyway." What a sweetie.)

It should be said, however, that I don't want to lose this game. I want to hit a few j's, make a few layups with decent form, and not get beat. The game's only to five, so the chance of my vomiting is pretty slim. I hope.

I've included one of the promotional shots to give an idea of the flavor. I haven't figured out how to post an image of the posters yet, but I think I'll just take a picture of them and upload them. Keep an eye out.

So, as I mount the second stage of my (mercifully) brief scholastic basketball career (three years of B Team ball at the 'Croft), I look to the beautiful blond example of Larry Legend. Guide my hand, Mr. Bird, and my 'stache, to glory.

Pull on your high striped socks with me (but leave your shorty shorts at home--there's kids involved, for pity's sake),


02 November 2008

So. I'm back. No excuses. How the heck have you been?

Check this out:

That's me on the left, looking serious. Marissa's winning this little party for sure.

And this:

Wow--you mean before us kids ruined everything, my mom was actually a pretty foxy lady? What? You already knew that?

Huh. Sheesh. I'm always the last to know.

Love you some sweet pics with me,


07 August 2008

Can't We All Just Get Along?
Is this love?: A Cyclist, a Driver, and a Hopeful Beginning

So there I am, sitting on my bike at Blossom and Winton, enjoying the choicest evening of the year (this despite repeated hysterical warnings of the "thunderstorms with hail!!!" variety screaming from the radio all day--and blue skies at sunset). I'm in the center lane, waiting for the light to change, when I hear a voice from behind.

"Hey, excuse me!"

I turn around, and see a middle-aged guy in a gray sedan (his dog in the seat next to him) leaning halfway out his window.

"Hey, I have a question for you," he says.

"Sure," I say, a little cautiously, since there's usually one of two kinds of questions. The first is the curious, friendly kind: How far do you ride? Where do you live? What kind of bike is that? How come you're so cool? The second kind of question actually rarely bears answering, mostly beginning with "Hey, why doncha..." and involves many choice phrases better suiting a less family-friendly show than this one. Suffice it to say, this second class asserts that I should not be riding in the road. At this point, I can't tell which kind of question it will be, so I wait and see what's to come.

"This is a serious question--I'm just asking--do you guys go the speed limit?"

Uh-oh. I feel like I've been trapped. He's asking a question he already knows the answer to. Of course I can't go that fast--at least, not on a flat stretch, not to mention an uphill.

I'm also a little more wary now because he referred to "you guys" even though I'm the only cyclist in view right now. But in for a penny, in for a pound, I figure. "Nope, not really," I reply.

"Ok," he says. "Then do you ride 10 miles an hour right in front of me, in the middle of the lane, or do you get over?"

At this point, he must see me start to get a little pissed off, because he quickly adds "I'm asking seriously," for the second time. And I look at him, and I think he really is. He's not looking to cuss me out, because I think he already would have, and most of those broskis aren't bold enough to do that stopped at a light, anyway. He actually wants to talk this over with me. I think he's a little nervous that he's going to get stuck behind me, and feeling a little burned and a little raw from the last time that happened. Let's face it: no one likes to find themselves going way slow behind a granny, a garbage truck, a tractor, or a cyclist. Hell, I know I hate it when I drive. And this guy, I think he's just trying to suss out his situation.

I'm still not sure whether some hollering will ensue. In my mind, I'm already rehearsing what I might say if it comes to that, all those standard cyclist platitudes--I have as much right to ride in the road as you; New York State law defines bicycles as vehicles and expects us to ride in the street; I'm keeping the sidewalks safe for puppies, babies and old ladies by staying off them, etc. Plus, I might cuss a little, for good measure.

But I figure I won't be the one to start it. I answer him just how he asked me. "I get over to the side of the lane whenever it's safe."

"Whenever it's safe," he repeats. "Ok, cool, man. Thanks." And with that, he leans back into his car, and we proceed to wait out the light. I'm tense, because now I feel I have a point to prove: that I as a cyclist can hold my own in traffic, and that we're considerate of drivers--maybe more so than them of us. (Oops--there goes that "us and them" stuff again. But he started it.)

And the light changes. I'm off, and luckily I had downshifted just before the light, so I crank across the intersection like an overcaffeinated jackrabbit. I even closed the gap on the SUV in front of me--I almost had to wait for it a little as it picked up speed on that little uphill on the east side of Blossom. And, true to promise, I got over to the right, and let my interlocutor pass by on the left.

And what do you know--he honks, and waves over the top of his car. Thanks, he says. He really was just asking. And I just answered back, and then kept my word. No hollering. No cussing. No machista baloney. Just a cyclist and a driver, talking it out. Critical Mass, it wasn't. Just two people working out how to share the road.

So can't we all just get along? Maybe so.

And is this love? Maybe not. But it's a pretty good start.

16 July 2008

Zachary on a Thai elephant:

Yep, that's Zachary on a Thai elephant. 'Nuff said.

I'll mourn ya till I join ya, bro.

Love you some goofball (on a pachyderm) with me,


29 June 2008

How I Roll

I have been waiting, you see. Waiting to lay down a hot pic of my cool new ride: a 1964 English-built Rollfast, with Sturmey Archer internal three-speed hub and many original parts--chainguard, saddle, etc. However, I've been both lazy and busy, a near-fatal combination, what with school ending and Texans here (voracious teenage cousins of fiancee) and summer school beginning and a class I've been taking and wedding planning...So, anyway, no pic yet. Hopefully I'll post it soon.

But in the meantime, I have been riding it more than I've been photographing it. And it's awesome. As friend Kathleen C. said, it's like a cartoon of a bike--it clanks and squeaks and bumps and bumbles along. It's kind of like the bike Mr. Bean might ride--which is interesting, cause I've always compared myself to Mr. Bean. And aside from losing my shoe in traffic the other day and almost dying, it's a really dynamite ride. The only slight problem is that the saddle is killing my butt, since it's original, and the two-tone 1964 leather, while very cool, is more or less worn away, leaving just the metal and busted springs underneath to support my tucchus (or my took-us?). One other "feature": as mentioned a second ago, it's a three-speed, which is a new phenomenon for me--having to really blow out an O-ring to make it up a hill, as opposed to cruising up on my 21-speed road bike. But I'm joining the Slow Bicycle movement based in Copenhagen, that takes as its motto the slogan "Style over speed." So, for once, that's me: style over speed. Just try not to get stuck behind me on a steep incline.

And that's more or less all for now, pending a picture of my new whip. Everything else is peachy-keen: finished up the school year more or less intact, and anticipating a successful move to third grade in the fall. This summer I'll be repeating last year's sweet gig at the Bancroft School of Rochester (but teaching kids from the city) and hopefully doing some swimming and playing some corntoss and riding some Rollfast on the off-hours. Also, I'm planning some vacation action for July or August--NH or ME beach, anyway? Holla at me.

Cruise into summer on a bike built before I was born, with me,


23 May 2008

To quote Jimmy Carter: I have had lust in my heart.

Yes, I have coveted sweet things (related to bicycling).

For example, the current sweet thing I am coveting is this:

Not so much the cruiser--although I am also coveting a cruiser, and a fixie, and a cargo bike, and...but you get the picture. No, my true covetousness lies in the D.L.G.: Down Low Glow.

Produced by a freethinking, freewheeling bicycle collective in Berkeley, the Down Low Glow is the coolest bike feature since wheels. It's safe, too--not only do cars and pedestrians alike see you really well at night, but they're impressed with your style. They'll probably give you the right of way, and let you drink their milkshakes.

Now, before you say anything, I know what you're thinking. But let me assure you: I am in no way associated with, in the employ of or under contract by Rock the Bike, Inc, the makers of the DLG. However, I am willing to showcase this and their other fine products, including the bicycle blender...

for free use of them. That is, if they were to outfit me with a double DLG in ice blue,

with a sweet leather Brooks saddle, and a blender, and maybe throw it all on a new utility bike...well, I'd pimp them at no cost, all over town, all the time. So just say the word, Rock the Bike: I'm yours for a pittance.

In the meantime, I'll be rolling minus the glow, with bike-lust in my heart.

Covet a little sweetness with me,


15 April 2008

Sweet beginnings

So I finally got around to ordering the GameDay Audio service from, which is a fancy (but not too expensive) way to listen to any (MLB) baseball game via the interweb. After a great deal of cussing, hollering, and moaning, I gave up trying to figure out why it wouldn't work, and went off to pout. Meanwhile, my fiancee, who in addition to being 1000 times more attractive than I am, is also 1001 times more computer saavy, went ahead and solved the problem in less than ten minutes (you just have to download some software. Duh).

So I proceeded, sheepishly, to enjoy the game. And it was sweet. Despite sucking for most of the whole thing--just a little extended Toronto action--the lads finally woke up in the 7th and started playing. And then Manny came through, just when I was washing the dishes and thinking about bed. But I knew I should stay up to see it through, since someone would come through. And sure enough. So I felt very vindicated. I'm pretty awesome, you see.

So that's my deal. Now I'm procrastinating a little since I should be doing some work at school, making good use of my time, etc. But instead I'm thinking about baseball, asking myself questions such as, "What time's tonight's game?", "Who's pitching?" and "Do the Sox play Pittsburgh at all this season, so we could go see Brandi and Vipul and catch a game?" Good questions all. I've got baseball fever, and there's only one cure:

More cowbell. I mean, more baseball.

Take yourself out to the ballgame with me,