Chimp With A Smartphone Part II…


No essay this week.  No words.  Pictures.  Pictures only.  As my daughter says, I’m just a chimp with a smartphone and the social media habits of an 8th grade girl.  Guilty I am.

I’ll be back in a couple of weeks with an essay on my hatred of the telephone.  Until then, enjoy some pictures from Fallbrook, Bonsall, Oceanside, and a few from my own back yard…  Jhciacb


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Trauma Drama: The Return Of Schleprock…

This is what I know, and what I think I know…

I had just ridden to the end of the strand by the Oceanside pier.  I was half-way through one of the best rides in recent months.  It was a beautiful day by the water.  I stopped, took a picture of my bike against the waves, and walked around for a few minutes taking in all the scenes of the beach.  I then got back on my bike, ready for the journey home.


I keep a workout towel wrapped around my handlebars to wipe sweat from my eyes when I ride.  I’m always cautious that it stays wrapped around the handlebars so it won’t drop into my tire spokes.  I must have been too at ease from the high of a good outing.  I had pedaled less than a mile and was just south of the Oceanside pier dodging between pedestrians with dogs, slow moving cars, and other cyclists.

I have no memory of this, but my sweat towel must have fallen from my handlebars into my spokes.  I was going roughly 20 mph.  In what was later suggested to me as a sudden and immediate stop, I was flung over the handlebars and knocked unconscious.  My next memory would be the paramedics transferring me from the ambulance to the helicopter for a flight to Scripps Trauma Center in La Jolla.

I clearly had a bad concussion – no helmet.  I know.  I know.  My shoulders and hands were in pain, and I had a gash beside my left eye.


I was in the trauma center for a couple of hours.  A CT scan indicated that there was no brain damage.  I had a small fracture of my left cheek bone and a smaller one in my left clavicle.  I begged them to glue to gash beside my eye shut rather than close it with stitches.  The doctor agreed.  I was released and headed home with a friend who picked me up.  My bike is being held by the Oceanside police.

I’m pretty banged up.  Very stiff, pretty much everywhere.  My left shoulder is hard to move – it’s what I’m most worried about.  I have been on a tear of good riding, good strength workouts, and the best eating I’ve done in years.  I don’t want to see that progress fade.


I hope to be back at work by the end of this week.  Possibly, on my bike again and in the weight room by next week, but we shall see.

I may be on social media a little less this week, despite that I have a little extra time.  This was humbling.  A closer call than what I’m letting on, and could have been much worse.  Funny, each ride in an ambulance or helicopter grounds me a little more, and helps streamline my priorities.

If there was one disappointment in all of this, while in the helicopter flying along the beautiful California coastline, I asked the flight trauma team if I could sit up and enjoy the view.  They said, NO!  Something about some spinal protocol and the board I was strapped to.  Pissed me off… Jhciacb


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Passing Thoughts…

I’m taking my cycling more seriously these days.  I’ve been taking advantage of the long summer days and recommitting myself to improvements in conditioning and fortitude.  Due to my work schedule and my responsibilities around the house, I’ve been riding early in the day, often just before or at sunrise.  And no, this isn’t about how I pass all the other cyclists I see on the road each morning as I ramp up my training intensity.  Actually, it is about that, kind of.

I pass between 5-10 cyclists each morning as I sprint around the perimeter of Fallbrook.  I blow by them these days.  When I pass by these other early morning riders, I feel like I’m on EPO.  I spy one ahead of me, push a little harder with each stride, and within seconds I pass him as though he’s a mailbox.  It’s as though they aren’t even trying.  Well, that’s because they aren’t trying—not to beat me anyway.

You see, the cyclists I blow by each morning could give a frog’s fat ass about me passing them.  They have no idea what a PR is, how fast they are going, or if they’re going to beat their time from the day before.  The riders I pass each day are on their way to work, and if they’re on one, a bike is the only transportation they can afford – if they are so lucky to get one from a thrift shop or a garage sale.

These are the grove workers and day workers that help support my community.  From the agriculture here, to the aesthetics of homes and businesses, my community owes much of its riches and beauty to the men who ride rickety bikes through the hills each morning at sunrise.  In their denims, long-sleeve shirts, and work boots, and with backpacks weighting them down even more, they ride early because their workdays begin early.  They don’t pedal fast because they need their energy for the physically demanding work that awaits and occupies them until the day’s light fades.  And when it’s all done, they ride home again.  It’s not exercise for these men, it’s transportation.  They ride The Tour De Opportunity.


In truth, I take no pride whatsoever in passing these men each morning.  In fact, I feel equal parts shame, guilt, and humility.  Shame, that I complain about so much in my life in comparison to theirs.  Guilt, that my life is so sweet, so free, so and easy in comparison to theirs.  Humility, that I am reminded by them all I am and all I have, as I glide by grateful for it all.

Each morning I ride my bike by choice, in pursuit of achievement, thrill, and satisfaction.  Almost immediately though, and throughout my ride, I am reminded just how little achievement, thrill, and satisfaction matter in the scope of putting food on the table.  I bow down to the men I pass each morning, who pedal the same roads I peddle.  They do so for more noble reasons, and with much more fortitude…  Jhciacb.


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Onion knife

David Lynchbrook…

I’ve often said that that living in Fallbrook is like being in a David Lynch movie.  It’s as though an invisible cloud of dream-state hovers over this town made from particles of whacky.  At any moment, at least a few of the personalities or situations which surround me are peculiar, if not out of place altogether.  When these personalities and situations collide in front of me, it makes me question my own reality.  Last night such a collision took place.


Fallbrook sits on the eastern border of the Camp Pendleton Marine Base and the Naval Weapons Depot.  It is common to see low flying attack helicopters and large transport aircraft overhead all-day long, and often into the evenings.  Fallbrook residents are so accustomed to this that seeing and hearing these aircraft is just a natural part of living here.  We are also accustomed to hearing and feeling explosions in the distance, from live mortar fire and occasionally larger explosives.  The larger explosions can cause the walls of houses to shake and pictures on the walls to vibrate.  The house I live sits on a hill less than one mile from the Camp Pendleton fence.  My neighbors and I feel these explosions regularly.

At the bottom of my hill, about 1,000 yards from my house and on the other side of Main Avenue, is a Pentecostal church.  The church is charming; an old building with a dirt parking lot and all the signs are in Spanish.  The congregation is exclusively Guatemalan.  Fallbrook has many Guatemalan residents and guest workers who make up a portion of our population.  They live here for work in the avocado trade.  This church plays live music 7-nights per week, and the music is always loud enough to be heard from my front yard and inside my house.


Higher on the hill above me, are two halfway-houses where addicts transition from court-ordered rehab situations back into the workings of society.  The residents usually stay for a month or so.  These houses are here near the center of town so that residents are within walking distance to most necessities.   Because of their backgrounds, many of these folks don’t have driving privileges.  If there is a single archetype for the halfway house residents, it is this: Caucasian male, 25-35 years old, lots of tattoos, baggy pants, long hair or no hair at all, but rarely with a common haircut, no shirt, and often with skateboard.  They skate down my street all day long heading into town, and return walking up the hill, carrying their skateboards in one hand, and their supplies in the other.

So last night, as I was watering the garden in front of my house, I stood fascinated, if not confused, by the confluence of all the personalities and situations which collided around me.  I was immersed in a cloud of peculiarity.  The tinny sounds of drums and out of tune guitars emanating from the Guatemalan church band down below echoed.  Simultaneously, attack helicopters were flying low overhead, chopping the air loud enough to cause the bones of my chest to rattle.  In the distance, large explosions from the Marine base could also be heard – and shook the windows of my house.  All the while, a steady stream of tattooed stoners transitioned up and down my street on skateboards, and walked back up again with grocery bags of Gatorade, cigarettes, and Little Debbie oatmeal treats to take the place the of drugs or alcohol they are here to leave behind.


As I was taking it all in, the Asian prostitute walked by.  Everyone in town has seen her.  She walks the streets of Fallbrook all day long and has for years.  She’s always in a mini-dress, carries a large duffle bag over her shoulder everywhere she goes, and most days has an umbrella to keep the sun off her head and shoulders.  I have no idea where she goes or what she does – she may not even be a prostitute, that’s just an assumption I make because of the dress and the duffle bag.  She has nice legs, but they do have that lived in look.


Last evening all of this took place around me.  I just stood there, garden hose in hand, watering my succulents and taking it all in.  It was as though they all knew a secret and nobody was willing to share that secret with me.  The pilots of the aircraft overhead, the prostitute, the dudes from rehab, the people of the church – even my neighbors on their porches also taking it in.  Everyone here is very nice – outright gracious, but I just know they all know something I don’t know, and nobody is ever going to tell me what this town’s secret really is.

Nothing big happens in Fallbrook, but for the eccentricity.  The eccentricity here – the peculiarity is quite large.  It’s the best part of living here, and why I stay.  Jhciacb…


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