We had a “green bag” lunch presentation last week by Bikes not Bombs (an organization which, I assume, promotes the dropping of old bikes from the sky onto developing countries… some lonely shepherd is looking up and saying, “Seriously? I’d prefer the bomb already.”) which centered around an old bicycle turned into a blender. I got to ride the bike turning the big wheel which turned the small gear which turned the blades of the blender, making a smoothie and giving me some ideas for some summer projects. First, lemonade stands are old news. I think, with the right signage drawing traffic from main street, the kids could make a killing on bike-powered smoothies, charging half of what the Berry Farm down the street charges. Of course there would be the challenge of making the bicycle-turned-blender, something more mechanically involved than anything I’ve ever built… the most complicated thing I’ve built being maybe a model rocket… or no, probably the acoustic flying V guitar I made with my uncle which had its bridge fly off on the first hot and humid day. (“And you wanted to be a mechanical engineer?”) Then there would be the prospect of pedaling all day long once the kids grew tired of it on a hot day. Maybe we’d charge extra to let the customer pedal their own smoothie. The old Huck Finn ploy.
Wait, forget the stationary bicycle blender… this thing should be mobile, obviously, like an ice cream truck! Oh, the summer jobs for the kids have just ironed themselves out, no? “Here comes one of the Friedman kids again! I can hear the tinkling bells.” They could circle continuously from the lake and beach to the playground to the ballfields, re-stocking on ice and milk at the gas stations en route. “There’s always money in the Smoothie Bicycle Stand, kids.”
Therapy. Something I’ve somehow avoided but really seems inevitable for the children, no? But the weather has finally warmed up here, just in the past week, allowing me to complete the annual compost pile transfer and start thinking ahead to the annual manure run. I really have the soil preparation part of gardening down pat, I think. And then the planting goes well enough, starting as I do with seedlings from a local nursery. Oh occasionally we’ll put some seeds in the ground but I always do that half-skeptically, not really expecting anything to come of them. They’re so tiny! But it’s the weeding, watering and yes, even, the harvesting where I find myself just barely qualifying as a gardener. Last year, we lost a lot of the produce to a rabbit that spent more time in the garden than I did. So tomorrow’s project is to get some chicken-wire and really rabbit-proof the existing fencing, which is clearly just ornamental. And then maybe this year I’ll hit upon the right crops to keep me and, heaven forbid, the kids interested in this magical food producer in our yard. A friend at work pointed me to this wonderful clip which should convince everyone to tackle gardening or farming of some kind:
So it’s performance review time again at my company. HR unveiled this fancy new online system called ATLAS for submitting your self evaluation and secondary reviews and reviewing your own reviews, and suggesting edits for approval and approving your approvals, and seconding your secondaries… I summed up a presentation on all this in a two-word email to colleagues: “Atlas… shrug.” We all laughed quietly at our desks at that… or I did at least… until HR sent a reply asking me to 1) Be more careful with the “reply all” and 2) start taking the company’s policies not to mention myself more seriously. I’m kidding, the reply all thing didn’t happen… if it had I would’ve countered with my own HR innovation: a simple new performance review and self evaluation involving a mirror. You need to stare into it for five minutes straight, and if you’re not crying by the end of the five minutes you get a raise. If you are crying, you get a bigger raise and a few helpful hotline numbers. Everyone wins!
Well, that’s my contribution to society for the evening… somehow I feel it’s one I’ll feel less proud of upon rereading it. Oh, I won’t post it here yet, but tomorrow I’m attending a friend and neighbor’s 40th birthday party where we were asked to prepare something to read or act out in his honor. Loving written assignments, I quickly penned a series of fake sports blogs from the kids who announce school sporting events on the Sharon cable access station, with the subject matter being rumors swirling around my friend and I joining Sharon’s ultimate frisbee league, which as you all know, was cancelled due to lack of interest. I’ll post that on this blog for posterity’s sake after the event… should be funny for the few people who know the kids I’m talking about… the rest of the dinner party will probably just think I write like a 15-year-old.
Until next time, I’ll be wondering if it’d make sense to build a bicycle-powered windmill…