28 Aug

“The Shimmy”

*Ira Glass voice* It’s like this. You’re on your bike. Out for a ride in the hills of Baraboo, Wisconsin. And you get going pretty fast on a long downhill. And then it happens. You start to shimmy. */Ira Glass*

Interviewee #1: I’m not a very technical rider, right? But I have this pretty good bike, and I like to go fast.

*Ira Glass* This is Tim.

TIm: So when I ride downhill, I like to pretend that I’m Alexandre Vinokourov.

*Ira Glass* Just a note for our listeners. Alexandre Vinokourov is the world-famous Khazak cyclist who got caught for blood doping at this year’s Tour de France. */Ira Glass*

Tim: So I get down in this aerodynamic position, leaning way out over the front handle bars. And I look down at my speedometer and I’m going like 40.

*Ira Glass* So, let me get this straight. You were going 40 miles per hour on your bicycle?

Tim: Yeah, well, it’s not that fast, actually. Unless you’re like me and you don’t know what the hell you’re doing.

*Ira Glass* Cause that’s when you start to shimmy?

Tim: Yeah. My bike starts to, like, vibrate. It feels like it’s going to explode, and here I am going 40 half-way down this huge, curvy hill, and I can’t see what’s around the next corner.

*Ira Glass* So what exactly causes the shimmy?

Interviewee #2 (the expert): Shimmying is caused by one of three things.

*Ira Glass voice* This is Fred Metheny.

Fred: Your bike either needs a frame adjustment, or its wheels are out of true, or your headset needs adjustment.

Tim: Well, if by headset he means my brain, then yeah.

*Ira Glass* Well, today on our show, Shimmying. What to do when your life suddenly seems to go out of control. From WBS in Madison, it’s This American Live. Our show today in two acts. Act one, “The School at Night.” Tim Storm has the story of what it’s like to be in an empty classroom on the brink of the new school year. Act two, “Underestimating Water.” We look at the deceptive nature of water, and why news of flooding never does it justice.

27 Aug

More to come.

I’ve been meaning to keep up with the posting on a more regular basis, if only for myself (it’s good to maintain a regular writing outlet). The problem is that my various interests over the years are too varied and inconsistent. I’m just not capable of being witty on a daily basis (like dooce or gizmodo) or of staying committed to one topic (like racialicious or Cute Overload).

Recently, I’ve been working on something that could be a novel. It’s about four Midwest transplants living in Philadelphia whose lives intersect just prior to a mysterious bomb threat in the subways under Philly’s City Hall. The media, reporting on the “terrorist threat,” reveal that a manifesto left in the subway points to a potential Chinese suspect; a small-scale backlash against the Asian community ensues. Working for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Sarah, a 25 year-old junior staff writer, gets recruited to help investigate the threat. It’s the chance of a lifetime, but Sarah slowly becomes disillusioned with the career she thought she wanted. Meanwhile, Alex, Sarah’s Chinese-American boyfriend, has trouble taking the threat/news story seriously. He concerns himself with regaining Sarah’s waning affections while also lusting after Kim, an old high school acquaintance. However, when he decides to mock the city’s anti-Asian sentiments by creating a blog (Chinesesupremacy.org), he gets into a little trouble. It’s the sort of trouble Kim is looking for; she works for a public radio program and takes it upon herself to expose the racism that the terrorist threat has unearthed. But she is also very intrigued by the manifesto, which by now has surfaced on the internet. Kim takes it upon herself to find the manifesto’s writer. Which brings us to Jeff, the quirky phone line installer/street performer, whose knowledge of the tunnels and subways of Philly enable the four to go snooping underground.

The problem with the novel is that it’s going to take a lot of time, and it’s been kinda all-consuming for the past few months. And now the summer’s over, and so I’m thinking about Beowulf and Jungian archetypes and the Apollonian/Dionysian dynamics in English Literature.

On my way home from the grocery store, I was listening to the radio, and I got to thinking that producing shows for some weekly NPR program would be a lot of fun. Of course, I have no idea if it would really be fun, but I love the varied list of topics that come up. Stuff like this: the philosophy of boredom, yodeling around the world, enthusiasts of raw milk, seeing with sound, and high-priced summer camps. Cool stuff, eh?

12 Aug

The ride home

Well, so the past couple weeks have gone by quickly. I have one more batch of photos, which includes pictures of our Mt. Hood excursion (we didn’t hike to the top of it) and my trip to the coast with Frank. We moved out last Friday and drove to Idaho, where we stayed a night with my good friend Ben Young (who has his own business — we’re so proud.) Then we google-mapped our way home and it turned out that the Wyoming/Nebraska route (I 80, pretty much) was faster than the Montana/South Dakota route (I 90). So we went that way.

I got to step foot in Utah (which I hadn’t done yet), and then we suffered some major boredom through two 400+-mile states. Here are the highlights:

  • Sidney, Nebraska is the world headquarters of Cabela’s. Got to see that.
  • It was really exciting to get to Omaha, cuz it had trees.
  • I’ve never been so happy to make it to Des Moines before sunrise.

We stayed in Kearney, Nebraska our second night; we got in late to the KOA, so I night-registered, which involves filling out a form and putting money inside. In the morning, I went to the front desk to check out and get my change. The guy at the desk asked if I had a KOA card, and I said no. He said, “I’ll make you a deal. If you don’t need a receipt, I’ll give you the discount rate.”

Later Eileen and I were talking about how Midwestern it was of him. You run a campground in a small town in Nebraska; some couple comes through late at night on a road trip; you’ll probably never see them again, and even if they tell their friends how nice the owners of the Kearney KOA were, the fact is that travelers like this late-night patron probably don’t plan on which KOA they’ll be stopping at. But you give him a discount anyway.

In Iowa, between Cedar Rapids and Dubuque, the bugs hitting our windshield were unreal. It was like driving through a light rain. And then once we hit Platteville, Wisconsin my allergies started acting up big time. And when we got out of the car in Madison, the humidity was staggering. Did you know that you sweat more at 11:30 pm on a summer night in Wisconsin than you do at noon on a 95-degree day in Portland?

11 Aug

The dream at summer’s end.

My brain just processed the entire summer in a single dream.

I was at my cousin Mike’s “house,” which was huge, and was housing everyone in my extended family. We went body rafting down a river. Head first. And then we got ready for the wedding: my sister Jamie was getting married to a guy named Scottie, who was the younger brother of a girl she went to high school with. When I voiced my misgivings about Jamie marrying someone while she was already married, it was calmly explained to me that she had actually divorced Rick already and would continue living with Rick and the kids, but she would be married to Scottie.

The guy that was going to be officiating the ceremony wasn’t alright with this, so they asked me to do it. I said okay.

How is this representative of the whole summer, you ask?

The summer began with my officiating my brother’s wedding. Scottie is the older brother of one of my brother’s high school friends who was at the wedding. My cousin Mike was at the wedding and provided a steady source of laughter. Later in the summer, I was in Colorado with the family, body rafting down a river. In Portland, a good friend of mine informed me of an unconventional family situation, in which he and a friend (not his wife or girlfriend) were thinking about raising a kid together. In Idaho, my friend Ben told me about a crazy, dysfunctional wedding he attened this past year.