Conversations I Almost Had Today

Panera Bread four cheese
Panera: freshly baked

To the Panera counter kid: Yes, I knew you were stoned well before I gave you my order (of a large coffee and one of your delicious four cheese soufflés.) Honestly, I could not understand most of what you said, except for when you called me my man. Five times. It’s been a while since I’ve been around someone as baked as you were. I’m surprised your boss does not say anything to you. If I can be slightly presumptuous and offer you some tips? 1. Moderate your marijuana intake. 2. Don’t laugh at your own jokes so hardily. I do (sometimes) take that route myself, but I don’t live in Davy Jones’ hotbox like you do. 3. Speak louder, it was as if you were having a conversation with yourself, my man. 4. Go for a run before work. You may be able to earn your eyeballs back and you prolly miss those shiny things. 5. Your co-workers may not be direct, but if you and I worked together, my man, I would tell you to your face, that inhaling a bonfire-a-day is not a recipe for success. I’ll stop there. Did you write those down? I know your short-term memory is shot and I want you to get your schtuff together. Oh and if you have the munchies, my man, try that four cheese soufflé. They are mighty tasty, but you knew ‘dat.

REI Marin Bobcat
REI Marin Bobcat

To the REI counter girl: I’ve been going to REI since the early 1980s. No joke. It was my father’s favorite store. That Marin Bobcat that I rode today was perfect. It took me back to all the reasons why I love bikes so much. I’ve never owned one with suspension and that Suntour XCR-LO suspension fork had perfect balance. I can’t really say the same about that fixie that I rode, the Novara Buzz One Bike. It sucked. One gear jobbies are for hipsters. I just don’t like them. Now that Marin, that was the ticket. But there is something, counter girl, that I want to share with you. You and chatted briefly while I waited for you to set up your new cash register. I smiled and was certainly cordial. I’m a guy who can be friendly to anyone. That said, when you asked for my ID and I showed you my military identification card, you recoiled (in near revulsion) as if I were some brute. I’ve never quite had a reaction like that. Never. Is it not honorable to be in the military? I know REI is a little on the hippie side. And I know I was not in uniform, nor did I wear anything that said Navy. Just some ‘didas sweatpants and an Under Armor hoodie. So I was undercover. Yes, I know your store is near the beach (see the Panera counter kid for more on this.) But us in the military pump money into your’alls coffers. I could tell I caught you flat-footed and you felt flummoxed on your response. Anyway, love your store. You guys are the best.

iPod nanoTo the Apple Store Genius counter folks: Yes, you all made me wait eight minutes for my appointment. But no biggee. The fact that you let me trade in my iPod with the cracked screen for a new one was truly generous. And you only charged me half-price! I appreciate it. I find your general approach to staffing, store manners, and shop layout slightly creepy. Every time I go into an Apple Store, it is as if I were in East Europe, say in the late 80s. I’ll stop there because I’m a big fan of your products. Pretty neat that your company (with Tim Cook at the helm) hardly pays any taxes, whereas I shell out thousands. Oh, I should tell you, I exercised my steely self-resolve and refrained from setting this blog as the homepage on any of the several Macs and iPads I fiddled around with. I am, after all (despite how certain REI employees see me), a gentleman.

California, I will miss some things about ‘er when I deploy. Not everything.

Just Not Sure About BAMF Bikes

BAMF BikeOn one hand, BAMF Bike Co has a sort of libertarian appeal. They cut out the middleman and sell direct to the customer.

Their bikes look clean and tough with none of that stickered bs. And they come in any color you desire, as long as you want black. On the other hand, they sound both vaguely hipster and anarchistic:

BAMF stands for exactly what you think it does. BAMF doesn’t roll like those pretty boys with matching lycra kits and expensive power meters. If you ride a bike, and we mean really ride a bike, you know the cold burn on your face in the dead of winter, the sound of a body hitting the ground and the taste of a warm beer in the morning. You don’t ride so you can shave your legs and drive around town with a bike on the rack hoping to be seen…You hunt those types down and smirk as you rip past leaving them and their GPS and sunblock keychain wondering what the hell happened?

All the BAMF bikes are black (like the guys at BAMF are going to fight over color pallets) and come with minimal decal and a killer 4 color (gold, white, purple and blue)  sticker kit for you to create the look you want. Put the stickers on the bike, a cop car or your friend’s back. They take bikes seriously…like tattoos. They don’t want you to show up and see the exact same machine as some poser. BAMF wants you to make it your own. Bikes are a permanent fixture in their life and they pour that passion into their work.


The Piledriver is a serious bike as you can tell from the name. It will turn your world upside-down.

I am not looking to make a statement with my bike. I want high-tech and durable. Without all the punky poser nonsense.

Trotter, French Bulldog Hipster

Someone at my Navy command asked what a hipster is. And rather than describing their irony, I will allow Trotter the French Bulldog to portray his hipsterism:

Trotter, French Bulldog, hipster
Trotter, French Bulldog, hipster, Sonya Yu’s pal

Owner and Trotter’s photographer Sonya Yu said her little pup is simply a natural in front of the camera. “I think she has an inkling that she’s famous. People get very excited to meet her in person. It’s like they’re meeting a celebrity.”