Friday, November 13, 2009

Watchersticker Follow-Up & Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

I don’t have a real post today- I’m still “buzzed out” by the Fly posts. But I’m going to take advantage of the off-day to catch up on 2 things: some WatcherSTICKER-related housekeeping, and a current news item with a connection to a previous post in this blog.

Tangent: Speaking of “real” posts, a quick word about posting frequency over the next several weeks. Though I know it doesn’t seem like it from reading this blog, I do in fact have a Real Job. And though the details of that Real Job* aren’t important, the busy season for that job is the last quarter of the year, or Right Now. As such, I may be time-challenged for the next little bit to do full topic research and graphics for quite as many TdF**-type posts. I hope to post at least twice/week between now and the end of the year, but if I slack off a bit, don’t worry- I’m not flaking, just making sure the bills get paid.

*I sell stuff.


First Thing

wwwlogo3 At this point I believe I’m completely caught up with WatcherSTICKERS, meaning that if you sent me a request/address for a STICKER, I’ve responded, mailed the STICKER, and you’ve received it. If you sent me a request/address, but did not receive a response, it means I didn’t get your email, so send it again to If I emailed you back, but you never received the STICKER, it means it never made it to you, so let me know and I’ll re-send.

Also, I have STICKERS left, so if you were on the winner list but didn’t claim your STICKER*, you can still do so. (Or, if you weren’t on the list, but just want a sticker, just send me a nice email and I’ll probably send you one anyway.)

*Yes, believe it or not, a couple of winners never claimed their STICKERS, which seems simply unfathomable, given their Incomparable Utter Coolness.

Speaking of STICKERS, I thought they were cool enough when I came up with the idea, but now that I’ve seen them in action, they’re actually- if possible- Even Cooler. SBJ Message Here’s SkiBikeJunkie’s WatcherSTICKER, positioned enigmatically on top of his LOTOJA sticker. For out-of-staters, (*warning- link takes you to phenomenally annoying and utterly unnecessary flash intro*) LOTOJA is the much-hyped, longest single-day UCSF-sanctioned road-bike race in the US (207 miles.) Over the years the hype and bragging rights associated with the event have grown exponentially and the ubiquitous stickers (yes I have one- raced it 3 times) have become perhaps just a bit too popular in the view of many regular racers, as the race has attracted hundreds (thousands?) of participants who pretty much never race otherwise. This effect has given rise to an informal, grass-roots anti-LOTOJA backlash/jihad, led by none other than our own, otherwise mild-mannered, KanyonKris.

SkiBikeJunkie has a subtle mind and a well-developed sense of irony, so I’m not entirely clear whether his placement is poking fun of the LOTOJA-hype, or rather poking fun of the anti-LOTOJA-hype-backlash/jihad (and hence KanyonKris.) In either case, I’m proud that a WatcherSTICKER is part of his statement, KKris Tyling Vanwhatever it is.

Speaking of KanyonKris, the man is living proof that family minivans can be Way Cool, merely by the addition of a well-placed WatcherSTICKER, as shown here. Sharp-looking wheels, KanyonKris!

maggie sticker And speaking of sharp-looking wheels, Maggie reconsidered her WatcherSTICKER placement and opted for the seat-tube (rather than the down-tube) on her Awesome-Canadian-Panda-Fixie-Bike, shown here parked along the happening streets of Toronto. I think the eye gives the Panda-Bike an almost sentient look, as if it were somehow self-aware*.

*Which I’m hopeful will dissuade would-be bike-thieves.

The WactherSTICKER looks sharp on other continents as well. Here it is gracing Ian’s Ford Mondeo in West London. I have to say, that burgundy compliments the WatcherSTICKER beautifully- great-looking car!

West London Wheels cut You might think, living as he does in the busy metropolis of London, that Ian would rarely see actual wildlife, except for the snippets he glimpses in blogs such as this one. You would be wrong. Here’s a Red Fox, Vulpes vulpes, in Ian’s urban back yard taken last week. Red Foxes aren’t unusual in London, but this one’s the biggest he’s spotted yet.

UK Fox1 Nowadays Red Foxes are the only wild canines in the UK. They’re also found here in North America, but their distribution and origins are both fascinating and unclear. While they were apparently native to the Boreal Forest of Canada and the Northern Rockies in the US, non-native Red Foxes were introduced during colonial times in New York, Maryland and Virginia* (for hunting). The non-natives thrived in human-disturbed environments and spread throughout North America, coming into contact with native Red Foxes. Today it’s not clear whether there are really any true “native” Red Foxes left in North America, or whether they’ve been replaced, or hybridized out of- Oh wait! Stop! This is turning into a real post, and really, I’m just not up for that today. Sorry, where was I? Oh yeah- cool STICKER placement.

*And possibly later on the West Coast.

But the coolest WatcherSTICKER placement of all to date is by KristenT, who’s placed it on the rear window of her Rally Racer Nissan Sentra SE-R, shown here in the Mt. Hood 2009 Rally.

KristenT Rally It’s cool enough that Kristen competes in the overwhelmingly male-dominated sport of road rally racing, but that she does so sporting a WatcherSTICKER is Even Cooler. And let me tell you- this lady can drive. Check out minute 7:20 of the video below, as Kristen rips around the corner in car #231*.

*The “T’s” are a family team. If you watch the whole video, you’ll see her 2 brothers and her dad racing in cars #232, 271 and 222 respectively. That’s right- the whole family races. Remember how in the old Speed Racer cartoons, the whole Racer family** raced? That’s KristenT’s family- she’s living Speed Racer in real life. How. Cool. Is. That?

Rex Watcher**Personally, I always identified with Speed’s older brother, Rex Racer, who of course was really the mysterious RacerX, and who regularly appeared at Critical Cartoon Moments to get Speed out of jams. I don’t know why; I can’t say that I’ve ever gotten my real life little brother- let’s call him “Phil”- out of any significant jam…

Cool WatcherSTICKERS are everywhere. Thanks to all of you who sent photos, and if any other recipients have sticker-shots to share, please forward and I’ll see if I can work them into future (filler) posts.

Second Thing

So the second item is decidedly less frivolous. You may have seen in the news this week that former NBA star Kareem Abdul Jabbar made public that he is suffering from a rare form of leukemia. airplane_stillThough most of the articles mentioned the type- chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML)- they didn’t provide an awful lot of detail as to exactly what CML is, how it works, or what causes it. But long-time readers of WTWWU of course already know, for this is of course the same form of leukemia that my friend “Lance” suffers from. Both Abdul-Jabbar and Lance are being treated with Gleevec, which offers both of them good chances for many long years ahead. If you missed the Lance-CML post, and would like to know the details of Abdul-Jabbar’s leukemia, you can go check it out.

While CML is of course a tough thing for Abdul-Jabbar, there may be a silver lining. One of the challenges Lance initially faced was finding a local oncologist experienced in CML treatment. When well-known personalities face unusual illnesses, knowledge of that illness and its treatment often spreads more quickly both through the general public and the medical community. Abdul-Jabbar’s going public with his illness may well improve awareness and treatment for CML patients in general, and it was a good thing to do.


Phil O. said...

It's great if modern medicine can extend Kareem's life, but why does he support death panels for the rest of us??! If only Dr. Rumack could have talked some sense into him back in 1980...

Unknown said...

"Support Death Panels" haha do you REALLY believe that Death Panels exist? I live in the UK and have had superb service from the NHS all my life, and the NHS saved my wife's life in front of my eyes.

The whole US "Death Panel" argument is seen by Brits as a huge joke. They don't exist and never have.

On a less combative note, thanks Watcher for posting my pics and your kind words. I had no idea foxes were imported to the US for hunting. Foxhunting was made illegal in the UK a few years back to no little controversy.

Those "tudor-y houses" were built between 1900 and 1910 as a direct result of the Piccadilly tube rail line being extended to the neighburhood.

KanyonKris said...

While I'm proud to display the Watcher sticker, I object to my car being called a minivan and demand an immediate correction! The Pontiac Vibe is clearly a compact hatchback. The fact that our other car is a minivan is immaterial. Why do I get the feeling this is karmic justice as a result of my LoToJa bashing?

Speaking of which, even if SkiBikeJunkie is making a jab at me, I fully approve his LoToJa sticker alteration.

Ian shows real commitment. Place the sticker on the bumper cover (where it would be difficult to remove) of his new (or at least new looking), stylish car.

A rally car? I'm impressed. And her car sounded awesome. I liked the car right before her that had trouble getting up the hill and had to open the doors to air out the burned clutch smell.

Watcher said...

KKris- Oops! WTWWU regrets the error and in no way means to suggest or imply that KanyonKris is in fact a Minivan Driver.*

*Except that he really is. I’ve seen him in it!

P65- I assure you, “Phil O.” is on your side of the healthcare issue. He’s just being sarcastic. Not sure where he gets that from… probably his older brother…

Phil O.- I would like you to start addressing me as ‘Rex.”

KristenT said...

Actually, it's a 2002 Acura RSX type S. I got upgraded (in reality, hand-me-downed from my brother Mark when he went to his fancy Subaru) when I drove my Nissan into the ground. But not literally, I just drove it until it fell apart. Almost.

The Acura has a lot more horsepower than the Nissan and different proportion of weight front to back, and I've only been driving it for a year (which sounds impressive, but we only race about 5 or 6 weekends a year), so I'm still figuring out how to make it go.

Oh, and for extra coolness: my mother is my co-driver (she tells me what's coming up on the road, where to go, and when to be there-- Extreme Navigating, as it were). We've been competing together for about 8 years or so now, and I think we have WAY MORE FUN than anyone else.

Re: the car in front of me in that clip: we came into that corner and immediately wondered if something was wrong because of the strong stench. We had an interesting conversation up that hill:

Mom: Right 2 uphill 70 what's that smell?
Me: Spectators are stinky.
Mom Left 5 into Right 4 are you sure it's not us?
Me: well, the car still steers, accelerates and brakes, so I think we're good. (demonstrates)
Mom: Left 4 50 sharp dip left 3 into right 4 ok
Me: Wow, the leaves are really pretty up here

After that she claimed she couldn't hear me in the intercom and stuck to calling the notes.

Anyway. Thanks, Watcher, for the plug! :) I also knit, and enjoy riding bikes for transportation and recreation but am too chicken to try mountain biking. Weird, eh? :)

Watcher said...

KristenT- I got your car wrong too? Sorry! (I took the description off your team's site.)

But... you drive like that and you're too chicken to mtn bike??

Enel said...

More on the development of Gleevec here:

So much for nasty big Pharma.

Watcher said...

Enel- Thanks for the link. In fact “Lance” traveled to Portland last month to meet with Druker, and his care is now provided via Druker directing a local SLC oncologist. Druker had much greater knowledge of CML, treatment and prognosis than did the local oncologist, and the contrast really highlighted the challenge many CML patients face in getting the best treatment.

Unknown said...

Phil O - my apologies, I should't have snapped like that, I think I'd had a bad day.

KanyonKris - my car is 6 years old and not very stylish - it gets loaded with muddy bikes, puking kids, and hairy arsed mountaineers on a regular basis (though not all at once) - I think the garage cleaned it for me when they serviced it, not a usual state of affairs.


Enel said...

Watcher: Love the Airplane photo btw

Kristen: My dad (82!) has an RSX Type S of the same vintage, and the thing is a hoot to drive. It really surprised me at how much I liked it since I am a bit of a rear drive snob.