Feeling Flashy: Things That Go Blink in the Night

First of all, I'd like to apologize for the line spacing issues that have been plaguing this blog since Monday.  I'm not sure why it's been happening, and sadly I'm not equipped with the intellect necessary to figure out how to remedy it.  In an attempt to obviate the problem today, I am now trying Bl-gger's "new interface."  The sensation is a disconcerting one (like switching to a new brand of integrated shifters or a new style of underpants) but should I attain line-spacing consistency as a result then the discomfort will be worthwhile.

Meanwhile, yesterday I premiered the promotional video for my upcoming book, "Drunken Gardening," and a number of people asked the following question:

"Where's your helment?"

Well, obviously it's not on my head, but if you really insist on knowing more then I'll tell you that it's being buried with Whitney Houston, and I'll kindly ask you to refrain from further helment-related questions during what is for me a very emotional time.

Speaking of safety, last whatever-day-it-was (I no longer count days since time is a construct that corporate industry and the government use to control us) I mentioned that Knog had sent me their new "Blinder" lights to try:

Well, I finally tried them.

I've been using Knog's USB-rechargeable "Boomers" for quite some time now.  As a blogger who spends a considerable amount of time in front of a computer (literally dozens of minutes on some days) I appreciate anything that you can just stick into a USB port.  In fact, if I had a USB-powered George Foreman grill and a a USB-powered toilet I'd never have to leave my computer again.  Well, the "Blinders" also charge by means of a USB port, only instead of having to take the light part out of the rubber part, all you have to do is open the little USB "dingle" on the "Blinder" and plug it right it.  They also mount to your bars or seatpost by means of an ingenious hinged and reticulated latch-and-hasp system, which is something I just made up and which means absolutely nothing.

So are they blinding?  Well, it definitely hurt my eyes to look at them, so potentially I'd say "yes."  Sure, maybe not this blinding, but blinding nonetheless.  I also took some pictures with my "smart phone" device.  However, it turns out it's kind of hard to take pictures of blinky lights, for the simple reason that they blink.  For example, first I took this picture, and I got nothing:

(Not blinding.)

But then I took this picture and I got a phone full of photons, or futons, or whatever that stuff in light is:


Ten minutes later my seizure finally abated, and so I took a few shots of the rear:

These and the rest of the photos in this stunning series will be on display at the International Center of Photography in New York, NY until May 6th, 2012:

I'd invite you all to the opening reception but there's no way you're cool enough.

Anyway, once my blinding Blinders were all fired up I set off into the night filled with a deep and profoundly warming sense of smugness over all the other riders with their feeble blinkies powered by waning and moribund batteries.  Even this guy in the reflective vest was like a ninja compared to me:

If you're wondering where my reflective vest is, it's being buried with Whitney Houston (which in New York we pronounce "HOUSE-ton.")

Still, these lights are not for everybody.  For example, if you're a true retrogrouch, you may want to wait for the new Rivendell blinkies, which you charge by plugging into a manual typewriter.  Or, if you don't like to be an "early adopter," you can wait until the "2.0" version of the Knog Blinders, which I understand will come with a special ultra-bright and super-blinding setting called "Oedipus:"


Now that's what I call motherfucking bright.

On a far more serious note (not like incest and self-mutilation isn't serious), as you may know, here in New York City it's almost impossible to actually get in trouble for mowing somebody down with your car, even if you have a suspended license or you simply decide to drive away.  Well, the City Council is finally asking the NYPD to account for this, and Gothamist recently published an excellent article about the hearing that ensued:

Given the number of people killed by cars in New York City you already knew the recent bicycle crackdown was crazy, but you may not have realized just how crazy it was:

The NYPD issued more summonses to cyclists than truck drivers last year: truckers got 14,962 moving violation summonses and 10,415 Criminal Court summonses, while cyclists got 13,743 moving violation summonses and a whopping 34,813 Criminal Court summonses. Priorities!

Wow.  Also, Paul Steely White of Transportation Alternatives raised a good question:

"The NYPD is among the most sophisticated law enforcement operations in the country," concluded White, the director of Transportation Alternatives. "It’s the sixth largest standing army in the world, it has officers stationed in scores of foreign nations and it can shoot down small aircraft. The question for us today is if its officers can do more to keep New Yorkers safe on our own streets and deter drivers from killing hundreds and injuring thousands of innocent people every year?"

Of course, the NYPD already has a great plan to keep us safe on the streets, which is to ticket us all until we finally stop riding bikes.

But what if you want to keep riding a bike anyway?  What can you do to make cycling safer?  Well, you can invest in "the world's first theft-resistant bike light:"

"While we love city cycling, it can be dangerous," says the video as a fixie rider in stripey sock dives in front of a cab for no reason.  "Cars bully us, thieves steal from us, and really, we're sick of it.  So we asked ourselves the question, 'How can we fight back?'"

Well, I'd start by taking my lights off when I go inside, but then again I'm not very smart.  I have also, admittedly, failed to take a light off only to find it gone when I returned.  But this actually happened to me in San Francisco, not New York, and the thief struck while I enjoyed a post-BRA burrito.  I thought it happened to me in New York once too, and I think I even wrote about the incident on this very blog, but then I found the light in my bag like two weeks later.

The inventors, however, are smart.  In fact, they're so smart they met at MIT--though now that I think about it they don't specify whether they actually attended MIT, so it's always possible they just bumped into each other while buying MIT t-shirts and then struck up a friendship:

Still, this is certainly a cut above the typical Kickstarter pitch, and I did enjoy the shower scene:

If they can equip it with an Oedipus setting then maybe the'll be onto something.

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