Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Weekly Tally #10

Here's the quick stats for last week:

walking:  17.5 miles
biking:  22.8 miles
subway: 6 miles
boat:  35 miles (I took Noah to Salem by boat to the Pirate Museum)
car:  10  (zipcar)

Kind of interesting that it was such a multi-modal kind of week.  Not much bike riding (I didn't have many meetings and the kids were home, so we didn't stray too far from home).  Some people have to commute more miles every day than I log in a week.  I feel lucky.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Weekly Tally #9

Here's the quick stats for last week  (I'm super late in posting, because it's been a busy week of writing other stuff):

walking:  13.1 miles
biking:  49.6 miles
subway: 8 miles

 Noah and I took the T to the Common to see Toy Story III.  I don't mind riding my bike downtown, but I'm still a little wary of Noah (who is 10 years old) riding there.  The drivers are too crazy and the bike lanes are not quite well defined enough to get us all the way there.  And the T is fun sometimes, too.

We did a little geocaching by bike on Sunday, which was fun.  I need to see how many are within bike range of us--we started doing this years ago, and have slowed down a lot over the past few years.  Tracy found two caches within Brookline that were a nice easy ride, and got us riding on streets that we don't usually visit.  One of them was right near Clear Flour Bakery, which meant we had to buy pastries and bread, of course.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Weekly Tally #8 plus New York bike lanes

Here's the quick stats for last week:

walking:  15.4 miles
biking:  34.2 miles
car (zipcar): 450 miles

We drove, via Zipcar, to visit family and friends in Connecticut and New York this weekend.  Normally, we'd use a rental car from this airport for a weekend trip, but the car rental companies jack up the rates to double the normal during the summer.  We were able to get a Zipcar for $237.04 for Friday 2pm - Sunday 2pm (it ended up being a two-day rental, plus extra mileage charges and tolls), whereas a standard rental company was charging more than $205 for the two days, but we'd had to have purchased gas, which would have cost about $50.  Zipcar included gas, let us rent a Hybrid (Honda Civic that got 45 mpg) and a was a LOT more convenient (plus we like Zipcar better as a company).

Normally, we'd take the train from New Haven (where we were staying) into NYC for the day, but the fares were running $14 each way.  For four of us, that means we'd spend $112 for tickets, plus subway fares, and a lot of time.  Driving meant paying tolls and probably paying to park.  But we were certain to pay less than $100 for parking.  On a weekday, traffic would have made the train the easy choice, but on a Saturday morning, we knew traffic probably wouldn't be a big factor.

So we drove into the City.  Found a free parking spot on the street in front of our friends' building.  So we came out more than $100 ahead for the day.  In terms of carbon emissions, it wasn't the greatest choice, but driving the Hybrid helped a little (perhaps).

One big surprise on this visit to New York was all the bike lanes they've added.  I saw more bikes than I'd ever seen in NYC before, and also found a fun new bike shop (that might, sadly, be temporary) on Charles Street in the West Village.
(you can see the painted green bike lane above)

Some the bike lanes were kind of narrow (and maybe a little scary), but lots of them looked great, and a few of them used a model that I wish they'd use here in Boston.  Instead of the setup being:  sidewalk, parked cars, bike lane, car traffic, it was set up like this:  sidewalk, bike lane, parked cars, car traffic.  I'm sure there are lots of pluses and minuses to this setup, but I really like how it protects the bike riders, and creates a space that can be plowed in the winter time.  The big disadvantage would seem to be what happens if someone parks in the bike lane, then there's a big roadblock to the cyclist.

I'm guessing that NYC bikers have the same problem we have in Boston, even with bike lanes, and that's lack of bike parking.  It's great to be able to get someplace by bike, and I think NYC seems especially bikable--it's flat and laid out in a grid--but you need someplace secure to park your bike when you get there.

Still, it was exciting to see New York embracing the bike.  I hope more cities follow the trend.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Once A Cheat, Always A Cheat?!

Hi dolls,

How are we? Hope you all had a good weekend! I sure did. I Partied for a friends birthday. Apart from writing and being a loud mouth, i think thats what I do best :-)

Anywho, todays blog is one that has got me deep!

A guy i know, let me just add is GORGEOUS and I would love to have eye candy like that on my arm any day, is now engaged after lying that his girlfriend was just a friend and trying it not just with me, but a few friends too.

A friend of mine then messaged me this..(Her exact email) "I have just found out that he has been lying to me. He has a girlfriend. He has been with her for 3 years. He told me they were friends and she is an ex. Am I a mug? Did I actually just devote the last 4 months to this lying, cheating, son of a *****?! I just want to scream and go key his car!!"

After seeing her email I was shocked. So, not only did I hear the guy I knew was taking girls for a ride (literally in his nice Audi) but my friends man had a girlfriend and did not bother to tell her. MEN... WHAT IS GOING ON IN YOUR HEADS?!
It is actually beyond me why men do this! They are with a girl for a reason. They like that person in their life, they are happy, content, or are they?

What makes a man cheat on his devoted partner? What makes him lie and say he does not have a girlfriend when infact he does? I can't even answer that as i'm just a simple girl who likes a simple relationship and luckily I have never been cheated on. I know if I was my friend, I would actually go and tell the girlfriend. Tell her hes been playing you both for a mug. What does he get out of it? Nothing! He loses! We love revenge so go do it. To my friend, he played you, go play him ten times harder. Go tell his girlfriend. Go make a poster and stick it up on shop windows for the world to see. Do what you gotta do to catch him out.

I've just been reading the news and it has now come out that footballer Peter Crouch has cheated on his GORGEOUS girlfriend Abbey Clancey. Ummm, hold on a minute.. Is this for real? Is she not the hottest thing right now? Why on earth would you go and pay for sex with a hooker when you can go home to that?! These footballers clearly have more money that sense. Its actually vile.

The main reason that story upsets me is because now I think, is there actually any hope for me to find a nice, decent guy? If stunning ladies like Cheryl Cole and Abbey Clancy get cheated on, what does that mean for the rest of the ladies in Simpletown?! Are we doomed?

to be honest, I have hope. I hope one day a non cheating male will come my way. Until then, I will go out, have fun, meet new people and will not be taken for a mug!

I would love to hear your comments and views on this topic.. add me on twitter @IlanaVak, Facebook 'Ilana Lala Vaknine' or email blogdoll21@gmail.com..

Lotsa Love

Little Miss V..xx

Friday, August 6, 2010

Beg Off!

Good morning dolls,

How are we all?

I hope you all like the make over I gave my blog page.. :-)

So, i know im usually here writing about all your love and relationship issues but i think you'll see how todays blog is slightly different. I am going to write about something that has angered and frustrated me.

I lived in South Africa for 3 months. It is a hard place to live if A) Your not white and B) if your poor. There is not a government system like ours. If your out of work there are no benefits to help you. You either have a job, you get help from family and friends, or your homeless. Thats how it works and its rough. If you are in the category of roughness, its a hard life. On every traffic light in Jo'Berg (where I lived) you have people begging for money. Sometimes they hold a baby, or have some one blind or disabled with them to make you feel sorry for them. Some of them actually make a better living begging fnr money than people working in a store. Begging is the norm in Jo'Berg, but not London.

I am used to seeing homeless people when out in the West End. People beg in the streets, sleep in doorways and even sell the "Big Issue" magazine just to get a few quid. Yet what I just saw on my way to work has disgusted me.

Now, I know everyone tries hard in life to make a living. I do not dispute any ones ways of doing so. Yet, being a foreigner and standing by a busy roundabout in London, holding a costa coffee cup, knocking on my car window and asking me for my hard earned money, disgusted me. I was shocked and scared!

Is this what London is coming to? Are we going to have truck loads of Asylum Seekers getting into this country by hiding in Meat Lorries coming in from abroad? I think its utterly disgusting. These Asylum seekers come into England, pretending to be younger than they are to go to a school or pretend to be something they are not and will most probably get given a nice little council flat by our government. The funny thing is these people will get a council flat more over a British Citizen who has been on a waiting list.

I hope I have not shocked you all with my outburst, but you all agree and feel the same. If you don't, I get it.

I'd love to hear what you all have to say about this.
Leave comments here, email me at blogdoll21@gmail.com or message me on facebook, Ilana 'Lala' Vaknine.

Lotsa love..

Little Miss V..xx

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Mr Magic!!

Hey Dolls..

So its been a while since i last blogged. Im Sorry! But, good excuse. I have a new job! Go me!

So instead of my usual blog of being the love guru or giving advice, its just gonna be a quicky to show you my boy.. the best magician around.. DAMIEN!! this dude is amazing. He has done his weird and wonderful tricks already for lots of celebs including JLS, Diversity and Alexandra Burke to name a few.

If you click on this link... http://www.youtube.com/damienmagic666 it will take you to his youtube page where you can see what he does best. Show him some love people.
If you have twitter, add him.. he loves new friends @DamienMagician

I will be back in a few days with a blog with one of the topics all you lovely dolls have sent me.
Dont forget you can send any question or problem to me, blogdoll21@gmail.com or on my facebook page Ilana 'Lala' Vaknine or leave comments here!

Lotsa love...

Little Miss V.. xx

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Interesting Slate Article: How Not Having a Car Became Shorthand for Loser

Saw this article on Slate today:  How Not Having a Car Became Shorthand for Loser

I was very glad to see this in print, to see what I've felt for a long time so well articulated.  When making the change to get rid of our car last year, I definitely bumped into this whole cultural instinct.  Like most Americans, I equated having a car with a certain sensation of adulthood, of being fully a part of our society and culture.  Getting rid of the car felt somehow like a step back, socially.    Even though there were lots of rational arguments for getting rid of the car and using less oil (health, money, not wanting to support big oil companies or oppressive regimes or wars for oil, global warming, greater awareness of my surroundings, etc.), culture is a little harder to kick to the curb than I might have thought. 

And the normalcy of car culture is pushed all the time, by car companies spending millions and millions of dollars on ads equating driving their cars with all sorts of positive social values (manhood, family values, coolness, you name it) and is just as fully embraced by film (as pointed out in the article).  There's no equivalent power/push/leverage from the makers of bicycles or walking shoes.  This was brought home by GM being one of the sponsors of the recent PlanetHugger Expo, where I talked about worms and the 200 Foot Garden.  They had a 21 mpg hybrid SUV.  There were no bike companies, bike shops, or even any bike gear companies, or even bike advocacy groups represented. 

And walking?  Who thinks walking is sexy and profitable?  (Though I have a character in my first novel, Tornado Siren, who is pretty mysterious and attractive, who has walked everywhere for centuries, but he is, let's say, certainly an outsider, in the most extreme way possible.)

I don't know if I've completely gotten over the American longing to own a car, but I'm pretty close.  I accept that if we ever move to the country, it'll be necessary to own a car, because of infrastructure needs.  But until that happens, I don't find myself tempted very often.  I guess I don't care that much if Hollywood, or anyone else for that matters, thinks I'm a loser for not owning a car.

Weekly Tally #7: How I Got Around Last Week

Here's the quick stats for last week:

walking:  14.8 miles
biking:   67.7 miles
car (zipcar): 0 miles
bus:  6 miles

Took the bus to go see Hound of the Baskervilles at the Central Square Theatre with my daughter, Kira (she's not big on biking at night), which worked out great.  Tracy has a new app for her Droid phone that shows exactly where the T buses are on a given route.  (I might be tempted to get a smart phone myself.)

Had to hit the bike shop yesterday, as I broke another spoke on my back wheel.  Three spokes in a month was a sign that it was time to get a new wheel, so I sprung for one yesterday.  $75 for the rim, plus I needed new tubes (this wheel has a presta valve), and new tools in order to install the wheel and change the cassette.  I spent more than the cost of the bike (which was $65 on Craig's List a couple years ago), but it'll be worth it.  It might be nice to ride with a back wheel that's actually round.  Now I need to see if I remember everything that I learned at the bike repair class last winter (seems like a long time ago).