Sunday, April 26, 2009

another ode to biking

the weather in the northeast is finally of a caliber i would call fucking fantastic. as i write this, my door-sized windows (actually they are doors but they don't lead anywhere except a three-story death drop) are wide open and the warmcool air that's usually reserved for the dogrider days of summer is filling my room. i just rode my bike home through this intoxicating weather and i was reminded of my biking adventures thus far in 2009.

let me first state that i am really an advocate of biking. i am by no means what you'd call a "biker" (i.e. no distinguishing clothing, no road bike, no crew of bros on bikes) but i am very much enamored with riding my bike through cities and forests and everywhere in between. i ride a big conspicuous mountainbike, a trek, and i like to take it anywhere it will let me. one of the things i like about biking is you create all your own energy for your vehicle. your speed and endurance is generated entirely by your own will; there's no other fuel source to worry about or throw money into. also it reminds me of sprinting incredibly fast but ALL THE TIME. even when you are catching your breath there is still the possibility of traveling at high speeds. lastly, there is an adventurous feel to traveling on a bike, something that hiking comes close to but doesn't fulfill in the same way. i think it's the combination of the journey and the speed. this is especially poignant when bombing through a forested trail and playing the lord of the rings theme in your head at full volume.

in this first quarter of the new year i've already had a variety of bikeventures, let's call them (yeah, i don't have many friends). one of the first truly warm days this year was so unseasonable that it got all fucked up by clashing high and low pressure systems and crazy storms resulted. riding out into the warmth, i was greeted halfway into my trip by the craziest sunshowers ever. the sun was bright above but the rain was whipping in sideways out of nowhere. i got absolutely soaked but was rewarded with a gigantic and perfectly arched rainbow over the delaware river. somehow it was all very symbolic; the sunshowers, the rainbow, life, the universe, my bike. i think it meant everything's going to be ok.

oh god are we still going with this post? phew, ok. this season of bikings also holds the farthest distance i have yet to travel in a single day, which was roughly 50 miles. i went from my apartment in south philly, along the scenic schuylkill river, all the way to valley forge, pa and back. i could not move for a little while after i got back. clearly it was awesome. i was considering not doing the whole thing but then saw a huge factory on fire and remembered that going out and seeing things was better then not, so i continued on through a brown haze of smoke and toward my eventual goal. this also had some symbolism but i don't wanna get into it.

today's bikescursion (yeah, basically no friends) was a reminder that you can't always go out and rock n roll when it's 94 degrees and you've barely eaten anything. i tried to hit up one of my mountainbiking haunts outside philly and shit was good for about 5 seconds before the heat and the hills combined to punch me in the face. i was in a bad way, walking my bike over terrain i would usually attack head on. i noticed that i wasn't very sweaty and in fact was getting goosebumps and this usually means you're about to have a heat stroke so i called it a day and got a milkshake at this really good place down the street. it was a trying experience and largely unpleasant (sans milkshake) but i equate it to just another tale of bikeventure. there will always be difficulties and hills you simply have to walk your bike up because they're too fucking steep and loose, but that's part of the journey. if there weren't hills and heat and rainstorms out of nowhere, you'd never see the forest or the industrial fire or the rainbow's perfect arc across the sky. i know this is a very obvious point to be making, but it reveals itself time and again through the simple act of moving forward on a bike. the journey is the destination, and vice versa.

i love this fucking bike.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Look Good In Time For Mass Genocide

i just found this ad on facebook. hilarious. not only is facebook on a downward spiral into incongruity and suck, but now they're running ads with neo-nazis telling you to get in shape. of all the muscled icons to use to promote ab-toning, they go with ed norton circa american history x. brilliant. toughen up those pecs so you can tattoo swastikas onto them! strengthen your calves to curb stomp minorities! i think the internet is just running out of ideas. that, or i am just completely disconnected from modern society and there is absolutely nothing wrong with this image. fuck. game over, man. game over.

UPDATE: apparently there IS nothing wrong with this. facebook just wants more cash and therefore the levee of decency is allowed to break. look, even gawker commented on this same ad:


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

why i'm bad at dancing

Age 10, I am at a German restaurant in upstate New York with my parents. Everything is going swimmingly until an accordion-toting musician enters the room. Sporting lederhosen and a feathered cap, he launches into traditional Bavarian folk tunes of a bygone era. I try to accept the scenario as harmless but it escalates severely. "We are now going to do the Chicken Dance," he announces, "and this young man is going to demonstrate how it's done!"
He's referring of course to me, the only child in the room. Any intended humor is lost to my juvenile mind, and I am faced with the very real threat of having to chickendance for the thirty-odd patrons in attendance. I plead with my parents, please don't let him make me dance, in a tone reminiscent of a child being dragged to a death camp. My heart is pounding, my head heavy with the thought of flapping my lanky arms while the accordion squawks its tune. Already the crowd is laughing in anticipation. Already they await my drawn out humiliation. I can feel his eyes on me, ready for me to join him in the center of the room, his leathery jowls like the collapsable lung of his instrument.
I cannot accept this fate. I refuse to face the firing line, to be jester to these bastards. I run from the room, out into the lobby. I would sooner abandon my family than dance like a chicken at a German restaurant. As a consequence, I will never be able to dance in any acceptable way, and all efforts to hone this skill will fail miserably. My body shifts awkwardly. I stumble. I lack rhythm. I will simply look for the nearest exit and run.