Friday, July 23, 2010

Back

It's been a while. Things are largely the same. I've been working on cultivating a legit blog (i.e. sans-nom-de-guerre) but, well even if that had been working out I couldn't very well tell you about it now could I?

Brooklyn is boiling hot, and I just got back from a 75-mile ride and am craving the biggest slice of pizza on earth. I just wanted to check in. I was ruminating on this, this morning, from Giorgio Agamben's state of exception:

"It is certain, in any case, that if resistance were to become a right or even a duty (the omission of which could be punished), not only would the constitution end up positing itself as an absolutely untouchable and all-encompassing value, but the citizen's political choices would also end up being determined by juridical norms."

and it led me to do some thinking about this. So that's going on.

Additionally, I sent my first wave of submissions out today, to the Paris Review. Which is perhaps the biggest leap of all time, but who knows, right? cross your fingers.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Awesome people doing awesome things






Cranksgiving is almost upon us. Every year, NYC bike messengers (and other bike-riding folks) compete in a race to grab food from various supermarkets throughout the city. The food is donated to local charities, the victor is victorious, and it is generally just an awesome thing that happens. Maxwell's Demon had the pleasure of helping to throw a pre-party for the race back in 2007, at the now-defunct Last Resort Art Space. Check out the website for more information, and/or to pledge a donation.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

She became the line he had in his head just before sleep, that he thought he would retain and now it's gone.

I've been on the cusp of a creative endeavor for a little while now. I've had a desire to encapsulate the year or two of my life spent on the road between many cities and several hearts, and its been coming together in my head as a basis for an album, most likely acoustic music. I've been inspired greatly by watching Kay's brother perform with the talented Kelly McFarling. Anyway, I keep finding scraps of paper in my pockets, with nothing on them but the names of cities I've recalled in a moment of inspiration or exasperation. Scrawled on the backs of receipts, movie tickets and metrocards.


Raleigh
Hartford
Bayonne
Charleston
Richmond
New Orleans
Charlotte
Fair Bluff
Williamsburg
Exeter
Savannah

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Like Clockwork

It's autumn again, and that means a few things. The trees are starting to turn, I have an insatiable desire to read and reflect, and there is, right on time, more Califone in my life to spill out the windows of a speeding volvo at night. Califone has scored a film by frontman Tim Rutili, entitled All My Friends are Funeral Singers

Enjoy this as much as I do:

Funeral Singers

favorite line so far: "What will I do without the weight of you?"

Friday, August 28, 2009

When I was in school, my sophomore year, in a small dorm room in a labyrinthine dorm, I had a very unexpected visitor. My door was wide open, it was parents' weekend and a friend and hallmate walked by with her family. I invited them in, and she introduced me to her mother and step father, both of whom were tremendously friendly. Her stepfather wedged himself into the small room last, shook my hand happily, and said, "Hi, I'm Ted."

With the passing of Ted Kennedy, I find my thoughts split, constantly empathizing with my friend and the loss of her stepdad, who i was allowed to glimpse for a split second as a jovial person in my minuscule abode, and mourning as a part of a country where too few leaders stand up even a quarter as much for liberty and equality. You will be missed, Mr. Kennedy, by a country that continues to need people like you.

Monday, April 27, 2009

That last post wasn't supposed to pop up, it was supposed to be a draft.

In any event. Getting frustrated by the book project. I just came over to the computer desk from the writing desk because even though I am continually making progress, the book is becoming quite difficult. The premise needs some serious tightening up, and I just don't have the outside perspective from which to tighten. My fear is that it's just too disjointed to work as I want it to, at least with out the story becoming seriously implausible. The problem is, my heart is in the story. Even when my brain cant get in. And its wearing me out, keeping me from smaller projects. I tried to work the premise out on paper tonight, and I think I just have to return to it in the morning and see if it actually helped anything.

I just love these two characters too much to shelve the project. Gah.

Have a meeting with a potential Armchair / Shotgun distributor tomorrow, hopefully that'll go better.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Dislocated.

So I had some little bones popped back into place in my wrist today. Which is awesome. And with that I'm almost back to %100. Tomorrow I'm swinging into Jersey to finally (finally!) pull the dashboard off of the Volvo and fix all the rattling. Dislocation is the theme of the hour.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Down

So this weekend was Tracklocross: First Mud Part II, mattio et. al's beautiful clusterfuck of an alleycat, a checkpointed, semi-off-road race around Randall's Island, in the mud and rain, wherein you are allowed to choose one: gears or knobby tires.

At the last minute I decided to take the Viner, my sleek road racing bike, rather than the Raleigh, my old crit bike. The major impetus was my desire to have a modern drivetrain, or, conversely, my fear that shifting a friction drivetrain in the mud would throw chains and just be unplesant (see: last year's Nyack and Back). So I threw the Raleigh's bad weather wheel (a dura-ace low flange hub laced 2x to an Aerohead with a 25mm slick) on the viner and set off.

I should note that I set off in the car, because I left with an hour to get to the race... MY birthday party was the previous night, and I was up until 5am drinking beers. Totally, totally race-ready.

It was downright cold and rainy. I was wearing three layers when the race commenced. There was a running start to the race, and though I was thoroughly bleary, my legs felt damn strong. I grabbed the Viner from where I'd propped it against a tree, hopped on, and pedaled off. I settled into a good cruising pace (about 20mph) over potholes and puddles, and found myself about mid-pack at this, the start of the race.

For those of you unfamiliar with Alleycat racing (like myself), the idea is that there are checkpoints that you must reach, but no course. Its up to you to find the most navigable route. I knew the island less than most, so I figured, at mid pack, I'd follow the leaders. We began crossing a narrow wooden bridge. I overtook two competitors, and was coming up on Corey, an old messenger who'd been talking a big game all week. The bridge was ending fast. I zoomed around Corey, who was spinning way too small of a gear for the terrain, and angled myself for the left turn off of the bridge to the first checkpoint. I looked up off my path and noticed that the leaders had all gone right. That didn't make any sense... had anyone gone left? I looked further up the left most trail. Nobody. Hmm. I began to wonder what to make of that, but then flicked my eyes directly in front of me.

A traffic bollard, a big, metal, traffic bollard, was directly in my path. My hands were on the flats of the handlebars. I couldn't get them to the brakes in time. BAM!!! at 20mph directly into the bollard. The most jarring feeling, as my shoes disengaged from the bike, and I thuded hip-first to the pavement a split second before the Viner. I shouted something about being OK to someone who had shouted something inquiring the like, paused, and picked myself off the buzzing floor. I picked up the Viner, looked at it dumbly. Crashing a beautiful machine into a stationary object always evokes the oddest mixture of adrenaline and shame. I spun the front wheel. It spun.

Body check: standing? yes. good. moving? yes. good. Pain? I looked. My jersey was rolled passed my elbow and the elbow was bleeding quite a bit. deal with that later. My hip was throbbing. Roll up the jersey, that's bleeding. Wrist? Wrist. My left wrist was still holding on to the bars when I went down, and now its starting to swell. OK. only a few minutes more use I'll get out of that.

This whole time an identical process in my mind is running bike check. Bike check is harder. Still a bike? yes. good. Wheels? yes. wheels.

Somewhere in the whole awkward and also cotemporal process of mounting the bike, I began to hear a hissing noise. I was losing air to the front tire.

I was only a quarter mile from the start, but something in my brain said "checkpoint. get to the checkpoint."

And so the race became not about my competitors, but about covering as much ground before my tire deflated or my wrist locked up. Somehow, to my adrenaline soaked brain, this made perfect, rational sense.

***
I got about another half mile. I was disoriented and in increasing pain, and then the tire flatted. Still wanting some form of race out of my weekend, I shouldered the bike and ran back to the starting line, finally slowing to a walk for the final 1/4 mile. That's when the adrenaline wore off and I began to actually take stock.

I spent the remainder of the race siting next to mattio, wrapping my wrist in shop rags and cleaning my wounds. In the end I sprained my left wrist moderately, my left ankle very slightly, and tore up my right elbow and hip. The bruise on my hip is pretty impressive.

The Viner also took quite the blow. The wheel is fine. Needed a minor truing. (I build good wheels, everyone. see?) The carbon fork developed stress cracks all along its upper joint and needs to be retired. The frame, my cherished Italian steel racer, was also bent, with the headtube (the tube the fork runs through) getting pushed inward, bending its joints with the top and down tubes.

Terrified that this would weaken the boutique steel beyond ever racing again, I contacted anyone and everyone I could with regards to fixing it. Malcom offered to help me braze new tubes into the frame, the bicycle equivalent of open heart surgery. Or, more appropriately, a skeleton transplant. Finally, Dave Perry at Bikeworks, was able to bend the headtube back out. He says that as long as I don't race on coblestones, the damage was light enough that the Viner should be fine.

So the bike and I are healing at about the same rate. My sprains are all but healed, and the road rash is clearing up. I need a new fork, but not a new frame, and I'm feeling pretty damn lucky to have gotten out with so little damage. Gonna use the Viner's down time to solve a few problems I'd been having with it, have been using my downtime to great ends... for instance, the Williamsburg bridge is GORGEOUS if you take the time to walk over it...

So, you know. Wear helmets, pay attention, Ride steel frames and let me build your wheels.

Mattio once imparted to me the overly-campy saying, "don't race what you can't replace." I think I get that now.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

:-)

First off, it's my birthday. Which is wonderful. So happy to be alive.

I woke up this morning, unexpectedly, at 4:06, the minute of my birth. My mom said she woke up at 3:50.

What a beautiful day.

Second, Armchair/Shotgun submissions are rolling in, at a rate of about ten a day. My job at the moment is to anonymize them, loading them into our shared online folder with a number rather than an authors name. (which I am presently doing while singing along to R.E.M.'s Murmur)

This means that I see a lot of the first and last lines of our submissions. And some of these last-lines indicate that we've struck the right tone...

for example:

"But wouldn't you know it, the whiskey comes back out my nose."





This is so much fun. Why did we never start a literary magazine before??

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Damnit.

At least its good bicycle weather.

Imminent death of the MTA predicted. Film at 11.

Fran Lebowitz

Kay's expert camera work:



A completely separate excerpt from a 1993 Paris Review interview:

INTERVIEWER:
Young people are often a target for you.

LEBOWITZ:
I wouldn't say that I dislike the young. I'm simply not a fan of naïveté. I mean, unless you have an erotic interest in them, what other interest could you have? What are they going to possibly say that's of interest? People ask me, Aren't you interested in what they're thinking? What could they be thinking? This is not a middle-aged curmudgeonly attitude; I didn't like people that age even when I was that age.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Watching

I've been in a bit of a mood lately. Money's been tight, and with that the eternal existential questions... am I doing something that makes me happy? What makes me happy anyway? And Kay handles these sorts of things differently than I do, and so we had a bit of a tiff, so last night I just decided to hop on the Raleigh and see what happened. I wandered around Brooklyn for the greater part of four hours, discovering my favorite part of all cities: the background. I wandered up and down the waterline, watched the tugs move barges by night off of Red Hook; found where the Chinatown buses sleep; found old sailor bars and new construction. I watched cop cars race down the FDR from a vantage point on the promenade, and the cars looked like rubies around the neck of Manhattan. The Raleigh struggled over the cobblestones of Dumbo and I listened to the power plant crackle on a silent street. I climbed into vinegar hill and found myself looking at the stark Commandant's house of the Navy Yard. Worked my way around the yard and up Kent into Williamsburg, trading bridge for bridge.
I don't simply watch, anymore.
When I had the money and reason to take the Volvo southward on a regular basis, to North Carolina or Louisiana, or up to Connecticut, that was time when there was nothing to do but watch. Watch the scenery, watch the tach, watch the gas gauge, pull over to rest the eyes.
Its true that the subways are where I get the best writing and reading done. But there's nothing to watch. I think my brain has been too concerned with problems and solutions, lately, ignoring the world in which those both exist and the adventures it can inspire.
I think its time to undo some of that.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Kay's been sick for the past few days, so I've been taking care of her. So yesterday, when she decided to sleep in for most of the day, I came home and decided to just wipe the slate of my day clean, to just sit home and relax, read a little bit, play around with spare parts, write a little bit.
In putting away a few bicycle parts, I just aimlessly started playing with spokes and hubs until I realized that I had the right parts to make a wheel. So on a whim I laced up a quick front wheel, 18 spokes, radial, with the spokes in pairs... Its not terribly durable, I'd imagine, but a test-flight revealed it to be very quick and pretty stable. Which is awesome, considering its constructed entirely out of parts I found in the garbage or salvaged off of broken wheels. Also, there are now only 42 spokes on my racing bicycle, not one more than is needed. Its nice to know every spoke is where it is on purpose.
After that I settled in to do some Armchair/Shotgun business... Submissions have started coming in, and the reading process is proving to be worth the stress of setting this thing up. Between that and the fact that a friend of mine who is a phenomenal writer paid me a compliment on some of my work, I'm beginning to relax a little, creatively, which is nice for idea-flow.
God bless lazy Saturdays.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Kay: Did you know that the New York Times has launched 2 local online sections? One is on Fort Greene. It launched yesterday.



me: Ouch. Welcome to the right side of the tracks.