Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sammy Hagar weekend, 2010 version

Annie's up north, Grand Marais environs, teaching something. Girls went to their g'mother's place for a double-header overnight (poker and small weapons smuggling were on the docket). Oh, and Shrike's out west getting some training before I fly out on Weds. I was putatively free. Free. I had to feed/break Vargas, plus the kitty and the goldfish--but not to each other. Otherwise, my time was my own.

Friday, after driving the kids out to granny's car, I checked out Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I've read two of the trilogy. Movie was really good. Must have been a shock for those unfamiliar with the book. Honest violence, if there's such a thing in a movie. The ending seemed a bit off, perhaps they're hedging bets on sequel. Nice lack of polish in the cast's appearances. Only ripped stomach muscles in movie belonged to heroine.

Saturday, I joined in the Slick 50, a non-race group ride spearheaded by Tom E. from Cars-r-Coffins in S. Mpls. He's a good guy and very welcoming. I had no idea what the pace would be nor how I'd fare. Too much biking alone makes it hard to estimate what others ride at. Weather was better than initially projected, sunnier and less windy. Still, a brisk 23 degrees riding to Cuzzy's for the 10:00 start. No, the 10:15 official start. Which departed at 10:58:59...

About fifty or so folks showed up, predominantly men, with five or six women. A range of cyclists and bikes. Starting to ride more seriously (whatever that entails) at 43, I'm a bit behind on the skill set, the learning curve, and the historic experience. It was a blast, one long dense pack rolling up the river road, through the overflowing Big Muddy at one point, heading further north than I've ever biked, then moving west to the Grove de Maple. We stopped at The Lookout, which my mother-in-law informed me used to be a roadhouse, practically, when she was a wild child in the mid-60s. I'm 2/3 straight-edge (don't drink, don't smoke, love to fuck, but hey, two of three ain't bad), and non/anti-drug to boot, yet it amazed me how fast and long these inveterate smokers and drinkers can motor their pedals. Skills learned, acquired, or inborn. Impressive all the same.

I ran into a nice guy I'd had in a fiction-writing class at The Loft, and then a really good guy I'd met dog training about five years ago. He seemed a bit too normal and emotionally grounded to be a serious dog junky. He lost his dog to sudden heart failure and stopped training--wholly understandable. Turns out he is/was a serious cyclist before that and still, so it was a nice crossing of sub-sub-cultures.

I rode my geared cx bike rather than the single, as I didn't want to embarrass myself calling for a cab in Osseo after getting dropped at mile five. It wasn't a race, and for the most part no one got dropped or abandoned. I was happy with how I fared, in terms of a general assessment of riding in a pack of bikes, reacting in a group, turning, passing, braking. It was a blast. I'm looking forward to the Almanzo 100, as well as the homegrown Dirty Benjamin in June. The final five miles or so, the horses of testosterone started bucking against their traces, finally accelerating and turning up the speed. I kept up. Which, as I've learned from watching bike racing on tv..., means very little. Any number of the guys and dolls could have been pushing 3x as hard as I could muster for the first 55 miles, so how I did in those final 5 is misleading or inaccurate. But, it was fun to find energy in the legs to press it down the backstretch. Bunch of single-speeders were flying it. I'd have been toasted by their pace.

Did the North Star roller derby with Tbell, Betsy D, La J. Jo, and some other ladies, plus a classmate of Flann's. Roller derby is fun to watch, for about 90 minutes; the scenery is both diverting and depressing--well, as seen through the eyes of single lesbians, it is. Some hard-looking boozy broads sauntering through the corridors, plus the non-self-identifying-but-identifiable-all-the-same-as hipsters with full sleeves of Sailor Jerry vintage and full cans of six buck Pabst. Conceptually, it's a great event. In practice, it's a bit wearying.

Got home, walked big head, got annoyed by the kitten, and tapped the fish's glass. Missing Annie and the girls. They are more fun than anything else.

Read some paper, got furious at the Pope's bullshit, then went for a ride. Brisk and windy, albeit sunny. Fought wind all the way east, then enjoyed its buffering on the return. Between river paths and greenway+, I did 37+ almost entirely off the streets. I appreciate that about the cities. It's cool. Saw Tom from the Loft on his sunday group ride, and then Dan the man chugging back to his place from his g'friend's: timing is everything. Funny coincidences of space.

Got home and was more beat up than after Saturday's ride. Easier in the group, I expect, plus worse wind today and single speed. My toes were burning even after a shower. Body tired as hell. Got the girls, pointed toward where I'd been yesterday--multiple perspectives on the gravel pit 'mountains' of Maple Grove--then enjoyed them as they played in the sun.

Dog world beckons. Weds to SF, then driving to LA for Mondio championships. Looking forward to it. At least it won't snow.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Jean Genie

Granted, it's not so much that I'm 'getting' old. I am old. Which is so freeing that a. I get to be an unapologetic curmudgeon, and, b. that I get/have to get over myself. So liberating. And I get to pee in my pants more.

I'm bothered by many disgraceful attributes, mentalities, habits of our grand culture, but one that keeps sticking its lumpy ass in my face is the bi-gendered jeans things. Guys really don't need and should abstain from wearing jeans with lavishly ornamental rear pockets. And, truly, most guys should just go with Levi's. Are we so impatient, immediate-gratification, and stupid that we'll pay triple the cost for pre-worn jeans? God knows it's not as if we're going to do any serious WORK in those jeans. Guys who do work for a living generally have worn in jeans that didn't cost 100 bucks. Or Carhartts.

Ladies... if you don't have a muscular ass, 150 dollar jeans with dishonest lines won't give you an ass. The jeans that have mini-zippers and meretricious pocket angles might draw some approving cursory interest, but, anyone who actually studies the cut of your jib will see the falsehood--and resent you for it.

Spanx... get fucked.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Annie & I were discussing my virgin-whore complex, specifically my struggle to reconcile society's demand that I be a lady in the parlor & and a whore in the bedroom (ah, Dixie logic, by grace of gawd), and my desire to be a whore pretty much everywhere I go. The conversation shifted, sadly, to matters other than my proclivities, and she said that people seem to cling to binary logic, and reductive reference points to make life, and logic, more simple & clear.

Do we really gain anything by simplifying people or issues? To say, she's a good person becomes all-encompassing and ignores her inevitable human foibles. WHY pretend they aren't there, or act surprised when they arise? We should know better, since experience most always proves other than the tenuous supposition that things are as simple as we make them.

In the face of Palinism and as raging hangover from Miss Me Yet and his cronies, I'm feeling puckish and pugnacious toward organized religion, and feel drawn or compelled to not-let-slide many apparent glaring inconsistencies on this level.

Virgin Birth? Either god cuckholded Joseph; Joseph was a beard for Mary's sapphic tendencies (or his); or there were a few randy goatherds in the neighborhood and the 'divine visit' was the best she could come up with. Why? A marriage wasn't consummated until it was consummated, so, unless god dropped in on her between the wedding and the first night, she wouldn't have been a virgin. If they were just an 'old' married couple... Liza Minelli's marriage comes to mind, protesting too much. The logistics are far too messy to handle, so they get swept over in the 'it's magic when god (who we cannot conceive of--unless we're seeing him as just like us, but taller and whiter) descends and impregnates a human womb with his omnipotent seed. Why was it necessary for her to be a virgin? Far better, and more consistent with theology, would have been for it to be Mary Magdellen (sp)--since much of the purpose of all this is to remind us of our baseness and the hope/chance for redemption. Let the fallen women birth the savior of mankind from her sullied loins. (Sordid in the parlor; revered in the bedroom... ah, male hyprocrisy as ever)

Noah's Ark? Get real. Where would they store the food to feed the animals? How would they store the animals? Was there an aquarium connected to the hull? As a metaphor or analogy, it's neat, but it's implausible. And, if it's implausible, then we either take it for its metaphorality, or we reject it. Why insist on something that makes no sense? This isn't a matter of faith, either, since there's no actual divinity involved (once Noah got that omnipresent whisper in his beard to build a boat. A boat large and capacious enough to support ALL the animals in the fucking world, for six weeks).

More to the contemporary point, by allowing ourselves to accept received notions uncritically, we 'simplify' our worldview and 'understanding.' But, with a minor scratch of common sense, this fallacious illogic falls apart. If one actually engaged with the drivel of media 'news,' of political speakers and putative pundits, with PR of any sort, the ease with which the bullshit and inconsistencies and hypocrisy if not deceit are READILY apparent & revealed c/should shock people into sputtering tantrums--instead, we just 'hear' the talking points and tune out the rest.

Cognitive dissonance is the lingua franca of our uber-free society. We are too complacent, and complicit, to engage. Easy final example: the wounds of 9/11 and subsequent immediate emotional overcharge left many Americans ugly in their/our bloodlust--willfully saying, 'Fuck Afghanistan. We should bomb it to avenge our noble, innocent dead.' Or, 'so what if a couple guys in turbans got beat up in Indiana, the people are hurting and understandably thought all brown people in turbans are terrorists.' 'What do you mean, Our political actions have stirred Europe against us? We were the victims of 9/11. We won WWII for them. Fuck them.'

Al-Qaida was not Iraq. It doesn't take much to see the linguistic switch (clumsy at that) that, incredibly, shaped 'average' Americans' perception that there is/was NO DIFFERENCE between those who plotted & carried out the 9/11 attacks vs. the nation of Iraq.