Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Vibing Hard: Keeping it Positive

Hey guys! So stoked to be here, and super stoked on bikes and riding bikes and all the great people and stuff it involves. That's because biking (pronounced "bi-keeen") is awesome. Some things do bum me out though, like when I check my Twitter feed for more positive vibes and then see a negative "Tweet" like this:

So, like, I'm a positive person? The kind of person who phrases statements as questions? And who calls cycling "bi-keen?" So maybe that's why I don't understand how a video could make you hate bicycles? Especially when the video is totally positive and awesome, because I totally watched it and it totally made me even more stoked on bi-keen than I already am:

From the opening line, I knew I'd love this video:

"San Francisco loves biking."

Wait, you guys love biking? So do I! And when I say I love it, I mean I really love it. I also love awesome "B-roll," like rent-a-bike tourists throwing "doucheclamation points:"

We've all heard the saying, "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." It's falsely attributed to Mark Twain, but it was actually a bon mot uttered by insane Ugandan president Idi Amin during one of his lavish cannibalistic banquets. And when Idi Amin quipped, you laughed. And when he claimed he was Mark Twain, you agreed with him. Or else.

Well, the longest ride I ever took was a trip across the Golden Gate Bridge, when I had to trudge my way through wave after wave of rental bike tourist, like some character in an absurd action movie who must single-handedly fight off an entire attacking army. This bridge is, of course, famous for its suicides, and during my fool's errand I came to understand why, for I very nearly gave up all hope and took the plunge into the icy waters below. In fact, one of the rental bike tourists actually stopped to take my picture as I sobbed, since spotting a jumper on the Golden Gate Bridge is like seeing the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, or witnessing a good old-fashioned dirty raincoat masturbator on the New York City subway.

But I pulled myself together, and steeled my nerve, and girded my loins (good thing I had that dirty raincoat with me), and eventually made it across. I'm sure if you'd spotted me I would have looked like this woman, also a "B-roll" extra in the above video, who appears to be fighting a gale force wind:

Oddly though nobody else seems to be affected. Perhaps she's the victim of a curse which causes her to be buffeted by wind at all times, no matter where she is. You can't help feeling bad for her when you see her fighting her way out of one of those fancy coffee houses on Valencia in her slicker, like she's Mark Wahlberg in "The Perfect Storm," and she spills her latte all over herself like she does each and every morning. The whole thing's just so tragically Sisyphean.

Of everyone in this video though I related the most to the Duder with a Fam:

(Duder with a Fam makes a "duderclamation point.")

Duder with a Fam is just a duder with a fam, and he open-hand-points towards a glorious and duderly future.

By the way, "duder" is just the word "dude" with a douchefier suffix, but if you look it up in the Urban Dictionary, you'll see that this is also one of the definitions:

I can emphatically state that, in using the word "duder," I in no way meant to evoke anything even remotely like the above. Where does a duder even come up with something like that, anyway?

Anyway, being a positive person who's stoked on bi-keeen and all, I also like to support grass-roots efforts to create cycling-related projects that are charming but also, by and large, useless--provided, of course, that they're positive ("positive" oftentimes being something of a euphemism for "useless"). And what could be more positive than a shirt thanking drivers for not hitting you?

Actually, it's super positive:

Thank You for Seeing Me is a message for all of us who share the road. Through a positive exchange of gratitude our goal is simple. TYFSM acknowledges you with a kind reward…a “Thank You” has the potential to go a lot further than a criticism or demand to be seen.

I do sincerely believe that all commuters--cyclists, drivers, ElliptiGOers--should strive to raise their consciousnesses and learn to coexist peacefully and harmoniously. However, I personally draw the line at thanking complete strangers for doing something that is a fundamental human requirement, which is to watch where the fuck they're going. Thanking people is a social gratuity, so by thanking them for seeing us we're effectively implying that they've done something extra-special. This in turn lowers our social standards as to what is indeed fundamental and basic behavior. It's like tipping them for poor service. If we start thanking people for seeing us, what's next? "Thank you for not shooting me?" "Thank you for not spitting on me?" "Thank you for not cooking and eating me, Mr. Amin?" If a driver pulls up next to me at a light and offers me a Snapple, maybe I'll thank him. But I'll thank him for seeing me just as soon as he thanks me for not urinating in his gas tank.

Marginally more practical is this handmade (or duder-made) decorative bike-hanging box:

Though I'm not sure I really needed to know any of this:

Also, I moved in with the girlfriend a few months ago and lost my wood shop. So, I have been working in the second bedroom next to the kitchen. I think it is pretty convenient being close to the kitchen, but she does not see it that way, so I was thinking of renting a garage spot. Plus, my time is very limited in there if the neighbors are home, due to noise.

Just say you need to rent a new workspace, the rest is what they call "TMI."

Speaking of TMI, there's also a similar condition known as "TMD," or "Too Many Drawings," which is what will inevitably come out of this project:

Basically, the artist is going to spend a year riding across the country and making drawings of the trip. Sounds like fun, but why should you support him? Because it's actually a poignant commentary about the fallacy of the "American Dream:"

The conventional ‘American Dream’ isn’t working right now. Hard work alone doesn’t guarantee prosperity with the current unemployment rates. I’ve been barely scraping by since I graduated with my MFA.

What kind of sick, topsy-turvy times are these when you can't automatically strike it rich with an MFA? Surely the American Dream is dead. I 'member back in the days when a feller [old-timey variant of "duder"] could leave school with an MFA and get hisself a job just about anywheres. All's a man needed in them days was a strong back, some fire in his belly, and a demonstrable proficiency in an artistic medium such as painting, drawing, photography or sculpture. Hell, when I left the navy I brung my portfolio straight to the nearest iron works. Foreman said he hadn't seen anything so moving since the German expressionists, and I was pulling in a six-figure salary within a fortnight. I guess them days is gone, this Obammer feller's gonna be the ruination of America, mark my words.

Yes, the times they are a-changing. In fact, they're a-changing so fast that a reader informs me tiny houses are already "out," and narrow houses are now "in:"

He's definitely going to need one of those bike-hanging boxes.


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