Saturday, May 26, 2007

On riding bikes and misguided authority.

It was a sunny and calm day in North Park. We gathered at the favorite of the local watering holes. We came together at the one bar with the Outside, the big windows, great tap selection, and Billiards. The drinks glistened in our glasses as the felt of the pool tables beckoned a grassy, tempting, fading blue-green. We played leisurely as a friend of my friend regaled me with his tale.

He is tall, this friend-of-a-friend, at least six-foot-four. He has bright eyes, an enthusiastic manner, and a scarecrow frame. He wears his straight corn-silk hair to his chin. His bearing screams Nordic, and his demeanor confirms it. He is also very good at telling stories.

He was riding his bicycle home one evening before dusk, when, in the middle of a large Avenue, he was “pulled over” by a policeman in a motor vehicle: a police car to be exact. He asked the officer, just to be sure, that he really was being pulled over. He: on a bicycle, the officer: in a car. It was true. And so this friend of my friend acquiesced and slowed to a stop, setting his left foot down onto the ground to balance himself. He didn’t get off of the bicycle.

The officer got out of the car (side note: is it illegal to get off one’s bike in this situation, I have to wonder?) and approached this tall jovial man riding his bicycle home to his family: laden with fresh produce and a crisp baguette. The officer cited a lack of lights; the man countered, “it is not yet dark, sir.” It didn’t seem to matter. The officer threatened to write him a ticket for having no additional light on the front of his bike. All he had was the stock reflectors. This friend of my friend was having trouble understanding how this was really that big of a deal and trying to reason his way out of this ridiculous and expensive situation. His cell phone rang in his pocket. He grabbed it and saw that it was his wife. He turned it on and held it to his ear.

“Put your hands in the air right now!” he heard the officer shout at the same time that he heard the loud click of a hammer sliding into place and saw the policeman shift a small heavy handgun into his sights and set it on him.

“it’s just my cell phone!” the friend of my friend shouted, “my wife!” as he dropped the phone on the pavement; his wife on the other side, listening. He raised his hands straight into the air and left them there. Cars and pedestrians milled about. The officer looked mighty stupid.

The officer offered no apology; said nothing and did not move for a full minute after he slowly lowered his gun. The friend of my friend, who, I was starting to realize, almost just got shot by one jackass, trigger-happy, half-wit numb-nuts with a government issued weapon, just stood there terrified and dumbfounded. He turned to the officer and told him that he had made a huge mistake; that he would no longer – ever – trust a police officer again. He took his badge number and name and complained to the department, vehemently. I don’t know what’s happening to the officer. This is just a hearsay retell, but I hope his dangerous most-likely hopped-up self got fired but quick.

That’s some crazy sh*t, man.

So. . .A few days back (a few days after I heard this story), I bought two lights for my bike because of what happened to him. I knew that with the weather getting warmer and my favorite hang-out still being in north park, that I would be riding my bike a lot and most likely at night. I didn’t want to get pulled over by some poop-for-brains because I wasn’t fully compliant. So I went to the store (not my favorite; unfortunately they were closed because the husband half of the couple that owns the place got in a motorcycle accident and broke his scapula. He’s a motorcycle policeman, but he wasn’t on duty at the time. I just at this very second realized how ironic it is, within the confines of these stories, that he is a cop. I hadn’t even thought about it. Weird).

I bought two lights: the front light is white and the back one is red. I keep the front one on solid and blinkity-blink the back one, alerting all would-be death machines to take note and avoid running into me. I rode home tonight at night for the first time in a long, long time. It’s my favorite time to be on a bicycle. I really like riding over the canyon. The big slow dip to the middle and then the gradual climb that makes me work a little bit. It’s better when there are no cars. I feel safer and I can ride with the wind in my face and my thoughts running astray. With my thin zip-up hoodie, tonight my temperature was golden. Sometimes riding a bike; like swinging on a swing or swimming in rivers and oceans; makes me feel like a little kid again. When I rejoice in the pure feeling of wind in my face or the gentle resistance of water against my palm. Maybe this is what I’m truly seeking. . .(we’ll save that tangent for later. . .)

I was riding up a gradual incline towards the last leg to home; loving the feeling of nighttime riding like I haven’t felt it in a long time. (Madison this is a shout-out to you!), my head was tilted back and mouth opened wide to take in the sky flowering trees tinted amber from the streetlights.

I pedaled hard and heard the plane long before I saw it. I heard it come up on me like the huge metal beast it was, slow and steady and single-minded. I looked up as it apexed above me, flying in the exact direction I was pedaling. I couldn’t tell what airline it was from but I knew I wanted to race it.

I could see the jet streams leaving the engines as the orange and blue plane screamed overhead. I lost it far before I had gone half a block, but I had fun romanticizing the plane all the same, pedaling hard as my legs would suffer, feeling the wind in my hair and the noise of the roaring engine fill my soul; I wanted to be flying. I raced and chased that plane and then looked straight ahead at the T- intersection stop sign super-fast approaching and the police car waiting patiently to my left, its driver looking straight at me. I skidded to a stop right at the stop sign and waited a full three seconds there as I let him go first. My heart was pounding. He looked me over carefully, surveying the scene.

To this minute I thank my little white light for saving me from the terrible fate of my friend’s friend. That police officer looked at me and kept on driving. He knew I wasn’t into any trouble. I am in compliance with the bicycle laws of the road! I rode all the way home, carried my bicycle upstairs, and all is well in the neighborhood.

[Moral of this story: Who is policing the police?]

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Crustacean Records Showcase at the Inferno

Last Friday night at the Inferno was the first of two Crustacean Records showcase shows. The Gusto lit the floor on fire with some very tight Punk Rock which had me itching to start shoving those few who were around me. Screamin' Cyn Cyn as always brought the party and plenty of wonderful costumes to gawk at. Drunk Drivers lived up the their name by drinking, a lot! They played an extremely long set, which I really enjoyed for the first half. Then either I was tired from a week of staying out late, they were too drunk, or they were playing old material, but I was starting to loose interest. I took a gamble and bought their latest CD the next day at B-side and it really was worth the risk. I recommend you check them out online.

Here are some vids that I shot with my moderately aging digital camera.

The Gusto

Screamin' Cyn Cyn and the Pons - Jimmy & Darlene

Drunk Drivers - Get Ahead

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Cause beer just makes laundry that much easier!

So last Monday I was starting to run drastically low on socks and underwear. We’re talking on the verge of wardrobe recycling. I am a guy, but I still have a hard time putting on socks that still hold the shape of my foot a week ago.

I don’t want to do laundry. I never want to do laundry. I’d rather shit pennies and make change for $5, than sit in the hot Laundromat folding clothes that are just going to be unfolded and hung up when I get home. I really don’t know why, but it’s like pulling teeth for me. Good thing it’s trumped by my disdain for “man-stink” on my person.

Maybe Sconnie can help me. Yes, yes! $1.50 PBR’s at The Plaza!

I sweet-talked my roommate with the words “$1.50 PBR” and she was convinced instantly.

The plan was simple: I load the truck with our laundry and my bike. She rides her bike to Laundry 101 where we meet up. We start our laundry and then bike to The Plaza.

The Plaza was sort of dead, but it was 8pm on a Monday. The PBR’s were cold, refreshing, and plentiful. We downed two each before heading back to dry our clothes.

We found some dryers that still worked. *Seriously, why is Laundry 101 going ghetto? I still go there because there is a lot of young beautiful people who do their laundry and no homeless people trying to steal your underwear, but why do half the machines not work? I pay a premium price for a premium laundry facility, why can’t they repair their shit? So, rant aside, we got the threads spinning and hit the bikes back to the bar.

They had switched the TV to Futurama when we returned and commenced to drink again. It was after my third PDR that I realized the sign for the special read:

PBR 1 for $1.50 or 3 for $5

It even took me a second to do the math, or maybe the PBR was trying to do the calculation. “WAIT A MINUTE!” I thought, you sneaky bastards.

We ordered a large fries, which cost $1.25. It wasn’t heaping, but still a fair amount for the price. They were pretty tasty, and much better than the wavy fries I used to live on at the Paradise.

Beer number 5 down, and our laundry sitting still getting wrinkly, we hit the bikes back to 101. Folding, the most cursed part of laundry was not so bad after 5 beers. I can’t say the same for the quality of my folds.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Google Maps just ignores the Mexicans

Is it just me, or did Mexico disappear?

Lately I've been fascinated by my friend's road trip through Mexico to Guatemala. Day dreaming the day away, I decided to cruise the world vicariously through Google Maps and trace the path down to Guatemala.

I'm scrolling down the west coast, imagining the warm air rushing past me and my Honda, as I cruise through San Diego and approach the Mexican border. Then, suddenly the road is gone and I'm driving on dirt into a baren land, devoid of any cities, villages, or infrastructure of any kind. I feel like I'm Mad Max, and I have no idea where to find more gas.

My phone rings, and I'm back at my bland desk, surrounded by bland cubical walls, under bland fluorescent light.

"Where the hell is Mexico?", I ask myself as my phone keeps pleading for my attention. There is the placeholder for Mexico, but nothing is in it. No roads, no towns, not even Mexico City. I scroll farther past the baron digital land mass, only to find more placeholders for Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. It's not until I'm deep in the jungles of South America before I discover that Brazil has a highway system, and towns and cities. But it seems that only Brazil has any cities in South America!

Did I miss something here, or was Brazil the only one who slept with Google in order to appear on the maps?

Maybe it's different on Google Earth, which I cannot use at work. I've done some searching, but I can't find any articles about this apparent "lack" of information. Drop a comment if anyone knows what's behind this stink.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Extreme "LOADED" Makeover!

Oh Ty Pennington. It sure must be hard walking in your shoes. You help so many people. You take those families who are down on their luck and you wave your magical hammer, POOF a brand new house! Entire neighborhoods cheer you on as the family cries and everyone gets hugs, even the three legged dog "Hobbles". They cheer you on, that is, until they get their new property tax evaluation.

You don't want to raise the neighborhoods taxes, you just want to help out those in need. Maybe, if you help real hard, someone might try and help you.

What about Ty?
What about his feelings?
Whose gonna worry about him?

Ole' mister liquor worries about you.
He can help you out, just look for the answers in the bottom of the bottle.

Those lousy cops who booked you don't care.
They only care about the community that you were drunk driving in.

Not you.
You're just a case number and a finger print to them.

It's okay Ty.
I know you can build a bigger house next episode.

Leather & Lace 05/05/07

Saturday night everyone let their freak out. Art students, sales reps, baristas, accountants, and janitors. They all reveled in their wild side and fed on the crowds energy while dancing with reckless abandon.

Here are some shots from the night and some old and new friends.

Inhibitions left at home, along with our 9-5 clothes. No popped collars, no VIP lines, no dress code, no pretension.

Just fun.

Jesus has returned, so you claim

Dr. Jose Luis De Jesus Miranda, 61, filled an amphitheater in Orlando, FL on Saturday claiming to be Jesus reincarnated.

Apparently "Jesus" was born in Puerto Rico and is a recovering heroin addict who has spent time in prison for drug and theft charges.

Well, I guess the old Jesus had a thing against fig trees.

Matthew 11:13 And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. 11:14 And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it. ---------- 11:20 And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots.

The strange part is that all of "Jesus'" followers have 666 tattooed on their hands! Call me ignorant, but Hollywood has spent many a years teaching me that 666 was the number of the Beast. And a bad way to fill a plot hole.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Pale Young Gentlemen

If you have not seen them yet, then you must soon.

It was a warm Tuesday night at Cafe Montmartre and my first taste of Pale Young Gentlemen. I must say I'm hooked. I'm not sure how to describe them, but just watch the video below for a taste.

Then go here to their MySpace page.
Add them as a friend.
Send them a comment about their awesomeness, and that Craig sent you.

They wont know who Craig is.

Neither will you.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Kid Rock! I thought he was dead?

Wasn't this over-hyped rock star buried with all the other things wrong with the 90's?

Maybe this is just proof that he is.

For all you Yahoo Mail users, you may recognize this picture from when you sign into your mail account. They use all these different stock photos of people having fun and living their life, while you sit at work, or home, hoping somebody sent you something, anything, that could brighten your day.

Yahoo mail will bring eternal happiness, and your friends to the beach. (I guess WiFi puts a hole in my cynicism)

As these pictures change throughout the day, every once in a while I come across this one. This has to be Kid Rock. Is it not?

Guess a cowboy's gotta make his pay somehow.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Wet Pants

Last night I checked out the MATC portfolio show, after splitting a pitcher of margarita with my roommate at Frida's.

Yes, Monday happy hour = 1/2 price margaritas and appetizers! (and you don't have to deal with Pedro's cliental)

Storm clouds were looming outside and lighting was flashing from across the lake. I decided it would be best to get home now, before having to ride my motorcycle in the rain.

Too late.

It's pretty exciting, and not always in the good way, to ride in the rain. It was a cold April shower, and my balls felt as if they were on ice. Everything was slick, and I tried my best to take things slow, but that didn't stop a fishtail on the downshift. That is when your adrenal gland reminds you that you're still alive, but not for long if you're not careful. I held my shit and pulled out of it okay. The rest of the drive was an extra 5mph slower.

Both balls made it home safe.