Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?


I am not sure I felt it until last night. Sure, people talk about it, and by that I mean, they repeat what they saw on the news like parrots, but in the flesh it's a tad more visceral. As I entered the store, there was an erie (Will Smith in Legend) vibe I couldn't escape. Usually I am shaking off sales people like skeeters on a Southwood ride, but I could have yodeled like an Austrian girl in weird socks, and not raised a single employee. I moved upstream like Sheen looking for Brando, cautious but intent.


I finally wandered over to a perfume counter and asked to return the shirt. Without eye contact the sales girl accompanied me back to the men's department. She explained there were only two people on the entire floor and that the Christmas help had all been let go the previous day.


For the pre-Christmas price of my shirt I got a pair of pretentious designer jeans (my first ever pair, I'm a Levi's guy) a sweater (with a guys name on it) and a long john shirt with a vague saying and tattoo like artwork. I assume it was drawn by a mental patient in a Malaysian sweat shop. I can only imagine the marketing meeting that lead to someone deciding "Infested Waters" would be the perfect thing to have on a shirt. I wonder what phrases lost that battle, and the genius designer conversations that gave birth to this garment.


"Well I like Vodka Dialysis, but I am really feeling the Infested Waters....I don't know it just feels....SURFIE!"


Still, I felt like a lecherous vulture as I went to the counter with my ill gotten gains. I was in retail in 1988 when black Friday hit. I rearranged furniture on the Titanic, as the Mom and Pop store I worked for, bubbled to the inky depths. It's not fun being a sales person in troubled times.


Remarkably, I feel pretty good in my jazzy new duds. If the shit house goes up in smoke, I might as well look my best.


W.B.Z.N.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Things Become Extinct


The tree is down, and 107.9 has finally stopped spinning holiday songs. I managed to slip through another holiday relatively unscathed. Real life with all its cracks and blemishes has returned.


I got a couple gift certificates to Best Buy, and procured a copy of the third season of Northern Exposure. I popped it in yesterday and settled into the couch with a fresh iced tea, to let Chris and Joel solve all my ills, just like they used to. Right on cue the phone starts vibrating on the glass table. The Wormster was on his way home with a new idiot box, and needed a turbo caffeinated install from the W.B.. After all these years, I was not going to let the big man down, on the one occasion I could offer him a hand. I topped off the tannic acid bomb, added some saccharin, squeezed the citrus, and off to the races went I.


I forgot how much I loved unboxing gear and setting it up. Damn, that T.V. made me scratch my head. I have never been tempted to dump my old WEGA C.R.T. but, I was having adulterous thoughts after seeing Worm's new rig. He starts talking about how it's been five years since he worked at the shop. I haven't been a home theatre tweak for eleven. Time flies when you are trying to get a life.


Today Lil' W.B. and I headed out to get some trail time on his new ride and we ran into a new guy. He is checking out the clearly marked maps, and I inform him that he could get confused way faster by coming with us. I begin showing him the ropes out at Tom Brown and Cadillac. I channel Cliff Clavin as I tell him way more fun facts than he wants or needs, using grand gestures, and waving my hands all over hell and half of Georgia.

"We're losing all this..... this is going to be re-routed.....this used to be a plantation.....this all used to be an outlaw trail....It's a little known fact that the ancient Polynesians where the first to wheelie drop this section.."

I am sure the guy was ready to throw himself off a building, but I never let my audiences lack of enthusiasm deter me. On the way back home (after the requisite slushy, a W.B./Lil' W.B.. post ride tradition) I couldn't help but think everything is changing, and some of it ain't coming back.


My fork has been sagging (like the rest of me). I needed to get on line and do some research. How could that fork be three years old? I just bought it! The pages are ripping off my calender a little too quick.


After a nice dinner, I plopped down on the couch. The kids were killing Nazis on the X-Box, Mama was deep into some sad and tragic Lifetime Network movie, and the home theatre wasn't occupado. N.E. season three, was spinning in the carousel before you could whistle the moose theme.


"UH.....Why is the picture so grainy? Wheres the original music?"


I am slipping into the tar pit, and the fossil record, as we speak. Don't mind me as I thrash around. It will be over soon enough.


W.B.Z.N.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

Excitable Boy


What I consider good writing, always has one ingredient in the pot that bullies all others and gets to the buds first: snark. Juancho has it in delicious, intelligent, sprinkles and my new favorite witter/t.v. personality, Anthony Bourdain has it in buckets, but he knows just when to pour and when to dollop. I have always attributed the correct use of snark, as a supreme sign of intelligence, and the mark of a genuine article.


I posses more than my share and I think it dominates my speaking pattern more than my writing. As I have said before, if there is a filter between my head and lips, it is either broken of the setting is too low. I have thought for years that the multiple concussions and various other blows to the frontal lobe (where the emotional filter supposedly resides) have damaged the normal emotional response and made me what I am: a wise ass, snide, sometimes mean, and occasionally funny, person. To have snark and to use it wisely are two distinctly different attributes all together. *warning obvious bike tie in -so as to not lose core readers- approaching* It's like someone who rides well and fast, but can't get over logs. It's a subtle skill, honed over time, at great expense to the student, and the poor BASTARDS! that associate with them.


I know that nothing makes you folks happier than when I drone on and on about myself. I know that these exercises are about as endearing as a person that insists on telling what just came out of them and into the toilet. The reason dear reader (all four or five of you, if you count family members and pissed trail advocates, looking for encrypted insults to their efforts) is: I have a fear this trait will rear it's ugly head in the coming months, as I assume the position, I was voted into as a gag, by my fellow (BASTARD!) cycling com padres. I think they knew what they were doing when they spoke by ballot. I think they knew that I have this affliction for saying the obvious thing, that no one else would say, in the spirit of being polite and courteous. I think they they knew when they pulled the pin, and set the grenade on the dinner table. It was just what they had in mind. Maybe for entertainment, maybe for the Johnny Knoxvillish love of watching others writhe in anguish, but they knew how this movie would end. It's fun for the pin puller, not so much for the grenade. This is the reason I quit managing. It is why, when I try to be quiet at a meeting, (like Wednesday) I fold my arms. I am trying to keep the demon quiet. It is the part of my personality I loathe above all others, yet it is part of me none the less.



So I would like to apologize in advance for the wrongs I will certainly commit in the weeks and meetings to come. I am sure I will master the gaff to my fullest potential. Please know that I mean well and hope for the best, but like any caffeine addicted A.D.D. Turrets afflicted BASTARD!, I may yell "FUCK!" at any second in church. As always I will hold no grudges, as you dirty sons of bitches double over with laughter in the periphery.


BASTARDS!


W.B.Z.N.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Stuck In The Middle With You



There are some smart people that ride mountain bikes in this city. They all want the same thing, they just like some trails more than others. Cycling draws in a vast cross section of individually minded folks that might not be in the same room if the cycling thread didn't connect them. They came, they spoke, they were tolerant and promised to donate their time for the greater good of our sport and its venues. There is scepticism, because some have been staring in this movie (I just joined) for years, and they haven't been able to fix the script. I hope if we fail, that we at least get closer for the next group, and that passionate people take the flag and move forward. Progress is hard, but I find it motivating and inspirational that so many veterans came back to the table, even though history has not been kind to this local cause.


The experience I have wouldn't fill a thimble, but I am impressed by the first step, the pioneers and new talent that were in that room last night.

So we're letting go of the brakes and rolling into the technical section now......pick a line, commit, and ride down the trail.


(*insert motivational phrase about first steps here, with picture to match phrase*)


W.B.Z.N.
p.s. thanks for all the support while I am shedding my skin....don't worry the skin is new but (sorry) it's just the same old snake.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Feather In Your Cap

A public open house will be held on Tuesday, December 16 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Community Room at the Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Affairs main office, 912 Myers Park Drive, directly across from the Myers Park and Pool. This meeting is an opportunity for the public to provide the department input as well as receive information about the proposed project. Interested citizens are welcome to attend both the workshop and the open house at any time during the designated hours. For more information about the open house, how to participate in the workshop and for the location of the group at various times during the day, please call Chuck Goodheart at 933-6631 or the parks office during business hours at 891-3866. The City’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Affairs maintains both trails. For more information on these and other City trails and parks, please visit Talgov.com. Contact Chuck Goodheart, Parks and Recreation, 933-6631 or Bill Behenna, Communications, 891-8533 To receive news releases delivered straight to your email, sign up for the Talgov.com Email Subscription Service.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Friday, December 12, 2008

Last Goodbye


I have been thinking about Jeff Buckley, Chief Seattle, my brief stint as a bush league manager, and the idea behind this blog.


Jeff was famous for not wanting to be famous. He tried to stay true to his early roots (as a solo acoustic coffee house God) and did his first tour in little clubs playing solo for people who hardly knew him. He had a theory about playing for people that loved you all the time: what's the point? If you were really talented as an artist and you had something to say as a song writer, wouldn't any people, any where, want to hear it and respond? The hype he had wanted for so long was strangling him, and he fled to Memphis where his light finally went out.


Trinkets. They are the downfall of us all. Cell phones, cars, money guns, allies, liquor and external validation. If the trinket is dialed, and the salesman has a good pitch, all walk away from their principles like children off a playground to a strangers car. When the need is at it's most desperate and the temptation is strong, any person will abandon his path, art, or morals. It is sad to watch and even worse to experience first hand.


Chief Seattle had trouble holding off a local tribe, when he saw the first ship in the sound. Deals were struck. They helped him, he helped them and a chain was established that altered the fabric of everything he knew and held dear. We all know how these stories end, with a warrior on a reservation, looking back at a lost kingdom, wondering how things could have drifted so far, and how easy it was to sign in blood.


I believed I was a good person in the swirling toilet of the music world. I was determined to bring an honest approach to the demonic horde and I held my initial concepts close. I wanted more than anything to protect my band, in a way no one had ever done for me. I wanted to rectify all the bad decisions I had made as an artist, and punish the club they wouldn't let me join. And oh yeah, I wanted to get rich. What could possibly go wrong? When I met the band the youngest member was sixteen. His parents had to sign a letter of intent to let me be his manager. He once scolded me for taking the Lords name in vain at a studio. Fourteen months later, I walked in a Hollywood hotel room and found he and his model girlfriend, snorting cocaine off each other. I should have put up my hands, and taken that kid home, but there was a video to shoot, a single to break, a record to drop and I was so deep into my Arie Gold phase by then, it all seemed like a day at the office. The cat was in the cradle.


People want what they want, and the more powerful the desire, the greater the fall from grace. I really want to be a good writer. I want people read what I write. Now that a few people read my posts, I fear that I will offend someone and horror of all horrors, watch my comments dwindle. I fear I am in some kind of polite circle jerk and no one is saying how weird it is, for fear of rejection. You see, once you have fallen into the denial really hard, you are wary for the rest of your life....if you are lucky.


I want Juancho to post forever. I want him (for very selfish reasons) to entertain me, mention me in his blogs and to tell me what a great writer I am. Now I realize I am stealing his land, and telling him MTV will be great for his single, and all the other bullshit things people say when they want you to do what is right for them, and bad for the artist. I went into the jungle to get him, and now I am wearing a grass skirt. I'd hate to see him go, but I'd rather read his book than laugh about how funny our ride at Munson was. Maybe the golden age of his blogs, and the many spin offs has peaked. Maybe we all need to decide if we are writers or bloggers. Maybe it's a good night of karaoke, but we aren't singers. Time will tell, but for now, I am scratching my head and wondering if I fell again.


W.B.Z.N.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Act Now Heres How

Riders: The Public is Invited to a Workshop and Open House on Proposed Trail Changes - The City of Tallahassee Department of Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Affairs will host two public meetings so citizens may review and comment on proposed changes to bicycle and pedestrian trails in Tom Brown Park and Lafayette Heritage Trail Park. The changes include rebuilding and improving the Cadillac and Magnolia mountain bike trails. At the meetings, the public may offer their input on the proposed changes. City staff will be present to discuss the proposed trail revisions as well as a proposed application for funding through the state Recreational Trails Program. A public on-site workshop and trail walk with Woody Keen, president of the design company Trail Dynamics, will be held Saturday, December 13 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Those wishing to attend need to meet at the Magnolia Trailhead, adjacent to the BMX track in Tom Brown Park. The workshop will discuss sustainable trail design, current problems, opportunities, potential facility improvements and other ideas. A public open house will be held on Tuesday, December 16 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Community Room at the Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Affairs main office, 912 Myers Park Drive, directly across from the Myers Park and Pool. This meeting is an opportunity for the public to provide the department input as well as receive information about the proposed project. Interested citizens are welcome to attend both the workshop and the open house at any time during the designated hours. For more information about the open house, how to participate in the workshop and for the location of the group at various times during the day, please call Chuck Goodheart at 933-6631 or the parks office during business hours at 891-3866. The City’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Affairs maintains both trails. For more information on these and other City trails and parks, please visit Talgov.com. Contact Chuck Goodheart, Parks and Recreation, 933-6631 or Bill Behenna, Communications, 891-8533 To receive news releases delivered straight to your email, sign up for the Talgov.com Email Subscription Service.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Someone Like You

I have a couple things I need to cover. I hope you will hang in until the end, as they are unrelated, and equally important. So join me won't you?


I.

This incredibly happy kid, is my youngest son's friend Jarrod. He is a really nice kid, in spite of some tough living conditions. His Mom is a single parent, that works nights as a nurse. Jarrod goes to school every day and then when he gets home, he takes care of his sister. She has seizures and requires constant observation and medication. Jarrod looks after her from five in the afternoon, til his Mom gets home at five in the morning. The one bright spot in his day is: riding his bike to and from school.

Lil W.B. made me aware that he had a flat, and my wife told his Mom, that I would fix it in a jiff. When I got a look at the bike, it was clear it was headed for the junk heap. Nothing worked, everything was rusted, and both wheels were out of true. I did what everyone else in town does when they reach dead ends that involve bicycles, I called Big Worm.

One thing I really love about the big man is: he gives good assessments minus the emotional and sociopolitical baggage that keep most of us from making accurate surveys of the landscape. If you have never read this waste of Internet space, you may not know the Worm is the best bike mechanic, in this quadrant of the solar system. He is the guy mechanics bring their bikes to when they can't fix them. To have him fix your bike is like, seeing the swallows come back to Capistrano, like running with the Bulls, like seeing an eclipse in Nova Scotia, it is a thing you must do before you kick off this rock. If you ride a bike and live here, you are a bovine idiot for not having him tune your bike. You are deprived of a sublime pleasure, and I must insist that you stop reading and never come back, until you rectify this gross error in judgement. Now that you are properly informed, you can imagine the punch in the stomach I felt when he raised his eyebrows and said:
"I dunno man. I'll check it out but, it don't look good."
Short story is: Worm took this bike into his mystic shed of alchemy and after cavorting with supernatural forces (that mere mortals dare not speak of) he emerged with a bike that not only worked, but worked damn well. That's why the kid is smiling. We gave him a helmet for good measure.

Thanks Big Man, I owe you an entree' of Mexican goodness and a margarita grin.

II.
Back when I was a manager (I'll wait til you all let out a collective moan...BASTARDS!) I used to tell the boys:
"If it was easy, anyone could do it."
This sums up how I feel about most of the activities in my life. I like to do stuff that is hard. Stuff that makes normal folks shake their heads, and move a few steps away from me. This is why I ride mountain bikes. I like unruly, root riddled climbs, that offer fifty, fifty odds. I like to ride Tom Brown, because it pisses you off when you ride it badly. When ride it well, it is something that makes you feel special, and proud. Why? Because not everyone can do it. Cadillac used to be that way, but now it has been tamed with nice, groomed single track, devoid of the roots, obstacles and wildness. It is manicured, and easily negotiated by strollers and multiple dogs, frolicking wildly off leashes. The trail is about as fringe as a shopping spree at Target, or riding a Harley Davidson. The danger is controlled and the thrill is there, but like tattoos, it's mainstream, (and sorry dude) it ain't as cool.

I am not so naive as to believe things never change. Most of our trails were once Motocross trails, that caved to mountain bikes, which split off into hiking, horse, and multi use pedestrian paths, where almost no one is one hundred percent happy. We have a lot of folks that quit smoking, lost weight and can't wait to get in the woods and cast incredulous stares at the most hated of all trail users.......mountain cyclists.

In the midst of all this chaos, good hearted souls are doing their best to balance all the interests in this ever changing world we ride in. Next week the decisions will be made on how, and what is done to Cadillac, and Tom Brown. I urge you to get involved, unless you want the whole thing covered with gazebos, and flower beds. Do the research, and find a link you lazy, uninvolved, bike riding.... BASTARDS!

III.
Lastly (thanks for staying, please tip your bartenders and waitresses) the reason that everyone in this town, and some people out of town, have a bike blog ....JUANCHO! is in the grips of a literary crisis. I could expound on the many reasons for this low spot in his curve, but I will abstain, and jump right to the point. This guy makes my day more with an average vague post, than most people do at their absolute best, in Olympic form. Blogs like his, remind us that there is a dividing line between the McDonald's eating, Walmart shopping, pro wrestling watching, unwashed Cretans and us, his unworthy readers. He is a ray of hope, that makes it possible to wade through the mediocre bullshit filled trenches, of which most of my days are composed. Please go over and implore him, to continue throwing pearls to all of us swine. I just can't weather another loss to my routine. I've already lost Northern Exposure and The West Wing, I'VE GOT NO PLACE ELSE TO GO!!!!!! To ride/read with him and become the object of his well honed wit/blog is..... well.... like getting Worm to tune up your bike. It is an institution that must be preserved at all costs, human and monetary. Go over there and throw your pathetic blog bodies on his altar, or I swear to (Deity of choice) I will hunt you all down like DOGS!

That is all.....now get out of here, and do GOOD!

W.B.Z.N.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Yellow

PLUS

EQUALS



W.B.Z.N.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Darkness On The Edge Of Town


My whole family has been sniffling and coughing around the house for three weeks. I have been hitting the Zycam, and bleaching everything in my path, trying to hold back the advance of little wigglies that want me sick. Yesterday, I was with Lil W.B. home sick from school. I took some sinus meds and passed out watching William S. Burroughs dreams swim through my head, like snakes. I rallied around four, and started slamming iced teas. One call to Slade, and a ride was planned.


We lolly gagged out to Caddy, with a plan to knock off Alford Arm before we were legally in the dark, in hopes of not being harassed by the Jack Boot Law Crew, we met out there last week. Slade and I were talking and laughing it up. We were still conserving batteries, and running wide eyed, when we came around a corner to see a guy crouched in the dark waiting to kill us. Well... that was the image I had, when I screamed (not like a little girl, as Derwood would for a spider, or B.C./B.D. would for a snake) like the wuss that I am. Some poor guy had just fallen in the woods, and was dusting himself off, as we tried to run him over in the dark. He was probably thinking "at least no one saw me" as the scream of horror ruptured his ear drums. Heart rate: 195bpm, ssmf (shammy skid mark factor): 9.5. I told the guy he scared the shit out of me, because I wasn't sure if the blood curdling scream was clear enough proof.


Jeez....we continued on to Alford arm. I stopped to get a piece of tree out of my drive train when I hear Slade say (like a Ghost Hunter investigator):

"Shhh....Did you hear that?"

"Hear what?" Says I.

"Sounded like........" Slade leaves a dramatic pause, a little to long for certain short, impatient, cyclists.

"Like WHAT?" Demands I.

"Like a person." says Slade, to calmly for my tastes.

I clipped in, and so began the fastest traverse of the Bucket Loop in recorded history. I dare my loyal readers to provide documentation, to discredit this fact!


We get to Cadillac and since my pulse was already somewhere between meth addict and G.M. executive waiting for news of a bailout, I decided to drop the hammer for the remaining section of deep dark forest. Not a word was uttered from either of your intrepid MTB heroes. We tried to do the hard climb by the cars (not Cadillacs as their trail's name sake would imply). We nearly made it, but sadly, Slade planted the seed of doubt in my melon, and I dabbed on the last root. Obscenities ensued and we headed back to the relative safety of Tom Brown.


The runoff barriers for the new planned construction (destruction) by the Oak Tree Climb, put a foreboding shadow on our exit from the woods. Since we weren't sure we'd ever get another shot at the beloved climb, we headed back up the hill in homage.


After a slow stroll back to Fern, and the drop off point for Slade, I was back on the road alone, cold, hungry, and sore legged. All in all, with the sadness of the impending rape of Tom Brown aside, it was a great ride.

Weather it's a crouched killer, a disembodied voice, or a big yellow trail destroying machine, the monsters are out there friends. You just have to ride out in the dark and find them.


W.B.Z.N.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Money


The world is feeling the pinch of the current failing economy (careful, don't say the "R" word). I was in the music business which folded in on itself in 2005, so I got a little head start on the rest of you posers.

We believed in the times of economic boon that we were smarter than people that made less money. Any argument could be settled purely by reciting our 1099 bottom line. You would hear people say things like;
"That poor Bastard only makes....(x amount) ......poor Bastard."
From that moment forward he or she had nothing to say of any value. Everyone was trying to network with the stupid rich person, who was suddenly instilled with all the knowledge in the world, because he was a consultant at a firm with an upward graph line.

I used to have forty dollar breakfasts at the Time Hotel. I used to hand my bike over to the shop and tell them to; "Just fix everything and let me know what I owe ya." Now, I better get a call with an estimate or a midget wrestling match is going to break out by Lake Ella. That's life in the new economic frontier. The Emperor is nekked!

It is a positive product of the the down turn (skipped the "R" word again) that the playing field is no longer divided by the grand chasm as it once was. I think this is great. It's not so easy to look down ones nose at others. I love watching the people that could talk of nothing but the lack of good caterers, cutting coupons with the rest of us (that's right I have been one of us for four years now....I'm local). To all of you I say: Welcome back, we been waiting for you. Feel free to conserve gas now that you can't afford it and say you are being "Green". We won't yell "Bullshit!" when you say you are trying to simplify and lessen your footprint because, darn it, it's good for the world. Sit right here next to me, I am a recovering asshole just like you.


The Romans are peeling their own grapes and I applaud them for it.



W.B.Z.N.