Friday, July 18, 2008

Fixed-Gear Follies

So I've voiced my distrust of fixies before, but today I actually rode with somebody who was on one of the things. It was even weirder watching it up close. So I asked a bunch of questions and the guy was like, "You wanna try it?" As I was inspecting it, he related his near-death experience of revving up really fast on Colfax and then trying to coast.


So I hopped on. I can't say it was comfortable - that whole facing down thing never really meshed with me. And his handlebars were about four inches across. Really tiny. Once I realized how to pilot the damn thing, I took off down the street really, really fast. And did nearly the same thing that he had done his first time. I revved ahead hard and after a time just stopped pedaling and went to leave my legs in a neutral position. They were still clipped in, so I almost rolled the damn thing. It really got the adrenaline pumping. I got off soon afterwards.

I won't say that I distrust the things anymore than I used to, but I do know one thing: If challenged to a race with a fixie, I will most certainly decline. They'll win every time.

Remember: They can't coast.

To truly understand why the things are so popular, this article is a good read. I'm saying this all tongue-in-cheek, because I know that I'm just the sort of guy who might buy one of these damn bikes and fall in love.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

1, 2, 3, 4

I quite accidentally (sort of) ended up at a Feist concert tonight. It was at the Fillmore on Colfax, which is a pretty cool joint. It's in my neighborhood, so I should have probably seen at least one show by now. I've lived here long enough, eh?

The opening act was the Golden Dogs, a Toronto grouping of happy. Their keyboardist reminded me much of a very old friend. They're worth checking out, even thought they are from Canada, read: the Enemy.

But then again, Leslie Feist is Canadian, too, so it's all good.

The show was quite enjoyable, really. She had these two women in the back doing little shadow games on a projector. They had little bits of colored glass and smeary stuff and branches. It really added to the more cathartic elements of the show. If you've never seen her sing, she moves her face around quite a bit, going wide in the mouth and then ducking away from the mic for some reason. All in all, it was a grand show, with grand friends.

My only guilt comes from the fact that I kept pretending that she was Regina Spektor.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Paris, Je T'aime

Finally got around to watching this fantabulous film. I knew it was all about "vignettes," but there are 18 of the damn things! And unlike other films that attempt such super-dimensional wanderings, PJT really doesn't try to connect any of the people. A few of them meet at the end, and it's assumed that in some strange (and strangely Parisian) way, they will all be connected in some way.

I thoroughly enjoyed all of them. Some were so aggressively minimalist that I wanted to shriek, but on the whole they were nearly perfect. Midway through, a vignette by Nobuhiro Suwa features Juliette Binoche remembering her dead son. Willem Defoe plays a magical cowboy who comes to take away her child('s soul?) and leave her in peace. It was terribly heartwrenching to watch, but it was followed immediately by a magically-real vignette about a child relating the story of his parents. They were mimes who met in jail. First I'm crying about this dead boy, then I'm laughing and crying my eyes out over these beautifully insane mimes. I think it is patently unfair to jerk me around like that. I will be placing this film in the top level of my Brain Queue.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Grand Inquisitor's Bloodless Lips

Read through Dostoevsky's Grand Inquisitor (Chapter 5 from The Brothers Karamazov) for class tonight. It's been some time since I've thought about the sheer strangeness of the piece. In the past, I've been drawn to it because of the fantastic imagery and near epic weight of what Ivan is saying. Any Dostoevsky is worth reading, but this little chapter carries so much with it.

Did He (Jesus, presumably) make the right decision(s) during the Temptation, or should he have accepted the provocations of Lucifer? The chapter is really a keen little thing, all at once pointing a stern finger at the perceived evils of the Church while at the same time acting as a brilliant psychosocial commentary on fifteen-hundred years of history.

Ivan, quoting the Grand Inquisitor of his "poem," says, "Thou didst not come down, for again Thou wouldst not enslave man by a miracle, and didst crave faith given freely, not based on miracle."

Sweeeeeee(in some fashion)eeeeeeeet. I guess; Wikipedia's entry mentions the ambiguity of the piece. I agree.