I really don't know what to say about this.

Other than Richard Stallman is my hero.



I just checked the weather on the local news station's website; apparently it currently feels like NaN degrees outside. For the non-nerds reading, that's Not a Number. As in: does not compute. Welcome to Iowa. The irony of the situation is that 18 degrees is the highest we've seen in the last week; it is certainly a welcomed respite.

Despite this apparent glitch in the matrix, after 25 years in this state I feel that I've finally come to terms with the hellish abuse that is Iowa weather. Honestly, I've got no problem with the blast furnace humidity that exists from late June to early September. If you've ever hauled 600 pounds worth of amps and guitars into a windowless Phoenix coffee shop in mid-July, you know that any complaining about Iowa summers is feeble, at best. You also learn why native jungle dwellers are never wearing any clothes.

No, it's winter that has consistently deflated my balloon. This shit can really bring a soul down. I've never experienced Chinese water torture, but I imagine that it effects a similar madness as three months of Iowa winter. Apparently, the key to successful water torture is randomly timed drops. Too uniform a cadence, and it's not as effective. I think this correlates nicely with winter. It's the randomness that gets you in the end. Three days of nicer weather, and you're on top of the world. Everything is great. And then SLAM! you're inundated.

I'm getting better, though. This too shall pass. My brother has started a habit of not receiving any anesthetic before oral surgery. Some might call it masochism; he calls it learning that pain is as much an idea as it is a sensation. This outlook has informed my approach to winter. You've got to come at winter with an unflinching determination. You've got to look the motherfucker in the face and explain to it, in no uncertain terms, that it's your bitch. Suddenly, then, it doesn't feel as cold outside. Dress in layers, invest in some nice gloves and a scarf, and you'll be fine.

A gut full of Jameson doesn't hurt either.


this guy is smiling for a reason...

I'm not a bike guy.

Or, rather, in the spirit of Korzybski's general semantics, I have never exhibited traits that would typically be attributed to a "bike guy".

I've always filed bike guys in in the same drawer as photographers. Great to talk to individually, but avoid groups at all costs. I suppose that's unfair; nothing is as bad as a group of photographers.

I have, however, seen the light. The bicycle light.

I blame John.

You see, John recently lent me his Gary Fisher single speed (a nice bike). I'd never ridden anything as light or as nimble. It's graceful. It's got one gear; there's no shifting. Upon seeing this, I was dumbfounded; how would I ever make it up a hill? You just do. It's a thing of beauty.

I'm not sure why John lent me the bike. It's not a disposable bike. It's not a cheap bike. It's not a bike you lend to someone as prone to alcohol-induced memory lapses as me. It was--to be sure--a generous act of faith. I can't thank him enough.

I'm not sure, but I do have my suspicions as to why he did it. I think these bike guys are on to something, and they want to share it. Like a Taoist that doesn't proselytize, but simply acts in a manner that others might emulate, I think John is spreading the Good Word in his own way.

So now I'm building my own bicycle. Like the yuppie in the picture, I'm the proud owner of a 1973 Schwinn Continental. I didn't pay a damned dime for it; some hippy left it in my backyard. It's going to be, in the inimitable words of Ms. Hilton, hot. A single speed. With a coaster brake (yes, just like you had when you were four). No brake cables to route. No shift cables to run. No derailleurs, no tensioner, no kickstand. A bare frame and two wheels. Perfect.