Friday, July 30, 2004 at 10:12:48 (EDT)

When you cycled by, here began all my dreams
I finally talked to some guy (at the new bar Rope) who owns a fixed-gear, single-speed bike. I've been seeing an increasing number of these gizmos around town over the past couple of years, and still find it baffling it's so popular. If you haven't kept up with important trends in the bicycle world, you might not know that one of the more popular options these days is no options at all.

The fixed-gear, singles speed bicycle has no derailleur, because it only has one gear. You have a big sprocket in front, and a smaller on on the rear wheel and that's it. Also lacking from a standard bike is the freewheel, the device that allows the rear wheel to spin independently from the pedals. This means you can't "coast" on a FG/SS bicycle; the pedals are always in motion when the rear wheel turns. Some of these bikes have no brakes at all, but most have one brake on the front wheel. It was suggested that these bikes are the same as the track bikes seen in the climactic race scene from Breaking Away, but there are subtle differences between them. But to us who had never ridden either type it's all pretty much the same.

The guy we were talking to said the hardest part of riding a FG/SS was getting used to not being able to coast. Initially he got bucked off the bike when coming to a stop, as the natural inclination is to coast to a stop. Considering how much time I spend coasting on my Raleigh Twenty, this must be a hard habit to break.

So why would anybody put themselves through the torture of a bicycle that is basically the same design as bicycles from over 100 years ago? Why deny the technological advance in gear physics and for god's sake, why forsake the freewheel? Who doesn't like coasting down a hill?

The guy at the bar said these bikes require almost no maintenance. There's no delicate machinery to fret over, and because the chain never leaves its two sprockets, it doesn't fall off as easily. But obviously those can't be the only reasons. From what I've read, FG/SS riders experience a very different ride from us regular folk. The closest correlative I can think of is the difference between people who drive manual transmission cars vs. the automatic transmission people. On a FG/SS you know that every move you make is your own, there's no feeling of cheating by switching to a lower gear. There's only that one gear, and you can't even take a break when you go downhill; you gotta keep your feet moving because those pedals won't stop moving until you fully brake. Or you crash.

I gotta admit, as long as I've been seeing these bikes I've kind of wanted one. This goes against all my sense of self-preservation, plus forces me to ignore that I often have trouble negotiating the stairs in my apartment, much less a fast-moving metal frame designed to weave in and out of automobile traffic. But the lure is there. I guess if I can find one cheap, I might invest. Or I could follow bike guru Sheldon Brown's example and go for the best of both worlds, The Fixed-Gear Single-Speed Raleigh Twenty Folding Bike:

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Thursday, July 29, 2004 at 16:13:54 (EDT)

Nobody move, nobody get herb
Here's something you don't see every day:

Somebody planted corn in a sidewalk planter on 7th Ave in Park Slope

Speaking of oddities, I just came from another swell Metrotech show. This week it was Yellowman, another in the long line of venerable Jamaican acts that BAM books every summer. I had certainly heard of him before but I didn't know anything about his music. So he turns out to be the guy who Eazy-E sampled on his song "Nobody Move." You know the "nobody move, nobody get hurt" part? That's Yellowman.

He takes his name from the fact that he's an albino, one of only two I have ever seen (the other one being comedian Victor Varnado, who I think lives in Park Slope). Plus Yellowman has fought cancer on several occasions and had to have part of his jaw removed. But he keeps on truckin' and put on a skankin' show. I read up on his career, and it appears he first came to fame because his lyrics were filthier than anybody in Jamaica had ever heard. I guess he's changed his tune somewhat, as I didn't hear anything particularly offensive today. But then, I'm a jaded member of Generation X.

Yellowman ran around and danced like crazy the entire 2 hours

These little kids seemed a little confused by the show

I was a little confused by these goofballs

Then some punk stole my folding bike and made off with it. The brashness of these Brooklyn thieves is astounding. Cops everywhere, the bike was snatched from my grip and I was left holding the robber's purse.


Then with no regard for his own safety, Seamus "Buzz" McKinnon leapt into action. He was in hot pursuit of the perp and used all of his methods of intimidation to run her down and liberate my stolen property.


Or so I thought.







UPDATE: Here's some exlcusive video from the show, featuring Gladys, the 85-year old dancing wonder!

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Wednesday, July 28, 2004 at 12:51:28 (EDT)

Tell me people, am I going insane
Egads, I did it again. People have been having a lot of birthday parties lately, so I've been getting a lot of Evites, which should keep things nice and orderly. Make no mistake, it's not like I'm getting invited to every fly party in the 5 boros. It's just a couple. But somehow I always manage to get confused. Last night I went all the way to the Meatpacking District for a get-together that was not happening for another week. At least I got the day right. confusion reigned as I worked the host staff into a tizzy as they tried to find some evidence of a large group reservation for the evening, but could find none (they did try, however, to put me in with a bunch of strangers just because they had made a big reservation, but I declined). I tried to look on the bright side: aside from the rain it was a lovely walk around a part of town to which I do not often go.

Now, who's to blame here when I try to show up for things way too soon? Sure, it'd be easy to blame myself and say "Jeez, just look at the damn date and you won't keep screwing up." But I feel the problem lies in those doing the inviting. Why start alerting people to stuff more than a week in advance? I guess they think they're doing somebody a favor but honestly, how many of us actually want to know about stuff that far ahead of time? Obviously, I don't do well when information is proffered too far in advance. Is everybody else whipping out their dayplanners and booking themselves for the next six months? I can barley keep track of what I'm doing tomorrow, much less in two weeks. At my best, I can vaguely hold one week's worth of stuff in my head, and then I could still use some reminding. When I do have to schedule something far in advance (like a band gig or a wedding), I write it on a calendar that I never check and just hope somebody else brings it to my attention before it's too late.

Maybe it's not exactly the best system, but it's as good as it gets for me. So if I show up at your party a week in advance, or miss it altogether, don't take it personally. You just need to avoid telling me about it until the last minute.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2004 at 12:36:01 (EDT)

Watch the killas drink 8 ball
Sunday I ventured out to Kensington for the first time ever to go to H's party. This is the neighborhood that borders Windsor Terrace and is south of Prospect Park. Maybe it was my imagination but it seemed like a really 'safe' neighborhood, not too run down but not noticeably affluent either. But then, I only saw a couple of blocks' worth of it.

The party was to have a Hip Hop theme for some reason. This gave me the opportunity to consume a 40 of Old English (it's a malt liquor! it's furniture polish!), something I haven't done in a while. Mmmm mmm, gotta love that stuff. I may have to get some more before too long. I was disappointed almost nobody else was rockin' the 40s, but at least they played some Grandmaster Flash while I was there. I had meant to pick up some menthol cigarettes to touch all the bases, but it slipped my mind. For the record, it was Kool Milds that were first first chosen cigarette. I have no idea why now. I smoked a Newport at the party and thought I was gonna ralph.

And here are the lovely hosts of the evening:

I was trying to figure some way to make it sound like I hang out with these fly girls all the time, but I only know one of them. Hey it's a start.

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Monday, July 26, 2004 at 10:21:04 (EDT)

This is my only scene

Thanks to everybody who came out on Saturday to see Motico. It was really good to see everybody, even if I didn't get to talk to everybody. That Trash place sure is a nice club. Somebody pointed out that despite the name, and the surfeit of 'trash' decor (lights made out of car parts, license plate wall hangings), the previous club in that location, Luxx, was actually much trashier with its tacky chaser lights and curvy niteclub decor. In many ways, the new Trash feels a lot like clubs from Ohio. Perhaps that's not such a good thing, but I feel right at home. Did everybody remember to partake of the open bar?

The sound system is much better than the old club, and all the bands sounded really good. And the soundwoman Andrya was cute as a button, always a plus. The only downside was the house drum set we had to use. It kept sliding all over the place, and the kick-drum pedal kept coming undone. Buzz had to tell me later how many things went wrong with it, I only noticed the couple of time when he somehow seemed to disappear behind the kit, trying to reattach some part or other.

Note how by this point, they've piled a bunch of weights in front of the bass drum

But Motico abides, and I think most of the set went really well. We were pretty rusty at playing live (it's been over 6 weeks since our last public performance). We spent all day Friday trying to record some new stuff, which occupies a completely different part of the brain from playing live. But we'll be getting regular exercise of both parts of our brains in the near future, as we start doing more recording and more gigs. Our next show is at Piano's in the Lower East Side on Saturday August 14th, and it appears we will be coming back to Trash in the upcoming months, one way or another.

Last night I barely managed to scrape myself off the floor to go to a party in Kensington. The whole G/F train thing is still going on, and again I benefited: I took one G train from my hood all the way to Kensington. Not only that, but I had bitchin' train Karma on each trip (meaning I didn't have to wait long for the train). This is the next best thing to having a teleporter. On the way home I saw a fellow contractor, who also had a busy weekend:

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Monday, July 26, 2004 at 09:29:22 (EDT)

Got to punch, right on Target

Here's a couple of pictures frrm the new mall.

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Week of July 25-31, 2004

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