to those of you who have not a clue as of yet:

you have no idea what you're missing.


i'll be home soon.

-e pics n' things!


a few words concerning the last post

i just had a good chat with kristie about this issue of perspective. interesting things happen when one just talks aloud about any given conundrum. at first it seems as though you're spinning wheels and getting nowhere until some provincial god strikes you on the back of the head with the proverbial lightning bolt. there's a small spark inside and within planck time it has grown to some hideous burning pyre. it all falls together. not prettily. but together, damnit.

i should've mentioned the other conflict i have been confronting (or, to be a bit more precise about the matter, completely avoiding) and it seems silly now to have not done so. solitude. it's such a simple word but the concepts lodged in its hundreds of meanings can have disastrous effects on one's mental and physical well being. we should get one thing straight: it is in no way affecting my physical well being. let's be completely clear about at least that one thing. it has, however, been cropping up more and more in daily thought in the form of usually thinking a good evening to be one spent alone at home reading or, if i'm lucky, making something decent for dinner. senior in college: this, i've been told, is hardly the time to be moving that direction and rather it is the final blowout i should be preparing for. nuts to that.

so then. why this recent fixation on the problems with perspective? i've known for several months that my attraction towards solitude has been growing but i have been too dim witted to realize that, along with it, so has my issue with the former. the connection, in my mind, is now obvious: with my concern over perspective i have been becoming increasingly solitary. is this a natural process? have i found some deeper question that i'm truly interested in and simply want to have some more time alone to get a better grasp on it? is there some deeper relationship between these two no longer disparate concepts? or is this all complete rubbish?


-e pics n' things!


a few words concerning the season (etc.)

so. a great deal of pause has been given to this journal. i guess one could say it was school, work or good ol fashioned procrastination. i say it was an odd combination of the three and perhaps more. here's what i think (and i assume you're either bored or perhaps vaguely interested in what i have to say): i finished reading zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance a few weeks ago. this a book i hear one needs to read in order to become a pretentious college asshole (along with ayn rand's atlas shrugged which, incidentally, is not a good book. if you're interested in her, spend your time elsewhere - i suggest the fountainhead.). but, i digress. after finishing the book i thought of those people who find it to be for pretentious assholes and promptly thought of them as pretentious assholes (most likely they frequent pitchfork, think that music is dead and shop exclusively at american apparel*.) i found myself wondering when some pivotal moment in my life would happen. now i'm well aware that those things don't just happen and i'm also well aware of all the tired lines having something to do with me making things happen. yes, i know. thank you.

but. after the construction and prompt collapse of relationships, the construction and fear of imminent collapse of another and a general paranoia surrounding an increasingly awkward social life, i have settled on one importation question: the question of perspective. phaedrus had his inquiry into the meaning of the purest form of quality: what is it? where did it come from? what does quality mean when you take it out of context (that is, what is quality when you're not relating it to material objects such as, for example, a well made car)? i am in no way comparing myself to the pained protagonist of pirsig's story but i am longing for some chautauqua of my own.

this matter of perspective, to be totally honest, isn't revolving around a question but a concept. it's not as intensely deep as i may have made it sound but it is seeming to fit this part of my life. there is some root to the meaning of perspective (and it doesn't involve any vortex machine, for those of you in the know) but i have yet to stumble across it. what guidelines, exactly, keep us from backing away and looking at things from a different angle, through a different filter? how is it that our respective lenses get so scratched with a specific set of experiences thus leading to what later becomes a rather unpleasantly jaded individual? i fear it affects everybody. in fact, i know it does. if you've ever met anybody with an opinion you've met a person that has experienced some strange side effect of perspective. it's a strange and almost rudely elementary conclusion for me to arrive at, "distastefully simple" a friend told me. well fine, to hell with you too. yet at moments i feel like i'm grasping at straws and at other moments i'm determined to get deeper. the problem always comes at the same point, the point i'm at right now. i don't know how to get deeper. i don't know where to go from here. up? down? i'm not on a magical elevator and haven't yet figured out what the fuck "thinking laterally" entails. i haven't been able to sidle up to the problem and pounce on it.

so then. no answers to the question of perspective. however, and this may or may not help you understand just what in the hell i'm prattling on about, i felt its brutal effects: the most obvious being its negative impact on my social life. i feel that i have over-developed my internal resources that allow me to see things from other people's points of view. oh, you're saying, what a delusional asshole. no, i actually think this is detrimental for one very important reason: i have gained too much perspective on external issues (those outside of my own head) at a very critical time in my life, a time where i should be focusing on what's happening internally. it's a scary time when you realize that you may or may not be thinking for yourself. or worse, that other people have zero perspective and are stubborn to the point of suicidal when it comes to their own views. here we see the problem of perspective. its ghost and lingering residue in its most basic and rudimentary form. the stain it has left on my life until now has resulted in oddly shaped bridges that haven't fully repaired themselves, not unlike a bone break that has healed uncleanly. i find this leading to more and more reclusiveness and more and more thought.

but there's an upshot. there's something that as i wrap myself up in this tangle always brings me back down. moments like these.

creme brulee

with that said (and gone completely unfinished), i love the season even with its odd little bouts of loneliness that are specific only to the holidays. i'm reading (still) brian greene's fabric of the cosmos. i'm listening to beirut's gulag orkestar, jens lekmen's night falls over kortadala and stars' in our bedroom after the war. i'm mostly happy in my work and we've reached the end of the first quarter and a much anticipated break through the new year. i'm beginning the pre-planning for study abroad in germany for fall 2008. i'm bored a lot.

more pictures. for posterity, you know?

snowy day
the view from our landing. the clouds are hanging too low to see the bay beyond the farthest visible brick buildings.

xmas tree 2007
we have a christmas tree. go us.


*if this is you, let me know: i have words for you. they're not happy words, either.
pics n' things!


quite some time

it has been a while, yes it has.

so it will probably be a little longer, then.

-e pics n' things!


valve is god

i haven't posted in forever and this is all i have to show for it.

pics n' things!



without referencing earlier posts too much, it has become all too clear that times change. this idea seems well articulated by so many of those people at a particular crux in their life; some pivotal event irrevocably changing the course of their path. it may take some finding, some investigation, but usually you'll come across some reason for the changing times. bob dylan told us that it was more of a feeling than a definitive statement. i myself have found several different meanings in the drifting and crossing of paths, the old diverging from the new; it becomes hard to discern what is having a tangible effect on your life and what is merely some superficial event occurring to an otherwise stable existence.

how long has it really been, i ask myself. because at times it seems like i started last summer and others it feels as though i've never been anywhere else. since i started working at discover bicycles i have have had four birthdays. i have gone through three years in college. i have gotten sick from drinking twice. i have had one summer job. karen o perhaps might have said it best: in time, time is gone/never lasts/stops who he was/well i was wrong/never lasts. it appears that the owners of discover bicycles, two personal friends of mine, have decided to pursue other interests in life. there is one obvious conclusion to this. the shop, it would seem, is for sale. i have tried to write, rewrite and rerewrite what this all means, how the conclusions were reached, where it leaves me, and how this is one of those aforementioned pivotal moments. nothing i type seems to cut through the fog, nothing doing justice to four years of memories and steady employment. the one thing i will say is that shane, during the work day, pulled me aside to tell me what he and julie had decided to do. i was in the middle of helping some customers and had to return to them attempting to focus on the bike sale. i struggle for a few hapless moments, gave in and excused myself. looking directly at the floor i walked to the bathroom in the back of the shop. i don't think the tears were coming because i'd just been fired. because i hadn't. the tears weren't coming because i didn't know what i'd do for work next summer, or even for the school year. they might have been coming because i got defensive and didn't want the shop to fall in the wrong hands - someone who didn't know its importance to some of the people who'd becoming rather attached to it. they might have been coming because i thought that was the most appropriate response. but they were definitely coming because of the time i'd spent there.

there is no perfect eulogy. there is nothing to say that i haven't already thought of. i cannot expound on feelings i've already settled on. i cannot, in other words, save the bike shop so i cannot let myself think about its future. it's silly. ghastly, even. to be this way. filled with the latest in gpp, genuine people personalities.

pics n' things!


there is a special something

i just wanted to have one of those funny slow dances with her, among the pleasant older folks who just were happy to be among themselves for an evening. that's all i wanted.

i didn't at all know what i was getting myself into. the last time i had seriously taken part of a trout lake social gathering was rather unsettling.

tonight at the trout lake country inn & tavern, an establishment native to the town since 1904, there was a community party on behalf of, among others, fred paxson and the TL-EMT folks. as spencer and i packed the van for whistler and drank tallboys of oly i considered tagging along up to the Inn. i have never been fully settled around most of the people here in trout lake, especially the youth. most of the adults have, with very special exceptions, humored me as most adults humor younger generations.

i love small town festivities sometimes. the country inn is an old wood tavern, classic rural barn stylings and a large dance hall with small stage in the back. spencer and i walked in and, being the youngest people there, made our way to the bar for some drinks - there really is nothing quite like a rainier longneck while a local garage-cover band plays classic rock. i'm revelling in this past that i never had a chance to enjoy, the past that my father and mother most likely indulged in. it's wonderful. i have never seen, at any college party, people just dancing to dance and having no idea what they're doing and have so much damned fun the whole time. it's the old crew, too, men and women i had met when i was five or younger while my father worked at the gifford pinchot national forest service bureau here in trout lake. ross bluestone, jim & kathy white, hope clinton, karen fee, fred & diane paxson, judy & walt skelton, cliff & linda, jerry & kathy etc etc etc etc etc. the list goes on. the old crew. the original crew. when rainier and oly was all there was to drink - none of this microbrew bullshit.

it's charming, in a special way. mr. bluestone and i had a short talk about when he and my father were my age here in trout lake, a now-docile-former-dairy-goliath community. there would be 300, maybe 400 people here on weekends. from hood river, portland, seattle...damn. all over, i swear. i asked what happened, where it all went. where it all went wrong. nothing went wrong, it just...a distant looks approaches...it just went away, like most things.

there is a special something in spending an evening with another generation. in dancing with your best friend's mother to a rolling stones cover. in drinking cheap beer with the old guys of the valley, old guys that worked with your father in the woods, marking boundary lines and cutting the forest into sections to be preserved. in sitting in a 100+ year old dance hall that has seen countless bands, acts and events. in finally being shrouded in the heart of a town and being comfortable.

-e pics n' things!


a quick word on procrastination

i heard someone somewhere once ask what a blogger was. the response was that a blogger was someone with a grudge and their virginity - one out of two ain't bad.

the propensity to put it off until later seems to me to be one of the few great equalizers still left on this planet. with constitutional rights for everybody in question, taxes apparently not meaning anything more than a fetid dingo's kidney to some of the richer portions of the population and serious attempts at living forever, it would seem that nearly everybody is susceptible to waiting for a better or "more appropriate" time to do things. this doesn't extend to the collegiate putting off of studying for the mid-term until the night before (something i've extensive experience in) but, as i have seen, extends itself deep into social connections. from not telling a friend what you need to tell them in order to maintain a trustful and open relationship to an inside rep at a bike company to send you a bicycle before you go to whistler on the 26th.

ah, the real point finally emerges.

i never wanted to be the finicky customer - that asshat who sits on their phone in the line while complaining that their drink doesn't have enough foam in it. it's those people who make the rest of the world hate us. but when you're offering upwards of $3000 for a fucking bicycle it would seem you could get a little respect from a company - especially when you work a bike shop that sells their bikes in pretty high quantities. this when i put the order in almost precisely a month ago. rad.

so, back to the deleterious effect of procrastination: my bike is not here and i leave for whistler this sunday. fingers are crossed for a miracle.

but then, i also heard someone somewhere say that some people are coo coo for cocoa puffs for bicycles and are nutty when they don't get what they want.

pics n' things!


turn the corner

the macho paradox by jackson katz could very well be one of the most important books i've ever read. it is only now that i have made the connection between the difficulty i've had getting through it and its very significance.

not difficult to read like hemingway.
not significant like the principia.

the difficulties lie in my own skewed version of what's past, what's present and, most crucially, what's in store for my future. how could i read this and at once take him seriously and reconcile times and actions gone and ships sailed? the paradox, as katz has so beautifully shown me, has not been outlined in the book (a point he's quick to note) but instead he has revealed it within me. and in a promisory note to myself: before this life is over i will have gained (or earned) the tools to properly deal with this paradox.

i didn't stand a chance.
i didn't stand at all.
you looked ok with the others.
you looked great by yourself.
it was 2002 and you needed reminding to stay alive.
and so did i, but at least i tried to fall upon that sword and never look back.
daniel bejar, a.k.a. destroyer

pics n' things!



letters are a very interesting medium. it has been said that emails have spawned horrible communication habits (shorthand, use of spellcheck, etc.). but one of the most egregious flaws in email is the ability to read and easily edit what you've written. this, it is said in Shipley & Schwalbe's Send, a book on email etiquette, amounts to the ability to edit yourself. indeed the very message you're trying to convey becomes diluted and worn, much to the extreme of any latter day Shyamalan movie. i beg to differ.

for the past two weeks i've struggled with a letter. it has been sitting in an envelope, sealed, addressed and being currently used as a bookmark in Bryson's Short History of Nearly Everything. frustrating as it is and as wholly disappointed in myself as i am, this letter simply refuses to be mailed.

it's not the fact that it needs to be sent to eastern canada. it's not the fact that i simply have to make a trip to the post, something that even when i'm not itching to send never is a problem. the issue is, not surprisingly, the content. i often will second guess myself when it comes to wondering if i'm interesting enough to be written about. it is a paradoxical problem indeed. the problem goes as follows:
  • i am not interesting enough to write about, even if i am the author.
  • i am, apparently, so self-absorbed that i seem to think that i am the only thing that should be written about.
  • if i am so self-absorbed so as to think this, it should not be a problem writing about me.
as contrived as this logic may be, it is all i can do not to think about it. i have a letter, sitting in a sealed and addressed envelope. the recipient may or may not be expecting it, i have no idea. if they aren't, i'm obviously either as self-absorbed as the statement sounds or entirely pathetic (or both). if they are, my dearest apologies: i'll be with you just as soon as i figure my own head out enough to make it to the post.

-e pics n' things!


cycle renovation, pt. III

it is done*.

it occurred to me this evening (just now, to be precise) that this whole time i've been thinking of the schwinn as a "campus cruiser" bike. but why did i put the suspension fork on? why did i keep the pseudo-knobby mountain bike specific tires? there is no reason for the riser bar so shouldn't i get rid of it?

restored moab

as soon as i thought about this for more than 20 seconds, it occurred to me that i'd probably want to ride it here not just on the roads/gravel, but also give it a whirl as a mountain bike (though i'd probably put a front brake on). having just ridden this snappy little number around town with just one shifter to worry about, i can begin seeing the attraction to singlespeeds. though a 30tooth chainring would've been better for mountain biking, the 32t won't rip my legs off on every hill in bellingham. the only immediately bummer with the one ring is trying to get the chainline right. if it's spaced out too far the chain will crumble to the inside. if the chainring is spaced in too much i'll take two pedals strokes before there is a chain catching on the apogee of my cadence (the result a violent crashing sound as the pins and plates blow apart under my brutal and crushing leg strength and a violent crashing sound as the fence that i just crashed into blow apart under my brtual and crushing flying/flailing strength). it's pretty close to as good as it will be, especially after taking out a link or two from the chain. also, a bashguard is on order.

so, then. the obligatory revised parts list:
fox float RL80 "suspension" fork (80ish millimeters travel)
LX/Rhyno Lite rear wheel, Mavic CrossLand front wheel
hutchinson python air light 2.0 tires
deore crankset (32t)
LX octalink bottom bracket
LX cassette (11-32t)
esp 9.0sl rear shifter ("halfpipe" version)
esp 9.0sl rear derailleur
avid single digit ti rear brake lever
avid single digit ti rear brake
easton ea30 stem (90mm, 5deg. rise flipped upside down)
race face deus xc handlebar
trans-x seatpost
wtb devo saddle
shitty hodgepodge headset

wooo! we'll keep you updated on the bike's performance in the mountain (spectacular on the road, so far).


*save one bashguard that is on order.
pics n' things!


giant sneak preview

'08 giant bikes at crankworx in whistler. mine is the one at the bottom of the page. i'm starting to get all anxious.

pics n' things!

ikea, etc.

today was a watermark day. i visited an ikea store for the first time.

it is the single most useful and, at once, humorous place i've ever visited. period. if you're not comparing mirrors shoulder to shoulder with a very attractive member of the fairer gender you're jockeying for position with the soccer mom surrounded by a hurricane of at least a dozen children all trying to get to the sweedish meatballs. very rarely, in fact, have i ever found myself perusing bedframes and sheet sets shortly before eating very acceptable lingenberry meat sauce - the catch is that this happened under the same roof with no more than 15 minutes twixt each activity.

so even though i've only been there once i have compiled a short list designed to help you survive, if not enjoy, one of the world's highest grossing shopping experiences:

1) know your goal.
and even if you don't know your goal, make one up. i had the vaguest of ideas of what i was looking for today and i still suffered through for nearly four hours (including the time it took to inhale 15 sweedish meatballs and a chicken caesar salad). knowing that you need, for example, a lamp is not nearly enough. having an earmarked catalogue in your hand for reference is key. bonus points if you found the lamp on the website before hand, knew you wanted it, knew its price and just needed to pick it up in person.

2) ignore the soccer moms.
because it just doesn't do anybody any good when conflict arises.

3) use the blue map handouts and the big yellow bag.
before diving headlong into the throbbing masses, look at that blue map of the first and second floors (the showroom and the warehouse, respectively). look for the ninja shortcuts and be aware of them at all times. just like a spy, know your exits.
also, the big yellow bag is a nice addition. if you use it without it's special walker/cart attachment and sling it over your shoulder not unlike your new messenger bag, it makes you look like an experienced ikeaite: you can use it, when full, to smash the happy gawking folks off the last poäng chair. also, you just may impress the fairer gender by looking rather spartan by knowing what you're doing. however...

ignore the fairer gender.
you'll only be distracted from the goals that you had, hopefully, set out for in the first place. this is the bane of your ikea experience. it will be rare that they will not have what you're looking for. it will be rare that you will have to wait in line for soviet lengths of time for it. it is rare that you will have to pay exorbitant amounts of money for particle board and confusing assembly instructions. it is not rare, however, that you will run across a person whom you find incredibly attractive. eyes on the displays only. for the love of god.

so, here's hoping that helps somebody. surely there are more points to be touched on but i lack the experience necessary to note them. today i spent under $60 and walked out of the store with things ranging from the dokument to the glimma to the limmaren to the grönö and everything in between. nice!

pics n' things!


in quiet honor of...

ben; as no one else could, you will appreciate this.

spencer and i set out on another post canyon ride after work today, though with a purpose not entirely the same as our last (session a ladder-drop section until it got dark and then meander at high speeds back to the car).

today's ride was to start soon after we closed the shop today at 6:00 as the light in post canyon tends to wain quickly into the evening. we were indecisive as to whether we wanted to do a shuttle downhill run, a freeride-y long-travel bike run, or a cross country ride with just as much climbing as descending (old skool stylez). due to our indecisiveness and asshat customers, we didn't get out onto the trail until 7:00, finally deciding on a cross country ride with short travel bikes and spandex (real old skool stylez). it had been a while since i'd been on a bonafide fully pinned xc ride with a world cup mountain biker so i was a little wary. once on the trail, however, it all came back - the good times past all came back.

post canyon xc ride

there's this loop in post canyon, you see. this ride that spencer, ben and myself always did. this isn't the cute little "always" that is the ride that you would do maybe every couple weeks or so. no, this is the ride that the three of us did weekly, if not twice weekly, driving the trail farther and farther into deepened erosion until a gorge cyclists association was formed, the GFRA, to stem our process. spencer and i began riding this loop one hour late and already down on the light that we would have to finish the ride in the dark final stretch of the canyon, a singletrack trail by the name of Seven Streams.

post canyon xc ride

we went fast. i had forgotten just how fast we used to go on our little roached out bikes, lacking adequate suspension, braking power and, more or less, skill. as we wound through the old trees and over loose dirt, the memories had started to flush in. anytime we would pass something familiar, one of us would yell at the other, either behind or ahead, a memory connected to that spot. we would switch back and forth leading, following, twisting, turning, and, generally, making mince meat of this fine little path threading through old growth and new growth.

eventually our ride took us to the crest of the mitchell ridge trail. to our left lay more rolling singletrack. to our right the trail dropped into a hard left hand turn, a short sprint up a little right hander, and finally fell into the kind of scary fast descent that makes your eyes water and your brakes stop functioning correctly due to heat buildup. a twisty, slightly bermy, wide-open doubletrack loss of elevation that, no matter where or how much i ride, still ranks as one of the most childishly fun pieces of trail anywhere. spencer and i stop at the top to gather ourselves and catch a breather from the previous climb.

post canyon xc ride

there is a root in the middle of this junction on mitchell ridge. ben, quite some time ago in a magical display completely lacking focus and grace, meandered gently, nearly softly, into this root. it smiled at him, like a friend, and he must've smiled back because soon, in a sudden fit of noise and limbs, they were hugging. ben lay on the ground defeated, yet laughing. he had the most violent crash of the day not on the numerous rock gardens we had smashed through that i now look at with a wary eye. nor had he lost control on any one of the hideously fast downhills lined with strangely unforgiving oak trees. no, our good friend fell victim to an innocuous root, placed just so. (it should be noted that the key single word in this entire paragraph is laughing. that's just how it was.)

this was nearly many, many years ago.

spencer and i looked at this root this evening. we gathered ourselves for the decent, buckled helmets, clicked shoes into pedals, looked back at the root and promptly burst into a rage of laughter. we, at that precise moment of happiness, dedicated the ride to ben, wherever in the huge ass city of chicago he was or whatever in the hell he was doing. needless to say, that was the fastest elevation loss of the evening.

post canyon xc ride

later in the ride, as we stopped before the final fast descent to the car, spencer muttered, "so, this is why i ride." i think he was implicating the memories and the joy in that why. it takes a lot to be a world cup level racer, especially at 22 years old. there are huge ramifications to your social life, your school life, your love live and your work life. one beer at the wrong time could prove disastrous in the long run. one sniffle could mean missing the next race two weeks out and falling farther back in the points run. a missed training ride throws an entire fitness routine out of sync with itself and the planets. it takes an insane amount of dedication, one that i am in no way familiar with. for him to have said what he said, and to have meant it like i know he did, means a great deal both to myself and to those not present in physical but always in spirit.

we're torn asunder from those we love and the activities we love doing. i know that's a lot to say when you're freshly 21 and have a hard time finding much more responsibility in the summertime than making sure the bike shop floor gets swept everynight, but i'm pretty damned sure i mean it. there are ties that unravel and never get fused back together. people wander and not always do they come back. friends come from time to time but, in my experience, have mostly gone. as young peoples, for the most part, we have our health, sure. some of us have our educations, absolutely. there are even those of us who have made the final leap into respectable real jobs with an unparalleled enthusiasm or have already become embattled and bitter to the smallest percentage of a fraction of the wonders the world surely has to offer. most of the challenges we face, with a certain privilege i might add, revolve around not having correct change for the bus or proper bridge toll. but we still love. but we still miss and remember. and goddamnit to me that counts for something. everything.

post canyon xc ride
near the crest of mitchell ridge, one short of three.

pics n' things!


the straight dope

'La mort du Tour" and "Arrêtez ce cirque" shouted the headlines in Thursday's Paris newspapers, and no wonder: "The Death of the Tour" or "Stop this circus" seem understandable responses to what more than one London paper predictably called the Tour de Farce.
-international herald tribune, jul. 27, 2007.

even the french papers are calling for a stop. the only thing that has led me to following the tour this year has been the global-media-worthy drug afflictions of the leaders. for shame.

pics n' things!

cycle renovation, pt. II

today after work i managed to horde some old bicycle workings with the hopes of getting the schwinn on its way. frustratingly enough, most of the 3 hrs i spent working on it after the shop closed only saw the fruits of a wholly unacceptable threadless headset assembly. this i frankensteined together from three different sets and various other randomlings hiding in our "Headset Parts" bin. (a note about "_____ Parts" bins: this is where little pieces of metal that have either been found on the floor while sweeping at the end of the day or weren't good enough to make the cut for a customer's bike in the first place go to die. these bins are the boneyards, the graveyards, the burning funeral pyres [see also: "funeral pyre"!] of the bicycle repair shop, i swear to god they are.) quite literally, nearly every cup, bearing, race and cap were cannibalized from other, far less fortunate headsets. the bearings are the rusted out nearly original pair from the schwinn resulting in a handlebar/stem/fork assembly (something which i'll be getting to rather shortly) that steers horribly at best.

though the majority of my time was indeed spent on this nearly fruitless aspect of a project that was becoming increasingly bleak with each passing minute and each passing sip (read: deep swilling) of pabst, there were a few other notable breakthroughs! notable among notables:
  • one fox float rlt80 suspension fork has been acquired and installed! though nearly destroyed and severely lacking in what one might usually consider some modicum of functionality, it at least gets the bike closer to mobility. it was formerly on the dirt jump bike of one of the mechanics and had been rotting in one of the shops more notorious dark corners before i saved it, cleaned it and promptly ripped the decals. with no decals, and the paint is much more of a battleship gray than shown in the link above, there is a certain utilitarian look to the fork now - sort of like any stock communist good.
  • while rooting about in the basement like a vagrant through a dumpster of day olds i happened upon a brand new and completely misplaced shimano deore crankset. cheap, heavy and expendable - perfect for the application. i'll be taking the outer ring and the inner ring off and replacing them with a bashguard that i already have to protect the 32t middle ring. singlespeed up front for simplicity's sake.
  • a new chain has been added along with brake levers, the front brakes and rear shifter. also, a new stem, handlebar, seat and tires have found themselves suddenly useful.
though thoroughly miffed after the headset problems, the bike is now many steps closer to being ridable. the next big find will be a front wheel for not only cheap but hopefully free. after that, new cables and housing will be all that is stopping the commuter from wandering the streets (rather dodgily, granted, but wandering no less).

pictures to come.

oh, and i cut my hair.


p.s. fixies are for the devil. as the article tells you, it's all image and rude hipster fucks with Chrome bags who've always been assholes to me (you can clearly tell that i've no personal experience with these bikes) (also! nothing personal ben, for the thought, though no more than a flash in the pan, crossed my mind.). also, they are now required by law, in oregon and many other states, to have brakes. singlespeeds, however = cool. pics n' things!


cycle renovation, pt. I

the plan:

as the 07-08 school year draws closer, so does another season of nasty pacific northwest fall/winter commuting. though i have a 3sp electra straight8 in bellingham right now and a giant glory dh downhill race bike on the way. thought these are both supremely fun to ride in their respective ways, neither will function as a reliable or practical mode of transport up and down the many steep streets around campus.

to fill the commuter gap, i went out towards the shop/garage area on my property in search of my first mountain bike - a factory modified (read "one-off mistake") schwinn moab disc. it was phased out of my cycling career a couple years ago but served without complaint through many long seasons of racing and riding. since it's mothballing, the components have been slowly picked clean by my brother. everytime he comes home he'll spend a while vulturing bits and pieces until this last weekend when he finally stole the fork and crankset.

the mission, before the summer is out, is to revive this poor and nearly forgotten steed before it is too late and gabe is scrapping the tubes for wind chimes. now, let's turn this thing into a simple 9sp. commuter.

broken bicycle

what we're looking at (other than a blurry photo):
frame, rear wheel & tire, cassette, rear derailleur, front derailleur, seat & seatpost, handlebar & stem, bits n' pieces of an integrated headset (ICBM, 1st generation), bottom bracket, rear brake

what's needed:
chain, brake levers, front brake, rear shifter, fork, front wheel & tire, axe the front derailleur, crankset, cables & housing, perhaps new headset.

i head back to work tomorrow and we'll get this party started when i go down to the basement and scrounge random old parts.

count on updates.

pics n' things!

sessioning "dropout"

there is a mysterious thing that happens when you ride bikes with friends. it is usually the case that one party will bring a camera, sometimes both or all parties will bring little digital devices designed to "Sav-A-Moment"®. there is usually some hubbub pre-ride or even a few minutes into the venture concerning these shutterbugs and how you all will take away a fine array of photos describing, as it were, the manner in which you spent your afternoon. but after the first few minutes, the cameras are forgotten. the excitement moves from chimping the pictures of the ride later to the actual ride itself. you all had planned to exchange images as though they were trading cards, "elliott's running-while-crashing shot is equal to some shitty post-EPO baseball player that no one had any respect for in the first place while spencer cleanly sending the second hit on 'Dropout' time and again is worth something like a Mays' rookie card."

but about a week ago, spencer and i rode up into post canyon, the local trail network in hood river, or, and got some snaps of the man-made stunts. for those of you who actually doubt that i ride bikes despite the fact that i work at a bike shop (not a very convincing argument in the first place, granted), here is the proof to the contrary.

sessioning "dropout"
my "serious" face.

sessioning "dropout"

sessioning "dropout"
spencer. red shorts. no shirt. all style. doesn't even fucking care if he crashes into a bush of poison oak and bees.

sessioning "dropout"
hot @$$ shot.

sessioning "dropout"

sessioning "dropout"

i just ordered my new downhill bike from giant and it should get here early to mid-august. bike porn pictures will immediate succeed its arrival.

pics n' things!


the ability to surprise yourself

two weeks ago, i woke up tuesday morning (my saturday, for those of you in the non-privy) bored. not true to form as in this is a usual action but true to form as in this is a place i would go if i were to do this sort of thing more often, i packed a bag and left for the coast. no goal, no destination, no plans. just some gas and a road bike.

i spent most of the time on the road not talking to myself, trying to not hear my voice for once - just to see if i could stop talking when i didn't need to.

my journey took me through portland first, as most often do.
along highway 26 until the 26-6 junction just after north plains. south but mostly west on 6.

wholesome livin', just south of tillamook. day 1.

i slammed into the coast at pacific city around 7:00 that evening and surfed with a friend from the bike shop who happened to be staying at his place wedged appropriately between lincoln city and cape kiwanda (neskowin, to be precise). and i slept, tired, full of damned good fish n' beer and happy.

haystack rock from cape kiwanda. day 1.

up at 7:00am to surf, yogi and ride my road bike north to cape lookout on the three capes scenic loop off the 101.

day 2.

cape kiwanda & dory launching in the background. day 2.

the journey continued north on 101 to tillamook. i had to revive past sentiments.
stopping at the tillamook air museum, cheese factory and tillamook country smoker.
north still. to garibaldi. around the smokestack and past an abandoned antiques store called "stuff & things".

day 2.

through rockaway beach, past the beach house my family has stayed in before.
the nehalem bay winery produces, i must say, a fine pinot (noir, thank you. dry & crisp, just like it should be).
9 holes in manzanita, another family beach getaway destination and one of my favorite stops. though blustery and despite my horribly unrefined slice, i couldn't help but smile.
still north, though the afternoon wears on. through seaside and a lunch of beer and fish and chips.
i double back on my steps after reaching astoria, the northern most point in oregon. south on the 101 until reaching the 26 on which i head east, towards portland.
there is the largest sitka spruce in the u.s. to your left. thoroughly disappointing.
timber. buxton. manning.
one hour and 45 minutes north but mostly east is home, trout lake.

= 507 miles. two days. not much in gas money.

kings of convenience and destroyer proved to be the soundtrack of the trip. oh, dear, i do hope i shall attempt it again someday.

pics n' things!


surprisingly, trouble free

this summer has been, surprisingly, trouble free.

i'm housesitting for my high school counselor while she and her husband ride in a week long bicycle tour from montana to british columbia. it's a neat place though severely lacking in personality. i feel like i could live there and drive, say, a 2000 dodge caravan with the little stick figure decals in the back window showing dad, mom, timmy, sally, and pea the cat.

the place also makes me feel lonely and hollow. i'm tempted to rip the nice little family magnets and drawings by 5 year olds off the face of the refrigerator and burn them in happiness' funeral pyre.

i accidentally napped in this massive chair in their massive living room for a couple hours after work. it's my friday and i'm finally downtown at 11:30. everybody is indoors and the streets are quiet. damned massive chair.

pics n' things!



so i did it. after years of hymning and hawing, i finally started taking yoga in hood river. by virtue of the area that i grew in and the people that surround me during the summer there is no reason it should have taken this long to get into it. despite julia's, my instructor's, insistence, it feels like i've started too late and i'm now at the point where i'm just jumping on the bandwagon and furthering my guilty pleasure of associating with the "active" lifestyle.

but here is where we reach a quandary. here is where the timeline of reality forks and an alternate universe is created, myself split between the diverging paths. as these two paths continue forward through time, they seem less and less interests and more and more lifestyles. during the moments of special agony, it feels like i must choose between the two.

the first is my outdoor self: the kid who wears flip flops and whatever else is comfortable (or less dirty than everything else on the floor), likes to hike and get grimy, can go without a tamed coif or shower for more than a day and takes the pleasures of a small town in with all of his heart. he'll drive 10 hours straight after work to sleep in the dirt in a parking lot in whistler just to ride his bike for a day only to get back to town only a couple hours before work. he's okay living out of a backpack. life, for him, is not a big concern: as long as he has the funds to support his activities and a place to store his gear, this elliott requires, actually, very little. just movement and the outdoors. he'd rather throw his cellphone away than have it get in the way of a good bike ride.

the second self is rooted in pure cosmopolitanism and fashion; this one wants skinny jeans, the tight t-shirts, hip shoes, the newest music, an obscure foreign film and only the finest beer. he'll only settle for the finest zegna suit and his shoes had very well goddamn match his belt. he might have a fast-burning fuse, god forbid the restaurant be filled up. things had better go his way, though with less of his actual input than he's capable of giving, or else. this is the mr. hyde.

however, and after that long tangent i'll hopefully be getting to the point right about now, perhaps this new yoga interest could be the connection. after the hour long class that i took yesterday, i felt better than i had in a long time. maybe it's just the new experience that is giving me the high (as that has been known to happen to me). maybe my chakras were aligned. whatever made it feel good, it doesn't matter. i'm going to stay with it. spencer's girlfriend, katie, took it for the first time yesterday as well and we actually were giggling quite a bit, akwardly enough (especially during "happy baby" pose).

yoga has been touted as connecting the mind and body. maybe the mind is my first personality, content with whatever path he is on as long as it satisfies his basic criteria of health and interest. perhaps the body is my second personality, more superficial, concerned with success and appearing successful and hip and all that crap. so here we are, perhaps at the two road's divergence still; perhaps at their convergence yet.

but, before anything else happens, i'm going to need a yoga mat.

-e pics n' things!


embarrassing moments

i recently found the most exciting and thoroughly frustrating emotion.

there are few things more embarrassing than standing in a bathroom and waving your wet hands. you're looking at the brand new, and most likely hideously expensive, automatic towel dispenser and wondering to yourself if it's going to spit out a towel before your hands have dried from flailing hopelessly in front of a black box on a wall. you look at the little green or red sensor as it blinks merrily to itself and it's difficult to discern whether this means that it's supposed to be dispensing or not dispensing. an interesting side note, one that will earn my ire at a later point: green and red elicit very different, and very consequential, actions and reactions in every other scenario - traffic lights, for instance. you never look at a traffic light as it blinks between red and green and expect something that isn't going to happen. red means stop. green means go. awfully definitive it seems. red and green have no place on ambiguous automatic faucets, soap and towel dispensers, or any item unsure of its stop/go future. a push for yellow is needed as these items of convenience are like the driver coming from your left at the intersection as you sit stopped: he/she comes flying up to the light that you can see has just turned yellow. there is a moment of panic as their car makes the subtlest lurch then rockets forward (to the best of said car's ability - the difference between a new bugatti veyron and a 1983 peugeot need not be mentioned, just the relativity of "rockets"). yellow is unclear. let's coup against yes or no and replace them with maybe.

so there you are waving your hands like an idiot. sure no one is in the bathroom watching you, but rather than serve as a comfort it only seems to exacerbate the foolishness of the situation. if you were being watched perhaps you would embrace the silliness of it all and become more cartoonish in your motions. but no. you're alone and you have a ringing cellphone in your pocket and your hands are wet. you hate putting wet hands in your pockets, don't you? while you're standing there you remember a feeling similar to this: that moment every person has while driving in a car alone where you, perhaps after a long day, begin having really loud, awkward conversations with yourself. you laugh hideously, fart, sing crudely or do just about anything considered socially deviant. maybe you even make some horrible remarks about someone. this is when it gets real and you snap back into consciousness and feel suddenly embarrassed. you'll even look around the car to make sure nobody else just heard that or saw that.

you know, i have become so lost in the quagmire of my own writing, the end goal has been completely lost. perhaps, someday, it will return to me and give this sorry post some reason to live.

-e pics n' things!


the skeptic

i'll scribble in the margins for all of lecture. i'll doodle in a moleskine all day. hell, i might even put down some coherent thoughts in my journal, old fashioned style, with ink and paper. it's rare, however, that i will elucidate entire frames of reference and careful consideration in the medium used by most civilizations since god knows when, most likely since we were picking fleas from behind each other's ears. no, these pages are usually relinquished to non-sensical streams of consciousness and unconnected images. i used to fill old spiral bound notebooks with drawings, stories and little clues into my head. those notebooks, either 70 or 80 pages each, would rumple at the corners, tangling and snaring at the spiral ends after all of five minutes after being pulled of the shelves that apparently held them in some sort of ion forcefield, protective against those bent on loose-leaf destruction. the covers of would collect scratches, ink circles from thought to be dying pens and small cartoon heads that seemed confused and perhaps not all comfortable with their current state: that of the poorly and hastily drawn. but those days, the days of licking the tip and bending the stiff paper, seem to have gone the way of the ever reluctant dodo.

now that my computer stays on my persons nearly all of my mobile day, it's hard to imagine a world without 8-bit information transference. i'll constantly be updating, or at least hopelessly checking, online accounts that i claim to hate having. these accounts are justified in my head with the tired notion of keeping me in touch with friends. is it just me or does that never quite seem to work out? what has taken the place of cracking the spine of a hardbound journal for the first time? or breaking the pencil lead for the umpteenth time because you're far too involved with what you're writing to care about seemingly costless carbon?

these questions, at first glance, appear a far cry from the sensibility of the medium of transference. i'll grant you, graciously i might add, that. but to counter this sudden bolt of intelligence i'm going to share something that may or may not completely pique your interest: not a fortnight past, i deleted my myspace account. "but elliott, isn't that the one you've had since high school?" why yes, perceptive (and oddly informed) reader, that would be the one. due to a ridiculously poor design, ugly templates, a psychotically slow server network, being owned by fox news corp. and existing most generally as a malevolent cancer to the internets, i canned my account. weary of complaining about the site and even wearier of it making its way into daily conversation with friends who also had accounts, i simply snapped. the unchecked hypocracy of labeling myspace as one of the worst inventions since the helicopter ejection seat while owning one myself simply could no longer stand when tested against scientific (common) logic.

this may seem odd and i feel someone could tell me that i'm paying an unwarranted amount of attention to a thoroughly useless story, but the truth is that this was actually quite the event. and it's only quite the event because my friends who also have accounts were visibly shocked (even the ones who emailed and facebook messaged me about it) when they got news that i decided i was too good for it all. some were personally offended, some were elated with the joy of persons who wished they could escape but had that omniprescient "tom" character watching over them and lording their lives, some could not have possibly cared less. who needs those friends of the latter persuasion anyway? assholes. but that's beside the point that i'm trying to reach.

the point is that by deleting this rotting leper of an online divertissment, i freed myself of one crippling crutch: the idea that i need websites to keep in touch with people. also, it has been of great importance to my newest moleskine, a little black companion that shadows me and lets me know whenever i'm feeling a little emotional, musical, critical or any other -al you can think of. i can doodle those poorly fated bubble headed stick figures and i can turn myself into anyone i prefer in my journal but mostly it just allows me to be me: my handwriting is ever indicitive of me, chicken scratchy in the most ruthlessly emotional moments and cold and calculated whenever i've chanced upon the frame of mind to think through something in a critical fashion.

i've always hated the word blog. it just looks like shit. it sounds like shit, too. and if it looks like shit and sounds like shit, it must be shit, right? well, not exactly. perhaps to an outsider this may look like an addict's attempt at covering up a kicked addiction but i'm convinced (and this must be the unwilling addict) that it's more than that. to serve as an accent to my growing notebooks, moleskines and margin notes, here's the aggregate of many of my thoughts, possibly neatly complied but most likely thrown onto the page in a manner, hopefully, befitting of my early journals.


-e pics n' things!