Thursday, June 28, 2012

Federal Bureaus And Fraternal Orders.

Friday Roundup blah blah blah, cycling blah blah blah, Tour de France blah blah blah, who gives a flying fuck? Ryan Gosling is in town! I have the next two weeks off, and I intend to use that time to camp out in Docklands, waiting for him to stroll by. Then I'll casually bump into him and we'll fall in love. After that this blog will be all about our beautiful life together.

Alright, second only in importance to Ryan Gosling being in town is the surprising news that it is my birthday next Thursday. I'm not having a party, however, because on the same night my friends Kit and Big Al are having their going-away party. That wouldn't be such a big deal, if they weren't going away on their bicycles. Still not such a big deal? They're going to ride all the way around the world. It's going to take them two years. That, my friends, is a bona fide fucking adventure. Check out their site here. I especially like the bit outlining their agreements to ensure they get along.

My family also seem a little too distracted at the moment, given that the Saturday after my 33rd birthday marks the 1st birthday of my only nephew, Blake. I'll be heading up there to continue what I see as my major role in his life, which is to convince him that he is named after Blake Schwarzenbach. Whose best song I only just this morning decided is From A Tower. Controversial!

Friend of The New Timer and a dude who remembers me making out with Bernadette Neulist in year 8 Dave Hogan has also started writing a blog. The dude writes exceptionally well, which is the main reason I'm linking to it here, despite it's subject matter. If homebrew is your #1 jam, you should check it out.

Not much else going on this week, folks. Well, other than FJ and I, in different houses, on different sides of the city, totally independently unaware of each other, shaving our heads in unison. Now we look like the dork twins from dork town. However, like I mentioned earlier, starting today I have two weeks off, and FJ doesn't mind turning up to work sleep deprived, so if you're up late watching The Tour, you should drop us a line.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

These Broken Guitars.

xbbx: Alright, so FJ, it's been fucking ages. Let's talk pro cycling!






xbbx: Oh yeah? I thought cycle racer types didn't like football.

FJ: That is incorrect. Footy is a great game. I like going to games and yelling MONGREL and BALL a lot.

Xbbx: Do you ever go to cycle races and yell out MONGREL and BALL?
FJ: It depends if Gene is racing or not, but generally, I'll yell something about sandbagging, and occasionally I might accuse someone of not pulling a turn. But as the great Steve 
Duggan says, "Speak with your legs". This is, unfortunately, where I run into trouble.

Xbbx: Your leg mouths don't work?

FJ: Not very well no, they kind of wheeze a lot.

Xbbx: Maybe you should get an asthma pump for your legs. Apparently they're all the rage in the pro peloton. Which, incidentally, is what we're here to talk about.

FJ: Yeh that's true. Thoughts on the state of peleton?

Xbbx: well, the Tour de France is coming up. I know, because Rolly told me about it. It sounds like a pretty big deal.

FJ: It's like the Giro, but with a more respectable jersey colour, and the stages are more boring.

Xbbx: Totally. Though this year a bunch of the stages are a bit shorter, which is nice. I don't need to wait six hours to see the breakaway get reeled in and Cavendish win a stage.

FJ: Man all the tour nerds will hate that. They love nothing more than watching 9 hours of grainy footage of very skinny men ride through sunflower fields. I prefer to sleep and watch the highlights. That way all the boring stuff (cycling tactics) is gone and all the good stuff (crashes, tears, and winning) is all present. It doesn't mean Wiggins' ankles are gone though. They're still there, weird as ever.

Xbbx: Those ankles are likely to win the Tour, Jamesy.

FJ: Yes but consider the style Bailey. Evans won the tour too. But what are we talking about? His chin, and his dog. I will concede, however, Wiggins has excellent sock height

Xbbx: If I hear another word about fucking sock height I will fucking quit cycling altogether and just drive everywhere forever more. Oh, wait...

FJ: Socks are important Bailey, you can't just rage quit cycling because no one likes your Adidas ankle socks.


FJ: Yes, yes. anyway. What do you think will happen to Cadel?

Xbbx: I think he will crash at some point, cry at some point, and eventually do something heroic that makes us all love him, but he won't win.

FJ: Yeh, either that, or he will just flat out suck. Like, I’m talking falling off eight times in a time trial Alex Rasmussen style

Xbbx: Nah, see, I think he'll go alright, but won't win. Because if he won, he'd no longer be our 'little Aussie battler', and the Herald-Sun would start to be all blase about him.

FJ: Yeh, it's true, we love ourselves some battlers that win, but we love battlers that don't win even more. Like the Anzacs at Gallipoli. I'm the first to admit that even my steely, ice cold heart was melted when Cadel won last year, but I'm back with fresh poison and cynicism and I reckon he's gonna choke. Meanwhile Wiggo will take his little ankles and pedal his way to a certain flawless victory. Or, alternatively, and I will admit that this is less likely, Cavandish will win. This will only occur if he just keeps riding after his sprint victories. He'll make up a lot of time that way. He ain't too clever, so I think this is probably an outside twenty to one chance.

Xbbx: You may be on to something there. Cavendish may have mellowed a little bit due to fatherhood, however. I'm also concerned that he's peaking for the Olympics, and won't be on song for the tour. Have you seen him lately? Dude looks skinny as all hell.

FJ: No, I don't look at in form athletes because I am flat out fat right now (sorry Duggan). That said, he does seem to have less of a pot belly. I reckon he'll race the first half or so of the tour, then fuck off to recover for the Olympics, where he will inevitably realize, at some point during the road race, that cycling in the Olympics is like tennis in the Olympics, which, by the way, is like wearing a beret. Fucking retarded. He will then probably leave the race to go eat pasta. Or maybe a cornish pastie. And good on him.

Xbbx: I gotta say, I'm pretty stoked to see Peter Sagan in the tour this year. Remember how excited everyone was about Phillippe Gilbert last year? Yeah, if you take everyone's excitement, and distill it down into one person, that's me about Peter Sagan. Dude is a mad dog. I wanna see him take a lap on the Champs D'Elysees.

FJ: He probably will. I love that guys twitter account. I feel like there might be some real theatrics from people like Sagan

Xbbx: There better be. Because the tour is so important it can be a little dull at times, hey. One day racing is so much better.

FJ: Exactly. It's make or break. No time to consider, no time to let settle in. In the tour, so much is on the line. Sponsorship, team deals, money, that people are cautious. The only real excitement comes from either nobodies who are looking for their 15 minutes, or from the GC riders when shit gets really real. But that's usually like about half an hour collectively over 70 hours of racing. Like I said, plenty of time to make tea. 

Actually, I never said that, sorry

Xbbx: So why do we all get so excited about the tour then? Is it just because it's on every night for three weeks? That's like three straight weeks of Christmas!

FJ: I’m not sure. I think because of the drama that is created. It's like the theatre. Actually, no, it's more like a soap opera. You tune in to see what the next installment will bring. You spend three weeks watching humans, just like you, but nothing like you, slowly but surely bury themselves for a myth, an image: to be the best. To become an immortal. People bullshit about cycling being the modern day gladiatorial conflict, which is rubbish because there are no lions or Christians. But there is a sense in which these guys are trying to immortalize themselves. History is so entwined in the tour, perhaps because it plays out on the same stage every year, that it develops a sense of narrative. Legendary climbs become so much more than, say, a 9% average gradient. They become a story. And that's what we tune in for.

That and Gabriel Gate

Xbbx: Fuck James, that was, like, poetry n shit. I reckon that might do us for tonight, in fact.

FJ: Now I sound like a wanker.

And for the record, Gabriel, we all know you're in Frankston


Xbbx: Beautiful. Thanks FJ!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Whose Music Will You Run To For Shelter?

Goddamn, I woke up in a bad mood this morning. But then I remembered Public Enemy.

Sure, this is recent PE, acknowledged universally as not as good as classic PE. But hell, it's a banger, and has the triumphant horn sections that the Bomb Squad are famous for. Rumour has it that PE's production went downhill with the advent of tighter copywrite protection of samples, when the legal industry started taking note of what rappers were up to. Rich white dudes suing poor black dudes, attempting to take away what was a fierce form of personal expression, the Black CNN, which happened to call out those rich white dudes? Yeah, let's stop pretending that was all about protecting the rights of the original artists, shall we? Kinda reminds me of what happened in Iraq, where the first laws enacted under the new Mission Accomplished American Regime were copywrite laws. Not laws determining how the new government would run, not laws defining how elections would run, not laws to ensure the population would be fed and hydrated and housed, but laws protecting the Iraqi people from the scourge of pirated copies of the Lion King.

I was already pretty politically aware by the time I discovered PE, and it was initially the politics and aggression that drew me to them - it was like punk rock with beats, big fat cacophonies of noise, blasting through with righteous lyrics that I could shout at teachers when they were, like, trying to oppress me, man.

But as I got more and more into them, it was the production that kept me there. Those layers of sound, those James Brown breaks. In the "Welcome To The Terrordome" movie there's a sweet bit where the band are all sitting in the back of a van. It's real early on in the PE timeline, and they're all real skinny and wearing all black. Someone puts on a James Brown track and they all just start really getting into it, nodding their heads and generally feeling it. It's a killer moment, and it makes you just a little more aware of their musicianship, how they are songwriters first and political orators second.

There's so much PE on YouTube that it's difficult to find individual songs - for example, I've been looking for the above clip from that movie for months now, without success. I was looking for an example of how the band eventually overcame the sampling problem, and eventually I remembered this clip. I guess by this stage PE were rich enough and famous enough to simply call the guy who made the original, and see if he wanted to play on their new version.

Plus, it's a nice mellow track to end on.

Monday, June 25, 2012

I Hope We Don't Change Too Much.

That's my left hand up there, and apparently you can't tell too much about me in the present day from my left hand. According to some streams of palmistry the left hand represents what you were born with, your genetically predisposed personality traits, the nature rather than the nurture. On this hand you can see that the worry lines are deeply etched, the relationship lines permanent and unflinching, the heart line serious and unbroken, the small finger stretching wildly away from the other three. Make of this what you will. I don't believe any of it anyway.

Strangely, as a cyclist I have next to no superstitions. I don't have to put one shoe on before the other, don't need my stuff laid out in a particular way, don't have a lucky pair of knicks. Sure, I have a routine before a race, places where I like things to go, but this is more about ease than anything else, and if the routine is thrown off I won't bat an eye. What I like most about racing is that purity of focus, how you're not thinking about anything else while you're out on the track. In fact, here's an excellent summation of what I'm thinking during a race:

Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Waitwait. Waitwaitwait. Waitwait, Waitwait. Ok. Ok. Ok. Yep. Now. Now! NOW! NOW!

You will note that there's no room there for me to wonder whether or not I'm wearing my favourite pair of socks. If I spent three seconds thinking about whatever stupid superstition I have, I'd likely miss the move and my race would be over.

But in my regular life a few little things sneak in. Whenever I forget things at my house, and have to go back to get them, I always stop and wait a little bit. I'll be standing there, having just retrieved my phone or keys or computer cable, just waiting. Because there's a slim chance that this twist of fate may mean that I've somehow avoided some catastrophe that would've occurred had I continued on my way. If I had've remembered my phone, had it been snugly in my right hip pocket where it always is, I would've kept driving to work up Victoria Rd at 8.22am and probably would've had a car accident. But because I forgot it, and had to go back home to get it, I was driving up Victoria Rd at 8.27am instead, and missed that potential accident by five minutes. The act of just going home, however, isn't enough. I always wait a little bit, just to make sure.

I'm also suspicious of folks who claim to "have a feeling" about a particular situation in the future, about portentous signals or signs of foreboding. But I will go months, even years, without accidentally cutting myself (or deliberately, for that matter), and then all of a sudden I'll be covered in bandaids, a series of clumsy accidents resulting in bloodletting. Going back over my journals, times where I have been cut and scraped and grazed have nearly always coincided with times of dramatic upheaval, of serious things changing. The more blood drawn, the greater number of cuts, the shorter period of time in which they occur, the more significant the changes.

The other day I dropped a table and it clipped my knee, leaving three tiny lines of red. Later that night I was doing the dishes and was a little too enthusiastic with the blender blades. Minutes later I walked into the living room to change the music and stepped on a needle and thread that FJ had dropped while sewing. An hour or so further on I dropped a glass on the edge of the dining table, ruining our Tom Boonen tablecloth and slicing my finger open. The laundry basket was heavier than I expected post-wash, and as it fell from my hands it clipped the knuckle of my thumb. The dry air has wreaked havoc with my hands, and shoving my fingers into my pocket to retrieve my wallet tore some of the skin around my fingernail away. I started to worry about blood loss, so sat myself down to some sweet black tea.

Sipping at the Irish Breakfast, I begin to worry about what the future had in store. I still don't know. But I know that something big is coming. Well, perhaps I feel like something big is coming. I might be wrong, and another superstition might be disproved. I'll let you know.

I Wish I Could Peel Away Your Humid Human Skin.

My nephew Oskar, who is seven, has this friend called Isabelle, also seven.  Isabelle has down syndrome.

Isabelle had a couple of guinea pigs that she loved more than anything in the world, spending a lot of her time talking to them, hugging them, chasing them, and generally having a great time.

The other day Gillian, Isabelle's mum, heard a strange sound coming from the garden.  She ran outside, and there was Isabelle.  She was covered in fur, and looked a bit concerned.  On the ground next to Isabelle was one of the guinea pigs.  It was limping a bit, and making an awful squeaking sound.

Turns out Isabelle had hugged the poor thing so tight that its ribs cracked.  It died.

Isabelle had literally loved the animal to death.

Isabelle learnt a lot about death that day.  She did something bad, to be sure, but there was none of the usual fanfare.  No tears, no scolding, nothing broken.

But one of her friends was dead, because of a mistake she didn't know she was making.

As life lessons go, that's a fairly morbid one to go through at seven, especially when you have other uncertainties about the world around you.

I mean, Oskar just lost his dad, and he's obviously coming to grips with it as any seven year old should.  By shouting a lot, followed by occasional moments of vivd introspection.  But he's a switched on kid.  He knows what's up.  As hard as the next few months and years are going to be in some sense, he's going to be ok.

But Isabelle is another story.  Isabelle has to work harder to make sense of the world around her.  Sometimes she makes mistakes.  That's ok, we all do.  The difference is that Isabelle doesn't know what to make of the end result.  Her mate is gone, and it's because she did something wrong.  But what was it?  All she did was love the animal with all her might.

I feel like the worst thing that could come out of this situation is Isabelle coming to believe that you can kill something by loving it too much.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Radio, Radio, Sing Me Something I Know.

Whoa! I know, right? It's been two whole weeks! But that's right, it's once again time for another Friday Roundup. Lots of advice about what to do when you're stuck indoors this time around, because I know that I'm sure as hell not going out in this weather.

Ok, ok, maybe I will make one exception. The Melburn-Roobaix is on Sunday! But really, chances are that if you're reading this blog, you already knew that. I'll be down there helping out at the Brunswick Cycling Club tent. FJ will be there trying to sell Masis. And, even though you've just met him, and it is crazy, you should give him your number, then call him Jamesy.

Dirty Deeds (and I) got a sweet write up in CX Magazine the other day, but the presentation sessions really highlighted the need for folks to read this blog post on podium etiquette by friend of The New Timer Monique Hanley. She's one of the good ones, that Monique. I wonder what kind of music she listens to. Maybe I'll see if she wants to do a Music Wednesday. 

Award for best new tumblr of the day goes to When In Melbourne, which rings disturbingly true.

But it's also good to see Liam posting again in his most excellent Swine! Before Pearls blog. This entry about the use of X-Code imagery led me through the internet rabbitwarrens for hours, and is especially pertinent because it uses Sime's logo for Dirty Deeds as an example. This ain't no diss of the logo - I think it's brilliant - but it's always interesting to suggest where inspiration has come from, and if it was deliberate or not.

Ok, so KO is out of town, and Rolly just texted me suggesting that when she's out of town everyone just stays inside and watches DVDs all weekend. Which, incidentally, was already exactly my plan for tonight. To make us seem less dependent, however, both FJ and I will be heading to the FOA pre-Roobaix mixer at 99 Problems on Saturday night. Kicks off around 9.

And after that, some time around 12, we're going to Charltons to do Karaoke. You should definitely come to that. Someone has to save me from myself.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

They Keep Calling Me.

Petie Hyde and Mark “Parko” Muscat had a fistfight. It was at a party out at James “Gibbo” Gibson’s farm outside of Stawell. Some words were spoken, Parko swung his fist around a bit, but there wasn’t much in it. It seemed like the damage was probably more emotional than physical. So when Petie stormed off into the night, I figured I should probably go with him. We didn’t really talk about much. The walk was about five miles.

When we got into town he’d calmed down a bit. I left him at the taxi rank down the bottom of the mall and began to walk back out to Gibbo’s place. At the top of the mall, across from the Commercial Hotel, I saw three or four guys run out of a basement flat. I’d been in that flat before – it used to belong to a friend’s older sister, and we’d go there when we wanted her to buy us beer.

A girl stepped out of the flat. I stopped and watched her for a while. There was something not quite right. She started swaying. I asked her if she was alright. When she didn’t reply I walked a bit closer. She was bleeding.

I lay her down on the concrete. She was trying to say something. I looked at her wounds. They didn’t seem too bad. She was clutching at her stomach. I lifted her shirt a little, just to reveal the area around her hip, and saw the great gaping hole in her flesh. A couple of inches higher was her tattoo – a lightly drawn outline of a horse’s head.

I talked to her a little bit, held her hand and stuff. Before too long the guys came back. They’d called an ambulance. There was a guy still down in the flat, waving a kitchen knife around. No one knew what to do if he came out. We waited for the ambulance to come. The station was about seventy metres away, further up the hill.

About half an hour later I left her with one of the guys to go get a cold cloth from inside the Commercial. When I came back the ambulance guys were picking her up. I sat down on the kerb and watched. One of her friends went with her.

The cops came and took my name. Melissa Wilmott came out from the pub and put her arm around me. Before too long I remembered that I’d left all of my stuff out at the farm. So I walked out to the edge of town, then started running. I was a bit healthier then than I am now, and used to run in and out of town pretty often. It wasn’t such a big deal.

When I got back I saw Gibbo’s mum, Nan. She asked me what was wrong. I can’t remember what I said. Somehow she hooked me up with Kimmy Muscat and Lynley Hoiles, who were catching a cab back into town. They dropped me off near home.

It was mid afternoon when I woke up. I told my parents I had to go to police station, but wouldn’t tell them why. They’d heard some talk already, and had a vague idea of what was going on. They offered to drive me, but I decided to walk. It was a nice day outside.

Her friend from the ambulance was inside the station, waiting to be interviewed. She recognized me from the night before. She had followed the girl all the way into the surgery. The hospital was understaffed. They didn’t have enough hands. The doctor kept asking her to press down in different places, to hold together different parts of her friend. There was so much blood, she said.

We let the conversation lapse.

The doctor came in. It was my doctor. He looked at us, and shifted awkwardly. There was nothing we could’ve done, he told the noticeboard behind us. Her injuries were just too serious.

Her name was Kim, which was the name of my Canadian girlfriend. I can’t remember her last name.

The next day I went to school. It was a stupid decision. Aside from a cursory hug from Lynley, no one acknowledged what had happened. It was hot. When the end of the day came I walked up towards the mall, stopping to take my shoes off on the way.

My teacher Jeff Cameron must’ve seen me out of the staffroom window. He stormed out the front doors.
       Where are your shoes.
       They’re in my bag.
       Put them back on.
       It’s after school hours, and I’m off school premises. I don’t have to put them back on.
       Put them back on.
       I’m sorry Mr Cameron, but no.
I continued on my way. He said something triumphant, then stormed back inside.

When I got home that night my parents told me I’d been suspended. Deliberate disobedience. My punishment was a day. I took a week.

The next fortnight was school holidays. I rode my bike in the mountains, wrote, slept.

Two weeks later, just as school was about to go back, my grandmother died. My dad asked me to be a pallbearer. I declined. I took another week off.

Do You Have Any Idea How Many Songs They Wrote About You?

Lest people start to think it's all bangers and thrash around these parts, today I'm presenting a series of total bummer tunes. Not because I'm depressed or anything - though I appreciated all the concern yesterday, when I called myself a dick all over the internet, I'm totally fine - but rather because I'm quite fond of melancholy, and sometimes a well written dirge can be just as inspiring as a straight up banger. The trouble with bummer tunes, however, is that they don't lend themselves to raving on and on after the song has ended. It's probably better for me not to say anything at all, but rather to let you sit back and click through the songs on your own time, without me steering the ship. Perhaps go look at photos of your former lovers on facebook while you listen, or look up all the places you used to live on google streetview, or find your old livejournal and read about all the crushes you never acted on.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Tomorrow's No Burden.

My boss told me earlier that I seem dopier than usual today. He was worried about me, concerned I was unwell. I blamed not much sleep and the current moratorium I'm having on all of my supplements, in anticipation of a complete blood workup. Both of those things are true, but probably not completely the reason for me seeming a bit out of it. Missing out some of the key facts, or lying by omission, as we've taught the kids to say.

I've gotta rush this post a little bit, as there's only about twenty minutes before we all have to sit down and discuss how each kid has gone on their goal. Each week each of my students gets a goal based specifically on their behaviour. Some of them have "Do as asked," some of them have, "Handle difficult situations better," some of them have, "Answer questions honestly." At the end of each day we sit down and discuss with them if they have achieved that goal. If they have, they get a tick in their goal book. If they haven't, they get a cross. If they were somewhere in between, they get a 50/50. And, here's the clincher, if at the end of the week they have more ticks than anything else, they get to leave at 12.30 on a Friday afternoon. If they don't, they have to stay til 2.50, like a normal day.

Sometimes, particularly lippy kids will suggest that they should also be able to give the teachers goals. And we always encourage them to do so. Eventually, if they do follow through, they'll come up with pretty superficial stuff, like "Mick should tell better jokes," or "Brendan should stop dancing in class" (we do tell them that goals should be phrased in a positive manner, but sometimes that's a bridge too far for our kids, who usually struggle with language). I always wonder why they don't pull us up on more serious stuff, but I guess we're teachers, and these are kids who have been yelled at by teachers a thousand times, so they're probably still wary of the power relationship involved. If they were a little more trusting they might write about me that I should "arrive at the Unit ready to work," in response to my constant fatigue, both training related and latenight related. Or maybe even "treat the work more seriously," in response to my tendency to joke through serious situations, like important meetings, or kids whose parents are a little too messed up.

If they knew me socially, however, my current goal might be "don't be a dick." And today, sitting down in the couch area we call the airport lounge (because that's where you sit when you arrive and when you depart), they'd probably give me a cross. Man, I've burnt some fucking bridges since January. That's when I stopped riding my bike, and since then I seem to have reverted to an attitude typical of the Seinfeld generation, treating flippant things with the utmost seriousness, and treating serious things with a callous flippancy. Like Seinfeld, it's an entertaining way to live, but also like Seinfeld, when you get to the last episode, you realize that the people involved are just dicks. And that's where I'm at right now.

The worst thing about behaving in this manner is that the habit becomes a compulsion, and you end up sending the wrong message entirely, distancing yourself using flippancy and nonchalance when you should be drawing closer using honesty and passion. I should, of course, be truthful with people, tell that not being able to race my bike totally fucks me up, that I fucking miss it like a limb, that every Tuesday I go down to the track because I wish like all fucking hell that I could still do it, and if I can't, I still want to be involved somehow. And fuck it, instead of that stupid play on words, instead of answering your question with a question, I should just fucking cry.

But I don't. Because it's too heavy, and without those jokes and puns and questions, the weight could well crush me. That's ok, but when the flippant reply becomes the constant, when the protective layer of humour becomes the whole, that's a problem. And that's why I do deserve a cross. Because I'm being a dick.

My Wicked Way.

Given my antics during Friday's Dirty Deeds prologue, during which a sizeable but not quite wizard status staff was built, you will have to forgive me if today's post is a little scattered.

Probably the question I was asked the most on Friday night was why I wasn't racing.  At the time I think I brandished my beer wizard staff and said something about other priorities, but maybe it's time to reflect a little closer as to why I chose not to race the first cross race of the season.

I mean, the main reason is because I'm pretty unfit right about now, and the last thing I felt like doing after work on Friday was wearing lycra in the cold, feeling like a vom.  I like pain as much as the next cyclist, but I'm not stupid, despite what anyone might say.

But there's also a big loss of confidence playing a part as well.  It's at about this point that Sean the Man would scoff, tell me to run a 94'', and just fucking back myself.  Which is totally true, but it doesn't take away from the fact that racing, and to a lesser degree training, requires a certain tactical suspension of disbelief.

Simply put, you have to believe that you can do better, get fitter, improve and, eventually, win races.  Otherwise what's the point?  Sure you can ride your bike and have a ball, no one is denying that, but then why race if that's all you want to do?

Right now I simply have no real urge to trick myself into thinking I could race like a mad dog.  When people ask me when I'm going to start racing again, I just shrug my shoulders and say: "when I feel like it."

Brendan wrote something similar the other day, mentioning that you have to have total faith in yourself, mentally and physically, to consider it worthwhile flogging yourself out on the road and on the ergo.  Right now, a bit like Brendan, I'm pretty happy going to shows, listening to records, and reading books that, up until a month ago, I've been too tired to read.  Not going to lie, it's been a rad time.

I've been on my bike, and I've had a ball.  But every time I put it in the big dog, I'm reminded of how much work I have to do, if I want to achieve any of the goals I've been aiming for.

At this stage I'm pretty happy taking my time. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Rain Down Some Change On Me.

         There’s been a lot of talk about the movie Sliding Doors in these parts of late, mostly because the movie seemed to really speak to FJ, and last night, out to dinner with a friend from highschool, I was reminded of my own Sliding Doors moment.

Some time in year ten I was sitting in front of this girl Bec on the bus back from Horsham. We’d been on a German excursion, and had just recited some German poetry and learnt about Black Forest Cake. I was dating a different girl at the time, but I had just met this girl in Horsham, whom I would – unbeknownst to anyone at this point – go to visit and hook up with a week later. So I was feeling pretty good. Bec, however, was having another of the crises of confidence that regularly beset 15-year-old girls, and was talking about how ugly she was. Doing what I thought was the right thing, I told her that she was indeed far from ugly, and if she hadn’t had been dating my best friend Richie at the time, I would’ve considered making out with her. So much for doing the right thing. The next day at school Richie accused me of trying to kiss his girlfriend. This was, of course, utter shit, but he and I were never real friends again, which kinda sucked.

I told you that story so I could tell you another one. About three years later I was at another party, and was dancing around with a different Bec – for clarity, and because google means I shouldn’t use last names, let’s call her Bec #2. She too had been dating Richie – who, in hindsight, perhaps had a thing for Becs - but their relationship had been faltering, and I wasn’t sure of her status. So, remembering the debacle with Bec #1, I decided that I would make out with Bec #2’s friend Kate instead. It was okay. As I was leaving the party, though, I overheard Bec #2 yelling at Kate, telling her that she had stolen her man. I figured that this situation was pretty sweet – there was another party on the next night, and now there was no doubt as to Bec #2’s relationship status. For some reason, however, I arrived at that party quite late, and upon entry found her making out with this other guy. I’m still not sure why I was late, or what I was doing, but they have continued dating ever since, got married, and recently became the proud parents of twins. If it wasn’t for Bec #1, I tell you, those twins would’ve been mine. I would’ve stayed in Stawell, worked in the mine, played footy for the Warriors and spent the weekends drunk at The Gift hotel.

For me now, and probably for you reading it, that sounds like a totally lame time. But I bet that if I had taken that path, if I had’ve rocked up to that party at nine instead of eleven, I’d still be pretty happy with things. I’d still have a bunch of mates who I crack jokes with in the evenings. I’d still have people around who deliver hugs when they’re needed. I’d still read books and listen to music and have an intense hunger for stories, narratives, historical gossip. And, on a more pragmatic level, I’d still have a house, a job, a family. Some things might even be more exciting that they are for me now, though I can’t think of any off the top of my head. That’s where the movie kinda lies to us. That other life wouldn’t be better or worse. It’d just be different.