Monday, October 23, 2006

Hockey hair, or a mullet, is always present in the NHL, but not so much in the last decade. Jagr had a terrific mullet in the early 90’s but few have attempted to take that crown these days. My Chicago Blackhawks have one Michal Handzus that easily wears the crown these days. And just in case you are not so informed, the hair is not a fashion statement, it merely exists to protect the player’s neck from errant pucks and stick slashes. A purely utilitarian choice. I had hoped to find my way to Chicago in the near future for a game to experience the beast in all its glory, but it is not to be. A knee injury has him out for the year. I may still see a game this year, but it just won’t be the same.

I read “Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron” by Clowes last week, which is easily one of the strangest comics, much less stories, I’ve ever read. I found myself trying to put it together with that awful high school question that would always come up in English class: “What does it mean?” It’s a useless question by the time you get to college and have to ability to talk about aspects of a text without generating an overly general concluding sentence for your paper. Yes Huckleberry Finn is about how slavery is bad, but that is not really an adequate comment. Nonetheless, I tried to find a place to start on Clowes and was drawn back to that silly question.

I wonder if it works as a threat to not try to hard to get what you want, because you might get it – or rather, don’t fixate too much on what goes on behind the scenes. If you ever uncovered all the layers you’d simply find a base level of filth, corruption, violence, and ugliness.

I also considered that the only characters in the book that looked physically normal (the cops, etc) were the most evil and vicious. So, maybe the main character was too normal and only after descending into his own strangeness and becoming an amputee was he able to find his comfortable place in the world. Our true selves are ugly and strange, but they are our true selves after all so we might as well embrace them. I suspect this idea might be closer to what Clowes had in mind.

So I’ll say that it tells us that being ourselves, however strange, is good, like Robin Williams told us all in Dead Poets Society. That is a very mean sentence to put into the world but Clowes’ images are a little unnerving at times, so we’ll call it even.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The leaves on my little weekday cycling loop are almost all gone. I remember Madison soon after moving here this time last year and seeing more leaves. I can only assume the cold snap was a little sooner and more brutal this year. Riding in the wind on Saturday was so unforgiving. I dressed for winter riding but was never able to warm up. Maybe I need to get my winter legs yet.

I am still recovering from the Bears game last night. My blood pressure is barely coming down a day later. Nothing more can really be said. I hope it is a case of a great team finding a way to win games the shouldn't win. I hope. And the Blackhawks are doing well also. All is well

Monday, October 09, 2006

Poe never had it so good

Riding a century is always unique in a way that 60 mile rides are not. The weather, stops, scenery, and pain always become more memorable. It is much easier to crystalize images and moments due to the length and mental challenge of the ride, or simply the mandatory recovery you’ll feel happening the next morning. The weather was simply perfect – 70 degrees and sunny, though a little windy. Considering it will be a high of 40 this Thursday and it is October, we had nothing to complain about.

After lunch at 3pm we found ourselves cracking 70 miles and feeling the distance. Perhaps we still had much of our physical strength to draw from, but chatter was down, the hours were mentally taxing, and the wind was no longer a mild annoyance but a beast that was winning the war. We finally turned north for the last 20 miles with the wind at our backs and found that our legs were happy to spin us at 22 mph as we caught glimpses of the capital in the distance.

Earlier, we were investigating the availability of a small cafĂ© with outdoor seating in Paoli and found ourselves in the middle of a wedding that was emptying out in the parking lot. While chatting about our next option of food we were apparently blocking the way for some wedding guests, so the middle aged man in the car told us, rather sternly, “Could you please move so my family could get through?” It was very funny. We weren’t being loud, much less swearing or doing anything that could be considered rude. I felt like we must then be some sort of a biker gang, albeit one wearing underwear and pedaling. I really don’t know where he was coming from, or why his family couldn’t have said, “Excuse me.”

Aside from taking many fantastic shots along the way, Frank easily won the coolest bike contest. His late 1980’s steel Merckx with tubular tires classed up the ride a great deal.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Tomorrow at 10 am I will take on 100+ miles of Wisconsin hills and country roads. It'll be a bear for sure, but I'm up to it. Saturday night I will be sleeping about 12 hours.

I wish I had made it to Chicago to see Negative Approach at the Touch and Go fest, but that's what youtube is good at fixing. I just wish a clip existing of the song "Nothing," because I'm certain they played it. Easily one of the greatest hardcore songs of all time.

Battlestar Galactica is tonight, along with carb loading.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

If you are guessing that this is paintball in Southern Wisconsin you would be wrong. If you instead opted for an explanation involving the Forest Moon of Endor, move to the head of the class. Everyone agreed that the face protection is surplus Rebel Alliance gear.

The whole paintball scene is an odd one, though one that is highly addictive and fun. Most people there are completely into the event to the tune of far too many dollars towards clothing and technology. It had a very militia feel to it.

In the first game our patrol of 3 fell into an ambush in tall grass. We were pinned face down to the ground for about 5 seconds, after which Greg rolled over to return some fire. Within the next split second each of us had received head shots from the sniper 10 feet away. Yes, they hurt. I never fired my weapon. The problem was us creeping towards the enemy encounter.

The second game we sprinted, not crept, into position, ensuring our arrival before enemy units. We nestled into sniper positions and waited. After 5-10 minutes I had 2 kills and it was obvious that our flank was no longer a threat so we went back to protect the actual flag at the fort. We successfully protected our flag and Paula got a kill in the process.

The third game was by far the best. It involved close quarters and about 100+ barrels scattered and stacked in a small area, with a road running right down the middle. Yes, it was a lot like Raiders of the Lost Ark. I advanced very far up the obstacles and never was hit, but I ran out of paintballs and had to leave the game.

It is funny how often people take headshots. I figured on shooting for the chest whenever possible simply because its larger. But, while sitting in the weeds and peering between barrels all you want to do is shoot somebody in the head. Its odd, but true. Greg felt the same thing.

Go Bears.