Sunday, June 21, 2009

We're here! Hamburg

So of course we've arrived safe and sound. I spent the whole plane ride pretending like our bikes were already missing from the plane, just so I wouldn't be disappointed when they were. Actually I spent the whole plane ride watching Harry Potter Movies, eating Jimmy Bean sandwiches, and talking to the very interesting and very wealthy German-American filmmaker who sat next to us. We tumbled off the plane and were handed two huge bicycle boxes by fittingly strapping young german men. The rigs were safe and sound.

The trip has been a blast so far, the pace insane. We didn't sleep for 35 hours right off the bat, drinking and partying until 3-4 am on Hamburg's teeming Reeperbahn. Our bikes work great. Our hosts are cool. A 6 pack of good beer costs as much as a single regular beer in the states.

TO skip TO TOday, We dropped smack in the middle of a evironmental transportation festival, which meant LOTS of bikes. Everyone in Hamburg rides bikes, so we don't really stand out, except that our bikes are way racy in comparison. Everyone rides 40-year-old cruisers every day, everywhere:

It's really great, except everyone rides on the sidewalk in these crazy omnipresent bike paths, which are really slow if your used to getting around at a car's pace on a bike. But the cars go crazy fast on narrow streets, because they're german and used to bikes on the sidewalk, but I digress. We ran around with Cate, our first Couchsurfing host, who is totally cool, and rides a bike from the 40's which is so flexible the frame wobbles with every pedal stroke, an astonishing characteristic for steel that appears to be mostly cast iron (again, digression). We went through a fantastic tunnel under the Elbe designed in the 1890's with elevators for horses and now for cars and bikes, running into a crazy one-man-bike-collective guy on the other side.

Actually, I don't know the point of this story. The whole reason I started writing this post was to tell you about Cate's friend Tomas, who is a crazy Artist/Poet/Philosopher and totally amazing. He paints pictures with names like "I Fucked the Machine and Lived to Tell About It" and "Biomechanical Woman:'but I shall never again be able to kiss you!' Dr. She-Va-Go:'...'" and so on. They look more or less like this:

Plus this:

Anyways, the real point is Tomas told me about Zizek, a groovy philosopher with more accents on his name (and speech) than I know what to do with. Here's a rad taste:

He is also central to a film called "A Pervert's guide to Cinema" that seems pretty clever.

Aside from that I've mostly been having the time of my life. We went to a complete catalouge of Herbert Tobias' work, a gay 'straight' portraiture photographer (that's a convoluted art joke, fyi) who worked from the end of WWII until the fall of the berlin wall. He's famous for images like this:

But the show was primarily in this vibe:

Damaged, glowering, rugged young men flirting with the camera in a way that is brutally both strong and traumatized. VERY German. I spent a lot of time thinking about layers of history and the way they are read over entire lifetimes as well as physically in the space of a city or culture. Hamburg is one of the best melds I have seen between old and new, huge brick and stone structures mated with commercial glass and girders. All of Europe is built upon the ancients, but Hamburg really owns it. I want to do a photo study when we slow down for a second. Brick buildings with 1850's ornamentation will end suddenly in a sheer window wall, and be encompassed by a conference center pavillion. Whole stained glass banks in stone arches replaed with mirrored tempered panels:

David also found this really cool building, The Chilehaus, massive and made of brick:

In our neck of the woods little tremors would bring this puppy down. Very cool to see.

The trip has been great so far for these and a thousand other reasons, and we haven't even ridden our bikes yet! I'm looking forward to that first day of riding, hopefully out of the rain, which has been pretty relentless and challeging even with places to stay, who knows what'll happen on the open road (w/o fenders, or a rain jacket in david's case Ö). Read More......

Sunday, June 14, 2009

SF Dreaming

It's been a hell of a trip in SF so far.


We barreled across the desert, only stopping to ride on the salt flats, where salt clung to our bikes like plastered snow, or the worst icing ever created.


The light was surreal, the car ride sifting us through mist and fog and rain all the way through. Santa Cruise arrived through the night after the insane blackout rally course that is highway 17, where the darkness obscured the crashing scars from ill-cambered turns.

My sister Elaine's place is great, something that adults deserve, a place you'd settle down near the beach after a well-earned life. So lucky she can live there. her life feels good. Pride parade was bright and hilarious, transsexuals galore.


We visited the Bicycle Kitchen in a new building, the prototype of the collective, clean and efficient. Instead of selling whole bikes, you give them $30 (or $60?) dollars and earn digging rights to cobble together a single bike. Paging McGyver.

Jessica and I bike everywhere, the city is easy and exhilarating, potholes and rushing traffic, keeping you on your toes. Everywhere's a race. Today we actually did a race, the sprawling, intimidating, epic Annual Oakland Rad Massaker Alleycat (formerly the Oakland Skrape. It's an insane 40+ miler that spans 5 cities in the east bay; Oakland, Berkeley, Piedmont, Albany, and Richmond. 160 riders show up, and they're mostly all crazy hardcore.



For example, the framebuilder for Broakland bikes was there, riding his own custom whip, and he's a beastly guy.


Guys from Mash/Macaframa, etc. But tons of punky east bayers with every description of beautiful bikes. Bikes cobbled together from random legit parts. Colnago frames. Custom track left and right. Tons of vintage rides bearing braze scars from repairs.


The race took us up the coast to all the different harbors, and then inland up the Berkeley hills. I was just blindly following people who looked fast, apologizing to the different groups for being a hanger-on out-of-towner who had no idea where he was. I got lost a couple times and was stupid tired, my legs cramped up and even though I was on a geared bike I could barely make it up the final hill. After 2.5+ crazy hours we collapsed in Willard park. I got 21st place, making me the fastest out-of-towner. Jessica, though, got 2nd fastest girl, blowing everyone's mind!


This guy won, which made me happy because he's a scrawny little guy like me, and there was some CRAZY competition on race bikes, etc.


EVERYONE got prizes, too, because the organizers hooked it up. Crazy number of things.


Here's an organizer hooking it up.

I was gunning for a helmet but it got snagged, so I got an ironic cycling cap.


Very cool crowd and very cool time. It was also my birthday. Things are going great. Read More......

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Don't worry about missing me...

I'll be here ;)


Apologetically wishing you a happy summer wrought with cheesy ads, sandwiches, and bicycles. I'll keep you posted.


Tonight's the sprint up City Creek, see you there! Here's a shot from my practice the other night, laden with my gear for the trip, seemed doable though tiring:

IMG_0759 Read More......

Monday, June 1, 2009

48hr Winnars!

So if you recall, we participated in the 48 Hour Film Festival this year. Good times were had by all, our spirit as a team was indomitable but we weren't in it to win it, so to speak, just trying to make the best film we could.

.... well, we also WON! Yay! The award of Best Film was presented to us, we get to go on to the NAB confrence in Las Vegas next year. In celebration and as a very special treat to you, I present you with our 48hr film festival submission, Halcyon. Enjoy!:
Read More......