Monday, August 9, 2010

Hardcore Luxury: It Ain't Easy Being Douchey

This past weekend I engaged in some routine bicycle component installation. Despite being almost moronically simple, the component I installed came with a manual, and while I've changed the name of both the component and the manufacturer, here's what it said:

Congratulations! You have just purchased the best bicycle component available. To ensure the best performance and longest service life from your bicycle component, please read carefully and follow these installation instructions.


All Awesome Manufacturer bicycle components should be installed by a qualified bicycle mechanic. The Awesome Manufacturer assumes no liability for products which are improperly installed.


Failure to follow these instructions can result in bicycle component failure. Bicycle component failure can lead to loss of control of the bicycle and result in serious personal injury or death.


Inspect for dents, bends, deep scratches or gouges before each ride. Replace any deeply scratched or gouged bicycle components immediately. Destroy any bicycle component you replace for safety reasons.

And so forth.

Reading this, I realized that for years I have been alarmingly casual in my approach to bicycle maintenance, and that in flouting recommended installation procedures I have been flirting with serious personal injury or death. Perhaps most egregiously, I have been baiting fate and misfortune by not immediately destroying any bicycle components I replace. Previously, I had thought that the proper method for disposing of used bicycle parts was to put them on Craigslist or eBay, but it turns out I should actually treat them like unexploded IEDs and obliterate them "Hurt Locker"-style. So, subsequent to this revelation, I loaded the Big Dummy full of skipping cassettes, marginal brake pads, used cable housing, and other detritus of the bike dork, headed into the desert, and did as the manual specified:

While people in the area (at least those who survived) may suffer after-effects from the nuclear fallout for generations, at least nobody will inadvertently find and install my slightly scratched seatpost--which could fail catastrophically, leading to serious personal injury, death, or, worst of all, unwanted and humiliating posterior penetration and violation.

In any case, now rid of my dangerous componentry but emitting an eerie yet soothingly etherial glow, I returned to Brooklyn and resolved to begin life anew. (Having been irradiated, I am now even more toxic to others than usual, and so my doctor recommends I avoid human contact for the next 75-100 years.) Until effete clothiers Outlier and Rapha finish their collaboration on my bespoke lead cycling bodysuit and I can once again enjoy the companionship of others and pet puppies and kittens without melting them, I must dwell in solitude. This, of course, will require suitable quarters, so inquired about taking up residence in one of those condos I mentioned on Thursday:

("The poor people look so harmless from up here.")

Alas, not only do I lack the means ("means" is pretentious for money) to gain access to this rarefied lifestyle, but I also totally flunked the cognac appreciation test. Also, even if I could live there, the building does not have an on-site apiary, and since beekeeping is like totally the new fixed-gear I balked at the notion of living someplace so hopelessly unhip. Fortunately, the same local news station on which I saw the commercial for the above apartments is now airing a commercial for "The Edge" in Williamsburg, where apparently you can live in "hardcore luxury:"

"Hardcore luxury? What exciting new form of douchery is this?" I asked myself eagerly as I sweetened my morning cup of artisanal tea with honey from the apiary I keep in my linen closet. Donning the oven mitts I must now wear so that I will not melt my keyboard, I visited the website for the "Edge," where I learned that "hardcore luxury" involves keeping your art books in a series of austere and asymmetrical cubbies:

It's both thrilling and inspiring to see how nuanced "douchery" has become. If all you share in common with the cognac-sniffing, vest-wearing, terrier-owning set is a surfeit of disposable income and an urgency to divest yourself of it, and if you spent your last $7,000 on a set of designer sleeve tattoos instead of paying the lease inception costs on a Range Rover, then the Edge is the perfect place to hang both your rabbit hair fedora and your designer ax(e) (and of course your urban rucksack in which to carry it all).

But before you can move into a place like the Edge and experience the sublime paradox of "hardcore luxury," you must undergo a "douche-morphosis" and attain the state known as "douche-gnosis." In the meantime, you must live among the "hipster hylicoi," thos unfortunates who patronize the faux-dive bars, share overpriced rental apartments, and ply the streets aboard their "fixies," hoping for enlightenment. Of these, some will choose the path of the film production assistant, or "PA," in their pursuit of glory.

PAs are like bike messengers, only with a career path, and they tend to have Leatherman multi-tools on their waists in addition to the standard-issue key carabiner. They can be found on pretty much every corner in New York City telling you to wait while some film crew finishes filming some crappy scene for some crappy movie or TV show. One such movie currently in production is the messenger-themed feature "Premium Rush"--and, as it happens, a PA was recently Mark Renshawed while doing his job on the set:

I understand the indignities of this vocation, and I do empathize with the victim. However, I also know how bothersome it is to be constantly routed by PAs, since that's what life in New York City has become. If you've never experienced this, just think of how annoying it is when you're watching TV with someone and they insist on watching some really bad show or movie. Now imagine getting trapped in that same show or movie in real life on your way to the store. Not only is it inconvenient, but it's also deeply offensive, because you realize on some level you're actually helping people make a really bad show or movie that you could very well be forced to sit through again later. Really, the job of the PA is to say, "Please don't disturb us while we produce garbage for you." It's like being made to wait while someone relieves himself on your floor.

Her is an actual "Premium Rush" PA in action:

Notice how a single hipster faux-billy halts pedestrians going about their business like Midtown Manhattan is his slovenly living room and they're about to step on the friend who's "crashing" on his floor:

Indeed, so acrimonious have PA/civilian relations become that the head-butter is now being hailed as a hero:

"'He should get a community-service award,' declared Bonita Bradley, 33, a musician."

Apparently, Ms. Bradley completely missed the irony that musicians are vastly more annoying than PAs, as anybody who's been trapped in a subway train with a practicing vocalist wearing headphones or with some guy wielding an imitation Stratocaster and a Pignose amp can certainly tell you.

Of course, one person emphatically not being hailed as a hero is the cyclist who hit an older woman in Central Park and then fled the scene:

This has naturally kindled a predictable flame war, and while people will once again indict all cyclists, this is clearly the work of once of the saddest cyclists in all of cycledom: the New York City "traditional Fred." The giveaway is that he was wearing "full racing gear" in Central Park at 10:30am on Saturday, despite the fact that there was an actual race nearby that very morning, and that the open roads of the "country" beckoned just a few miles north over the George Washington Bridge:

Despite the abundance of convenient places to ride road bicycles very fast, for some reason the New York City "traditional Fred" (as well as the New York City triathlete) prefers to ride his or her crabon wonderbike in in the middle of the day on a weekend in one of the biggest and most crowded tourist attractions in the United States. (Yes, in the non-"hipster" cycling world, 10:30am is the middle of the day.) Admittedly, this is sometimes necessary, since he first needs to pick up his bicycle from the shop, where he dropped it off to have the chain lubed. This leaves little time left to ride. Also, while their park antics are annoying and sometimes dangerous, it's really more sad than anything--it's like going to a buffet and only eating the condiments, or like masturbating outside of a whorehouse.

As for those cyclists who sleep well past 10:30 and don't actually start riding until sundown, they'll be pleased to know that the "superfluous tool" trend and the "bike-mounted bottle opener" trend have met head-on in the form of the "Road Popper," which I saw on fixed-gear freestyle impresario and streetwear enthusiast Prolly's blog:

For some reason, this item costs $40:

Now that's "hardcore luxury."


Anonymous said...

douche first

Bilbo Baggins said...

Top Whatever!

ringcycles said...

Podium throw!

Anonymous said...

All You Raphasses Sniff My Chamois

Anonymous said...


shoegazer said...


Anonymous said...

damn top 10.

Eros Poli said...

Eros Poli!

ride on said...

wow, now I know where all that useless Brooklyn shit on "etsy" winds up.

ant1 said...


cp said...

Contributing to the genital-numbing irony of the Road Popper is the fact that it's owners drink exclusively from cans.

Anonymous said...


ant1 said...

snobby - "Sratocaster"

mikeweb said...

Head? but...

rural 14 said...

ant 2nd!

Anonymous said...




Snarkus said...

was the "bicycle component" with the rigorous safety instructions a "road popper"?

hillbilly said...

is it a generational thing that hipsters can't open bottles with lighters, or sides of tables, etc etc?

Unknown said...

I always used to ignore those movie and TV asses when they told me to wait. My retort was always ..I live here.. and then keep walking.So good for him.

Charlie said...

Does the "Road Popper" come with the super-duper sleeve tat? for that price you should get the arm.

Anonymous said...

Sleeve tat? I thought that was a burn mark!

ringcycles said...

BSNYC, so while contemplating "hardcore luxury" were you listening to Paradox or Sublime? I have to believe that the right tunes are the pathway to douche-gnosis.

Idiot with too much money said...

According to our market research, condo-buying douches are strongly influenced by phrases starting with the letter 'i'.

Anonymous said...

just this morning, while feeding my goats, I noticed how huge my Big Pappies nutsack was. I congratulated him, and spread some hay. Is this uber-hardcore luxury?

Anonymous said...

Snobby, can you do another post on Fred's? Lately, I've been feeling a little Fred-ish.

bk jimmy said...

I recently purchased an Easton seatpost which also claimed to be the best component available. So who's is better, mine or yours?

Clark Nikolai said...

He's got radioactive blood.

Anonymous said...

bk jimmy,

I have seen 4 seatposts fail in my life, by snapping just below the head and leaving a ragged stump. all 4 eastons, all 4 during cyclo-x.

mount your bike gently, look for scratches.

Anonymous said...

Aroused by the beefy bottom bracket, I proceed to mount my bike gently

Pontius Pilate said...



Anonymous said...

BIC lighter = multi tool <$2
But really, empty cans are better than bottles.

CommieCanuck said...

"What did you do with the beer money?"

"I spent it on this seat mounted opener."

Why do cyclist insist on drinking beer from bottles that don't have twist-offs? Are the twist-offs the derailleurs of the beer world? Ever heard of cans?

CommieCanuck said...

I have seen 4 seatposts fail in my life, by snapping just below the head and leaving a ragged stump. all 4 eastons, all 4 during cyclo-x.

Everything breaks in cyclocross sooner or later.

Jens Voigt had a seatpost break on him during the final stage at the TDF years ago. Rumor has it his wife hacksawed through the post, as he refused a vasectomy after 5 kids.

Desert Rider said...

Hope they didn't get the Surly Snob, that sucks.

Jefe said...

Doesn't everyone in Hollywood know that all stunt sequences in "New York City" are filmed in Albany because we are too compliant to complain (or punch anyone) about anything? Number One movie "The Other Guys" shut down our downtown for weeks while look-a-likes of The Rock and Will Ferrell crashed cars into buses and other acts too terroristic for a real city. Angelina Jolie closed down our bizarre cloverleaf expressway in "Salt" to jump from an overpass to a truck. Filming in NYC...fuggedaboutit.

Salty and Sore said...


Thanks for showing us the latest in disembodied-hand fashion:

Sharpie tattoos. --Hardcore Luxury's version of 'Design on a Dime'.

How did he draw those lines so straight with so much PBR in his system?

(Oh, right. You don't need a bottle opener for that.)

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Hey CC- I'll have you know I got Labatts blue in cans in the fridge right now!

Anonymous said...

are they seriously spending tens of millions of dollars and risking the safety of PAs and actors to make a movie where the central character is a bike messenger? why not a blacksmith or a towncrier? would probably be slightly more relevant.

bikesgonewild said...

..."Riii-co-laa !!!"...

...sorry, pavlov...just checkin'...

George Not Hincapie said... 10:30AM, Ruth Shack (73) had made it 20 yards into the crosswalk... when out of nowhere appeared her evil good-for-nothing cousin, Radio Shack disguised as a pro cyclist. -Gloria Roth (pal)

g said...

"Because this product is fabricated to order it is more expensive that it would be under normal manufacturing conditions. For this same reason it takes about 14 working days to arrive"

Why do you need to have a standard saddle with standard rails and spacing when this thing is "fabricated to order"? I would think that if they are making these things one off, you should be able to specify some custom sizing. Isn't standardization the point behind mass production?

That and the fact that they are using it open a soda and not even a beer.

LK said...

That's 3 (three) links to the New York Post and one to your buddy Polly....

You know the saying - wear it out and upgrade....

Anonymous said...

"hardcore luxury" sounds dirty, I like it. Sounds like a Iggy/Lou Reed song title or the slogan for a premium whorehouse. NY copywriters rule.

Anonymous said...

Hardcore...not something I would normally associate with luxury. Whatever.

gnh--No doubt! I thought it ironic that someone a bit aged rolling under the name of Shack got run down by what was presumably a younger cyclist. Another blip in the life/sport continuum.

Jefe said...

As Andy Schleck says, "I choose SRAM ... at least until my chain inexplicably pops off." Another gruppo to the smelter for the safety of all.

Turd Ferguson said...

Douche-stasis must be achieved before experiencing hardcore luxury

Anonymous said...

So I get why the headbutter was so bent--he's a stagehand. No puny little PA tells a stagehand he can't walk on set.

Anonymous said...

That rod popper has my dick in a bind

Anonymous said...

I think that Tsar Bomba video is a fake. The real one was a _lot_ bigger (look it up on a popular search engine if you like).

"There's a cheesy, atom, bomb explosion all the big groups use ... "

(Zappa, "Will you be in my Video?")

nocklebeast said...

that's going to be an awful movie.

Anonymous said...

I realize that to a New Yorker, all of us out here in the West look the same, but the hillbilly look is overalls with a mesh cap.
The cowboy hat and western shirts is worn by what you call saddle trash if you look good in it, and the dime store cowboy if you don't.

Slice Harvester said...

A couple of friends of mine are working as extras on Premium Rush and the other day one of them had to show the lead actor how to take his bag and chain on and off.

LK said...

Upon re-reading this post, I have to ask, she comes with the hardcore condo, right?

Anonymous said...

I'm going to find a drive-in movie theatre where I can watch Premium Rush. The drive-in theatre's ambiance of yesteryear will be more in keeping with what I assume will be a period piece given that the storyline appears to centre around a bicycle messenger. I suppose the film might be set amidst the daily costume drama being lived out by present day fakengers, but in that case the thrilling height of suspense, action and intrigue would be the puncture repair scene and I'm pretty sure they didn't get the stunt crew in just for that. Either way, there will be something appealingly wrong about watching cinematic bicycle erotica while sitting in a car. Additionally, the parking lot of the theatre itself will add a realistic third dimension to the street scenes without the premium ticket price of 3D cinema. Just like driving a car in real traffic if what is going on in front of me isn't stimulating enough I can always busy myself with some snacks and text messaging. ce

Anonymous said...

Mr Snob, as someone who enjoys emulating your sense of humour, I can vouch with authority for this universal principle: 'Imitation is the sincerest form of Douchery'. ce

leroy said...

Dear Metropolitan Diary --

I slept late-ish on Saturday and went over the Brooklyn Bridge around 8-ish in the morningway to take a longish ride in the country to Rockland Lake.

I was following two guys in team kits up the Bridge when a guy on a hybrid wearing a backpack sped past us in full attack mode.

I remarked that the guy with the backpack must have needed the King of the Mountain points.

I got no reaction, which is odd because a celebrity blogger used that trope recently and comedy ensued.

I've got to start stealing better material.

Dann said...

Worth noting on the bottle-opener site is the phrase

"Material options are bronze infused stainless steel."

I was waiting for that second option they hinted at, but it never came.

Anonymous said...

You Americans might not know this, but your beloved (?) country is known worldwide for those disclaimers. In most of the rest of the world manufacturers don't have to provide meters of "caution - do not use the product in this and that way or you might risk serious injury or death (because you might sue us for it)"crap...

Anonymous said...

Hey Anon 03:51, I've already used a variation of "You Americans..." in a contemptuously impertinent manner here in the last few days. I propose that we foreigners start treading a little more lightly in Mr Snobs presence from now on. You have seen what Mr Snob will do to dispose of marred bicycle parts in the interests of safety - we don't want to find out what he is capable of in the interests of the rampant nationalistic pride I suspect he harbours in his heart!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Right you are, 6:41! I deeply enjoy MrSnobs blogging, otherwise I wouldn't be here, and so I will tread more lightly from here on...

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:45, that might be best, but I shouldn't have jumped to conclusions. It hadn't occurred to me that you might also have access to jury rigged thermo nuclear bombs, as Mr Snob does due to his involvement with the group 'Lashkar-e-Lobster'. If that is the case say what you please, I'm sure the specter of mutually assured destruction will keep everything sweet. ce

CommieCanuck said...

Anon 3:51 is obviously a Canadian. Canadians are the ninjas of the internet, often blending into the crowd, unseen, but they're there, oh, they're there.

Anonymous said...

hardcore luxury: premium porsche SUV as camera vehicle

CommieCanuck said...

Hey CC- I'll have you know I got Labatts blue in cans in the fridge right now!

Meh. Canadian beer. Over-rated, carbonated moose piss.

Grolsch has bottles with that cool flip-top thingy that you just KNOW was invented by Tulio Campagnolo.

agent detroit said...

snobby, wow. so much happening in this post. i used to raise bees as a kid, and am starting again, i had a pignose amp as a teen, was a traditional fred as a young man, wiped out seriously on my fixed as an adult, my current job title is p.a., i have a downy beard now, and am just a helmet mirror away from riding a recumbent. you really have your finger on the pulse of your readership! as for the bottle opener, why don't you use a pedal like everyone else?

Pre Rapha-Elite said...

Don't they make a bottle opener that attaches to a U-lock?

Actually, a nice set of varied U-lock attachments in a nylon fabric holder on my belt would be nice.

Like that insulator avatar RCT, and thanks for "Raphasses" Anon. 12:54!

Anonymous said...

Anyone notice in the video clip that the filming vehicle is a Porsche Cayenne? Is such an expensive vehicle necessary or is that just an example of a doucheclamation point?

Anonymous said...

apparently someone else noticed the porsche work mutant..good eye anonymous 10:32

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Anonymous said...

Movies getting made in your town mean money for the local economy. Some people find it interesting and fun.

Insufferably superior snobs, however, likes to make a point of how blasé they are about the things tourists find exciting.

Life in the city requires making allowances for other people and activities.

Condoning causing grievous bodily harm to some guy who asks you to go a couple blocks out of your way because there’s a movie being made is like condoning someone who runs down a cyclist because “all these bikers are holding up traffic.”

I realize you didn’t explicitly condone Mr. Flynn’s assault on Mr. Lafferty, but your idiotic comments about how “deeply offensive” it is to be “trapped” into “actually helping people make a really bad show or movie” isn’t sufficiently funny or insightful to justify offering implicit support for Flynn’s thuggish behavior.

At times, you really are a douche.

Glenwood said...

Wow. Just wow.

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fixie bikes said...

it's totally easy being a douche, whatchu talking about?

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