Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Chamfering at the Bit: Hard Times, Soft People

In yesterday's post, I mentioned that I was the grateful (if sarcastic) recipient of some lights and various tools for my Scattante. "Surely," I thought to myself as I punched giant holes in my earlobes with my new chain rivet plier, "the holiday season can't get any better." How wrong I was, for later that day I checked my mail and found an envelope from the Brooks saddle-making concern containing this actual autographed picture of Eric "The Chamferer" Murray:

It should go without saying that I was thrilled to receive the photograph--in fact if it hadn't arrived in an actual Brooks envelope from the actual country of England via something called the "Royal Mail" (everything has such cute names in England, the whole place is just adorable) I might have dismissed it as a hoax. Even better than the photograph itself though is learning that I helped Eric "The Chamferer" Murray enjoy some "hipster pussy," and that knowledge is the greatest gift of all. Rest assured I plan to have this image framed, where it will occupy pride of place alongside my "vintage" autograph from Grandmaster Flash:

We actually weren't friends at all since I was only about 11 at the time, but I'm hoping that the fact I have it in writing might still be sufficient grounds to convince him to lend me money.

Speaking of holiday cheer, if you're in the Boulder, CO area you can get some at Vecchio's Bicicletteria, where they'd like you to know they'll be having a holiday party this Friday, December 17th, starting around 5pm:

I mention this because I was asked by both Vecchio's and by Stevil Kinevil of All Hail The Black Market, and when people of that stature tell me to jump you better believe I don't refuse--instead, I only ask "How high?," or maybe "Into what?" if there's a vat of something smelly involved. Plus, Peter Chisholm's Internet treatises on the virtues of handbuilt wheels are legendary, so if they build parties at Vecchio's as well as they build wheels, then the party will be evenly-tensioned, have anywhere from 32 to 36 attendees, all of whom will be butted and have brass nipples, and it will last until the walls wear out. (This is the opposite of a Mavic R-Sys party, which has a $2,000 cover charge and which goes for about 20 minutes before the floor suddenly collapses.) In fact, I'd be there myself, if only I lived anywhere near Boulder, and if only they hadn't specifically asked me not to come.

Sadly, though, not all is well in the state of Colorado, and you may remember that doughy money manager who ran down a cyclist and fled the scene. Well, apparently he's engineered a cunning new defense, which is that he was overwhelmed by "new-car smell:"

It's becoming increasingly clear to me that if you were addicted to humanity's shortcomings, and in order to feed your addiction you were to to take 21st century America and freebase it so that only its worst elements were left, you'd wind up with the quivering little gooey blob that is Martin Erzinger, which you'd then proceed to smoke and inhale. In any case, the patent absurdity of the "new-car defense" aside, I must say I'm tremendously disappointed in the current state of our rich people. At least "back in the day" they were ruthless in an above-board way, like robber barons, Mr. Burns from "The Simpsons," and the people in "Boardwalk Empire." Now they're just a bunch of cowardly whiners who can't handle the smells of their own luxury cars. Frankly, I think that when a human has devolved to the point where even the richly-appointed interior of his new Mercedes is too much for him, he's really not qualified for life in the outside world and should spend the rest of his life in a small enclosed area like the milk-fed veal calf that he is.

Of course, it's not just our rich people who are growing soft--it's all of us. That's why some people feel compelled to buy things like "artisanal axes" and other overpriced totems that evoke a life they'll never experience. In fact, a number of people inform me that Best Made Co., the very company that brought you the "bedazzled axe," is now selling a kit so self-conscious people suffering from feelings of inadequacy can make their own:

This is a very bad idea, in that the last person you want fashioning his own axe is the sort of person who would consider buying one from Best Made Co. in the first place. If I had to come up with a recipe for disaster, I don't think I could invent anything better than a bunch of fey hipsters with liberal arts degrees assembling sharp implements, and it should be quite a bloodbath when all those axe heads start flying off and embedding themselves in their friends' heads. I guess the Best Made guy missed the part in business school where they tell you not to kill your customers.

This is also why it's becoming increasingly difficult to live in New York City in general and Brooklyn in particular. You'd think it's the traditional trappings of urban life--overcrowding, pollution, crime--that would be the problem, but it's actually the opposite, and life here is becoming so bucolic that I'm beginning to feel as helpless and confused as Woody Allen on a dairy farm. Everywhere you turn now someone's fashioning an axe, or bee-keeping, or pickling something, or carrying a banjo, and it's hard not to want to cry "This isn't what I signed on for!" and ask for a refund. It's like Greenwich Village must have been during the height of the folk movement, only without all the talent. Really, if I wanted to live among a bunch of artisanal faux woodsmen I would have just moved to Portland. Even worse are all the New York Times articles about it, like this one:


Apparently people who moved to Brooklyn yesterday are upset about a Brooklyn-themed bar opening outside of Brooklyn today--as though marketing Brooklyn to the rest of the world were something new:


It's even traded on the NASDAQ.

Not only that, but they're also upset that non-Brooklyn corporations are selling their precious "craft Brooklyn" right back to them:

“The Gap’s mission right now is to be relevant to our target audience,” said Ivy Ross, executive vice president for marketing for the San Francisco-based retailer. “And this idea of supporting locally crafted products is very relevant.”

The shop carries not a single item of Gap clothing. Instead, it’s filled with the hip and the handmade: clever objects by local designers, upholstered skateboards and tattoo-brightening cream, an idiosyncratic selection of books.

I'm not at all surprised to learn there's a market in Brooklyn for tattoo-brightening cream. Until the late 1990s, tattooing was actually illegal in New York City; now, it's performed in storefronts that are indistinguishable from high-end cheese shops. However, I think the real growth is going to be in tattoo-distressing cream that will give fresh "hipster" ink that old, faded look for additional "street cred," and I expect it to be the next big thing by the time the first tramp stamps of spring emerge early next year.

Still, I can live with all the crafty stuff, and I can even live with the backlash to the crafty stuff, but where I really start to get annoyed is when people use it as an excuse to implicate cycling. As it happens, the Daily News recently ran a tongue-in-cheek article on the same subject, which prompted the following comment:

I've been living in Park Slope for more than 30 yrs. I witnessed the bad and the good. Mind you, gentrification renamed South Brooklyn to Park Slope back in the day which made property values soar. But, in the end we are approaching the downward slope in the bell curve which with all the attention is not necessarily all good. Can't find parking and tired of all the bicyclist who do not know much about public safety let alone their own.

I think bicyclists know a lot about public safety, which is why they want bike lanes. I also lament the "downward slope in the bell curve" of city driving--I miss the days when people didn't whine about how they "can't find parking," and when the measure of a driver was his ability to do so under any circumstances. (A real New York driver can always find parking.) Alas, there was a time when people took responsibility for themselves and their motor vehicles instead of complaining as they drive around yapping on their cellphones with Bumper Badgers (the top tube pads of the automotive world) hanging from their trunks to protect their dainty posteriors.

If this guy can't find a space in Park Slope for his Subaru then he's not looking hard enough.

90 comments:

Anonymous said...

firsteel!!!

Desert Rider said...

PODM

Anonymous said...

Podium?

Anonymous said...

Moin moin!

Anonymous said...

sup fo'

wishiwasmerckx said...

Damn it, mistimed the sprint AGAIN!!!

Shu-Sin said...

AYHCMPY
all you haters chamfer my pants yabbies

ringcycles said...

top ten, meh

Anonymous said...

Dude the NYT has their "Year In Ideas" and just at a glance they have "The Doping Cycle" and "The MEga Lobster." Have fun.

TUFF WHEEL IIz

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Anonymous said...

The inside of my car smells like a limp excuse.

PawnShop said...

Meh.

UGLY FUKR said...

By "new car smell" you mean poppers, right?

streepo said...

My ass hurts.

crosspalms said...

I came for the scruffy authenticity; I stayed for the artisanal whatnots.

3G said...

new car smzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Anonymous said...

top 20?

hey nonny mouse (off to read)

Anonymous said...

'wheelsouttaboxes'

insult of the highest order from Vecchio's.

Cipo said...

I sell my excess testosterone and donate the proceeds to charity.

1cc for $12,9999

sized all the way up to the 50 Litre Institutional Size barrel

If you order a 50L barrel before Christmas I will throw in a free Rikkon SVM 90D Pump. This is a heavy duty motorized rotary piston pump.

http://www.rikkonlubes.com/barrel-grease-pumps.html

C. Yannis Bosch said...

Um...what is Charles Manson doing in that Vecchio's picture (bottom right)?

streepo said...

killing time?

OBA said...

Schlep your fam out here to eastern Queens and I guarantee that you won't have to put up with fey hipsters anymore - plus, you can ride to Cunningham on your singlespeed without resorting to the LIRR.

tominator said...

Vanishing twin - BIFF!

Contaminated steak - BAM!!

New car smell - POW!!!!

Is this a great world for excuses, or what?

George said...

What's a Subaru?

mikeweb said...

It's becoming increasingly clear to me that if you were addicted to humanity's shortcomings, and in order to feed your addiction you were to to take 21st century America and freebase it so that only its worst elements were left, you'd wind up with the quivering little gooey blob that is Martin Erzinger...

Sounds similar to how Walter White makes his money.

Pure gold today, Snob!

mikeweb said...

From Best Made:

Patterns for axe helves were meticulously sketched out on barn walls and handed down generations like cake recipes.

I just threw up in my mouth a little.

Charlie Horse said...

"New car smell", huh?

If he'd only picked out the old Bentley that morning.

Why not try "Uncomfortable from sitting on overstuffed wallet "?, or "Car didn't handle as expected with all of that gold in the trunk"?

Anonymous said...

RUCK SACK is Back ! but this time filled with artisinil axii! Axe making kits, hand-made wheels, new car smell, damn, great post today.

Shu-Sin said...

so, yesterday's post was just to put our guard down so you can slam it in today, ey?
scathing critique and very well written... golf claps!!

oh, and one question: does the chamferer thank you for mentioning his saddles, and thereby indirectly getting 'hipster pussy' on his saddles, or did you actually send him, via royal mail, hipster felines?

crosspalms said...

Why does this cake taste like rough-hewn American hickory?

RB1 said...

not that i've ever been to business school (except to use the facilities), but i think what they say is not to kill your customers if you're expecting repeat business - otherwise, go for it.

crosspalms said...

And I can't wait to see what the color scheme of the spokeshave will be.

quivering little gooey blob said...

I just emptied a can of new car scent into my McDonald's bag so I could huff it on the ride back, and next thing I know everybody thinks I'm a bad guy.

hillbilly said...

well said. all the whining about Park Slopians inability to navigate safely across 2 painted lanes makes me wonder how they deal with actual roads.

Anonymous said...

The wheel/party comments are gems, real LOL stuff! That said, Mavic really hurt their brand with one bad wheel design, as my Ksyrium Elites have been a joy and extremely durable...a shame...

Neil said...

Helve?

Really?

axeman said...

the road to helve is paved with good inventions

enquiring minds said...

Is it true Best Made is buying up those Ikea bikes, repainting them in their house colorschemeway and reselling them for $1,200?

Anonymous said...

Actually, judging from the colorway of the IKEA bikes, BestMade already had some input.

Anonymous said...

new york sux.

It's ok for me to say it cause I was born and raised there.

Anonymous said...

only boston sux more.

It is ok for me to say that, cause I am from new york.

PawnShop said...

Snobbie, If you're truly contemplating fleeing NYC ( which I don't actually believe ) give "Bicycling Magazine's Best City For Cycling Not Named Portland, For Another 16 Days, Anyway" a try. Spring, Summer and Fall offer truly sublime riding conditions. This month, however, you'll just be handed a non-artisanal snow-moving implement - get shoveling, slacker!

Big Dummys grow on trees here. Literally. Pugsleys and Steamrollers, too. We're kind of like Orange County, but for cargo bikes and other wheeled hipster afflictions, so there ain't no shortage of smugness.

Every Spring Paul Bunyan and his trusted partner Babe the Blue Lobster head off to the woods - artisanal axes in hand & claw - returning in time for Interbike with the season's bike harvest. Monday's Fakerjack wasn't harvesting a Christmas tree, but rather the Pugsley. The tree was just collateral damage.

CAMPIONE CYCLES CALGARY said...

Struggling to come up with a lobster joke. Something about receiving an invitation via royal mail to join the upper crustacean.

Anonymous said...

New Car Smell defense. I'll have to pass that on to the POS in my town who ran down a cyclist. Her defense is that she didn't realize the sleeping pills she took before driving would make her so sleepy...and she's a nurse.

J-Bird said...

Good to see that Charlie Manson's found gainful employment at Veccio's. There must be an excellent wheel-building program at Folsom.

Anonymous said...

Your son's lungs would be happier if they weren't in NYC.

Max said...

Frankly, I think that when a human has devolved to the point where even the richly-appointed interior of his new Mercedes is too much for him, he's really not qualified for life in the outside world and should spend the rest of his life in a small enclosed area like the milk-fed veal calf that he is.

True enough, but he was confined to the small yet richly-appointed enclosure of his Mercedes when he ran that cyclist over. Can we lock him in the garage at least?

Pontius Pilate said...

HAIL CSZR

Again, it is a very busy time of the year for crucifixions.

-P.P.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Right from the Brooks website:
"He headed for Birmingham, where in 1866 he established a business in horse harnesses and general leather goods in Great Charles Street under the name JB Brooks & Co.In 1878, the unfortunate death of Mr Brooks’ horse led to a stroke of inspiration. Unable to afford another horse, he borrowed a bicycle in order to commute to work. But he found the seat so uncomfortable that he vowed to do something about it. On 28 October 1882, Mr Brooks filed his first saddle patent."
Hilarious! I'm sure that new hard leather wedgie that Mr. Brooks made was way more comfortable than the piece of crap that was on the loaner commuter.
On a serious note I love companies and brands that stand the test of time. If I wasn't so into laying down on the job I'd have me one of those fancy brooks saddles.

The Wicked Witch of the West said...

What a World, What a World!

Orange County said...

Did someone just say something about me?

BMPR BDGR

crosspalms said...

I've ridden one of those hard leather wedgies for years and it's actually pretty comfortable. Hard at first, yes (and surprisingly slippery), but it softens (and gets more grippy). Besides, I have all the padding I need thanks to years of my American diet. The original gel seat...

Udder said...

So I guess the safest places in the US to ride a bike are New Orleans and Detroit. No one in those places drives a new car.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Crosspalms,

Yea I believe you. I was told that over time the leather actually forms to the owners bone structure so I can see how that might be more comfortable than even today's plastic stuff.
but still it's no recumbent hammock.

Anonymous said...

New Car Smell: new Twinkie Defense!!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twinkie_defense

Jolly old St. NickleDouche said...

Howdy parntnah.

Anonymous said...

pulled pork slidders, mmmmm....

AYH stand under my mistletoe said...

awe man, i was so all over 12:40, but had to leave my station for while-now lookit

58THst!!!

Comment deleted said...

Triathelete23: your spammy advertisement sucks. I'll bet you're the guy that took 2 minutes to put on his socks.

bikesgonewild said...

...i could tell you what new bicycles smell like but a new car ???...

...not so much...

Thin Air Makes Me Dizzy said...

I love irony and sarcasm as much as the next guy, but I can't come up with anything to say about Vecchio's except that there are very few bike shops like that anymore. Great place to waste time. Lots of bike knowledge in that place. And history. Boulder may be a seriously wacky place in need of some heavy psychoanalysis, but Vecchio's is great.

Crustacean Peace Activist said...

http://www.moronail.net/images/stories/dg_originals/1012/02E61CEFFC45-1.jpg

Anonymous said...

Bumper badgers are the chastity belts of the automotive world, as are those nu-fangled fanny packs to the misguided cycling hipster.

don't bogart said...

bravo axeman! bravo!

axeman said...

the road to helve is paved with good inventions

made me snickerdoodle

it's wednesday you know...

Anonymous said...

Let me second the high praise for axeman 1:31 -- well played, sir, well played!

Remember, there is none so bland, as he who will not season.

Not all those who cry "Lard, Lard" will be served.

FISTIVUS MAXIMUS said...

LXVIth

Eric Shalit said...

Check this out. I made the illustration all by myself. Though I live in Seattle, I am a product of NYC public schools (and MAD Magazine).

http://tubulocity.com/?p=3147

Luke said...

I saw a recumbent with a fairing crossing the Pulaski bridge out of Greenpoint tonight. I don't know what this means, but I didn't like it one bit.

The guy didn't have any lights or a helmet. It was all a bit strange. Sadly the first thing that I thought is that the snob should know.

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Nogocyclist said...

I have one question concerning the bicycle bungee on twitter. Why would you spend $240.00USD plus shipping for a product you could make for under $30.00 USD by simply taking a retractable dog leash for a large dog and 2 or 3 zip ties?

It's carbon fiber? Why would you worry about using Carbon fiber for this use. It's not like this can be used while racing. I am sure that would violate some rule, no doubt.

leroy said...

Sorry I'm late.

Had trouble finding a parking space.

It's a jungle out there. There's a bunch of folks parked in the bike comment lane thanking BSNYC for sharing and inviting him to visit their blogs.

It's kind of like those folks who pull the advertising trailers up the First Avenue bike lane.

Did I miss anything?

yogisurf said...

Beware of going to the Vecchio's Bicicletteria party. Look at the pic...the guy with the dog....Charles Manson has escaped jail and is now selling fixed gears to Rocky Mtn hippsters.

Kepler said...

If he suffers from sleep apne, why is he driving?
Could it be that the combination of driving and napping is somewhat unfortumate?

- just sayin..

g said...

It was just a matter of time before someone else picked up on this...
Rudy van Houts tests positive for Clenbuterol

Anonymous said...

Barn walls may have better archival properties than sheets of paper but barn walls are difficult to pass down for generations. Carve your axe handle designs in stone with an artisanal chisel, Moses-style.

g said...

I there really a need to maintain the shape of your familial ax(e) helve? Is it so proprietary that you want to make sure that it lasts for generations? What's the big secret?

grog said...

not "new car smell", actually gas from eating Nathan's.

de duxie du west said...

i got 57 problems but a job ain't one......

Shit, I know a lot of people in the SF bay area living
without going to work. People come to them and give them money for pot. These funds are without any conditions except the pot is very high quality.
Between visits from these money bearing animals the time is spent online with apple appliances and the odd nutter butter sandwich.
Yoga want to be 57guy has all the qualifications for
becoming an axe handle.

Jarral Ryter said...

Other Colorado news that I didn't remember seeing even though I read your blog at least every now and then; the Blackhawk CO bike ban, here's one link..
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/17/black-hawk-bicycle-ban-ca_n_616671.html

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Fixie Bikes said...

The whole brooklyn brand thing will end eventually and we'll go back to our selves again. No more beards.

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