Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Feeling Oathy: The Importance of Being Artisan

Yesterday evening, I engaged in some deep soul-searching, by which I mean I watched my favorite cable TV programs on my DVR while drinking wine from a box. (And none of that store-bought boxed wine for me, either--I pour the dregs from wine bottles into a shoebox lined with Saran wrap and consume the contents once a month.) One of these shows is "Bored to Death," which does for Brooklyn what "Portlandia" does for Portland (only a bit more deftly and urbanely), and which has been featuring an entertaining subplot about an "artisanal" restaurant. This got me thinking about the whole "artisanal" craze, and why I find it so irritating.

Then, suddenly it hit me: it's because I'm jealous! I mean, why should all these new Nü-Artisans get all the credit? Sure, their beards are a bit fluffier, and their flannels a bit more artfully distressed, and their sun-drenched quasi-industrial workspaces photograph well, but other than that they're not doing anything the rest of us aren't doing. Aren't we all "artisans?" Don't we all fill the world with functional beauty and value in our own way? Don't we all deserve fawning articles and black-and-white Internet mini-documentaries? It's simply not fair.

And that's when I decided it's time to take this faux-nomenon by its exquisitely-wrought hand-crafted "pants yabbies." We are the 99%, and it's time to #OccupyArtisanal and stop letting the utterly pretentious 1% hog all the attention. But in order to do that, we need to beat them at their own game. For example, I've been making the mistake of thinking I'm just a lazy person who writes goofy bike shit all day while sitting around in his underpants, when in reality I'm an authentic Brooklyn Nü-Artisan carefully selecting words by hand which I then sculpt meticalously maticulosly real careful-like into one-of-a-kind velo-sophical vignettes.

Go ahead-try it with your own vocation! I guarantee you'll find it easy to masturbate your job description into something that throbs with pretense. Then, you can join me in taking the "Artisan's Oath:"

--I am the Campbellian hero in my own endless narrative.

--The way I go about my job and the way I dress while doing it is far more important than the finished product.

--Whenever possible, I will engage a fellow artisan to document my process.

It's as simple as that. I strongly believe that if we all adopt this credo we can lift America out of the economic doldrums and restore it to its former greatness. You see, the reason American ingenuity is just a quaint memory is that all those hardworking people simply did their jobs without mythologizing themselves. Instead, they just Got On With It--and that's like totally BO-ring. Sure, eventually they figured out they needed to farm the mythologizing out to advertising agencies so that they could Sell More Stuff, but by then it was too late, and we had to pay the advertising agencies so much to do it that we had to get people in other countries to do our Getting On With It for us. That's why it's vital that we all discover our inner pitchman and bring both manufacturing and bullshit back to America where it belongs.

Now read that all again while you listen to this:



Lob bless us everyone, and remember: Be your own bullshit artist artisan!

Speaking of American ingenuity and artisanship, another term that gets bandied about all too much these days is "YouTube Sensation." However, the Überhood assembly video is one that I feel more than lives up to the moniker. Let's watch it again, because it's worth it:



The Überhood people have a video hit on their hands, and that's because it's rare you come across something that works on so many levels, almost all of which are sexually suggestive. The words "Swing up the shaft of your Überhood until it is vertical" are potent enough alone, but when you pair it with an image like this the results are practically explosive:

(Überhood shaft finding its target.)

I was sad to see that the Überhoods had disabled the comment feature for the video, but while they may silence our voices, they cannot quell our delight.

As for the contraption itself, sadly it has been panned by the Phoenix Sun Times:


Not to be deterred, the company have gone back to the drawing board, and are now set to announce the release of the "Überhood 2.0:"

Just integrate some sort of electronic opening system into that, make another dirty video, and I think they've got themselves a real winner.

Speaking of electronics, yesterday I mentioned Campagnolo's electronic shifting system. Like it or not, I think we all have to agree that electronic shifting is here to stay, and that means it's only a matter of time before people start jumping on "vintage" electronic shifters in order to gain "street cred." That's why you might want to nab yourself an old Mektronic system while they're still affordable:

Don't be daunted by the fact that the group is only "partially working," since Mavic designed them to only work partially straight from the factory. That's not a defect--it's a feature. In fact, "partially working" is sort of the electronic equivalent of friction shifting, and the true e-retrogrouch prides himself on not needing any of that over-simplified "fully working" stuff. And even if it doesn't work at all and you can only use one gear combo, you still come out ahead, because the hot irony setup for this year's Singlespeed Cyclocross World Championship is undoubtedly going to be non-working Mektronic.

As for me, I'll pass on the new stuff and on the Mavic stuff. Even Mavic Zap is too refined for my taste. In fact, few people know that Thomas Edison actually developed the first-ever electric shifting group, and I've been hard at work piecing a full Edison group together on eBay. For example, right now I've got my eyes on this NOS Edison shifter:

The light action of the modern electronic groups may appeal to some people, but I prefer more positive feedback from my shifters. In particular, when I shift I like to hear metallic squeaking, a thunk, and then this.

Once I get my hands on a shifter, I'll then begin the search for an Edison electric derailleur:


As you can see, the Edisons were made from lightweight cast iron (the crabon of its day) and featured detailing that puts any Campagnolo component to shame. Equally lightweight and elegant was the battery pack:

Riders would get up to 17 minutes of ride time on a single charge, and once the batteries were depleted all you had to do was find an old mill and hook your bike up to it:

Three days later you'd be fully charged and ready to ride again--that's assuming you weren't too tired from all the wood chopping you had to do to earn your room and board, or you hadn't run afoul of the mill owner by playing "footsie" with his daughter under the dinner table.

Of course, Edison groups are particularly sensitive to water intrusion, by which I mean one single drop of water is enough to fry the rider to death. Given this, the only concession to modernity I will make on this build is the retrofitting of an Überhood. That should keep everything sufficiently dry.

Moving on from component geekery, I neglected to mention that Tour de France winner Alberto Contador has gotten married, and I wish he and his bride, Macarena Pescador, my belated congratulations. I was sorry that I couldn't attend the wedding, though the pictures reveal that Alberto wore a truly "epic" tie:

Though Macarena opted for decidedly more informal attire and went with a purple scarf and puffy coat:

While "frenemy" and best man Andy Schleck looked ravishing in an elegant white gown:

Needless to say, Alberto and Macarena were married in strict accordance with Jewish law, though the ketubah is only binding pending the results of the post-nuptial doping control.

Lastly, I also mentioned recumbents yesterday, and I'm pleased to announce that renowned saddle maker Brooks is finally acknowledging the recumbist by introducing a recumbent-specific model of its venerable B-17 saddle:


At $2,000 the saddle is surprisingly affordable, though the price balloons significantly when you factor in that recommended 55 gallon steel drum of Proofide.

109 comments:

Esteemed Commenter DaddoOne said...

winnah!

andrew said...

Top 2!

theEel said...

WeED.

Ed said...

Top Ten

Lefty said...

This bike sucks.

Marcel Da Chump said...

Alberto did the Macarena at the reception
AND the honeymoon.

Anonymous said...

Balls out!

Anonymous said...

PROO FHID!

Rob said...

I cyclocross, and I'm in the top ten. Go me!

Buffalo Bill said...

Proofide is for poseurs, real cyclists use artisanal lard.

Kenny said...

AND THAT'S HOW A BILL BECOMES SLAW!

BB Badger said...

Top ten wo hoo

Anonymous said...

RECUMBUTTS FTL

Ohmmmm said...

Is 'Macarena Pescador' really a real name? Really? Huh.

JB said...

Good stuff today, Wildcat. Go ride that mtn bike.

Paul Bowen said...

Top 15-20 ish!

Toucan Sam said...

hmmm....

mikeweb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mikeweb said...

Ohhhhh, Macarena!

Yeah, Pescador? Really?? Sounds a lot like the word for fish.

Anonymous said...

Masturbation while riding recumbent is possible, but not recommended.

Recumbent Lord

JB said...

For two reasons:
Peta > Macarena

mikeweb said...

How did they get Commie Canuck to model the Uberhood 2.0?

Quite a marketing coup, if you ask me...

Anonymous said...

laffin to hard to think of something to write..
mr pissta to you

sent with cockpit mounted g4

Buy-cycle said...

Top 25? It looks like the Überhood could be adapted to hold a flag for the patriotic rider. A union jack, or perhaps a pirate flag. Time for a cheeky toke or two.

Beavis said...

heh heheheh, he said screw
heh heh, he said shaft

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

What!! A brooks for my recumbent? Hold on lemme get my monocle.

Ah yes I can picture it now as I lean forward slightly to peer around the expertly chamfered wing of my B-17 recumbent saddle. "Pardon me, Do you have any Grey Poupon?"

streepo said...

Fetch the comfy brooks recumbent saddle!!

Anonymous said...

Was their wedding rice checked for clenbuteral?

Butthead said...

Huh, huhhhuh, he said holes

BlackCow said...

velo-sophical
Amazing.
How does he do it ?!?!
Now I have a new word to amaze my colleagues with my verbal dexterity.

Thank you WCRM.

Kenny Banya said...

Congrats Alberto, I wouldn't mind training up the Deux Alps de Macarena.

Anonymous said...

Snob-- $310 electronic ** Ultegra ** front derailleur, it's all you!

Harold said...

I think "Macarena" [if that's her REAL name] is wrestling in the next higher weight class than Mr. Contador [not that it's a bad thing].

"Hey, Macarena!"

Anonymous said...

"velo-sophical vignettes". GOLD SNOBBY GOLD!!

crosspalms said...

I hope Brooks upgrades that saddle with a cup holder next time. La-Z-Boy's ahead of them on that.

Meanwhile, if you tire of the Edison, I recommend fiction shifting. "I did that hill in the big ring, never broke a sweat." Beats non-fiction shifting.

disgruntl Ed. said...

I feel dirty just imagining that I might ever pronounce that word "velo-sophical" even though I never will, and would cut out my tongue immediately after, if I did.

Matter of taste?

On the other hand "faux-nomenon" was some genius artisanship. Chap-()aux!

db said...

Wow, and I thought Snob had made up "Macarena Pescador". How wrong I was.

CommieCanuck said...

I pour the dregs from wine bottles into a shoebox lined with Saran wrap and consume the contents once a month.

Dregs from bottles? Clearly, we are in the presence of the 10%. The rest of us pour the dregs from other boxes into a tissue (not Kleenex) box lined with generic cling wrap, none of that douchey Saran brand.

CommieCanuck said...

Isn't Macarena Pescador Spanish for "Fisherman with goofy arm movements"? Frankly, it all sounds made up.

Anonymous said...

makes sense that alberto is sticking to a fish diet. bang! get it....crickets..

ant1 said...

ant1st!

Grump said...

Good work today....


I wonder if there is a warning on the Überhood website about not using this fine product with crabon bars. The clamp looks pretty hefty, and I would guess that the clamping bolts would need at least 55 ft/lbs to keep the Überhood from pivoting on the bars.

PS. I actually knew somone who had a Zap.
.

Artisanal Carpenter said...

Given the nearly non-existent demand for my services recently here in the middle of nowhere, I'll be waiting for the Sora-Ryobi group before jumping on the electric shifting fad. Even though they will probably not be available in 7 speed.

grog said...

Velo-sophical like Sprocrates of ancient times when recumbents did schluff recumbabes.
I miss those times.

Terre Haute Karl said...

thank lob the guy installing the Überhood didn't have a table to set the parts on...that would have been a much less interesting video.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised Snob didn't make a meh-tronic joke about the Mektronic gruppo.

Macarena Pescador said...

Can you test positive for Clenbuterol merely by exposure to semen containing the same?

Anonymous said...

girl w/ green shorts made my day

pathetic, i know

wishiwasmerckx said...

As a sun protection device, the uberhood seems of dubious merit.

As a rain protection device, it would seem to be a total failure because the objectionable moisture is what sprays up from the ground, not what falls from the sky.

wishiwasmerckx said...

My high school Spanish is a little rusty, but I think that I can translate the name of Alberto's bride.

"Macarena" means a goofy-ass white-people dance that no self-respecting Mexican would be caught doing.

"Pescador," I believe, means "smells like fish."

TJ Eckleburg said...

Contador means accountant and Pescador means fisherman.

Horndog said...

Can't find any naked pics of Contador's lady online. INTERNETS WHY HAVE YOU FAILED ME?

Anonymous said...

The Uberhood is essential equipment when riding through a vagina garden,,

Anonymous said...

An artisanal blogger would curate their own site instead of relying on the expertise of Google for the layout.

Ooberhood Watch said...

That is one damn fine tool holder.

baymemnun said...

Congratulations on the article and useful comments.
great www.yurdanyapi.com

CommieCanuck said...

An artisanal blogger would curate their own site instead of relying on the expertise of Google for the layout.

I beg to differ, my website is hand carved from sustainable bamboo wood that was read Japanese poetry before being euthanized with an artisanal axe.

CommieCanuck said...

What the fuck, all these comments and not one finger-banging Macarena joke?

Anonymous said...

Alberto used to clean his chain himself. Now he can't wait to get home and do the Macarena. Fingerbang?

Cat 5 said...

I need to stop focusing on the GC and go after the points jersey. The prizes are better.

J Mertz said...

While "frenemy" and best man Andy Schleck looked ravishing in an elegant white gown...Coffee out the nose...DAMN YOU SNOB!

Artisanal Commenter said...

My words are made by hand in the fucking USA

Anonymous said...

hahahahaha. flour.

Anonymous said...

Snob, possibly your best ever. Snorted my coffee, more than once.

CommieCanuck said...

Who are these noobies reading WRM while drinking coffee?

How many desk java drownings do we have to read about before people learn?

There a time for coffee, and it's the other 23.8 hours of the day.

Anonymous said...

I wish him and his bride...congratulations

MORE EPPS

CommieCanuck said...

My words are made by hand in the fucking USA

If that sentence was made in China, it would have a period at the end.

QLTY CTRL

ISO9 001

bikesgonewild said...

...you guys can go with your 'velo-sophical', which has potential & is kinda nice but i'm with disgruntl ed...

...faux-nomenon is a wonderfully hand-crafted artisanal word...

...anthony burgess would be absolutely delighted...

bikesgonewild said...

...i heard that all contador wanted to do in the 'marriage bed' was finger-bang the lovely macarena...

...said he was saving himself for andy 'cuz he could smell fish...

...just a rumor ???...

self-obsessed and sexee said...

Just like a Peta pic makes me say, "oh, Lord".
A shot of Uberhood green shorts gal illicits,
"oh, God".
Combine those tits
with those legs
and I'll die.

ervgopwr said...

PTAS TITS
UBRS LEGS
HE'LL DIE!

pete said...

Good article, though I was surprised you didn't mention the Tesla anti-gravity bike that didn't need any gears to get up hills easily.

Chamfered Wing said...

Hooray, another day when WCRM sets the laugh bar high and the commenters manage to match up. The Wednesday weed is on me...

Anonymous said...

No $%*@ the Phoenix New/Sun Times thinks a basket umbrella is a dumb idea. They live in the desert!

Anonymous said...

My words are made by hand in the fucking USA

If that sentence was made in China, it would have a period at the end.


...and next it would be co-opted to end: "US-fucking-A."

...and then sold for print publication.

Angelina Russo said...

It doesn't get much better than with an artisanal recumbent
http://www.culturecycle.org/bike-sightings-artisanal-recumbent

Art IS anal said...

But I knew his father and grandfather, and they were even worse.

Anonymous said...

Just effing hilarious! Kudos.

bikesgonewild said...

...i'll mention this now so that those of you who feel the need to prepare your celebratory plans to include the proper 'volume & sustain' will have the time to do so...

...remember friday is 11/11/11 or nigel tufnel day, so crank it up all the way to 11 !!!...

...it's also considered to be 'veteran's day' by some people...

...just sayin'...

Hairy-legged roadie said...

"... the hot irony setup for this year's Singlespeed Cyclocross World Championship is undoubtedly going to be non-working Mektronic."

That's some quality word curating, right there.

jdlvtrn said...

There's something about the "Uberhood" that reminds me of the symbol for "The Village" in the old Patrick McGoohan/Prisoner series. Riding with this windsail attached to your handlebars could turn you into Mary Poppins on a good day along the Belt/Shore Parkway.

gently now said...

GreenShorts can REALLY cup those nuts in her palm, her supple nutcupping palm.

Joachim said...

artisan, meh. bespoke is artisan 2.0

JDH said...

84th? Oh, horse shit. Artis-anal horse shit.

Anonymous said...

Contador is dropping out of the race because he ate some bad fish.

skink said...

Didn't the Fonz have a babe
named Pescadora?

leroy said...

Honestly, who would have thought that a guy who invites people to pull his finger when he wins a bicycle cycling event could find true love?

It just goes to show you there's someone for everyone.

leroy said...

Mrs. leroy insisted that I walk the dog this morning.

But it was so nice out, we decided to ride to the Rockaways and around Jamaica Bay instead.

Why walk when you can ride?

My only regret is that we didn't have an uberhood to catch the breeze on the Belt/Shore Parkway.

(Actually, I also regret letting my dog convince me that toothpaste is a good alternative when you run out of chamois cream. Tomorrow morning, he can walk himself.)

Anonymous said...

finally made it

Anonymous said...

If I hurry up and get into cyclocross now is there a chance I could become an artisan?

Anonymous said...

All I have to say is 'WOW'.

I am a female (the one without balls) and I was a little shocked when a male friend showed me this site at a party earlier tonight.
I did my research in the archives and am shocked, but not so shocked, that there are a bunch of men that are playground bullies, nerds and severely insensitive jackasses.
I have tits!
Boobs!
I am also hot as hell, but I wouldn't hook you fellows up with a crooked 2x4.
On the 2x4's behalf.(two bent pieces of wood do not equal a straight one)

If you are a leader Bikesnob you will recognize that a female point of view should be properly trimmed and maintained.

Yours Truly
Julie

Anonymous said...

I will be back tomorrow when the full moon chick leaves the room.

ce said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ce said...

Selle An-Atomica follows Brooks into the lucrative recumbent saddle market

Note the ergonomic cut-outs. Also, the laminate on the underside, to stop the saddle from over stretching.

Dwight Schrute said...

@Julie 3:33am: Why are you so hot? You are probably PMSing...

ce said...

Snob, it looks like you're going to have to undertake some affirmative action here to redress the balance. I would like to offer some suggestions to help you out:

1. Objectify a high profile male cyclist, at least ironically. Poke fun at their physical attributes and cast aspersions on their sexual practices. Someone like, say, Mario Cipollini might fit the bill.
2. Base some of your humour on male genitalia. For example, post photos of bicycle components that bear some vague phallic resemblance. Have a look at the stiff and bulbous Specialized S-Works Amira frame, aero bars and various COCKpit arrangements as a starter.
4. Stereotype male cyclists that fall into the category of "Not Mario Cipollini" as either socially inept bike dorks or "duders"
5. Pants Yabbies
6. Pants Yabbies

Seriously, you need take action or you are going to lose your entire female audience to AHTBM.

Who reads BSNYC at a party, anyway? Some kind of nerd I guess.

AYHSMLAPKYEOTGOQPAAT said...

ALL YOU HATERS SUCK MY LABIA AND PLEASE KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE DAMN GEORGIA O'QUEEFE PAINTING AT ALL TIMES!!!(All this bitching is giving me a chubby, Pavlov's response I assume)

JB said...

Anon @3:33am: Hi uberbabe, we've been expecting you.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

99

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

100

Joe Monk Wolf said...

There's a blog I follow which has a huge female audience, plus gay guys , and sexually secure heteros.
The females' comments on a male photo posted, while not as puerile as those of the BSNYC crowd, are equally lustful.
Anon 3:33 claims she's hot, but without a sense of humor she's a cold fish.

Julie's housemother said...

Julie, dear, when will you learn not to post on blogs when you are chemically impaired? It's the first rule of safe surfing, after all.

Now go make your bed and brush your teeth. Yeesh!

BikeSnobNYC said...

Julie @3:33am,

After he made you look at a bike blog at a party, did he start telling you about his "Star Wars" action figure collection?

--Wildcat Rock Machine

... said...

I am selling paunch for dogs. I tried to jerk this into artisan...but I do smell to much like paunch after work I can't think artsy.

I tell you real working makes you chavvy. All other thing are artisan-

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OMR said...

Lovely shoes ! It's perfect for the summer

http://www.xtraorbit.com/1366.html

Fixie Bikes said...

"I guarantee you'll find it easy to masturbate your job description into something that throbs with pretense."

Well said.