(I don't appreciate the sarcastic tone in his voice.)
Last Friday, a commenter pointed out that it was my blog's seventh anniversary. I hadn't realized this, much to my chagrin, because if I had I might have taken the opportunity to announce my retirement and go out on a high note:
Alas, I've now missed my window, so instead I'll just muddle through as my blogging career moves into its unfortunate "Radio Shack phase" and I continue to alienate people until I'm reduced to an island of loneliness and regret:
In the best case scenario, this won't involve an ill-advised move to Portland in which I wind up living underneath the Hawthorne Bridge and heckling bike commuters directly because I can't afford Internet access.
Nevertheless, in defiance of the entropy to which we all must invariably surrender, I mustered up the denial to engage in a "celebratory" Friday afternoon bicycle ride:
I'd have shattered the Strava record for this climb, but it's hard to get out of the saddle and lay down the power when you're using one hand to pat yourself on the back.
I also saw a snake:
A couple of questions for the naturalists out there. Is this snake:
I'm not a herpetologist*, so not only do I have no idea what kind of a snake this is, but I also don't know if it was just lying there because it was waiting to spring into action and latch onto my face with its jaws, or because a car had just run over its head.
*[A herpetologist is someone who studies amphibians and reptiles, not the person who breaks the news to you a few weeks after your ill-advised liaison with Mario Cipollini.]
As it turned out, I'd timed my ride perfectly, because the clouds that had been sitting over the city for the past week were just beginning to burn off, and the intense thunderstorm that would blow in a few hours later was still just a gleam in a local news channel meteorologist's eye. Newly liberated rays of sunshine danced on the Hudson, a fine mist rose from the road, and I felt indefatigable--in fact, I reveled in a fantasy that I was riding myself into the maillot à pois until I was passed by a pair of aging power walkers.
Speaking of precipitation and bicycling, when you're an internationally renowned bike blogger it's crucial to have a dedicated "rain bike"--you know, something you ride hard (or in my case, ride daintily) and then put away wet. Well, with all the rain we had last week I naturally looked first to my "rain bike," but when I took it out the chain looked like this:
When confronted with the above, most people would simply pronounce the chain dead and replace it. I am not most people. First, I attempted to open the quick link thingy, which ordinarily requires but a thumb and forefinger. No success. (I took the above photo after my initial struggle.) So I bathed the quick link thingy with penetrating lubricant, and after worrying at it with both hand and pliers I was eventually able to remove the chain from the bicycle. Next I put the chain in a plastic bottle, which I then filled with solvent. Then, I went to the subway station, placed an empty coffee can at my feet, and shook the bottle like this:
By the time I was finished, not only was my chain clean**, but I'd made almost six bucks.
**[Chain is not remotely clean by roadie standards, but it works now.]
And that's why I don't use white bar tape.
I do take (slightly) better care of my other bicycles though, and here's the one I rode yesterday mere moments after I hosed all the fun off of it:
(Drive side bicycle photography is for woosies.)
I didn't use a pressure washer, nor did I aim it directly at the bearings, because every time you do that Lennard Zinn misses a shift.***
***[Just kidding, Lennard Zinn's Campagnolo EPS group never misses a shift, except when it rains.]
Then, I headed to Brooklyn for my special Father's Day ayahuasca tea freakout:
What? You didn't know ayahuasca freakouts were the hot new thing now? Where have you been?!? Not in Bushwick, obviously:
On a recent Friday night, a dozen seekers in loosefitting attire, most in their 20s and 30s, climbed a flight of steps of a mixed-used community space in Bushwick, Brooklyn. After arranging yoga mats and blankets on the floor, they each paid $150, listened to a Colombian shaman and his assistant welcome them in Spanish and English, signed a disclaimer, and accepted large plastic takeout-style containers for vomiting.
Uh, not for nothing, but there are other powerful hallucinogens that don't make you vomit. Sure, they might make your brain feel like a plastic bag stuck in an 11-speed cassette, but at least your tummy will be just fine. Also, why pay a shaman $150 when your sober college roommate who's got a big test tomorrow will happily distract you from burning the entire dorm down by occasionally waving a glow stick in front of your face for free?
Of course, the difference here is that this isn't about just tripping balls. No, ayahuasca is artisanal tripping balls. Therefore, it's important to emerge on the other side with a mundane epiphany:
“It’s as though a lens has been dropped over my vision, giving me heightened self-awareness and emotional intelligence,” she wrote of her own experience. The outcome? A realization that the extensive to-do lists she carries are an absurd manifestation of anxiety.
Wow, she needed to trip her face off to figure that out? That's almost as ridiculous as my needing a a shaman to tell me that seven years of compulsive blogging is the product of profound insecurity.
This isn't to say I don't think hallucinogens can offer meaningful insight under the right circumstances, or that there's anything wrong with seeking these experiences out. On the contrary, I think it's perfectly fine, just as long as you go about it in a responsible fashion, like these people clearly are:
Not long after that, the shaman and his assistant awakened her and the rest of the group, including a young couple with a baby, to the light of a Brooklyn morning.
Wow. Here's a Father's Day ephiphany for you: next time you want to trip your face off maybe skip the shaman, pay a sitter instead, and leave the baby at home.
Lastly, this past Friday I mentioned a spurious study about how helmentless bike share users were splattering their brains all over the streets of Canada's ayahuasca puke bucket, and as I suspected it is indeed total bullshit:
“The message that bike-share is increasing head injuries is not true,” Teschke told Streetsblog. “The tone of the article suggests that head injuries go up. Really what is happening is that head injuries went down, non-head injuries went down — but non-head injuries went down more.”
You shouldn't need a cup of cosmic tea to figure out you're being brainwashed.