Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I can't believe it has come to this...

But I am picking the Knicks to beat the Bulls tonight, and VDN to get fired on Christmas Eve.  There have been many reasons to fire him already, such as sucking really bad, and blowing a 35 point lead last night sealed his fate.  He will be fired win or lose, but they are dead men walking. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

lancelot linkage

Manohla Dargis being surprisingly salty

Happy Birthday to Paul Simenon of the Clash, and hard to believe London Calling was released 30 years ago yesterday. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Nanny State

New York is an aggressive place, this is no secret.  Everyone is trying to carve out the little amount of space they can get, and the roads are just another example of that, and tempers can flare when people are in the space you wish to occupy.  Bike lanes are one such trouble spot. Without going into the myriad of pros and cons, the history, the purpose, etc that is covered elsewhere, suffice to say that they provoke a lot of strong opinions, and recently many of these have been focused on a stretch on Bedford, where a bike lane was recently taken away largely due to the political pressure imposed by the Hasidic community.  (That is an extremely abbreviated, and perhaps misleading account, for a more complete picture, see Gothamist or Streetsblog.) 

In the days following, a question was tweeted asking if other cyclists felt ok about tapping a car that was in the bike lane to let it know it shouldn't be there.  First of all, as a friend was quick to point out, you should be ready to be threatened should you choose to do this.  Now, first of all, I have no problem with cyclists being aggressive, I am, and I react poorly to articles suggesting we need to behave better, or be 100% compliant, etc.  AND, I do think bike lanes are good and should be kept clear as much as possible, and unfortunately are too often treated like a place to double park.  However, the more I thought about it, I don't like the idea of cyclists tapping cars to remind them they are in a bike lane.  I certainly do my share of yelling "bike lane," etc, and am in no way saying we are wrong for being vigilant of abuse of a small strip designated for our use, but I don't like the idea of us policing each other unnecessarily (and this is the debatable point, what is necessary), unless it is directly and immediately putting someone in harm's way.  I hate jaywalkers.  I jaywalk too, but I hate them, mainly because I almost hit a lot of them on my bike on a daily basis, and then have to listen to them yell at me and post on boards about how dangerous we are.  However, I don't want to live in a city where people yell at each other for jaywalking (again, unless they are causing an unsafe situation).

In the many years I have spent as a messenger, commuter, recreational rider, and racer I have only gotten in one actual prolonged argument with another cyclist, (discounting various expletive laden exchanges) and that occurred after she yelled "way to run a red, asshole" at me. I had just been beside her and a clusterfuck of cars jousting with one another for a parking spot and had mumbled to her (I thought, foolishly, conspiratorially) something about how bad a job they were all doing of driving.  She stopped at the red, I went through, and she yelled.  I waited for her at the next light and said I didn't think she needed to call me an asshole.  She said that I was, at the very least, a hypocrite.  This is true, but I'm pretty sure it's true of most of us, and actually, in this case, I didn't think I was being hypocritical.  I told her that, and she said, "you ran the red".  I replied that I hadn't accused the drivers of doing anything wrong, hadn't yelled at them, etc, and asked if she screamed at everyone she saw do something wrong in her eyes. She didn't want to talk to me, and I don't blame her, I'm sure I was being annoying.  She said she didn't want to talk to me about this, so I rode off, and she screamed "way to be a 5 year old" which struck me as ridiculous at the time, but in hindsight, I can agree that I, like many, want to have my cake and eat it too.  

The point, as tenuous and convoluted as it may be at this point, is that we all annoy the hell out of each other.  People don't behave the way we want them too.  But this doesn't mean we should go around pointing this out all the time.  Someone in front of you have 16 items in the express aisle?  Let it go.  I've seen more altercations in this city that started with a comment about standing in the doorway, or not moving quick enough on the sidewalk, or someone's bag being on a seat than I would have ever imagined before moving here.

In the dark ages known as the period when I took the subway to work, I remember seeing a woman shouting, swearing at the turnstile which was not letting her through, and I shook my head and thought that she really needed a vacation, how bizarre her behavior was, and that it would never happen to me.  Sure enough, not too terribly long after that, it was me.  Thank god, I soon gave up the subway for the bike, much happier, and trying to keep those confrontations to only the necessary ones. 

Monday, December 7, 2009

Guess it's December after all

Went for a jog on Saturday in the rainy, snowy mix and realized that winter had, after all and belatedly, arrived.  It made me miss the family 2 on 2 full field football games that used to take place when we were all young and had knees with the proper amount of ligaments and cartilage.   Being just a 4 person game on a hundred yard field, there was a lot of scoring, more than anything it was just chasing people for 90 yards and seeing who would fall down laughing first.  

Knicks fail to win 3 in a row and fall big to the Oden-less Trailblazers tonight at MSG, 121-101. 

Friday, December 4, 2009

Don't tell me....

Tough games to call this weekend, I'm going to pick the Knicks in a stunning road upset in Atlanta, 110-107. Really torn about the Nets coming to MSG on Sunday, I could easily see this being the Nets 1st victory of the year, or the Knicks to go on a whopping 2 game win streak.  I'm gonna say Nets win, 100-89,  but I could easily pull in 0fer this weekend.  

May actually get some snow on Saturday, won't stick since it still is about 8 degrees above average for winter so far, but that would be nice, you know, seasonal.  

The list of things to replace, fix, upgrade on my bike is growing and growing, which is just serving as a reminder that I need a winter beater. I also need a nice simple way to record upright bass as long as I am airing my wants and needs.  

Speaking of which, last night marked the 3rd straight day that someone has trapped me into a very awkward, close quartered and totally inappropriate conversation.  First, there was the post-doc in a neighboring lab who commented on the subway being a great place for viruses to grow as well as to fondle women you are standing close to.  I really want to assume he was kidding, but I just am not at all sure. 

The second one was less odd, so much so that I have forgotten it entirely, but I know it was there, the third took the cake.  It occurred in the Men's locker room at the YMCA, and that right there is not how I like to begin any story.  Someone I know only very vaguely, as a slightly crazy person who is trying to convince me to allow him to be my "trainer" and swears he can get me to "the show" by January was singing "Just my Imagination" with another man in the room.  They were trading comments about bands and songs they like and he launches into a story about a Denzel movie featuring the song "Just my Imagination" and how it "helped me get the best &^%$% of my life" and proceed to tell every detail.  This was perhaps the most detailed story I have ever heard and ended, well, not well, but very climactically.  I walked away blushing and nauseous and still am both.  

Ride safe (no pun intended) and have a great weekend, and don't share too much, I can't take another one.