Monthly Archives: August 2003

Biker bots

I tend to agree with Izzlepfaff! when it comes to dreams. It is often quite boring to listen to other people explaining their dreams, but we still go ahead and do it.

Last night I dreamt about bicycles and robots.

The bicycles bit is easy enough to explain, but I'm not sure where the robots came from. They had some cool bikes. We were in this world co-habitated by humans and robots. Bike messengers and couriers were prominent in society and both the humans and the robots had courier roles. Alex and I were searching around for the perfect fixed-gear bike and we were hassled by a gang of robot couriers. At this point I think I used the mental pause-button on my dream to stop it (I wasn't much interested in a robot cyclist tearing my limbs off), and I took a closer look at their bikes and frames. Some of the robots were even strange shapes so they would fit onto/into the gearing of the bikes in incredibly efficient ways. Then I woke up.

Urban Sports

Cycling

With Alex really getting into cycling lately, now owning a fixed gear, and getting involved with the courier community he got me to go check out the local game of bike polo with him tonight. A couple videos: video 1 (2.5mb), video 2 (3.5mb), and pictures:

This is all just a taste, since we have Courier Messenger Worlds coming to Seattle in just 3 weeks (yes, I went and borrowed a bunch of links from Alex).

Le Parkour

parkour.jpg I'd seen it featured in the Nike commercials (the one with the guy running from the chicken) without realizing it was even a sport. Thanks to injection for the Guardian article giving some of the origins. “Le Parkour” is an adaptation/bastardization of a French word meaning “obstacle racing”, and isn't really about racing, but is more an alternative way to move through an urban environment. Official site here with a couple amazing videos. Another detailed site with a ton of resources. Fun to know my desire to run, jump and climb on city architecture has a name other than hyperactivity. Who wants to start a Seattle chapter with me?

Buildering

Or we could settle for flat-out climbing the buildings. A few more interesting pictures here. Volunteer Park, just up the hill, has got a big brick water tower that I've seen a lot of people traversing. Might be a good place to start. Add some dynos to the buildering and it starts to look a bit like Parkour. The fun never ends.

Weekend Outdoors

Climbing on Saturday and biking on Sunday. My body aches in a very satisfying way. Alex has got some good pictures from the bike ride today (mostly from the rest stops, since it's hard to take pictures while riding).

Yesterday I went with a couple people to the Little Si (the smaller mountain, adjacent to Mt. Si) area, where we tackled some of the fun, classic routes. We started on the Blackstone Wall, and we took turns each doing all 3 routes ranging from a 5.8 to a 5.10b.


LEFT: Dustin at the top of the first route, The Big Easy, 5.9. CENTER: Kelly on a tricky start to the 5.10. RIGHT: My poor technique on the 5.8.

Next we walked over to The Woods and all tried the classic 11a, Godflesh. Looking up, it was a high, intimidating roof. Dustin finished without much problem. I was able to get around the roof, but my arms just didn't have enough oomph to get the last two moves to the finish. Next time.


LEFT: An attempt at a vertical panorama. Dustin at the roof of Godflesh. LEFT-CENTER: Starting my attempt. RIGHT-CENTER: Resting. RIGHT: Over the roof.

Last but not least we walked over to World Wall I, which was an impressive sight. The ledge running along the bottom of the cliff is 30 feet above the forest floor, which makes for an interesting path/scramble to the start of most routes. This wall is known to have some of the tougher sport routes in the state. Quite a bit beyond any of us, especially at the end of our day. We did an easy, big-hold, but steep diagonal traverse called Reptiles and Amphetamines, 5.9. That's Kelly heading up it at right.

I can't wait to get out again. It was a great day, and finished off just right with burgers and shakes at Scott's Dairy Freeze in North Bend.

If irony is hip…

How is it decided amongst the hipsters what is ironically hip, and what isn't? If I keep wearing plain colored t-shirts from the Gap, or Old Navy, couldn't that be hip because it's irony? Maybe there's a grand-pooba hipster that has to decide what can and can't be ironically hip. But really, where does the odd mix of hipster gear come from? One answer, which I've seen quite often is the Midwest, and another is the 70's. Is this whole phenomenon another case of one demographic embracing something that is almost their polar opposite (ie. suburban white boys embracing rap/hiphop culture)? This theory works better for the NY hipsters who are often described as no-job “trust fund kids”. This is definitely not what I've noticed with the hipster/indie (yeah, I think they're one in the same) scene out here. Many of the hipster/indie kids are working 2 or 3 jobs and have also got 2 or 3 bands on the side. Maybe I've only met a few exceptions to the rule, but I'm guessing there are some big differences between the NY and Seattle hipsters. If NY hipsters really are upper-class transplants from the midwest or the suburbs, then one of their their cultural opposites might be the west coast urban indie kid, originating from San Francisco or Seattle, thus the differences.

No idea where I meant to go with all this. Just some incoherent ponderings on hipster theory. The other night some friends and I were talking about how Hipster Bingo was too easy around here, and it needed some changes/additions.

* Change “grandpa (over 30 hipster)” to “over 40 hipster”
* Get rid of “hoodie”, “ironic trucker hat”, “chunkie plastic frame glasses”, and “pabst blue-ribbon”. Way too easy
* Add “guy wearing women's jeans”, “big plastic vegas sunglasses, preferably with stars on 'em”, and “hipster on single-gear beach-cruiser style bike”
* Change “parliament cigarettes” to “american spirits”

What else am I forgetting?

Andre and the Pixelated Face Stencil

I remember seeing the original Andre the Giant stickers all over Providence for some time, before I finally heard it was a RISD kid down the street who started it all. Having seen a huge number of the “Obey” Giant stickers around, I decided to do a little research into it, and lo and behold, it is still his work that is spreading.

I've been noticing more and more guerilla art around the neighborhood lately, especially the spray-paint stencils. My question is who the pixelated stencil guy is. He's subtle and he's creepy, and I like him, but I can't figure out who he's supposed to be (if anyone). Since I haven't been able to identify the face, I've been interpreting it as a sort of Big Brother representation. He's been showing up more and more around the neighborhood, and in some strange places.

stencils1.jpg stencils3.jpg

stencils2.jpg Here's another stencil that's been popping up here and there. Not quite as subtle as the face, but quick to read and recognize. StencilArchive.org has got a massive gallery of stencil images, broken up by US region and San Francisco neighborhood. Lots of great images.

Goings-on

It's official, I registered for the Seattle Escape From the Rock Triathlon, which was another of Alex's crazy ideas to get ourselves in shape. Here we go again.

I picked up a copy of Schott's Original Miscellany yesterday and haven't been able to put it down. There's also a great website for the book, with some excerpts.

Interesting article about Friendster's (losing) battle against Fakesters. It has an excerpt of a conversation between Big Corporation and Pure Evil, which is doubly amusing because it turns out Big Corporation is a friend of a friend whom I met while out for drinks the other night. When Friendster came up it was quite amusing to hear him refer to himself in the third person, as Big Corporation. My little Friendster parody is still up, and now there are about a billion other parodies out there to choose from.

I live in a city full of 'em and yes, hipsters are annoying (via Treebutcher). Thankfully, according to The Hipster Handbook and the quiz, I'm not even close. It is scary that I can fill in just about all of Hipster Bingo (via Saranwarp) just by looking around the office at work. At least there are no ironic moustaches.

Photo highlights

Had a great visit from my family last week. We managed to fit in a ton, including Mt. Rainier National Park, Whidbey Island, Deception Pass State Park, the Ballard locks and fish ladder, a ferry ride, the Washington Park Arboretum, Japanese Gardens, the Fremont troll, a few museums and more good food than any human should consume within a single week. Here are some of the better photos that came out of it all…

Playing tourist for a week

Family's in town for the week, so we've been going non-stop trying to fit in a good deal of the city's attractions during their visit. It's good to have an excuse to do a lot of the things you don't usually get to, but it's also exhausting. Plenty of pictures to come, once I get some time to settle and recover.

w00t! A penny!

No definitive conclusions in either mystery.

w00t! woot? w00t!

Would a penny dropped from the Empire State Building kill someone? (even Maxim has come up with an answer for this one.) The official Empire State Building answer:

bq. Due to the shape of the building, when wind blows against it, it is driven up, creating “updrafts” — if coins are tossed from the top, the wind blows them against the building and they drop on one of the setback roofs — usually coins from 86 drop to 80 and when the electricians are changing the color gels they collect the loose change. Coins and other objects do not make it to the street; roofs of cars and buses are not crushed, people are not killed and holes are not made in the streets and sidewalks. Perhaps when it is very windy these objects are carried off to New Jersey or into the river.

Little by little

A bit of a redesign here, which sort of looks the way I want it to, in most browsers. Such is website design. Still not sure about the banner image above. Well, things may get tweaked, but it's a start. I'm planning on working my way through the rest of my site and getting everything else looking spiffy too. Little by little.