Glancing over the blog, (which I try to avoid at all costs) I'm reminded of something one of my professors once told me:
"I would be remiss in my duty as a college educator if I failed to inform you that this kind of writing is a) informative, b) entertaining, c) at a level appropriate for this class, and d) anything but annoying......"
Alright,so that didn't really happen. No one ever actually said that.
But I suspect they should have.
The moment I awoke, I knew I was on a boat. How else to explain the gentle rocking of the room, if not the pitch and swell of waves.
Oh.... Oh yeah.
Oh dear.... Ohdearohdearohdear. "This might be bad," I thought, darkly remembering the night before.
It harkened back to just about every Wilderness 101 I've done, most often in the company of Dr. Quispus Maximus.... The worst of these being the time I stumbled into the tent at roughly midnight, fell on top of my sleeping bag, apparently turned to Greg and said "I wish you were a woman." ....And promplty passed out.
|Hey man.... promise not to tell anyone what I said last night?|
Yeah, yeah... sure sure.
It's my own fault. I can't even blame Mike Stanley, or any of the folks who came by the shop friday night, as per my invitation to "hydrate" for the race.
Come to think of it... most of the people who came by that night weren't even racing the next morning. Or drinking? How did I not notice that.
When we left the shop at about 9:30pm, I had half a six pack (which equals 4, for the math-challenged), and a whole growler (plus some) in me... And I had momentum. If it weren't for the fact that I had yet to even gather my race gear under the same roof, and if it weren't for the fact that everyone else was heading home to drink water and sleep, I would have gone straight to the corner.
Instead, I went home, and finishing the six pack of Highland's St. Theresa's, watched EVERYDAY SUNSHINE and THE WEIRD WORLD OF BLOWFLY as I tore the house apart looking for missing socks and arm warmers and trying to corral all of the necessary stuffs for racing into something close to one pile.
This dramatically changed the landscape of songs that would be in my head for the race.
Initially I'd been on a kick of The Dead Milkmen... the sudden change of weather giving me a bit of goofy pep (in juxtaposition to my equally goofy brooding)... and I'd zeroed in on a song that long post-dated my Dead Milkmen phase but that I couldn't get out of my head.... The woman who was also a mongoose.
Fishbone is one of those bands that really challenged me and broadened my scope. While there were punk elements, you couldn't at all classify them as such musically. Nor could you call them funk. Or rock. They were just.... Fishbone. And what they were doing as a band, crashing the white-bread punk L.A. music scene, was more punk than anything else going on. My first listen as a kid didn't really register. "Uh... can we listen to the Sex Pistols again?" But at a point, having melted the Pistols' "Never Mind the Bollocks" and The Dead Kennedy's "Plastic Surgery Disasters", the only cassettes I owned, I started "borrowing" music from my older brother. Though not the sound I was looking for, after a few listens, bands like The Specials, The English Beat and Fishbone, had become staples.
I followed Fishbone pretty consistently until Give A Monkey A Brain And He'll Swear He's the Center Of The Universe, which had some excellent moments, but didn't measure up to my nostalgia for earlier stuff. I don't know... maybe it was trending too far into the "alt. metal" of bands like Alice in Chains... a sound that was so popular at the same time but that just wasn't hitting home with me.
Watching the movie, you can see the evolution in their music to that point as well as the dissolution of the band. It's definitely a fascinating peek into the legacy of Fishbone, and I highly recommend it.
Now....The Weird World of Blowfly.
I'd first heard of Blowfly around age 10, having seen an article about him in one of the Penthouse magazines I'd stolen from my Dad's bathroom. (Whatever... you did it too.)
(It's funny....I also remember reading (I know... reading Penthouse?) an article on the rising LA hardcore scene. It was all about slam-dancing and violence in the scene, and profiled a young thug named Mike Suicide, who would go on to be the vocalist for a band that I both loved and hated growing up... Suicidal Tendencies.)
Blowfly came back onto my map maybe 10 years ago when he released an album with my all time favorite record label ever, Alternative Tentacles, home of some of the most influential bands in my life: The Dead Kennedy's, The Dicks, Slim Cessna's Auto Club, DOA and a band I'll have to go into more another time, as they had such a huge bearing on me... NoMeansNo.
The album is wonderfully and horrifyingly inappropriate covers of various punk rock songs. There's versions of Black Flag's TV Party (VD Party), the Circle Jerks' Wild in the Streets (Wild in the sheets), and the Dead Kennedy's Holiday in Cambodia (R Kelly in Cumbodia)... among others by Rocket From the Crypt, Iggy Pop, The Ramones, Turbo Negro and the Clash.
I highly recommend this documentary as well. Hilarious, heart-breaking, mesmerizing.
The soundtrack to my race, much to my joy and lament, ended up being Blowfly's RFTC cover of "Stuck in the Middle."
I'll let you find that one yourself.
6 hours is a long time to ride a bike in the woods. Figure I would be doing 5 laps of a 13ish mile loop.... that's 65+ miles off road.
It's even longer when you're hungover... and even longer when you are wickedly dehydrated, cramping at the half way point. (and it's even longer with Blowfly on repeat in your head.)
Damnit....I should be smarter than this.
Honestly, I blame retail.
I've gotten dumber and dumber (drunker and drunker) every year. Esoteric and academic knowledge about the things I loved and studied in a past life... ecology, paleontology, plate tectonics, biodiversity... has fallen to the wayside as now the bulk of my time is spent considering chain rentention on 1x9's, gear ratios, suspension fork dive, electronic shifting, 11 speeds, bottom bracket compatibility, gearboxes, wheelstrings, spinbacks, hangdowns and rear gorillas. (Oh... and money. I have to think about money all the time.)
And sure... I suppose this is all esoteric knowledge in it's own right, and something to be proud of to a degree.
It's a common dilemma for those working in our little specialty fields.... our sphere of knowledge localizes as our jobs and industry become more and more specialized (Man....I hate that word, as in my field, it's lost almost all context).
Make no mistake... I am by no means smart.... but I'm still allowed to panic at what I fear is the rapid decline of my already diminished intelligence.
So....Remember when everyone was making Xtranormal videos? Well, I was no exception. Here's my one and only attempt, heretofore unpublished since it's creation 3 years ago.
Initially I was going to try and start a friendly competition among all the bike shops in the area to out-do one another with these.... but like a lot of things in my life, I just sat on it until it had no relevance.
Don't get the wrong idea... I still love the bike shop game. And I love the bike industry. (Well... that's a mixed bag, honestly. Lots of great things going on, countered by lots of really shitty, underhanded things. (Wow... that's like... Life and stuff.)) But as a person who still gets chills listening to Fugazi's "Merchandise", the idea of telling people what kind of bike best defines them as a person can create some definite schizoid moments.
I will tell you this... buying a bike from my shop instantly makes you a better person, not to mention 66.6% more attractive. It's a fact... look it up.
Back to the race...
I really do need to rethink my pre-race strategies. I felt a little better when Jana Morris informed me that she and Rich were in a similar state, it being 11:30 at night and they were just about to order "shakey" drinks. At that point, some form of racing had already started. Either to the bottom... or with me trying to beat both of them to sleep, counting on the additional minutes of slumber to make me that much faster.
But the sad, sad fact is that unlike Rich and Jana, I had nothing to speak of going on. It's not like I was out until late with friends and my shakey drinks.
There is no reason for me to have been awake at midnight with Blowfly as my drinking buddy.
Sure... it was a busy week. And sure... I had a lot going on. (wait... but you just said....)
But outside of something pathologically wrong, I still can't quite account for my level of unpreparedness.
The next morning was actually pleasant, save for the fact that I was out of good coffee and was forced to use whatever shunned corporate coffee I'd received as a Christmas gift. Whatever... It did the job.
The dogs were fed and seemed eager to start their own day of various important tasks...first and foremost being the removal of any and all obstacles I had placed on the couch to prevent them from getting up on it. From there, the real work of sleeping all day and licking various orifices and the sofa until there's a huge wet spot could begin.
So I gathered my pile of race stuffs into a bag... and made my way toward Wilkesboro.
As a bizarro curmudgeon, I detest being at the mercy of other people's time lines, so I drove up alone, with Fishbone as my soundtrack. This changed to Bad Brains, and on to 24-7 Spyz before settling on Blowfly. From that point on, I was his prisoner.
Damn you, Blowfly.
|No... damn YOU, Watts.|
Next up: The actual race.