Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Wings For Life

I like using social media as a tool, a ledge of a sort, for diving into the unexplored and different, diverse.

Last night I was searching for something on Facebook when status by Danny MacAskill caught my attention. As day was already marked by cycling and love for bikes I went in and watched the video he shared. Do take 6 minutes and let yourself be amazed:

Road bike party 2 

First I started to watch this alone and after a few seconds I called my daughter from another room to come and join me. We watched it without words, jaws hanging open and amazed, silence broken only by our cries of joy and amazement. 

Then we watched it again. And then again, commenting on stunts.

Fireworks of joy with the experience. Sharing that pleasure. Pure awesome.

Watching RBP 2 behind the scenes was just a logical step. And there, a surprise. I’m not as well versed in cycling lore to recognize Martyn Ashton’s name or to know what happened to him, so when he started talking in Behind the scenes feature I recognized only the harness and just froze in place. I watched the clip intently. And it was endearing as much as educational.

When he says; “…my day job…” it is hard not to flinch, and, word by word, I learned that this is a guy, a cycling legend, that fell and broke his spine while in the middle of Road Bike Party 2 project. After he got his bearings he picked up the phone and got Danny MacAskill and ChrisAkrigg to ride out the rest of the project.

Watching him talk, so positive and down-to-earth is completely disarming. “And I remember when I landed I was relieved. As bad as it was I thought; whoa, that was close, I nearly died…” he says and if there was ever such a complete personification of everything I hold valuable and exquisite in personal conduct this is it.

At the end of the clip he talks a bit about Wings for life and it sounds like something I would like to know more about. And I go online and google it and it is a Spinal Cord Research Foundation. I spend few hours poking and probing about and reading references and articles. I go over and through their excellent webpage that even has company boards overview! They even have grant application info on their page! As I work in clinical research for 7 years now I know a bullshit when I see it and this is not it. This is real stuff. This is a process that will one day give us the means to walk after spinal cord injury.

Go and donate, support the process. Go here:

Monday, October 20, 2014

Sunday Ride

I went for a ride on my bike on Sunday morning.

It was sunny outside my window so I got out my pump and checked the tires, poured some water into bidon and off I went. Half a mile down the street I drove into fog, but day was beautiful and warm and I just cycled on.

I love that bike. I got my Kona Splice with 29 inch tires last year after the season ended, somewhere in November, so it was a bit more bank-account friendly, after eyeing him for more than a year. I love his large tires and the feeling of speed while riding him. I love the muffled tone of shifting gears and the notion that he helps and hinders the ride in accordance with rider’s skill. I love how tall I am when I swoosh by slower riders.

Sava was dark and strong under Podsused bridge. It flowed under it quickly and with just a slightest gurgle, rushing into foggy distance. Birds chirped drowsily.

I snapped a few pictures and turned back towards home. Half a mile from the bridge there was sun and blue skies and rustle of yellowing leaves.

I love that bike. I love that libido boost it surrenders as I finish my ride.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Just Drive, She Said

Photo source: TenWheel.com

I have been thinking lately about narratives of love stories.
Feelings and realizations,
Verbalizations and silent acceptances.
Enjoying each other’s company.

Men write better stories, ones I appreciate more.
Ones I feel I have lived or, sometimes, yearn to be living.
Full-blooded stories.

All in a  few words and commitment made simple. Somebody always drives and it feels so pleasurable to feel participants enjoying their place in the car.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Future Islands 11Oct2014 @ Mochvara

"Without enthusiasm you are doomed to a life of mediocrity, but with it you can accomplish miracles."

I went to see Future Islands perform at Mochvara last night.

It was a bittersweet experience, full-blooded, thigh-twitching affair. Magnificent.

I have watched them before, on their now cult performance at Kset in 2010. I remember writing to Zach afterwards, saying that people wept in the audience when Sam announced Tin Man. And I remember Mr. Herring's surprise and happiness with the reception by that audience. I remember how I was then just lukewarm fan, only getting to know their art, and how my being their fan grew from that tepid interest into rapturous devotion - and in the heart of that devotion, one thing stands true right from the beginning; you cannot improve on perfection.

That most perfect thing, one that caught my attention then and is also flawlessly present now is Mr. Herring's dramatic delivery of lyrics, just as one would present lines in a play. What makes this presentation especially engaging is the notion that it is propelled by enthusiasm and candor, rather then building a theatrical on-stage persona. Lines he delivers are his own, flowing from his life and his experiences, and them being enveloped in music only makes them more potent.

So, ...if this was such a great experience, why bitter-sweetness?

Well, I feel that venue was too small for number of tickets sold as it was truly, not only unpleasant, but disgustingly overcrowded. Mochvara has been my favorite venue for quite some time now, partly because of excellent, relaxed staff and also because of extraordinary jump in a quality of sound during live performances - both of which was clearly present yesterday - but the place was so packed it was sickening.

Other thing adding to bitter-sweetness is this unfortunate internet fame Mr. Herring has been in the center of recently. This is a thing that both upsets and angers me, because it once again shows the world populated by clueless buffoons. Short description of happening is that Future Islands were brought to center of "more mainstream" attention by being on now several shows that ended up featuring not really their music but even more so presenting Mr. Herring's performance as "unparallelled" by theatrics in the music business, which in turn ended up widening their audience. What angers me most is that I feel his dramatic performance is misunderstood since it is commented as histrionics, not giving him credit for what he really deserves; unparalleled enthusiasm and candor. Why this is important? Because it brought portion of the audience that wasn't there for the music and I feel that they were detrimental to the complete experience.  Example of such crap is this silly bitch snapping a selfie right on the stage during an encore.

Even in this less than perfect conditions Future Islands performance was impeccable and it was both honor and pleasure being there to witness it.

I hope I will be seeing them again.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Return of The Running Mojo

Last week I started to run again after my pneumonia break.

When I was ill I was just too sick and exhausted to move and later on I decided to slowly pick up the pace, first by taking long walks and working out at home (strength and cardio, mostly 15-minute HIIT trainings) and last week I felt strong enough to go on a “real run”.
I have also changed eating habits some, by trying to eat with a bit more thought invested in diversity and nutritional values, not only presentation and taste - and I think this was a excellent decision as I feel really good, not to mention how regular digestion can make person very happy indeed :D

I think I have just now begun to actually enjoy running.

I’ve been running off-and-on for couple of years now, running regularly for a few months at a time and then skipping or pausing altogether, not really letting it become a habit and treating it as a constant competition more than something intimate and inherently enjoyable. Until now I have made a lot of small changes in how I run; starting to use Endomondo to track my runs, changing shoes from classic shoes into more barefoot version, changing accessories to feel more comfortable while running, trying out different surfaces and different time of day, varying routes where to run to include inclines, steps, people or solitude. I also read a few books including excellent Murakami’s What I talk about when I talk about running and lastly Jogging by Ivo Belan.

In things of approach to running and technique I especially liked Belan’s book. It gives great advice on host of questions and things you usually don’t remember to ask before you have to resolve them while running. Most importantly I loved his descriptions of running as an activity that is intertwined with other life activities. I love how he includes details about other people, about family members and agreements, about participating - even in a slow pace. In his words you can see how participation alone can truly mean victory.

So I reviewed my running from a different perspective; less aggressive and with more anticipation of enjoyment in process, rather than in result.

And  my runner’s mojo returned, eager to go where it was unable to go before.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Modoc - Runnin'

Recently I've been in kind of laissez faire mood
benevolent noniterference
passionate enjoyment of things and concepts
crazy amount of book-reading
and falling head-over-heels in love with a song Runnin' by Modoc.

"I don't feel like letting go
But I can't keep holdin' on to a feelin'
If we don't try we'll never know
Rather die than be alone and cheated.

What I love most in this song
is how I can directly relate to the feeling just as presented...

"But don't you ever want to make believe
That you and I were always meant to be, honey
How can I pretend you even care
And do you even notice that I'm there, honey"

... relationship starting from subjective wish and trying to find some common ground while at the same time giving other person this special treatment shown in a way of calling them "honey" even before any common ground is ascertained.

I just love how he sings it; "honey"
kinda yearning, but also sarcastic sans bitterness.
I can imagine some extremely good sex ensuing after this fore(play)word.

And I love how this song uses running as a metaphor for "working mode" rather than escape.

Friday, September 12, 2014

What I Learned While I Was Down With Pneumonia

I just had pneumonia for a month and there is something I wish to write down here on the blog because I feel I have learned something.

You see, I tried online dating few months ago.

I have been single for quite some time now, and indeed even though I was married for a few years and had some relationships I actually feel I have been single through that time too. I do feel connected with some of my exes and there were instances in which I felt as a part of a bigger whole (with no nostalgia or bitter taste in this fact) so this is not issue of being unable to connect. It just so happens, it seems, that I chose to spend time with people with lax sense of commitment.

And then someone twitted something interesting about an online dating community available in my area.

Since I’m always ready for a bit of experimenting and prefer truth even when she is not pleasant to stomach I went off and made myself a profile. It was a nice profile. Thought through. Open, socially pleasant and also direct. At the same time objective, clear cut and cold. Just like me - disciplined enough not to openly contradict the social norm but inevitably emotionally distanced. Profile (in other words - me) became quite popular quickly and even though there was a lot of hay to go through some needles were found. So I exchanged some opinions, enjoyed some conversations and had a date or five. In the end it did not work out but I had a good time and I think I managed to communicate that it was a pleasant experience even though we did not click on a larger scale.

It has been 14 years since I was actually dating anyone and this was both old and completely new experience for me.

I disliked:
- meeting people. I hate meeting people. Being fiercely introverted and also quite protective of my privacy just makes me not want to put myself in that position if that is not absolutely necessary.

I liked:
- meeting people. Sense of distance the computer screen gives is just the perfect amount of distance to start a conversation. And after some conversation meeting in person is just a logical step.
- kissing. I missed kissing. Sense of closeness it gives even when you just start to get to know people.
- verbalization. How when I just meet people I can communicate likes and dislikes directly, for them to be acknowledged. Things sound differently in the confines of the mind then released into the wild of the social situation.

What brings me back to my pneumonia month. Bigger part of that month my daughter was with her father and grandparents, on their summer vacation, and I was alone.

There I was; broken, in bed, with fever reaching 40°C, alone in my apartment. No one to brew some tea for me or cook me chicken soup to nurse me to health. No one to keep me company or to check my forehead for signs of returning fever in the middle of the night. No one to share “or for worse” in between two “for betters”.

And I did not mind.

I had friends calling me to see how am I feeling, parents trying to smuggle in lunches so I would not need to cook, neighbors knocking on my door to check up on me and bring me small gifts of kindness.

I slept, took my medicine, ate simple meals and read books when I could. When I felt better I showered and tidied the place, I made my bed every day and I turned the electronics off to go to sleep at night. My organized person routine just rolled on, slower than usual, but undoubtedly present.

I did not crave for company and I did not feel bad to be left to my own devices. I was happy to hear from friends and parents and neighbors and I loved to see how considerate they are and how well they know me. In their kind efforts I saw their kindness but I also saw my value to them, and fruit of my labor in communicating all the things of value behind my distant and objective appearance.

It is not that I fail to connect. It takes two to connect.

I think I will make more room now for the possibility of meeting people.