There Will Be Blood, and Cold Beersodas

I recently joined the ranks of 95% of the Mission dwelling hipsters, and got myself a fixed gear bike. I said I’d never do it, but the amount of time I spend city riding these days, plus the fact that Swobo, a bike clothing company that I’ve much loved during both their 1st and 2nd incarnations, introduced an insane line of city bikes were major factors in leading me down the path to stripped down no brake bliss.

I’ve been intrigued by track bikes since me and a bunch of my BMX buddies went and saw the bike messenger film, Quicksilver, for my 14th birthday. But, because I’ve always treated my bikes as take me on-road, off-road, down stairs, off drops, over jumps and pretty much anywhere else vehicles, I never really thought much about getting one lest I beat it unusable (which I quickly did with my one road bike when I tried to bunny hop it over an 8″ curb at speed).

Anyways, one of the bikes that Swobo released was their fixed gear Sanchez model. It’s got a really cool lookin’ Galvanized frame with white rims, chain & handlebars and a seat that’s outfitted with a bottle opener. A friggin’ bottle opener. Tizight.

The more I thought about getting it, the more I was like, “well, a fixie should be a custom thing and if I do it right it will really mean buying everything separate and putting it all together”… and then So! brought me to my senses. She said, “yo!, your time is very limited these days, so if you want it, then just get it and be done with it.” I’m so glad I listened to her. I finally picked my Sanchez up a few weeks ago, and the thing is a blast!! A few sketchy moments on the first couple of rides, but I’m finally getting the hang of it. It’s seriously been a long time since I’ve been really challenged by my bike, and I am stizoked to be this excited about riding again. Let’s just hope I can figure out how to stop the thing…

Sanchez, not dirty

Honky chain

Finally, a friggin soda

3 Flavs, 2 Rides

When Matt & Sarah were out in SF for X-Mas with the rest of the fam, we took some time to go on a couple of EPIC Bay Area rides.

The first one, down somewhere near UC Santa Cruz, was shown to us by Bob and Friends. Probably one of the most fun rides I’ve ever been on in my life. It was 18 miles of climbing fireroads and bombing completely insane Redwood-tinged single track. I have no idea where we were, and would never be able to find my way around in that network of trails if I were to go back by myself. Bob & Co. were a killer bunch of peeps to ride with, though, so I’ll just have to have them show me around again some time.

The second ride, the 30 mile Home -> GG Park -> Presidio -> GG Bridge -> Marin Headlands (Bobcat & Miwok) loop, was one that I know all too well. It’s a blast of a ride as well, but given that it’s a City to fireroad grinder and back, it’s completely different than riding in Santa Cruz.

We had a killer time on both rides, and I was stoked to finally be able to show M&S what mountain biking in the Bay Area’s all about. Too bad we just scraped the surface… good thing they’ll be back one day for some more!!

3 Flavs, Super Secret SC Ride

Matt & Sarah, Golden Gate Bridge

Big Flav & Lil’ Flav, Marin Headlands

Flav & Big Flav, Marin Headlands

Matt, Bomb into Tennesse Valley

Sarah & Matt, Tennessee Valley Stables

Spiders and Yodas and Shawn, Oh My…

My olde pal Shawn and his wife Brenda were out from the ATL for a visit to San Frandisco a few weeks back, and I took a couple of pix of homey interacting with some of our current finest. Good times, y’all need to be sure to come back again!

EMB Spider

Yoda Statue

Boy Kani is Siiiiiiiiiiiick….


Man, my friend Darren is one sick individual. He dropped a book of illustrations on me tonite that captured the last 8 years of his take on birthday and holiday cards… and I gots to say that homeboy is spot on! Hopefully he’ll publish some of these up to the web for all of the ‘net hedz to take in. Until then, you’ll have to come over to my house and see ’em in print.

One essay for each and every R.E.M. song

I thought my days of being interested in R.E.M. were over, but then Cho’nuff hipped me to a website by Matthew Perpetua, the dood who also does the MP3 blog FLUXBLOG. “Pop Songs 07” rocks my world in that it has one very simple goal: “…write a post about every song on every R.E.M. album, plus most of their major non-album tracks…”.

Anyone who’s known me for long enough is also aware that I was, at one point, one of the biggest R.E.M. geeks on the planet. And though my obsession for the group in its current incarnation has severely waned over the past two albums, my love and appreciation of their first 18 years is still as strong as ever.

If you are, or ever were, into R.E.M., do yourself a favor and dig around the Pop Songs 07 site. There’s some crazily insightful stuff being posted, even if it is just one person’s take on a great band’s body of work…

Clickity clack: Pop Songs 07

Quality Rainbows Are Not For Free

Sleep was escaping me at 4AM this morning, and as I laid there wondering what the hell I should do for the next 3 hours, it hit me: the In Rainbows digital download should be waiting for me in my in box! I jumped out of bed, ran into the office, opened my email, and there it was. I pulled it down, cranked it up, and have been taking it in ever since.

This album definitely does not disappoint, although I would have been a bit bummed had I not purchased the 40GBP super deeeeeluxe discbox double LP/CD set (arriving in my physical mailbox around December 3rd, awwwwwww yeah!) + download, and had opted to go the digital download only route instead. You see, Radiohead did something tricky with the digi dl only option. In essence, they said, “Hey music fan, yeah you the one who doesn’t think that you should have to pay for music. Come to our website and buy our new music for what you think it’s worth. Even if that amount is ZERO.” I’m sure this pay what you want for the download only strategy resulted in a very large number of people going to the Radiohead website, putting the album in their cart, typing in 0.00 and checking out. Well guess what? If you went digi-dl only, all you got from Radiohead was music, and at non-CD quality. Sure, it cost nothing and is DRM free, but it’s encoded at only 160 kbps and contains no artwork.

Now I know that those who paid for digi download only and/or who care about MP3 encoding bitrates will BitTorrent the album once the CD is made available and a higher quality version is leaked, but I’m sure it will have made many of them stop and think about the value of music, if only for a second. In our day and age that’s not something that people are compelled to do that often, if ever. So if you’re one of those few souls who did pay more than zero for the digi download and are currently feeling a bit burned by the band, look deeper and try to appreciate the thought provoking nature of this “experiment” and how it has the potential to invoke some real change in how artists approach the merchandising of their products with little to no involvement from a major label.

And if you just can’t wait for the Stanley Donwood artwork that NME reported on, point yourself over to HICKSDESIGN’s Cover art for In Rainbows blog entry and take your pick from one of the many fan inspired designs. Something for pretty much everyone.

Radiohead: In Rainbows

Oh, snap… Radiohead’s releasing a new album, called “In Rainbows“, 10 days from now. It’s going to be available in digital download and “discbox” formats, and only via their website (well, at least until early next year, when they’ll release it traditionally on CD, but who’s gonna wait that long?!?). How insane is that?!? The bigboy record companies are going to be crapping themselves over this one. Thanks to Cho’nuff for the sunday evening text message alert filling me in. Wonder how many copies they’ll have sold by the time they wake up tomorrow morning?

The tracklisting includes many of the songs that they played when we saw them at the Greek Theatre last year in Berkeley. Am very interested to hear the mastered studio versions of these tracks…

CD 1 AND VINYL
15 STEP
BODYSNATCHERS
NUDE
WEIRD FISHES/ARPEGGI
ALL I NEED
FAUST ARP
RECKONER
HOUSE OF CARDS
JIGSAW FALLING INTO PLACE
VIDEOTAPE

CD 2 AND VINYL
MK 1
DOWN IS THE NEW UP
GO SLOWLY
MK 2
LAST FLOWERS
UP ON THE LADDER
BANGERS AND MASH
4 MINUTE WARNING