Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I am competetive to the point of retardation

I went to they gym yesterday and sat down on one of the reclining bikes with Time magazine thinking that I would poke along and read about Obama's electablility. I set the stationary bike on a "race mode" where you put in the pace of the race (20mph) and the distance (10 miles).

"Race Mode" such as it was consisted of two red dots on a 4"x4" screen. One was me and one was my opponent and we both circled the boundery of the screen counter-clockwise. About two minutes in I was completely hooked and I ended up racing the machine like I was in an actual race, panting till I couldn't take it anymore. When it was done, I had sweated through both the front and the back of my shirt and I could hardly walk.

The whole thing made me realize just how different my life is here, that I have to race a stationary bike in order to feed my competetive nature.

Lapped that dot twice though. Try fucking with me next time you red flashing motherfucker.

Yeah!

Monday, December 04, 2006

No, You Tell ME What's Worse

The genocide in Darfur
The sectarian strife in Iraq
The reality of a Nuclear North Korea

We now have to deal with:

JESSICA SIMPSON PLAYING A FUCKING BIKE MESSENGER!!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Life In NC

These last few weeks have flown by at times and gone painstakingly slow at others. Our life has revolved around our house in Carrboro, finishing it, moving into it and finally, buying the bitch.

Our first week here was a sexless, suburban one which we spent at Laura's aunt's house in her son Zack's room (he's in military school). Imagine readers, being 28, freshly wed and waking up in a room with a football jersey tacked to the wall. The house, such as it was, was laughably behind where we were assured it would be before we packed up all of our belongings and drove 500 miles. The men working on the house, nice guys all, didn't answer to us, so all we could do was patiently nod as they told us for the third time that the place'd be done in just a few days. I won't go into it too much, it's not great stuff to read and anyhow, I still don't have a back deck.

While the house became livable, Laura and I lived/squatted in another house Laura's aunt owns about a mile from the other and did all the requisite nesting stuff. Unbeknownst to a lot of the good people who gave generously at our wedding, the stuff from the registry went to Laura's mom's house, where it was turned into store credit. We then just went to the Raleigh Mall and bought all of our registry all over again, with a few goodies thrown in: "A lemon zester? We-helll, don't mind if I do!"

Another big purchase was a car to replace our deadbeat Volvo. We decided this time to go with the most vanilla vehicle money could buy, and have a good mechanic give it a good look-see. We settled on a white, 1998 Toyota Camry with about 120K miles on it. Good times.

For the last week we've been living in the house which has been sublime. Now our lives are filled with the business of buying this sucker. I feel that I made the absolute most of my 20's, lending institutions seem bent on having a healthy debate on the subject. The gears slowly turn.

The weather is great, the dog is happy, and I miss you all so much. I'll do my best to write on this thing more.



Sunday, November 05, 2006

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Retirement

So Monday marked my last day as a New York City bike messenger, however nominal a messenger I really was for the last year and a half. I have the same delivery route, so I see the same people and it was kind of funky knocking off my deliveries and seeing them for the last time in my life. It reminded me of that feeling the last night of a show's run where it hits you that that's the last time you'll do that scene, beat, or moment that you never quite got where you wanted it to be. As in theatre, that got me kinda jazzed and I picked up all my cues unconsciously and finished a full four minutes faster than my best record.

The following is a short list of goodbyes to people who I never really knew and who never got to know me. Both of us were completely interchangable, but they were part of my life for over a year of Monday mornings. Here it goes in order of delivery, the boring people have of course been omitted.

To the woman at the Conde Nast loading dock with the ripped arms: Thanks for always quickly opening the window on cold mornings.

To the silent guy who didn't give a fuck at Time Magazine: The whole damned time you only spoke twice, both times to tell me that you weren't accepting packages on Martin Luther King day. May your indifference bring you nowhere.

To my man at Rolling Stone: Thank you for the "good morning"'s and most of all for the unimpeded use of the bathroom key and letting me use the facilities clean enough for Jann Wenner to take a dump in. Good times.

To the wonderful women of 444 Madison Ave: You saved my ass on three separate occasions, thank you for being polite, professional, good at your jobs and good people. I hope they're paying you enough.

To the front desk guy at The Avedon Foundation: You're so damned cool, you must have been a messenger before you got that gig.

To my Russian pal at USA Today: Joe Felice told me to give you a free Newsweek Magazine every week and I did. For that, you never once asked me to sign in. Bribery really does work, you taught me that.

To the older man at the Newsweek front desk: I freaking love it when you sing! The marble makes it bounce around everywhere, total boost to my morning.

To the grumpy guys at 1010 WINS: Your office is in an underground garage, I imagine that it's the carbon monoxide that makes you cranky, thank god I never had to get signatures from you.

To the Puerto Rican lady at the Letterman Show: Thanks for letting me drop stuff off without having to go upstairs, and thanks also for calling me "ho-ney".

To Mr. Chin at Paramount: YOU'RE MR. FUCKING CHIN MAN!

To the older DCAS guy at 1 Centre Street: Thanks for being a sport about checking my tools.

Last but not least. Thanks to the good people at Lasership HQ on 39th Street: You put a lot of things in perspective for me. I know messenging is difficult cause I've done it. I've never had to do it while I was living at a homelesse shelter shelter in the Bronx or suffering from a physical ailment and walking with a cane. I took the job because it paid well and I liked the work, and above all my employer was matching me for health insurance, not because I had no other options because I hadn't finished high school/been convicted of a felony. That being said, WHY YOU GOTTA START SHIT WITH PEOPLE AT SIX IN THE FUCKING MORNING???!!! I love you all.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

IT'S CARRBORO!

So here is exactly where we are moving. After seeing this, Laura and I gave ourselves the option of running in utter horror.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Strange Human Connections With Craigslist

Even though I took the ad down from Craigslist, I still get a few e-mails asking me about the car. I usually just shoot them a one line e-mail and tell em' that the car is long gone. Two days ago this woman who we'll call "judith" contacted me and asked me about the car and added that she needed it to tote around her three children and that she was a single mother "not by choice". I don't know that I've ever heard a woman with three kids up and choosing to go it alone, but I decided to ignore that particular red flag and give her a slightly longer e-mail.
" Hey "Judith",
I'm sorry we don't have the car anymore. I'm about to get married and my money is all tied up into my wedding so when the alternator died, I just decided that I had to get ride of the darned thing before it killed me (I had to push it across the street for alternate side street parking just once). I didn't feel comfortable selling it to anyone, certainly not someone who would have three kids depending on it so I just sold it for a buck to a man in long island who scrapped it for parts. Best of luck "Judith".
Frank "


"judith" decided to reward my forthrightness with this little gem:

Best of luck to you and your bride. Please know one piece of advice...NEVER give up. NEVER give in to temptation. NEVER, no never, walk away from your best friend. Because I promise you, there will be times that you will want to walk away. There will be times you will be tested as to the true strength of your relationship.

When temptation knocks, think first about who you married, and WHY. If you have lost something in your relationship, talk about it. Find it. Always remember why you married this person, what you felt and how committed you were (are). For eventually, the newness of an affair, or the newness of any situation will wear out. And, again you will find yourself faced with a decision. A decision of what to do... Go home or stay away.

Marry for life. Marry for love. Marry for fun.

I lost my husband to another woman a year and a half ago. My divorce is final on the 26th of Sept. but he now claims to want to come back home. He has just 8 days to get here before it is legally over. I pray he comes home for I have remained strong. Committed to my vows and life of family.

So, no matter how perfect life is now be smart enough to realize that perfection will die one day. Then the real test of your friendship will reach a new height. It is not a bad place to be either. To be with your best friend is a gift, never, ever take it for granted.

My speech done, I have only to say, "Be Happy and Be True". Life is wonderful, fun and joyous.

Enjoy your new life. I am happy for you both.

Sincerely,

"Judith"


Best of luck "Judith" best of luck.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

There Is No Justice, Or Is There



It was an action packed morning. It was finally my day in court for my four tickets from trying to outrun the threewheeler cop. I was guilty as freaking sin on all four counts, and my entire legal strategy was hoping the guy didn't show up.

I'm a legal fucking genious. The guy who whipped across four lanes of traffic in a 600 pound car is no longer with the NYPD. Me and four other people previously snagged by this guy were all let go. It took all of 15 minutes.

I biked off to work, feeling untouchable. Ten minutes later, my steering was all messed up and I had to take the subway. Somewhere between Rector Street and Canal, my bike frame finally gave up the ghost and snapped right where I had bent it two and a half years ago. What had started off saving me $160 ended up costing me god knows how much. The Pista will be sorely missed.

What will not be missed is Laura and my first car. We ditched The Bloob with a guy from Long Island for $1 after the alternator blew. It was a pity to see it go, but the car won't cost us any more money. It was a lot of money down the tubes at a crappy time. If I lived in a different part of the country, I'd scratch off the vin numbers and push it off a cliff.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

New Job

All the big windfalls I've had this year have had to do with the United States Army. I got a call from a man I worked with on the TA job (who saved my ever-lovin ass by the way) named Ross who asked me if I wanted a job. There's a guy who works with his wife who was called up for active duty as a reservist and needed a replacement. A quick interview, a hasty sionara to my old job (I hope there's no hard feelings with my old boss, but he's since declined my wedding invite) and I was off to the races.
I work at a theatre called Symphony Space on 95th street and Broadway. I'm sort of the property manager, a job that I've done in some capacity or another over the years. The gig is four days a week so I don't have to drop my messenger job and it pays twice as much as my old job. A welcome boon right now when money is tight.

Thank freaking god.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Pickin' Up The Motherfuckin' Car


After work tomorrow, I'm going to catch a train out to Connecticut to pick up the car from the shop. I had a nightmare last night that something else went wrong with the car and that we had to just leave the car and hope someone wouldn't charge us with dumping. I've found that no one has really come at me with a smug "I told you so" or plattitude about car buying. It's probably because most people I know have either owned a lemon or are too consious of their own karmic liability in degrading another person's eye for cars. Then again, most people I know, with the exception of Andrew, who owns a car with over 260,000 miles owns a car.

The car has cost us so much money, what with the transportation to and from Boston to get it, sales tax, inspection, windshier etc that it seems a tragedy to walk away from it having lost so much. I keep having this hope that there'll be some kind of "Smokey and the Bandit" job where I can make $5000 to just drive a bunch of moonshine up to the Canadian border then push the car off a cliff. That or some crazy person offering us $5000 for our car just because he's got a fetish for the smell of old Volvos and he wants to spend every waking hour gratifying himself in the back seat. If any of you know of any such opportunities HOOK ME UP!

Messenger 58


Went and saw "Messenger 58", a Fringe Festival play about "messengessengering" written and performed by Tony Mendoza, a real life Chicago bike messenger. Most of the dialogue was taken verbatim from conversations he had had and then strung together into a plot with some great song interludes. The whole experience was worth the while just for this exchange.

-So, what do you do in the winter?
-Well, last year I was dating a jewish girl, so I celebrated Hannuka.

The play touched on a lot of the same existential questions most messengers have to deal with. Is this more meaningful than an office job since we're just helping offices do their jobs? Do I hate office work more than I hate getting run off the road and treated like a second-hand citizen? What the hell is it about this job that makes it worth it, and how do I relate to people that don't do this job themselves?

What I did love were the wierdo exchanges that they had. There's one that was so fucked up I have to believe it was true. While waiting for an elevator, this older guy tries to sell him a frog then complains about having to cough up $500 to be in a gang-bang that weekend. Another highlight was a song about riding in the rain that sounded like it was composed over 8 hours of riding in the rain.

It's been a couple of years since I've had to identify myself as R567, but of course I do still make a good portion of my money biking in Manhattan.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Messenger Death


Bronx John, a messenger I've seen around a lot, talked to a few times and locked horns with once died this Saturday from injuries he sustained after getting hit by a car in Williamsburg this past Wednesday. It's always chilling to hear about a biker getting killed but this is the first time anyone who I've seen alive and biking through the streets has been cut down.

Here he is doing a song he wrote that was made into a video in the movie Red Light Go. A memorial bike ride has been planned for 8:00 by the Javitz center and will end at Rock Star Bar in Williamsburg.

Good God What a Two Weeks


From August first till my birthday on the 10th I didn't drink. I did it last year as a sort of cleansing before turning 28, did the same thing last year. Now think here, when was the last time you didn't have anything to drink for 10 days? It had been exactly a year for me. I found myself a little crankier at the end of the work day, feeling extremely good in the mornings and after 8 days, I was down about five pounds from the last time I weighed myself a few months ago. I developed this nervous tick that I haven't suffered from since I was in college (a need to click my teeth together and take shallow chest breaths), which has pretty much gone away since my birthday. I can't say that the absense of booze made me a mental or physical superhero, but it did improve my faculties a notch or two.

The birthday itself was a pretty low key affair. I haven't been training so much these days, so I just ran to work (5.5 miles), something that I think I'll do again soon. I would have run back, but I had to pick up the dog and drop him with Rose for the weekend as I went to Shannon and Tim's wedding on the Cape. After squaring the dog away, Laura and I went off to my favorite restaurant, Little Giant for an incredible meal.

Driving to the Cape was nice until it wasn't. We escaped the majority of incoming Cape traffic, but the car started leaking more and more. We dropped the thing at a place called Frank's Citgo near where we were staying and had Frank take a look at it. He told us that the coolant pump was shot, how much it would be and then gave us a lift to our bed and breakfast and walking directions to a good restaurant.

On the way home from the Cape, we again escaped the traffic only to have the whole enginge disengage on the highway, along with the brakes with just enough time for Laura to ease it off to the side of the road and for me to grind it to a halt with the parking brake. A tow, a taxi, a train, the subway and a 10 minute walk were all that it took to get home, eleven and a half hours after we left that morning.

Today I found out that the timing belt was what gave up the ghost. Generally, they're to be replaced every 60,000 miles, which would mean that this sucker will be the third or fourth that the car has seen.

There's a certain logic that might say that since we've replaced so many major mechanical things on the car and have had a wide variety of professionals look the thing over in the 1000 or so miles that we've driven the thing, that perhaps we've reached some kind of equilbrium. After this, 70,000 miles of free sailing, you've replaced all the big shit. On the other hand, Laura and I are leaning towards the logic used by pit bull owners whose dog has twice bitten their small child. Either through adoption or lethal injection, we going to get rid of the thing.

So, if any of you 8 people that read this have a friend of a friend of a friend who's in the market and is an expert tinkerer and/or licensed mechanic then steer 'em to me.


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Everything's Coming Up Laura

Aside from the heatwave and worries about coming home to baked bichon, everything has been going right this week. It must be said that this is all Laura's doing. She managed a major coup when she found a lady in Hillsboro NC who is letting us live rent-and-utility-free for two months in exchange for looking after her dogs. The low cost of living down there is now significantly lower. In other news the invitations have all gone out and we got our first RSVP back from Alex and Laura who pointed out just how wrong we spelled both of their names. We might also be staying for free at a friend of Laura's mom's place on the Cape next weekend when we go to see Shannon and Tim get married. With all of this money saving, I feel that some huge expense will creep up on us and bite us in the ass, but for now our financial prospects are looking rosy.

As hot as it is outside, it is always hotter inside of my car. Our Volvo, which was made by Swedes to be used by Swedes has nothing when it comes to air conditioning. I read on the Volvo lovers' website The Brick Board that even new, these things didn't have a lot of cooling power. This weekend, when the auto parts store up the street gets the hose in, I'm going to shoot coolant back into the system and see if I can't get something better than dirty car breath to shoot through the vents.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

How Do You Say "Hell Yeah" In Bosnian?


I don't have Narcisa's e-mail or phone number and we've been going back and fourth in the comment section so here goes: Laura and I would love to come to Sarajevo and Croatian under whatever pretext you can come up with!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Ahh The Car


Whoever said that posessions clutter your life clearly owned a car. This past weekend, Laura and I went up to Boston to get the car, the plates the registration and of course THE CAR. When we had enough stuff to legally climb into the car and drive it on the roads, we caravaned straight to Laura's mechanic to get the thing inspected, a maiden voyage of about 6 miles. About halfway there something went terribly wrong, the car overheated and by the time we got it to the station, three of the guys there had to push it onto the curb. I called the guy who I bought the thing from and he basically castigated me for not having checked the oil, water and gas guages before driving the car. In the interest of keeping diplomatic ties to the man, who I had at first taken as an honest and nice guy from Iowa, I didn't say that I would hope the fucking thing could have gone 6 miles to a mechanic without farting out on me. For the next 18 hours, Laura and I waited for the news going over different scenarios and trying to take comfort in Massachusettes' Lemon Law. The next day Laura's mechanic, Larry called and said that the car had a busted hose and that it passed inspection. Grand total $85. He also told us that the car was very old and that we shouldn't put any more money into it.

Duly shaken, we headed from Boston to New York, not sure what would happen. About 80 miles out of New York, we stopped at a gas station and filled up the tank. Laura notised that the front of the car was leaking fluid in a little stream about half the width of a pencil. With 80 miles more to go, visions of complete doom and Laura getting more dismayed by the second, I put on my calm and calming face and snagged the owners manual. Under the "common problems" section I found what I was looking for, bought some water and some radiator fixer and fixed the leak in the radiator. I was fucking amazed. In a fit of magical thinking I actually addressed the car as we were driving it and told the car that we just wanted 10,000 problem free miles and then we would retire it or sell it off to someone who can do a better job than us and maintaining it.


Laura and I still don't trust the car as far as we can throw it. It's got all kinds of strange idiosyncrasies that we're in the process of discovering. I had a slight panic attack today when I thought that I had parked it on the wrong side of the street on the wrong day and that I would have to pay a $100 fine and spend a week picking a bright green sticker off the window. For all the crap that having a car entails though, I still caught myself a few times getting the same feeling I got when I first got my license and inhereted my father's '87 Chevy. The promise of effortless transport.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Flaming Bikes of Death


Sometimes I wonder to myself, "what is the most dangerous, irresponsible thing I could possibly do on a bike that would endanger both me and everyone around me?" Luckily, the good Oregonians of Chunk 666 have answered that for me

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Missouri On My Mind


According to the New York Times my home state is taking another hard look at its death penalty rules. Apparently the guy who'd been executing people for the last 10 years has been screwing up the death cocktail and blames it on his dyslexia. The doctor is a surgeon and so they tried to replace him with an anesthesiologist. Of the 298 anesthesiologists in the area that they solicited, all 298 said hell no. Happily, my dad was one of them. Way to keep to the hypiocratic oath dad!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Sick

I'm almost never too sick to work, but as I was walking the dog I imagined myself actually going through the motions of work feeling like I am and decided against it. The world shall go coasterless one more day.

This is the first sick day I've taken off because of genuinely being too sick to work in...I have no idea. I had to take one day off of class once my junior year of college because of a nasty fever and cold, which was the first time in my educational career.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Getting Shit Done!

Spent the last week in Massachusettes, New Bedford, Jamaica Plain and Wayland. Laura went up last Saturday to New Bedford to meet up with her friend Alicia and to oogle at her 8 month old baby Anais.



I came to New Bedford on Monday after finishing my Monday deliveries. Alicia's place is a trip, there are five people, three dogs, one cat and a baby living in one house. Everyone chips in to look after the baby, it's impressive.

For our nation's 230th birthday, we went over to Alicia's mom's place a couple of blocks away and had a barbeque. John and Noreen came and John went house on the barbicue. He cooked up some Portugese style linguice dogs, chorizo dogs and some intense ribs. Later than night they drove us back in their new car and we spent the night in Jamaica Plain.

The next day we went to Wayland Mass, to Laura's mom, Val's place. From there on it was all business. Laura has had some outstanding hiccups with her license and the project of the week was to get it all settled. On Thursday we spent the day, and I mean THE DAY in Worcester District court waiting to see a judge. It was quite possibly the saddest six straight hours I've spent in a long long time. The best was the 67 year old man who was being arraigned for assault with a deadly weapon (he hit a nurse when she tried to take his blood) he was apprently weaned off of his drugs beforehand. After we were heading back after the lunch break, we saw him coming the other way. Laura's time in front of the judge was a combined one minute and thirty seconds. Laura is no more in trouble with Worcester nor shall she be cuz we promised each other we'd never return.

On Friday we bought a car. We had checked the thing out on Wednesday, had a little test drive and had gotten a great vibe from the guy who was selling it. The car is a 1987 Volvo 240 DL. It has its own little idiosycrasies such as a broken gas guage and a roll up window that needs a little help but mechanically, it's sound. The guy who owned it owns his own company that makes parts for semiconductors, he futzes with Volvo's in his spare time. It cost so little, the thing has to last but 8 short months to have been worth it. I bring you: THE BLUE BRICK




Currently, the car is chilling near Val's house, we'll be picking it up in a couple of weeks. Oh yeah.



Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Yeah US Army!


Just got off of the phone with the nice lady at USAA insurance. It seems that the collective bargaining power of the United States Army is going to give me a pretty sweet deal on car insurance. Laura and I are off to take care of her license tomorrow, I have to switch my license over to NYS and then it's clear sailing. I swear...

Sunday, July 02, 2006

New Bedford Ho

I'm off to New Bedford Mass tomorrow to meet up with Laura and stay with her friends Alicia, Jude and baby Anais. Should be a damned good time. Topping the list of things to experience are s'more of those linguisa rolls (Portugese chees and pork filled rolls-freaking delicious). Then off to Boston with John and Noreen and a stay at the Mother In-Law's.

In other cheery news, John apparently kicked some major ass on his LSATs. We all knew he was a smart cookie, and now there is standardized evidence to support it.

I bought a home trainer for the apartment. It's one of those contraptions that makes your regular bike into a stationary bicycle in about 35 seconds. It's the height of motivated laziness since I can crank up the AC and watch TV as I give myself the equivilent of a one hour spinning classs. The one downside is that it makes this loud whirring sound as you do it and so you have to tun up the television pretty high. Perhaps a pair of very long earphones is in order. I did a straight hour of it yesterday and soaked through my shirt, shorts and socks. I didn't eat much and when I went to grab a bite to eat with Sam I wolfed down my po-boy like it was crudite. The waitress even commented on it. I was still hungry afterwards and Sam took pity on me and gave me a piece of his fried chicken. He didn't have to ask me twice.

After eating we sauntered over to McCarren park and witnessed the height of neighborhood hipsterdom, the Kickball Championships. A suppose there are a lot of worse things that people can do with their time than dress up in outlandish chlothes and play elementary school games. I notised a huge increase in the number of hipster moms there. Sam wondered aloud what kind of effect it would have on that generation to grow up with their parents playing kickball and listening to Belle and Sebastian booming from movable sound systems. I'm sure they'll grow up just fine, or become the new heads of Bear Sterns, it remains to be seen.

On Friday Laura and I went out to Diner to eat and the place was overrun with kids. I found it pretty funny, since the place started out as and ironic subversion of the old style family restaurant and now has become one. Lately, whenever Laura is sitting across from me at a restaurant and she's staring at something over my shoulder and not following the conversation, there's a 100% chance that there's a baby behind me. The clock ticks ever louder.


Friday, June 23, 2006

Work


For the last few months, I've been living in a little bit of a limbo work world. I'm going to be leaving in November and currently Laura and I are saving up for our wedding and the move. The two jobs that I do are the definition of unchallenging, but I'm making the right amount of money and I have insurance. My current work week is roughly 29 hours and I net the same amount of money that I made when I was working 40 hours a week at US Trust in Jersey City, though then I didn't get health insurance. I'm also making only slightly less than when I was working 60-80 hours a week for Transportation Alternatives, though I don't really count that job as "work".

As the wedding looms on the horizon, more and more potential costs rack up in my brain: car, honeymoon (?), last minute wedding costs, move, Cobra insurance etc. Laura and I are trying to save more and spend less, but it seems that I should probably get more work. I've got about a $100-$150 a week hole I'd like to fill in my income and the options aren't huge.

I've been toying with the option of doing food delivery int he neighborhood. I've talked to a lots of messengers who do it either to suppliment their income or have crossed over to just do that. There are some restaurants in the neighborhood that have a fleet comprised entirely of off-duty messengers who deliver food. It's the funniest thing to see hardcore messengers with plastic bags of food hanging off of the handlebars of their brakeless track bikes. Most of the hardcore guys that to it seem to use the money they make from that to travel locally, nationally and sometimes internationally to go to races.

Messsenger work has always been a kind of fallback punishment for me. I love the work, but I hate the work and so whenever I'm in need of a job, going back to messenger work is my selfmade ultimatum. I could always just call Breakaway, my old company and work part time, but it makes Laura crazy to think about it. Mid-town on a Friday is a meatgrinder and bad things can happen. Riding around the neighborhood it a little safer.

Though I do work as a messenger part time for my insurance and about 40% of my income, I think of myself as having hung up the mantle of messengerdom. A huge part of me is like "c'mon man, you're too old to be doing this kind of bullshit. Can't you find some kind of other work?" Another part of me tells me to just suck it the fuck up and just do it. I'm not proud, I'm not working that much and I could certainly use the money and free food. I am more that open to any suggestions for part time work, in the meantime, i'm going to make the rounds and see what I can rustle up.


Thursday, June 15, 2006

Buying A Car

After nine years of toodling around the city on either public transportation or my bike, I've finally come to need a car. Laura and I are going to be moving of course and the rest of America does require a car. We're also going to be traveling around a bit this summer and fall, and with a dog in tow, it becomes a lot cheaper to actually own the car and pay for it now as opposed to renting one a couple of times this summer.

On the up and up, I just found out that I can apply for US Army car insurance on account of me once being an army brat. I find this mighty good news and rather funny. All I can remember of my father's army days is climbing in and out of a tank and spending a dusty afternoon watching a couple hundred paratroopers try to land on an X marked in the ground. That and the squat little three bedroom house we used to live in and the back yard I used to run around naked in. Apparently, we had very religious neighbors to the ajoining back yard and they put up a fence so that they wouldn't have to see my wanton 3-year old ass swishing around and shaking the figs out of our fig tree. If you bug my mom enough, she'll show you the pictures of it.

That image has little to do with me ditching my morals, going into debt just to jet around the highways, but it did make me chuckle to think back on. Though to think back on it, my second favorite thing to do in my back yard was to drive my three wheeler around. At least that stayed with me.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Photoblogging Of the Last Two Weeks

Hey All,
The last two weeks I went to my own (and John's) bachelor party and then John's wedding. Here's the pics.

My Brother and Chad


John all hung over


The Wedding Party


Laura in her lovely bridesmaids dress


I'm planning on borrowing that some rainy day


Me and the Beautiful Bride


Three Maids a' Dancing


All the Brooklyn People




Saturday, May 27, 2006

Friday, May 26, 2006

Easy As Pie

The clambake call turned out to be easy as hell. I thought it would be a day of unloadiing lots of heavy stuff from truck after truck, but it turned out to be a few loads of very light boxes full of set models. It was a lot of walking the room asking people if they wanted a ladder. There was supposed to be a storm to end all storms this afternoon so when Sam offered to end the call after 4 hours because we weren't needed, I leapt at it. I raced home as fast as I could, thinking that I was going to get royally pissed on and possibly electricuted on the 59th street bridge. When I got home, I found that Laura was sick as heck with the cold I gave her. I'm still a bit under as well. We've been watching movies all day since. I think I'm going to go for a little yoga before debauching myself thoroughly tomorrow for my post wedding bachelor party.


Thursday, May 25, 2006

Clambake


Sam landed me a job this week helping set up a national MFA theatre designer showcase called "The Clambake". It was a hell of a lot of fun. Most of the people went to NYU tech track and had been doing this gig every year since 2001 or so. It was mostly lugging several carts of stuff out of several storage places inside of Lincoln Center and down the block to Fordham University. When we got there we spent the better part of the day fitting together a somewhat confounding assortment of iron tubes and rubber connectors. Lots of sassing and quipping and Sam sarcasiming everyone back to work. He had probably the best management comeback I've ever heard.

"Hey Sam, how did you get to be in charge of this?"

"Do you want my job?" (silence)

I did a lighting hang last Friday which was hilarious because I didn't remember how to do half the shit I was supposed to. Quick BFA readers, what is a two-fer? Yeah, I thought so.

Mike Green at Bike Blog did a freaking excellent job putting a video of the Bridge Battle II race I did the other day. He was smart enough to put a helmet cam on the 2nd and 3rd place finishers. Check it out here It's free to register and definitly worth it.


Sunday, May 21, 2006

Brokeback Mountain


So Laura and I were the last people in the world to see "Brokeback Mountain." I thought that it was stunningly beautiful. It was one of those truly American stories that can only be told by people from Taiwon and Austrailia. I live by a bus stop and a busy avenue, so there's always background noise, but I have to say it was difficult to make out anything that anyone said. Not that it made any difference. I could have probably gotten everything that I needed to if this was an unsubtitled movie in another language. I Have barely a thing to add to the dialogue surrounding this movie that's new save for the fact that Dick Cheney, also from Wyoming, is only three or so years younger than these characters and, like Heath Ledger, talks out of the side of his mouth.

On a separate note, I would like to spend a sec recognizing the excellent posting that Ms. Ndgyoyen recently cooked up. The bit about smoking a pussy cigar with Desmond Tutu is too much.


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Sucky Monday, But It Was Over Soon Enough


I was totally ready for it to be rainy and shitty yesterday for my Monday Morning Job. It was. This was, after all, remnants of the storm that ate Peabody Mass. I had rain gear, so it wasn't so bad, but it was bad. The biggest problem with delivering stuff on a rainy day is that when you get into buildings you feel like some kind of wetness leper. All of my magazines were bone dry before I took them out with my wet, wrinkly hands and gave them to people. At one buiding, I had to sign in and I grabbed the pen at the very top so that I wouldn't drip all over the guys pad. At the New York Observer, this one lady remarked that "It sure is wet today" I let her off the hook and told her that I was only an hour away from being done.

At my last stop, in the Trinity Building at 111 Broadway a buiding that requres that messengers hang around in the lobby, another messenger stepped out for a quick coffee while his person took her sweet time. She came down after a spell and was mightily pissed.

"Oh, it's great that he has the time to grab coffee, this was supposed to be picked up two hours ago." She then looked around and realized that the people in earshot were two messengers, a doorman, and me, wet as a sponge singing a Rufus Wainwright cover. Eventually, her guy came in and she was a little bit nicer.

"I know this isn't your fault, but can you make this a priority, it has to be there by noon." It was 11:45.

"Oh yeah, no problem" and he was off, presumably to take care of the 5 other jobs that were backed up because of the shit weather. All the time, I was aware of this tall, thin, white guy with a messenger bag checking out my bike. When I got out I found out that he was a German bike messenger in town for the week and he wanted to find out if there was a good bike shop to buy t-shirts. I directed him to Track Star and got onto the nearest subway home.

Home was good. I took off my chlothes, petted the dog and passed the fuck out.

In better News, I went and saw Julia's performance with Laura tonight. It was a new piece about the crappy apartments and sub-par hook-ups. I love her work; I laughed my ass off. Afterwards drinks at what was once The Cellar, where I used to work.



Monday, May 15, 2006

Best Saturday Ever


This Saturday was both Laura's bridal shower and the "Bridge Battle II" race. Friday night Laura and I had seen an assortment of films at the Bicycle Film Forum. There were a lot of short films including a film called "MASH San Francisco" that showed lots of guys bombing down city streets and crashing their track bikes into the pavement. It put the fear into me.

Saturday morning I was really starting to dread the race. I had that awful feeling in my gut and I was kinda sluggish and weak as I rode to the start on 23rd and the FDR. I had hoped that I could have done the race with Josh, but his bike was recently put to final rest after he was doored on Christopher street.

After a lot of poking around the FDR Park and the surrounding area, me and this guy who wanted me to call him Chino found the race organizers and we got our spoke cards. As a rule, Alleycats start about 45 minutes after they're supposed to, in this case it took about an hour and a half. As more people gathered, I got bored and passed the time looking at the course map, reading the New York Times and calling my brother to shoot the shit. This didn't do anything to calm my nerves and I resolved to myself that my only goal was to not get hurt and that I would drop out of the race at the first sign of trouble: a flat, a small tumble over a curb, the second I got lost etc.

The organizers had us move our bikes to three different spots before deciding on a place to lay our bikes down for a short Le Mans start. I was scared as hell that I would get a shot of adrenaline and do something stupid once the race started so I stood at the starting line and concentrated on my breath and heart rate. When it was time to go, everyone ran like crazy and roughly 70 people ran for their bikes and started pouring out onto the FDR and up to the 59th street bridge. There were at least 4 minor crashes that I saw out of the corner of my eye, including one guy from Boston clipping into a GMC Jimmy in the 30's. I was squarely in the middle of the pack and noticed that I was going at roughly commuter speed up 1st avenue. I resolved for the rest of the race to keep my straghtaway speed at at least 20 mph.

The pack thinned out considerably on the Queens side of the 59th street bridge as people went different ways and in different orders. People were further thinned into packs ass groups of people got stuck at lights. I dropped about four people at a light when I muscled my way across four lanes of traffic and hooked up with a group of 5 fast guys and one really fast girl on a road bike.

Here she is at the finish line with 2nd place finisher Ken:
I was able to hook up with different groups of people and drop others in traffic on my home turf in Greenpoint, but that girl on the road bike I just couldn't shake. For a while she had me on Grand Avenue, but then I caught her when a bus cut us off on Lorimer, then I thought I had her licked on Flushing near the Navy Yards until I started to run out of juice and she passed me, shot me a shit eating grin and said something that sounded like "ha haaa" (a la Nelson from The Simpsons).

Near the end I was starting to feel like a whipped dog. I hadn't drank any water since starting the race and I was worried about how in the hell I would get up the Manhattan Bridge and over to the finish line without dropping 10 places behind. I started up the bridge at 15 mph, dropping the pack of people that I had been riding with, including the girl and I drafted up the rest off the way behind this one Japanese messenger who I'd once spoken to a year ago. He was a lot smaller than me, so to successfully draft him I had to crouch really low. I had my manifest out before the checkpoint in the middle of the bridge, and I managed to shoot past him afterwards. As I was going down the brigde, I saw all of these other people from the race going the opposite way. I thought that they were all ahead of me and that when I got to the finish line at the Anthology Film Archive, that the organizers would send me back to the Manhattan bridge to get a second signature. That didn't seem like a lot of fun, but I bombed through Chinatown anyway, screaming unintelligable shit at crowds of people who were walking through my green lights and then finally going the wrong way up 2nd avenue to the finish line.

I gave my manifest to the guy at the table and found out that, no, I didn't have to go back and that I had come in in 16th place. Sixteen baby! For the next 5 minutes I was shell shocked, my body was floppy, I shouted when I meant to talk and I drank water like a camel. The girl came in a few minutes later and I she was the first place girl finisher. I beat the first girl, made me feel like a big man.

I stayed for another couple of hours, drank a lot of free red bull, ate a chocolate bar, read the rest of my NY Times and watched the various track events. At six, I went over to Brooklyn to the end of Laura's bridal shower and had an excellent time.


Monday, May 08, 2006

Slammed By The 3-Wheeler of The Law


This morning started pretty bad and got worse and worse. I woke up tired, which hardly ever happens to me, even at 5:00 in the morning. I was pretty pokey on the bridge and in a complete fluke, I ended up getting thwacked from behind by this guy that I always seen on the bridge and talk to at 5:20 every Monday morning. I thought that I had missed him until I paused before going through a red 1 block from the bridge and got thwacked from behind by a very solid left arm. He went down, I helped him get back up and it was no big deal. It was 99% his fault, but I felt pretty bad about it and ended up going up first avenue because I was embarrassed.

At 7:30, I started my delivery run and was still tired even though I had had another coffee. As I was going towards 8th avenue on 39th street (the wrong way), one of those three-wheeled traffic vehicles swirved towards me and the guy inside waved at me. Like a freaking idiot, I chose to ignore it and pedaled away. He caught me a block away after I decided not to go the wrong way on 41st because I thoght he had given up right as I got away.

"You're in a heap of trouble now! Gimme your ID...Now stand over there!

I stood where he told me and watched as he spent the next ten minutes writing, double checking and writing some more. I had roughly 45 pounds of envelopes in my bag going to everyone from Bob Herbert to Howard Stern and I was wondering just how fucked I was. If the bike got confiscated, I would be able to continue doing my deliveries, I would just have to lie to my boss and say that my frame had broken or something like that. I pictured myself trying to do the next weeks deliveries on Laura's 50cm bike with the seat all the way up. I thought about getting arrested. Each time I thought he was done, he would check his code book and start writing another ticket. My thoughts started wander after a bit as I took a closer look at this guys three-wheeled traffic car. The whole thing was just stamped sheet metal and shatter proof glass. This guy's bulletproof vest was the only thing keeping the steering column from going through his chest in an impact. A car of any size could kill this guy in a side impact and he had just chased me across four lanes of uptown traffic in the space of two blocks. I felt like a piece of shit.

In the end, I got four separate tickets, for going the wrong way, for disobeying a direct order, for not merging right (this I didn't actually do) and for not having a bell on my bike. I got a further verbal reprimand from him telling me that he was originally going to just give me a warning and that I had done a very stupid thing and had endangered both my life and his.

Then he left and I walked my bike to 40th street and then spent the rest of the morning following every...single...traffic...rule. If you subtract the 13 minutes I lost getting the ticket and another 10 doing a one time extra delivery for my boss, it tacked on roughly 35 minutes to my otherwise 3 hour route.

I've been pretty wary of the NYPD after some bad run-ins and after their behavior during the RNC. The NYPD had fire engines go through civic minded crowds of yielding Critical Mass riders only to swing them across the avenue and have the police arrest the people that had let them through. The people who got arrested were detained for more than the alotted time in holding pens that had chemical waste in them. Most people had to wait months to get their bikes back. I stillI depend very much on the cops though. If I get doored, I need them to process an accident report, if Laura had gotten the license number of that awful man in a minivan that hit her with his mirror I would have demanded that they arrest the guy for doing a hit and run.

The cop that got me this morning did everything by the book, he was pissed but not irrational and I have to say gave me exactly what I deserved. I got caught this time but I've eluded the cops on four other occasions that I will not go into for obvious reasons. It looks like I will be paying a total of $150 for these four tickets, which is pretty paltry considering the thousands and thousands of times I broke the law while working or commuting.

This has become a long an rambling post. To make up for it, I've searched Google Images to find you this picture of Captain Kangaroo as a reward for struggling with me. Thank you.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Cross-Trainer Season



Every year around this time, when the days get longer and the weather gets warmer, more and more people get on their bikes and ride around New York. Of them, there is a special subset who try to race me, they are the cross-trainters. The cross-trainers are the guys who have spent the winter in gyms lifting weights, running in place and sweating their asses off racing one another in spinning classes. When the weather gets warm enough, they get on their bikes and try to prove their mettle racing me through traffic, up bridges and through congested park drives.

They usually have enourmous arms, great tans and expensive bikes. One of these guys will see me in traffic, they'll chase me with a huge burst of energy sprint and will whizz past me. Then I'll follow them for about a block just to see if they have any technique whatsoever then I'll pass them. They'll get a little bit peeved, try to catch up, but then find out that maneuvering through New York City traffic and blowing red lights requires something greater than a 40 bpm resting heart rate and great deltoids.

Yes, I realize that this is silly, peurile, elitist behavior. Yes, I know that it cheapens me and denigrates my charachter to mention it in a forum as public as this, but god damn it's just so...much...fun!

Yesterday on the bridge I had a particularly good time. I was going from Manhattan to Brooklyn on the Williamsburg Bridge, passing people on the way up. This is not so much machismo as smart practice, since I have only one gear and if I lose momentum I'm screwed. I passed this big huge brute of a guy who could clearly bench my and his bodyweight combined. He had these ridiculously large calves that looked like ham hocks. After I passed him I heard him start breathing harder and out of the corner of my eye I saw his shadow lurking behind me. I sprinted the rest of the way up the bridge and started on the gradual descent near the middle of the bridge. As I got into the final ramp of the bridge, going 23mph, I again saw his shadow getting bigger, he had a lot more gravity on his side and he wanted to pass me bad before the bridge was over. I cranked it up to 32mph and made it off the bridge, he turned a different way and I never saw him again. Good times.