Archive for June, 2009

Another bike update.

Posted in Bike, Exercise on 28 June 2009 by jason

On Friday, I decided to ride my bike to work! I live about 4 miles away from work, so it’s not that long of a ride. Or rather, it wasn’t supposed to be.

See, my problem is that I have no direction sense. I thought that I was going to save some time and take a short cut, but I was wrong. I ended up 4 miles out of my way. So yes, I got lost on the way to a place that I go to almost every day and have gone to for the last 5 years.

Here’s what I said about it on Twitter…read from bottom to top:

twit

While on the ride, I noticed that I didn’t have access to one of the gears. Well, I thought that I would take my DIY a step further and adjust the derailleur on my bike. I watched videos on line, got out my tools, and…FAIL. I messed the derailleur up worse than it was before.

So my bike’s at the shop (Gemini Bicycle and Fitness Center) for a full tune up.

At least I tried.

Just like riding a bicycle!

Posted in Bike, Exercise, Photography on 21 June 2009 by jason

Yesterday, in a fit of confidence and DIYedness, I decided to fix my bike. You see, the otter bought me an almost-new bike; it had only been ridden once or twice, and looked brand new. The problem was that the brakes were way misaligned, to the point of being dangerous.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not at all mechanically inclined, so I thought I would have to take it to the shop to have it fixed. However, as I said, yesterday I decided to get on the internet, look up instructions, and fix the brakes myself.

After fixing them, I rode for about 12 miles: I rode to Target to look for a helmet mirror (which I didn’t buy), I rode to the Strip to get a giftcard from the movie theater for my dad (for Father’s Day), and I just generally rode around.

I stopped back home to get my camera before exploring the new bike trail right down the street from me…

Me and my bike (or, alternately, my bike and I)
Here I am starting on the trail…

The trail
The trail itself…

The Creek
A river runs through it. Well..OK, a creek runs through it.

The train
A train runs through it, too!

Anyway, I haven’t really ridden a bike in 15 years (I USED to ride about 10 miles a day!), so making it 12 miles yesterday without killing myself or collapsing with exhaustion is a pretty big deal for me! Plus, I’m not even sore this morning! I guess I’m in better shape than I thought!

Listen to this!

Posted in Cover Songs, inturwebs, Music on 17 June 2009 by jason

On the Youtubes, I found this cover version of The Mountain Goats’ “Palmcorder Yajna” It pretty much rocks my face off.

And here are the Mountain Goats doing it live, for comparison. I mean that I’m linking it for comparison. The Mountain Goats performed it live because, hey, that’s what they do.

The Loneliness of the Middle Distance Runner III: This time, it’s personal!

Posted in Exercise, Music, Sports on 14 June 2009 by jason

Yesterday, I ran in the Louisville (OH) Area YMCA 2-Mile Fun Run, as I’ve done every year for the past 3 years now. Things didn’t start out so well, and there were several bad omens before the race, but I’m very happy with my performance.

The first of the bad omens was that in the morning, it was COLD. Now, it’s always cold for this race, but usually, this race is held earlier in the year. It was kind of odd that in the middle of June, the temperature would drop.

The second of the bad omens was that I had set up an awesome mixtape for the race, which looked like this:

Andrew Bird-Fake Palindromes
The Mountain Goats-Baboon
Nico-These Days
Morrissey-Something is Squeezing my Skull
Balthrop, Alabama-Red Hook Pool
The Pixies-Wave of Mutilation

Pretty good mix, right? Starts fast, gets slow so I pace myself, “Red Hook Pool” is a good song to end with, and if I was going too slowly, “Wave of Mutilation” would speed me home. The problem? For some reason, the mix was not on my MP3 Player when I got to the race. My carefully designed race mix was gone.

Still, all was not lost. Right as the race was going to begin, the temperature rose to a comfortable place. I looked through my M3’s and decided to listen to Balthrop, Alabama’s Subway Songs because “Red Hook Pool” would play at about the same time it would have on my mix.

So, the race began, and we were off running. Everything went smoothly except for the very beginning of the race, which is at a bottleneck. Everyone gets slowed down at this point, but it is frustrating that they would start everyone off on such a narrow path. Meh.

As far as my own running, I felt pretty good until the 1 mile mark, where I started to tire. I kept going, though, and ended up finishing at 17:19.05. This is about 1 minute and 30 seconds faster than my time last year! For those who don’t know anything about running, a 10 second improvement is a good thing. A minute-and-30-second improvement? Let’s just say that I’m shocked.

So, all-in-all, it turned out to be a pretty good race for me. Next up: The 4th of July race in North Canton!

Motivation…I needs it.

Posted in Writing on 9 June 2009 by jason

I started writing a project two weeks ago, with a personal goal of 500 words a day. Two weeks later, I am about 2500 words in. Not bad, but nowhere near my goal.

I do have an excuse; my sleep schedule has changed a little since work started back up this semester. I have to go to bed a little earlier (Read: 1 AM), and I have to get up earlier (between 6-7 AM), so I’m not always ready to write when I have time to sit down.

On the plus side, I reread what I had yesterday before writing 300 more words, and I like it, more or less.

In Defense of The Hotel Chevalier

Posted in and other fun, Movies on 5 June 2009 by jason

Tonight, admittedly under the influence of a few glasses of vodka and juice, I decided to watch The Hotel Chevalier, written and directed by Wes Anderson.  Checking the Internet Movie Database’s forums, one can see that many thought that the short film The Hotel Chevalier was self-indulgent crap.  I respectfully disagree.  And now, I shall watch it, again, under the influence, and blog my observations via Windows Live Writer.

Meta-note: I’m drinking while watching the film, though when you read this, dear reader, I will not be drunk.  I have no internet connection of my own,  so I’m saving this to my computer and posting it tomorrow, which to you will be today.  It’s kind of like time-travel, in that way.

Meta-note 2: Virginia Woolf, if alive today, might say: “A woman must have money and an internet connection of one’s own if she is to write a blog.” As a true feminist, I would amend “woman” to “person,” as men and women should be equal.

Meta-note 3: This will all be pretty funny once I’m sober, so save for a few fact-checking things, I shall not edit this post before posting it.

Meta-note 4: Yes; when I’m tipsy, I use phrases like “so save for a few” and “I shall not.”  I was an English major for 9 years, and I tutor writing.  It takes effort for me to not talk like that.  It’s how I think.

Meta-note 5: The Hotel Chevalier is a short film that is on the DVD of The Darjeeling Limited.  If you have never seen it, read this post, then see it (or vice-versa) and take the following comments into consideration.

Anyway…

1) The Otter will tell you that I love The Hotel Chevalier because you get to see Natalie Portman naked (well, she never takes her socks off, so nearly naked).  However, I am not a huge fan of Portman, naked or otherwise, though she was awesome in The Professional

2)The yellow color scheme is awesome and feels immediately like a Wes Anderson project.  Robert Yeoman, the director of photography,  was sent to earth by divinity itself in order to help Wes Anderson make movies that I would love.  He has NEVER let me down.  Also, though I am a pagan myself (well, a semi-practicing, non-traditional neo-pagan/chaos magician), I would like to say that Pope Benedict-whatever-number-he-is should put the guy who invented the Futura font on the fast-track to sainthood.  Like, now.

3)Portman is awesome on the phone.  She manages to be both menacing and teasing when she asks “Can I come there"?” (or is it “Can I cum there?” ?) , she is very unsettling.  Jason Schwartzman (who, if a movie were ever made about my life, I fucking kid you not, would by my first choice to play me) really looks terrified when he realizes who he’s talking to.  He sells that shit.

4) Peter Sarstedt’s “Where Do You Go to My Lovely” is the PERFECT soundtrack for this short piece.  When the girlfriend (AKA Portman) asks “What’s this music,” I hate her.  Hate’s a strong word, so I’ll use it.  I hate her.  She’s a bitch right from the start.  Bitch is a strong word.  You’re goddamn right it is.

5)And who the hell is she talking to on the phone as she walks in to destroy Jack’s (Schwartzman’s) life?  It’s like this meeting is not important.  It’s just a thing.

6)The almost-kiss-but-only-a-hug reminds me of Richie and Margot Tennenbaum in The Royal Tenenbaums.  I’m 100% sure this is intentional, which begs the question, “Wes Anderson…what happened in your life that makes you write such heartbreaking scenes?”

7)Wes Anderson, every movie you make breaks my heart.  Is this what you want?

8)If it is, I can live with that.  Also, I relate to Richie Tenenbaum on so many levels that if I told you in person, you would probably get a restraining order against me.  I wouldn’t blame you, though.  I scare myself sometimes.  Do not worry, however; I’m not going to attempt suicide.  I’ve been there, it wasn’t good, and I’ll never be in that place again, I swear to fucking god I won’t.

9)I’m not tipsy.  I am drunk.

10) This is either the greatest or worst blog post ever.

11) I just imagined myself asking my friend Jayson if I sound like a twat, so I guess that Jayson has become some sort of moral compass for me.  I’m not sure how I feel about this fact, bit you da man, Jayson, and you are not a hater, despite what others may think.  You da fuckin’ man.

12) tHIS IS THE GREATEST POST EVER.  That was in caps lock accidentally, but you only live once, or twice, if that awesome song that has absolutely nothing to do with this film  is to believed so I’ll play it as it lay.

13)Back to this movie, whatever-the-fuck-it-is.

14)Jack has constructed a little world of order in his room.  His ex-girlfriend is disrupting his world by moving his stuff.

15)The music box plays “Les Champs Elysees,” which is one of the closing credits songs of The Darjeeling Limited.  I bow before you, Mr. Anderson. 

16) My apartment is kind of spinning, which is odd. Usually, it doesn’t move at all.  It’s part of the reason I moved here, actually.

17)Although I am not a fan off Ms. Portman, the short hair is nice.  And by nice, I mean hot.

18) The girlfriend takes Jack’s world that he has created and disrupts it.  She even uses his toothbrush.  Bitch.

19) I’m on 19?

20) Why isn’t Luke Wilson playing the part of Jack?

21)Seriously, the short hair works for Portman.

20-something)Bloody Marys?  Richie Tennenbaum drinks those.  Again, I think it’s intentional.

20-something-else) OK…when Jack takes his ex’s boots, then pants, off, it’s freaking hot.

Whatever-number-I’m-too-drunk-to record) Bruises?  WTF?

Number-after-that) Detractors, I say to you that this short piece has some of the best dialogue in a Wes Anderson film, so you’d better recognize:

GF:  Have you slept with anyone?

Jack (pause): No.  Have you?

GF (LOOOOONG pause): No.

Jack: That was a long pause.  I guess it doesn’t really matter.

GF: No, it doesn’t.

(After making out)

Jack: You’ve got bruises on your body.

GF: Whatever happens in the end, I don’t want to lose you as my friend.

Jack: I promise, I will never be your friend. No matter what. Ever.

GF: If we fuck, I’m going to feel like shit tomorrow.

Jack: That’s OK with me.

GF: I love you.  I never hurt you on purpose.

Jack: I don’t care.

AFTER A PAUSE …

Jack: Want to see my view of Paris?

GF: (After a pause): OK.

Seriously, I will never write anything as emotionally resonate as that.  No matter what.  Ever.

Adventures in Pittsburgh!

Posted in and other fun, Books and Literature, Music, otter, Photography, Television on 2 June 2009 by jason

I meant to post this on Sunday, but I was waiting until I could Photoshop these pictures down to a manageable size. Anyway, the otter and I took a trip to Pittsburgh this weekend to visit our friend Kurt. We spent too much money, but we had a great time.

We got to Pittsburgh on Friday night. Surprisingly, the trip there only takes about 2 hours from North Canton, so even though we didn’t leave until almost 8 PM, we still got there in time to have fun that night. We met Kurt at his apartment, then went to The Squirrel Hill Cafe, or the Squirrel Cage, as the locals call it. There, we had expensive beer and listened to some good music from their juke box.
Kurt and Jaynova at "the Cage"

At the Cage, we met up with a few of Kurt’s friends and made out way to a diner, the name of which escapes me right now, but I’m sure Kurt or the Otter will chime in in the comments section to remind me! The food was pretty good and very cheap; I had a grilled cheese sandwich and stuffed olive leaves, and my bill was less than $5.

The next day, we met Kurt’s friends at the Phipps Conservatory. This was really cool; they had all sorts of plants, from coffee plants to bananna trees to orchids. There was also a room with butterflies flying freely, and there were glass sculptures everywhere.

Otter vs. Ostrich: Who Will Survive?

Otter vs. Ostrich: Who Will Survive?

After the conservatory, we got a bite to eat at an awesome little restaurant which, again, I can not remember the of. We then parted ways with Kurt’s friends and took a tour of the Carnegie Mellon University campus, where Kurt goes to scool and works. It’s a beautiful campus.

Next, we went the Caliban Book Shoppe, mainly to look for used books (I bought Orlando by Virginia Woolf and The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski), but the most awesome thing was that I found The Mountain Goats’ The Coroner’s Gambit, Babylon Springs, Sweden, and Nine Black Poppies! My Mountain Goat CD collection is even closer to complete! BOOYA!

Um…but I digress. We also hit a few other little stores before making our way to Paul’s CDs where…I found The Mountain Goats’ Beautiful Rat Sunset and All Hail West Texas, as well as Neutral Milk Hotel’s Everything is! If I ever find tMG’s Full Force Galesburg, I’ll have all the major CD releases!!!

Ahem.

Afterwards, we went out for coffee, then went to Kurt’s friend’s house for a night of Apples to Apples, Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job, and lots of alcohol. Good times.

Before we left on Sunday, we went to Church (for Kelly…I’m unaffiliated.) and for lunch at a local pizza shop (Damn! I can’t remember any of these places’ names!) and then headed out for pur exactly 2-hour trip home! It was good to be back, but we’ll definately go visit again soon!

The otter, my hat, and Pittsburgh.

The otter, my hat, and Pittsburgh.