Friday, September 28, 2007

Good Morning Dixie

Don't let the sun go down on your grievances
Respect love of the heart over lust of the flesh
Do yourself a favor: become your own savior
And don't let the sun go down on your grievances

And when you wake up in the morning
You'll have a brand new feeling
And you'll find yourself healing
So don't let the sun go down on your grievances

No time this morning, so enjoy this Arizona sunset and some words of wisdom from my man Daniel Johnston, still #1 with a bullet in my I-pod.

later, juancho

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Days Go By

The last time I was in the Tucson area, the boys and I were flying by the seat of our pants. We were delivering people's cars across the country and clearly violating a number of rules to which I signed my thumbprint to uphold. We had collectively something like $400.00 to get from Florida back to Oregon, our outpost at the time. We stopped on the Mt. Lemmon highway one morning, after camping somewhere in the Catalinas (where in the hell were we?) I remember jumping out of the car, freezing cold in the morning, to take a quick picture. My cousin T took the shot while the rest of us vogued it up on a rock overlooking the desert valley below. That picture has become iconic for us.

Not only did we travel without a safety net all the time, but we often set our own trapeze wires on fire along the way.

Last night I drove out to the edge of town, to a place called Gate's Pass, where the mountains meet the desert sea. I waited for the sunset with the same impatience I reserve for the folks at the Sprint PCS store. Feet kicked up on the dash of a rental car reserved in my name (full size thank you) and paid for by an American Express card issued in my name by a reputable organization which holds me in high regard. As the sun touched the horizon, I turned off NPR. I can't believe West Side Story didn't win any tony awards in 1957! I took my place at the rail in between camera dueling japanese tourists and a couple who arrived on a Harley with SOBER TUCSON vests. I snapped some pics, tried to access the awe file in my brain, then got a hankering for chinese food.

I ate my szechuan tofu in front of the Radisson T.V. Ice T and his cronies cracked another case on Law and Order. Relieved to see another killer off the streets I was able to drift off to sleep at 9:30 and sleep the sleep of the bored.


Monday, September 24, 2007


As a cyclist I am used to people mocking our chosen apparel without the slightest understanding that each painted on purple Barney the Dinosaur jersey and $90.00 16 panel chamois shorts that can't even double as a bathing suit are not clothes, but essential gear. The velcro cleats with the distinctly Elvish (or is it Elven?) point to them are designed for snag-free aerodynamic performance- even when you spend most of your time standing around the trailhead.

Still, even though I know the sting of being misunderstood I can not get over the preponderance of cowboy hats here in Tucson. I know that kid at the Starbucks does not clock out and rope doggies on the prairie before supper, or does he? Where I come from the only folks wearing cowboy hats are sorority girls, and they got it from that Kid Rock jackass who also does not, I am quite certain, rope doggie one.

But whatever, I will try to stifle the giggles, it's a culture thing and I make my living tolerating cultures of all kinds, even the intolerant ones. There is probably a good explanation for wearing a cowboy hat for the duration of a 4 hour flight even though that means you can't make use of the 4 square inches of headrest you bought with your $400.00 ticket.

I am curious as to whether or not I could pull it off. I'm built like Hoss Cartwright except maybe a bit shorter and he certainly looks natural in a prairie lid.

I don't think I would wear one with my cycling outfit. Don't call it a kit, oh Lord please do not call it a kit. My skin crawls when you call it that, kits are for model airplanes and such. Cycling clothes are just that, clothes. Once you start saying kit you are one step away from thinking outside the box, the hatbox in this case. Next you will be discussing "the way forward" and telling me how you like to "conversate". All the same I may pick up a legitimate cowboy hat and try to wear it out in public, all natural like.

If I'm going to do that I better know the rules, and you should too.

Here they are

Cowboy Hat Etiquette

Any hat should be removed when eating anywhere, that includes baseball caps!

Any hat should be removed when the national anthem of any country is played. Hold your hat in your right hand, over your heart. This applies to women, unless their hat is held on with hat pins.

Cowboys tip their hats to ladies when out doors, remove them when being introduced, and remove them when entering a ladies home.

Men never tipped their hats to other men in the Old West. It was akin to calling them a woman. A nod was a common greeting when not shaking hands. The Code of the West

In commercial or public buildings it's not necessary to remove your hat - but should be when entering a private office. Generally considered polite to remove it in a private home, unless other people are wearing their hat.

Wearing a {cowboy} hat to a theatre or movie is fine but should be removed if it blocks any one's view of the entertainment.

A dubious list to be sure.

I'm glad I forgot to tell you about Sunday's ride, especially the part where W.B. nonchalantly planted himself deep in the smoky ash of a recently burned forest. That guy is smooth, real smooth.


Saturday, September 22, 2007

Early to Rise

I woke at six in the morning on Friday, happy to be back on Anna Maria Island, a home for 25 years that has proven hard to get back to this year, and nobody I love to see if I could. For now though, things are familiar there again and the wind was blowing strong in the dark blue pre-dawn light. The churning sea whispered through the neighborhood.

Any of you who are familiar with the west coast of Florida know that the Gulf is most often gentle and calm as a kitten eating ice cream, but occasionally it reminds you that it is still the same Ocean that hides monsters and sends whomever she wants to Davy Jones's Locker.

I walked down to the beach knowing it was going to be a rare moment with the angry sea.

She did not disappoint me.

Bicycle? What in the name of Ferris Beuller's Day Off is a bicycle?

See you in Tucson on Monday, if you have any friends there, drop me a line why don't you? If you live there, this is your chance to buy me a beer!


Thursday, September 13, 2007


All right y'all, I had to roll up my sleeves and earn a living this morning. It doesn't happen often, but when it does there is no messing around. I already spent the money.

I was reflecting on my life last night, while drinking a beer alone and reading a 1,000 page fantasy novel, and tried to put in place the decisions I made that allowed me to live a life of such sweet privilege. I remember the bikes, and I have to thank my folks for that. The Schwinn Mag Scrambler, the Fuji Palisade, and finally the Jamis Dakar # 1 (Thanks to Tommy for that one). I thought about my job and how it was a series of happenstance encounters coupled with my indignant idealism that steered me towards my work in "social justice" as we like to call it.

What I can't figure out is what ever happened to my career in the hip hop industry? I was around in the early days, right at the epicenter of the hip hop movement, an hour and a half southeast of Orlando, just past the orange grove belt. I was a pretty good breakdancer, and my rhymes were clever and tight, yet- no contract.

What up with that?

I have had a hip hop sensibility since I first heard Hard Times by Run D.M.C. and in high school I just assumed there would be a place for me in the industry. Nobody saved me a seat.

I'm happy now, as the facilitator of a virtual mountain bike kingdom, with a job that accomodates some trail-related travel and an almost daily nap, but what if?

What great destiny are you currently AWOL from?

Someone cue the crickets please, or release the awkward silence...


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Nothing to do with 9/11

This is a tough day to be a blogger. Either you ignore the date and press on with the everyday foolishness, or you put on your rant hat and start blathering. You have options: Somber, jingoistic, conspiracy-theory, Nascar patriot, Vegan patriot, finger-pointing, head-shaking, etc. It's all crap. I will let Leonard Pitts handle the ranting for me today. Cut and paste this if you want to get your indignation on.

As for me, I'm going to go with baby ducks in a teacup.



Monday, September 10, 2007

If you own a mountain bike and did not ride east into the Fern, Tom Brown, Cadillac trail system than I am truly dismayed. Everyone else was there. Bike Church was there. When I saw them they weren't even pedaling, leaving me to wonder if they are all as fast and super-human as everyone says they are. Maybe they are just normal guys in great shape? That would be a real disappointment to find out that the boogeymen aren't real.

Bigworm and the W.B. were there with their bike posse. Ole' W.B.Z.N. was attacking one of the fastest guys in town over and over on the way home. It made me tired just watching.

There was a crew I would have to call the Molecular Biology Recreation Club out there. They just had that science geek air to them. I'm pretty sure I saw the galloping Pakistanis loping through the woods as well, and they usually stick to the disc golf course.

Then there was the mystery girl with the braids and the dreamsicle orange Specialized Epic. Wow, there was a good deal of speculation concerning who she was and where she came from. Whoever she is, consider this her official fan website.

Hambone, S'quatch, Hitops, and myself rolled out together, but there were lots of trades going on among the crews out there so I came home with different Pokemon cards.

All of this activity means that despite the mid-nineties temperatures, Fall is in the air. Yesterday was Homecoming as far as I'm concerned. Cool weather is just 6 more weeks away, if we are lucky.


Friday, September 07, 2007

The Round Up

We have an overcast morning and the workload is light today, those are the conditions that produce pots of soup around here. I'm thinking black bean.

It is First Friday, which means I can enjoy one of the simplest pleasures in Tallahassee of wandering around Railroad Square bumping into old friends, checking out the latest robot and monkey visions of John Lytle Wilson, and exploring the embryonic creations of the BFA Warehouse. I bring along a couple of bona fide artists so my yum-vs.-yuk-o-meter is informed by insightful perspectives, but mostly I just think they are fun people who enjoy the art of conversation. And beer.

I am in the midst of a deeply gratifying musical exploration.

It all began at the Polyphonic Spree concert, then took a turn for the eccentric with an introduction to Daniel Johnston via the movie The Devil and Daniel Johnston, and has now settled in with my old brother in adventure, Herman Jolly, and his new album- Bunker Life. If there is one thing I understand, it is bunker life.

These three disaparate acts weave together for me. I wish I could give you a bunch of links, but this ain't the Drudge Report so feel free to use this amazing website I found called "Google". Really, it is amazing, you are going to be blown away.

Hambone is on board for a good, long Sunday ride. Anyone else? I'm not ruling out some miles today either, but Sunday is on, and Saturday is not, unless it is to watch the parade heading to the first FSU home game. (Don't roll your eyes all of you "indie" types, you know you love them 'Noles!)

What? Too "bloggy"?


Thursday, September 06, 2007

I am an Earth sign, and therefore prefer to have my feet and wheels firmly attached to the ground at all times. A little bunny hop here, a jump shot there, but otherwise you will find me plodding, rather than skipping through life. I have never, nor will I ever board a roller coaster. I have never, nor will I ever go skydiving. I have never and will never go scuba diving. I have grudgingly rock climbed over the years and only show an affinity for that through my determination to not be separated from the solid rock and released into the air. I am much more Ferdinand the Bull than Red Bull.

There is a tree over a sinkhole here in the area that stands as a call to the brave, the dumb, the easily manipulated. It sways above the water some 40 feet. In 1991 I watched a buddy dive from it, over-rotate and land so flat on the water his hair didn't get wet. After a 20 mile ride back home he confessed he could not breathe so good. The X-rays revealed a collapsed lung and two broken ribs.

I saw a crew of roofers force their intoxicated buddy up the tree and make him jump as a rite of passage, or just out of meanness. He stood there for 15 minutes before saying, "F- it, if I die I die!". He did not die.

S'quatch was visiting this same sinkhole recently and witnessed a teenage girl fearlessly make the plunge and I think he actually swooned from admiration.

I once watched Dr. Detroit dive from the roof of my house into the swimming pool, clearing the concrete coping by inches.

I have seen Uncle Todd climb 100 ft. up an Australian Pine and then get the tree swinging in a lurching arc while he rode it.

Courage means lots of different things, but I think it is true to say courage is doing something in spite of the fact that it scares the shit out of you.

Stepping off over the abyss just reduces it to its most simple expression.

So, are you a jumper or not?

rooted in place

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The Desert Sea

The most unfortunate thing is that I, a lover of words, fail to find an expression that bears even the most haphazard comparison to the heat experienced this weekend. To describe the heat on the Desert Sea of St. Joe Bay is to describe the smile of God, or the thoughts of a fly. Words are simply the wrong tool for the job.

A punch in the face is the closest I can imagine, and then being forced to lick sand, but even that sounds like a frolic around the maypole in comparison.

All other events, and there are many angles and lenses with which to examine the events of the past three days, but they all shine through the same prism of suffering. They all cast their view in the same sand and salt-encrusted time.

However, all of those other views are wrong.

"We will be camping on the point!" they said, yet somehow Mystery the Untameable Stallion my permanent companion in misery and I find ourselves at this point, alone and without refreshment. Forced to struggle back across the deep water of the bay in a Mad River canoe, towing a useless kayak in search of fresh water, we encounter the flotilla and are promptly chastised for wandering off. We begin to forage for saw palmetto and hearts of palm with hope of wringing some small droplets of moisture from their flesh. It would be hours before our motor boat, hobie cat, canoes, and kayaks all convened on the same cursed and unshaded beach for the night.

The rest of the weekend, for myself, was spent rotating slowly around our single palm tree, my chair nestled tight to its base as I moved with the shade. I had no interest in "scalloping" which is an old Calusa expression for getting drunk in 87 degree water while your face burns off. I no speak Calusa.

As the sun went down and the colors unfurled across the sky I could almost forget the suffering, the pirates with knives in their teeth, and the promise of one more forced march across the bay to salvation. When the wind shifted and drowned out the generator that powered the floodlights of the FDLE Cutter anchored a few hundred yards offshore of our camp, it was pleasant, a regular day at the beach.

It is important to remember: the sea does not love you, the sea does not care.