Monday, November 26, 2012
There are no winners on the road the Sunday after Thanksgiving, but there are some more experienced losers than others. I knew before we entered the penumbra of Disney World that we would be enjoying a long, slow ramble through old Florida on our way from the Cracker scrub of Highlands county to the Red Hills of sweet Leon.
It had been at least a decade since I drove north of I-4 on U.S. Highway 27, and as we watched the cars pour onto the interstate I knew we were making the right choice. Let me tell you what we saw along the way.
Clermont, FL is a shock to the eyes when you first see the acne of houses blistering across the hills in every direction. This once small town has been subjugated and re-purposed for the Orlando commuter set. In fitness circles it is known as a triathlon mecca for the good weather and stout hills, a rarity in central Florida. It is a community contrived and lacking in soul, much like that enduring fad of the 1980's, the triathlon.
The Villages, FL- This conglomerate of gated communities, which spans three counties is known as a checkpoint for all conservative politicians seeking to pander to the modern-day carpetbaggers of the 50+ crowd. Billed as Disney World for Adults, snowbirds drive golf carts to the grocery store and enjoy purloining local culture through hostile takeover of county commission boards. The Villages threatens the rural and equine roots of the tri-county area where pastures that produce world class horses in all disciplines are seen as potential golf courses and subdivisions which will one day be named things like Foal Run and Mare's Crossing. A giant arch over the highway marks the entrance to the kingdom. It is surely made of cinder block and stucco, yet painted faux brick, a testament to the impermanence of this atrocity one can hope.
North of Ocala, FL the road opens up. The traffic is local or heavily laden timber and citrus trucks. Any native Floridian knows the sight of the bobbing tips of pine trees piled and hanging from the end of a logging truck transporting these sad, scrappy pines to slaughter where they will become, what? Particle board for more country club counter-tops? Paper for more of Governor Rick Scott's failed lawsuit attempts? It doesn't matter to us because this stretch of highway that cuts through Suwanee River country is gorgeous. The road is as often canopied by leaning Live Oaks as not and the sun is setting through the trees like honey dripping from a fork. I feel the van, a 1998 GMC Safari, lift into the wind and gain momentum. It knows we are now entering north Florida. My mood rises with the waxing gibbous moon. I love my girl, this dog, this van, this cold clear night and this road in that order.
I talk to friends and my brother on the FL Turnpike. It is a parking lot. They are scrambling for alternate routes and soon follow behind us joining our hajj to Tallahassee.
The race against the clock was lost before we started so why not stop in High Springs, FL for dinner at the Great Outdoors? Shrimp and Grits, some ribs, a couple of beers and an acoustic duet playing blues rock to a cozy courtyard of baby boomers contently snuggled in fleece. The credit card machine is down so we take in the lush photographs and paintings of Florida's springs and waterways, and may they flow forever clear.
Northwest towards Mayo and Perry, perhaps the darkest road in Florida. The starry night interrupted only by the paper mill and the prison, both loom ugly and yellow, a couple of dirty open secrets of Taylor County. We stop between them just to pee on the side of the road and wow at all the stars. Cars blast past and I realize the ugliness one car creates to the eye and the ear. The violence of sound and light and wind, then gone. Then nothing.
Finally, U.S. Highway 19 N from Perry, FL. My home away from home. Every inch my front porch and doorstep. The victory lap.
Then home, and cat, and bed.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
So the president won re-election. Some people say Mitt threw the match, tripped on his shoelaces, got too drunk and showed us his cards. Others say the president won ugly, unable to get the knockout he just beat Mitt bloody until the referee called the TKO. We beat the third-stringer, it had to be done, a win is a win.
I worked for three weeks on a proposal for some money to do some good work. Very competitive I was told. Lots of players interested. Really need your A-game. I brought the A-game. Nobody else applied. We get the money uncontested. I should be happy, but where is the honor in such a victory? Eh, a win is a win.
I'm playing an old friend in chess online and he just beats me over and over again, so badly it is humiliating. I know you don't care about chess, especially imaginary chess, but there is a finer point here.
This friend is going through some struggles. A relocation, a new job, and recently a bad case of the stomach flu. All these struggles caused him to lapse over his 3 day time limit for our match. I stared at the screen, and hovered the cursor over the icon that read, " Accept win on time violation." Now clearly I could choose to not accept the win, allow him time to recover and play with honor.
I clicked that thing like three or four times. A win is win.
Friday, November 16, 2012
Disgusting as gum, not actually pie. That's how you know it's a hybrid, when it does two things poorly. Don't try to be all things to all people. If you smell like wintergreen, be gum.
We watched some friends do what they are good at last night and sing some karaoke. I stayed in my chair because I am a writer. I hold down my corner of the internet, and ask for no special indulgences. Few of us are legitimate triple threats. In fact, few triple threats are legitimate triple threats. J-Lo is mediocre at most things. I'm sorry, but it's true. Don't shoot the messenger Yo.
I have formally entered into negotiations with our friends Buzz and Reverend Dick to coordinate a summit meeting out west in May. I have to say up front it's a long-shot, but it shouldn't be. Fat Lad from England made it all the way to Tallahassee to ride trails, but of course I missed out on that too due to work. Still, he proves these things can happen. I may need to produce some BRC swag to help fund the effort. My best idea so far is camouflage tie-dye t-shirts with a BRC logo on them, but now I'm concerned that might be a hybrid too. I'll have to make a test shirt and send Joey Bushyhead out to kill a deer in it. Conversely, I could send Magnum to a Widespread Panic show in one to try to score some LSD. Either way, the theory must must be tested.
When I put forth this idea to those closest to me I was met with a resounding "hmmph."
That's not even a word, just a vocalization of disapproval.
Once I get some product they will have to pay double. Somebody take this keyboard away from me. I'm typing like a drunk uncle making a toast at a wedding.
Have a great weekend. Ride your bikes. Do what you do. Don't take shit from nobody.
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
*photo taken in a GA gas station bathroom, just out of the shot are OBAMA SUX and HELEN IS A WHORE apparently inscribed by the same implement. This indeed, is why we can't have nice things*
A bear lurking in the darkness can do things to the mind. The camp citizens were rattled after two days of cooler sorties occurring in daylight and darkness. Slabs of ribs, deli-wrapped packages of knockwurst and corned beef, dozens of eggs. Not content a thief, this bear destroyed things, tearing camp kitchens asunder and leaving his calling card teethmarks in coolers. There were babies to protect, and sorely few armed among the besieged.
We, our party of two, were not the cavalry. We should have left the van packed, and ventured into the north Georgia wine country. Instead we joined the refugees, failing to recognize the terror in their creased and inebriated faces.
Like all marked for doom, we huddled in packs and whispered.
Sunlight is scarce on this mountain, tucked into the crotch as we were. The day is spent in a cool shroud, where the night air never dissipates and harried campers hustle through chores because night is coming.
Night is always coming, coming ,coming.
In darkness we huddle around the oily fire of damp logs and the children sing songs against oblivion. We laugh at gallows humor and cut it short only to pull from a passed bottle of com-misery. We wander off into our tents in pairs and knots, hoping our camp is a bit tidier than our neighbors, our poor sloppy neighbors who bring this threat down on our heads. Let it be their Chorizo tonight, not ours!
We drift off into nervous sleep to the sound of, WHO'S OUT THERE? WHAT WAS THAT? and I THINK I SEE IT MOVING THROUGH THOSE TREES!
Sanity is always the first victim.
Wednesday, November 07, 2012
Wow, talk about your schadenfreude hangovers. I should be ashamed of myself, but I'm not. I still remember 1996-2004. Cut a brother some slack.
It is time for the Cheaha Trip, which is well chronicled in these annals. That means time to transition to a different hangover this weekend. Not like that silly! I mean a hangover from being with friends, huddled strong around a gigantic fire, telling whoppers and recounting 20+ years of mishaps and incidents like:
"Remember when Bird sliced his leg with the axe? That was so funny!"
"Or when Mystery broke his collarbone and slept sitting up in the truck all night before going to the hospital?"
"Remember when it snowed on us in Pisgah and we stayed up all night so as not to freeze to death?"
"Drive slow through Warner Robbins."
"Let's try this shortcut back to camp."
Ah hell. We are getting old, and our songs are tired, but we're still funny.
See you in the mountains.
Tuesday, November 06, 2012
This blog is biased towards-
Rides with unscheduled appreciation breaks
dinner with 4 people or less
contemporary, experimental fiction
Cats without tails
Scofflaws (What up Rev!)
the other side of the coin
the wide open day before me
-and Barack Obama.
I can't agree to disagree. Get it right America.
Friday, November 02, 2012
So much going on this weekend I'm just going to give it to you in a montage
10 Unicorns Walk into a Bar
Greek Food Fest
30 miles off-road for Mental Illness
Chess combat on 3 fronts, 2 continents
1 lost ring
All the Saints
That should cover it. None of these links will work in a year, then this post will become poetry.