Some Interesting and Cool $#!& I Saw or Learned Today

Sometimes there’s not much on the main topic of this blog — bicycling — to write about. Fortunately, there’s no law requiring that. I’ve diverged into all kinds of posts: book, TV and movie reviews; a few original poems and puns; political rants; spiritual topics; imaginary interviews with my bike Sophie the Fairdale; profiles of other bike riders; conversations with writers; posts with mostly photographs; nutrition; walking; yoga; and writing itself. Probably a few other things, too.

Now I’m trying something new, a bit stream of consciousness. Trigger alert: I used a bad word in the title, but you already know that. I’ll repeat it for shits and giggles. Because somewhere, if someone giggles too hard, they also have the shits. Anyway, it’s about some interesting and cool shit I saw or learned today. I hope you enjoy it. We’ll start with a bicycle fact anyway.

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510 Miles Biked in April & 2,012 in the First Third of 2020

Another month, another milestone. My bicycling has been a daily affair for some time now, and I’ve kept that streak alive. And that has made keeping my numbers consistently up from last year. I don’t want to leave big numbers to do at the end of 2020, and long rides aren’t a great idea in case of breakdowns or injuries. So I’m out there daily putting up the numbers. As I often do at the end of a month, I like to look at the statistics, so this is what this blog is about. No fake news here! Just A Dude’s journey by bike (non-motorized) through the streets of Austin, Texas.

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I’ll Tellya What I’m Watchin’ on My Telly (Part 1)

Liike many people during this time of mandated respite I’ve found solace in a program of the filmed entertainments, or two (or ten). When I’m not biking, walking, writing, doing yoga, eating, sleeping, or reading, I enjoy some downtime streaming on the old boob tube, the small screen, the idiot box. I call it my digital storytelling portal. (Not really, I just made that up, but it’s not half bad.) Anyway, I’m appreciate the art — especially the writing — that goes into these shows. Herewith are some of what I’ve been enjoying (sans spoilers).

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The Coronacles of Blarneya, Part I

2020 was to be the year of plenty. For me, I was planning for better health, a tolerable job, and a decent and steady place to live. I hoped to create a stronger body, smarter mind, better relationships and improved community. Instead, I’m like everyone else — suffering and struggling through absurd days that seemed unimaginable two months ago (outside of the movies). Wearing masks, cowering in our houses staying away from people, anxious about what’s next is how it is now. Life in the time of COVID-19 can be described by the lesser known, more derogatory use of the word for an Irish town with a famous castle and stone. Parts of me come from somewhere over there in Eire. Point is, it’s a bunch of blarney. Uh.

Despite trying not to, we constantly consume the mostly bad news, like massive unemployment and poverty raising its ugly head to bite more people every day. Most of all, there’s the very palpable and justifiable fear of painful death that might be lurking in the shadows, possibly coming for people we care about and even ourselves. Over 2.6 million people have become infected and 183,000 have died, all in less than a sporting season. All this from a tiny microscopic virus that’s invisible to the naked eye. We know this is happening and try as we might to look away, we have yet to fully comprehend and make sense of it. Every day, Dorothy Parker’s question is worth asking: “What fresh hell is this?” There is no manual, but there is blog.

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10 Pros and 10 Cons of Coronavirus Bicycling

I cannot remember a lot about the time I think we’ll start calling B.C. — Before Coronavirus. It wasn’t that long ago in late February and early March when times were pretty good, if not care-free amazeballs with wonderment and splendor. We could shake hands, hug people, go to restaurants, and ride our bikes in gangs. Now we’re wearing masks, avoiding each other, eating canned food, growing our hair out and getting cabin fever. Be that as it may, life goes on, but it’s hardly recognizable in many ways. Bicycling is still allowed here in Austin, Texas, fortunately, so during my daily rides I’ve noticed a few things. Well, 20 things, to be exact. So I’ve compiled them into this handy list of the Pros and Cons of Bicycling Through the Pandemapocalypse.

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Frederic Chopin’s Classical Music: The Soundtrack to My Bike Ride

Before you read this, if you can, put on your favorite streaming service, CD or album (or imagine) something by Frédéric Chopin. Something like Nocturne No.2 In E Flat, Op. 9 No. 2 performed by Vladimir Ashkenazy from Chopin: Favourite Piano Works. Because that’s what I’m listening to as I write this, and the music seems perfectly suited to my ride and state of mind. Given that it was a grey Friday evening in Austin, Texas after some light rain had fallen, and the pandemic stay at home order, traffic was extremely light.

The surreal experience of biking down Austin’s main street, Congress Avenue, with hardly any traffic put me in a reflective mood. Cue Chopin, that master of the melancholy from France by way of Poland. His quieter works may not get your RPM up very high, but they put your mind in a calm and meditative place. And that’s not a bad head space to be in these days, biking or otherwise.

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