Happy First Day of International Women’s Month. (Is it bad that I can’t get Beyonce’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It”) out of my head?) Here in the States we were hoping 2021 would suck a lot less than the dumpster fire fluster cuck that was 2020. But it’s been a year already: insurrection at the US Capitol; inauguration of the lawfully elected 46th President (who quickly began steering the ship of state away from the rocky shores with some pretty righteous executive actions); impeachment without conviction of the ousted one for inciting said riot; the vaccine rollout happening but mostly botched (largely due to the last guy); and the new guy before bombing some places in Iraq. (Meet the new boss, same as the old boss, at least when it comes to war and the military.) Then there was epic Winter Storm Uri (a Russkie?) which led to ultra cold temperatures, blackouts (the weather kind and I’m sure booze-related ones, too), near record snow, ice, and in Texas especially, the loss of electricity, heat, and then water for millions. Yeah, pretty sucky, 2021.
But hey, there ain’t much a dude can do about all that but to survive and Just Keep Livin’. And that means doin’ some stuff, makin’ moves, and what not. Thanks to the boss man over at Sorryless saying I inspired him to take 10,000 steps every day but starting Februrary 1st, now that March has arrived, I figure it’s time to review my vows to suck a little less. It’s a lot to hope for, but maybe some of my very modest but important marginal gains will rub off on y’all, and on the year at large. OK, suck it up, we got some stats to update. I’ll try to keep it short.
January 2021 was a challenging month for the USA. After the worst attack on democracy since the war of 1812, we finally got rid of the old neo-fascist, proto-racist, fake billionaire POTUS #45. And the social media companies finally grew a pair and de-platformed him. At least that part of our long national nightmare is over. POTUS #46 was inaugurated — a new (and real) president who actually cares about other people and wants to and knows how to govern. Whether the crazies on the red team will let him do so is unlikely, but many of them are going to prison for the attempted insurrection on the Capitol on January 6th. Also in the win column is people have been getting vaccinated for the coronavirus, though not nearly as many that could or should be by now. As for lil’ ol’ A Dude Abikes, I did what I could to keep my health and sanity to the extent possible by biking and doing some new or different things. Not resolutions exactly, because who needs that pressure? Let’s go to the stats, stat!
Since it’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I’ll also remind folks of an older post with a photo of The Rev. Dr. King on a bicycle. Thanks to the pandemic, there was no rally with speakers and then march. I’ve attended them on an off over the years here in Austin and was at a huge gathering and march after the police killings of George Floyd, Breona Taylor and other Black people. I was fortunate to be able to participate in some Black Lives Matter protests last summer and a pair of Black History Bicycle Rides.
Even though this blog is mostly about biking and my other fitness pursuits, I feel strongly about the evils of racism and have written about them before. It must really piss off the white supremacists that it’s a federal holiday. King was assassinated by one of their ilk on April 4, 1968. As they say, SAY HIS NAME! and, Presente! It boggles the mind that almost 53 years later the US (if not the world) is having a resurgence of racial hatred. Education is key and perhaps with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, we will have better role models than the outgoing asterisk president. Adios, Tinyhands Orangehead, ya big loser!
With no rally and march, I continued my daily activities. Biking less has allowed me more time for other things. It’s as good a time as any to do a quick check-in about what I’m up to both on and off the bike.
There’s nothing like reading a good book, getting lost in another world while sitting at home and never moving out of your chair or exchanging pants for pajamas. I used to be a voracious reader, although the advent of Netflix sure hasn’t helped. Sometimes I still am. Given my penchant for recording my activities like bicycling, doing yoga, and walking, it makes sense to record what I read, too. Goodreads is a site for just that, a digital bookshelf, and much more. If you’re a reader, you probably know about it, but if you don’t, it’s worth a gander.
Normally I write about my biking, and also the people, places or things I go do or see while on the bicycle. I would have biked there but today a big cold front blew into Austin, so I had to abort my ride after two miles. It got considerably chilly and wildly windy quite quickly. There’s always time for that, and this blog is also about A Dude’s other activities and interests, like writing. And fortunately good ol’ friend Bruce agreed to drive us in his eco-friendly Prius to a poetry reading. Herewith and posthaste is my report.
My first time at Malvern Books, a small independent store in Austin, Texas, was exactly what I expected and yet wholly surprising. The expected part was that people would come to hear the author and the poet, there’d be snacks before and Q & A plus schmoozing after. One Page Salon creator and host Owen Egerton had announced the reading of his good friend Walter Moore, who also read a page earlier in the week. When I bicycled over to the site formerly adjacent to Vulcan Video, I was greeted outside the door by Owen. He took a moment from his conversation with the smoking guest poet to smile at me. I thought he was opening the door but instead gave me a big hug. Sorpresa numero uno.
“No news is good news,” it is said. Well, maybe not if you’re in the business of providing news or views people can use. Like, say, in a blog. What may be my favorite TV show Seinfeld was reputed to be “a show about nothing.” But that was just bullcrud made up by the press because of a line said by George in the “show within a show.” The real one was about how comedians get their material. How do bloggers get their material? Well, as this blog is (mostly) about bicycling, there’s usually no shortage of people, places or things to talk about. Except like now, when nothing comes to mind. Please indulge me as I write a blog… about something. I know, how aboutRocketman?
Today I rode 20 miles going places and doing things. Here are a few pictures to enjoy. I hope you’ll come back again tomorrow for a written post. If it’s what I think, it will be a pretty great one. Thanks for visiting!
Solitude is nice — unless you’ve caught the cabin on fire, a coyote is making a meal of your leg, or you’re out of salsa.
Well water, especially the hot stuff, literally smells like rotten eggs, because it has sulfur in it.
You can’t find your own ass after dark without a flashlight. Some scenes from theclassic 1974 horror movieTexas Chainsaw Massacre were filmed not 10 miles from here. See the dark picture up there? Spooky. ‘Nuff said!
Save for that one time the neighbors showed up on their daily walk and I was dead asleep in a nap, the roar of airplanes, the howling of coyotes, the very loud rain on the tin roof, and even louder electric or fire hazard gas heaters, it’s really mellow and safe out here.
Speaking of heaters, it’s cold or hot until you turn something on. So peeing in a bucket at night is what you do to avoid a chilly trip to the bathroom.
Tonight I couldn’t find a plug for a light in the dark, and hit my forehead on a shelf I forgot was there. Then I tepped off the raised floor in the living room and nearly fell over. Still couldn’t find a light. Stumbled into the bedroom. Cabins!
The road is gravel, dirt, clay and mud — bad for cars and horrible for bikes. It’s getting really boring walking back and forth.
You can literally be up the creek. Because of the steep incline, you could be trapped here in a gullywasher. (That’s the scientific term in Texan for flash flood.)
The paved road to get in has no shoulder but does have hairpin turns, crazy hills, and speeders, drunks, or speeding drunks. Not fun for cycling although people do it. You gotta have a car out here and once you’re on the highway, it’s always a drive and rush hour is a big hot mess.
The neighbors are all polite so far, and a few are model citizens who help with the dog or house, or give a city boy advice. But some are pretty private or their dogs don’t play well with others. I’m also still waiting on that first home-made pie. Like Waiting forGodot, I imagine.
Coyotes, bobcats and snakes, oh my! Haven’t seen any of them, have heard the wild dogs, but I did see a mouse in the house.
The Upsides of Livin’ in the Country
Things and time do move more slowly. I’m good with that!
Peeing outside is pretty cool, especially if you’re a dude.
Peace and quiet, very little traffic noise. Nothing compared to where I stay in the city with its garbage trucks waking you up at 7 am, cop/fire/EMS sirens and Jehovah’s witness.
All the comforts of home, heat, wi-fi, running water, electricity, but none of the pollution.
You don’t need to lock the doors; if there’s crime I haven’t heard about it.
Being surrounded by the natural world of trees, dirt, birds, and wildlife is how we’re supposed to live.
“The stars at night / are big and bright / [clap clap clap clap] / deep in the heart of Texas.” (It’s the fight song of the University of Texas Longhorn sports teams.)
Compost right in the garden, or anywhere.
There’s a lot less to distract you so you tend to do more walking, thinking, resting and reading, and a lot less stress eating, tv-watching, or going on wasted trips to fast food or convenience stores.
Buddy the dog may be the happiest dog around and he’s what his owner called strong medicine. I need my Buddy prescription refilled please, doctor!
I could go on but I think you get the point: I really like the number 11. (Well, it’s true, I do! Because one plus one makes two!) But seriously, it’s different, but it’s still life.
No biking, still too cold and wet, and I wimped out on a trainer ride, using how it bothers the dog as a reason/excuse. That means tomorrow I’ll have to do SOMETHING.
Mosley’s book is really good; I feel like I know the characters and they have something to say about the time and place — black people in Los Angeles in the late 1950’s. I didn’t consciously check this book out of the library because he’s an African-American author and it’s Black History Month (yes, the shortest one, but perhaps the most powerful becauese of that!), but it’s interesting timing along with just seeing the reception of the movie Black Panther.
There has been conversation about it serving as a real role model for young kids of color who usually don’t have a super hero who looks like them on the big silver screen. I’m also in touch with a Kenyan blogger, Twalha Fakhi, who lives in Kenya. I’ve really enjoyed a few of her posts and her nice comments about mine. Go check out her blog, Cafe ave Twali!
Speaking of Kenya, the movie, and Africans and African-Americans, here’s a link to an interesting Washington Postinterview with Larry Madowo by Karen Attiah, Global Opinions Editor. He’s a Kenyan journalist and broadcaster.
Cleaner diet, higher energy and better sleep, plus catching some TV shows and movies, and of course bicycling are things still not happening as much as I’d like.
Walking, yoga, work searching and networking, reading, blogging and engaging with other bloggers, plus typing for a friend — all these things are happening. As a Libra, I’m always searching for balance. Soon, having to work will probably wipe out alot of my extracurricular activities. Such is life. C’est la vie. Asi es la vida.
Or, to quote Austin-area resident, Lincoln talks-to-himself spokesmodel and Oscar-winner Matthew McConaghey: “Just keep livin’.”