Meeting Bicyclists and Writers at a Poetry Reading in Austin, Texas

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.

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A Blog About Something… and Inspiration from Rocketman

“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 about Rocketman?

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A Week in the Texas Hill Country: The Upsides and the Downsides

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The view at night from the porch with the light and flash on.  Spooky!

The Downsides of Country Livin’

  1. 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.
  2. Well water, especially the hot stuff, literally smells like rotten eggs, because it has sulfur in it.
  3. You can’t find your own ass after dark without a flashlight. Some scenes from the classic 1974 horror movie Texas Chainsaw Massacre were filmed not 10 miles from here. See the dark picture up there?  Spooky.  ‘Nuff said!
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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    Hmm, shouldn’t pee buckets be yellow?
  6. 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!
  7. The road is gravel, dirt, clay and mud — bad for cars and horrible for bikes. It’s getting really boring walking back and forth.
  8. 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.)
  9. 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.
  10. 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 for Godot, I imagine.
  11. 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

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Buddy helping me read Waltter Mosley’s latest Easy Rawlins mystery

  1. Things and time do move more slowly.  I’m good with that!
  2. Peeing outside is pretty cool, especially if you’re a dude.
  3. Nobody cares if you’re nekkid. Elaine on Seinfeld is still right though, “Naked is not a good look for a man.”
  4. 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.
  5. All the comforts of home, heat, wi-fi, running water, electricity, but none of the pollution.
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    Buddy looking fly in his cold-weather wrap, checking out the woods

    You don’t need to lock the doors; if there’s crime I haven’t heard about it.

  7. Being surrounded by the natural world of trees, dirt, birds, and wildlife is how we’re supposed to live.
  8. “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.)
  9. Compost right in the garden, or anywhere.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.

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Dew drops on the tree limbs don’t show up well in this picture, but I was trying to show that it’s still winter here

ADAB Roundup

  • 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 Post interview 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’.” 

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