The art of non-blogging

December 6, 2018 § 3 Comments

I’ve been on a non-blogging vacation now for several days. Every day I insist that I’m not going to blog, so I don’t. But then, a little bit later in the day, it seems like it would be pretty easy to knock one out.

So although technically it’s not blogging, I do blog just a little bit.

A “technical blog” is one that involves extensive research, planning, focus groups, long bike rides in bad weather, and an analysis of cycling trade magazines. Technical blogs require verified sources, reliable information, and important new insights to the world of cycling in general and in specific the galaxy of cycling in the South Bay.

In other words, I’ve never written one.

The word “blogger” is kind of interesting. It derives from the Greek word “Blogae,” which means “huge waster of time and general numbskull.” It is very different from the words “journalist” and “writer,” which connote thoughtfulness, talent, skill, and professionalism. When you say that someone is a blogger you really mean that they aren’t good enough to get paid to write, or that no one except Mom reads what they write, which is mostly the same thing. When you say someone has a blog it’s kind of like saying they have an (unwashed) armpit. Everyone, with no practice at all, can have one and at some point in their lives invariably does.

I don’t know if the pejorative connotations come from the sound of the word, that is, “blogger” sounds vaguely like “booger” or “blooper.” Maybe the connotation comes from the fact that of all the media invented since the beginning of time, none is as vacuous as the blog.

Upon reflection it really makes sense to knock off blogging for a bit, so this is absolutely, positively the last one I’m doing until the end of my blogging vacation. Really. I’m not kidding around.

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Even bloggers need a vacation

December 3, 2018 § 1 Comment

My favorite whine is a 2011, vinted in January of that year, and it goes like this: “I’m gonna start a blog!”

Going on nine years and an average of 270 posts a year, I’m starting to feel like a worn old old shoe. And if you look at my teeth, it’s hard to deny that I look like one, too.

I went to the dentist today and got my teeth sandblasted, which took off the first three layers of coffee scunge that accretes due to my 12-cups-a-day habit, but I still feel like a worn out old shoe despite the new shiny sparkle.

As a result I’ve decided to take a vacation. You won’t be hearing from me for  a few days as I go on complete radio silence. As Christopher Robin said, “Bisy Backson.”

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Block and tackle

June 18, 2018 § 19 Comments

I used to smile when I heard people complain about writer’s block. “What in the hell are they talking about? All you gotta do is start writing.”

I am not smiling now.

I have got the biggest, nastiest, stinkiest case of writer’s block that anyone anywhere ever had since the first Chinese dude drew signs inside a tortoise shell. I’ve tried to write today’s blog a dozen different times and each one has petered out like a Trump promise.

Here are today’s dead blogs:

  • The incredible reading experience I’m undergoing as I weed my way, slowly, through Freud’s “The Interpretation of Dreams.”
  • The incredible eating experience of making my own sourdough bread.
  • The incredible ridiculousness of cycling as a path to longevity.
  • The incredible lameness of the four lameheads who rode a 44-minute TTT last weekend.
  • The incredible credulity of people who still don’t believe that we live in a corporatist police state built on prisons and slave labor.
  • The incredible awesomeness of my new carbon fiber wheels which are made exclusively of.
  • The incredible depressive effect that TT bikes have on bike racing.
  • What I had for breakfast.

Yet no sooner did I set down the basic first sentence than each topic withered on the vine, childless, unable to procreate little baby sentences so that it could grow up into a proper blog about bicycling and something.

The writer’s block had me by the throat as I chewed my way through dinner. Dinner tastes awful when you still have a blog to write, and the more I procrastinated the worse it got. Suds in the sink as I washed the plates, a couple of trips to the dumpster, a few dispirited checks of my phone, but the fear and loathing only increased.

You would think that after seven years of more or less daily scribblings and scrawlings I would have a pattern, a tried-and-true method, a formula into which I could dump the parts and out would come the sausage, but no, I don’t. Each day is a new Sisyphean struggle. The boulder is right back at the bottom of the dogdamned hill and the only person who’s gonna push it back up is me.

Somewhere between the forks and the broccoli bits stuck to the colander, it hit me: I would lose this round to writer’s block. For the first time since 2011 I’d sit down and will the words to come, and none would. Sure, I’ve skipped plenty of days, but never once have I tried to get something out and failed.

There’s a first time for everything. Today will have to be the first day I wanted to publish a blog and couldn’t.

Whoops! I did it again.

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Blog-gevity

April 30, 2018 § 15 Comments

It’s a jungle out there, a blog-eat-blog world where only the strong survive. Over the years I have seen many come and go, and each day, frankly, is a new day over here at the California Division of Cycling in the South Bay. Were it not for my six paid subscribers, I’d have packed it in a long time ago.

What’s astonishing is how few long-running cycling blogs there actually are, depending, of course, on what you mean by “blog.” In their infancy, blogs were digital diaries written on a more-or-less daily basis by a sole author and directed at a relatively small audience. But what happened was predictable:

  1. Most died, unable to meet the crushing pressure of daily, or even weekly deadlines.
  2. Those that survived did so by becoming online magazines with multiple writers, photographers, and ad sales departments.

There are notable exceptions such as Bike Snob NYC, DC Rainmaker, and Dave Moulton’s Blog, but the single-grape varietal that gets picked, pressed, casked, vinted, bottled, and daily carried to market on a donkey cart seems pretty much over.

Cycling in the South Bay has been published continuously since 2011, with this issue being #1883. I’ve published a handful of guest posts, probably less than ten. The rest of the manure pile is mine, all mine. I didn’t know it when I started, but it turns out that my hero is Karl Kraus and his legendary publication record of Die Fackel, one man doing it all from 1899 to 1936, and even more incredibly, just as angry when he started as he was when he finished.

I had a conversation with a friend last night who asked me how I came up with topics.

“That’s easy,” I said. “I open a screen and start typing.”

Actually, I didn’t say that. I don’t remember exactly what I said as I was already on my fourth glass of craft water, but it was something like this: “Every day I wake up with the realization that I have to write something on that stupid fucking blog. So I try to pay attention during the day so that when something pops up I can nab it before it slips away, like one of Socrates’s fleeting words which always seemed to flit away just before he could nail down its meaning.” [I totally added in the Socrates part just now.]

And I guess the other two things, not so strangely, are reading and riding. The more I read and the more I ride, the easier it is to blog. Fortunately, I don’t have to read very much about cycling, and perhaps even more fortunately, I don’t have to cycle while reading.

What’s also interesting is that the blog format, which promised to be a free space where talented people could let loose with only the finest prose, unencumbered by page limits, nasty editors, rejection slips, publishing house politics, agents, and over-the-transom submissions, turned into a horrible 6′ x 9′ sunless room where people who thought they had something to say realized that they did, and once said, THAT WAS IT.

I’m one of them, I suppose. I just haven’t realized it yet.

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Get the lead(ville) out!

August 10, 2012 § 2 Comments

In less than twelve hours, five South Bay motorheads will be contesting the Leadville 100. Lauren Mulwitz, Kathryn Donovan, Brian Perkins, Marq Prince, and Pete Smith have lived a monkish (nunnish?) existence leading up to the big event, which rolls out tomorrow.

There’s not a lot for me to say about it, except that it’s so tough they don’t have a starting line, they have a starting “corral.” The racers are so amped up on adrenaline and Accelerade that the race volunteers have to rope them inside the corral when it’s their time, drag them whinnying and snorting up to their bikes, strap them on, and set them loose.

Lokalmotor Greg Leibert will be in attendance with food, drinks, hand-ups, and bicycle riding tips for Team South Bay. As eager as I am for our local crew to go out and crush it in the thin mountain air, I’m even more eager for them to return home and start mixing it up again on our weekly wankfests. You’re missed, and you’ve hardly been gone!

Huge props to each rider for all the hard work and for taking on this epic MTB challenge. I spent a few minutes watching YouTube videos to try and get a sense of what it was like, but when you’re watching a 7-time TdF doperwinner being chased up a trail by spectators, including fat old dudes, small kids, and a woman with ski poles while he’s “racing” up a slope so steep that he’s barely staying upright on a 12 x 59 gear combo, well, the vicarious pain was just too much, so I switched off the YouTube and had a bag of Doritos.

If Lance had to get off and push, and 45-time winner Dave Wiens had to cross the finish line on his hands and knees, and EPO Leipheimer called it the most grueling thing he’s ever done, I can’t imagine what’s going to happen to mere mortals except that it will be almost Hobbesian: nasty, brutish, and long. One hundred miles at eleventy-nine thousand feet along unpaved fire roads…sound like fun? You’re nucking futs.

Good luck to you all, win, place, show, finish, or give up three-quarters dead before the end. You’re going for the gusto and Wankmeister is with you in spirit. On the couch. Blogging. Munching Doritos.

Go get ’em, and don’t forget to send pictures! And a postcard! And a t-shirt that says, “My wankers went to Colorado and all they brought me was this fucking sack of empty GU gels!”

Charge!

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