Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Not so much face-to-face(book)

I find myself wondering, contemplating perhaps captures my state more appropriately. I am contemplating why it is that I continue to have a Facebook profile. The regularity of updating status and posting pictures has diminished, especially after learning that any information posted on said site becomes their property. This in itself raises several privacy issues, however this is not what has spawned my contemplation. One then could make the argument that the definition of the word "friend" has faded around the edges and stretched to include people who better fit the definition of acquaintances or complete strangers. A lot of people I know have collected friends like Pokemon. This too however is not where my contemplation is rooted. I believe we are naturally at our core voyeuristic and enjoy peeping into the lives of others, it would explain tabloids and reality TV. Neither of which are reality and both of which are guilty of dumbing down our society.

I believe that my contemplation in regards to this subject has been birthed by the increase in communication totally void of any true quality. I recently heard that the quantity of information has increased substantially but the quality of this communication has significantly diminished. This question is worth a moment of thought. It also leads me to question whether our communications have become devoid of authentic emotion. Reading this, I realize it wreaks of negativity and pessimism. Nonetheless I pose the question. When we respond "hope you feel better" to someone who has posted "not feeling well" are we doing so with sincerity or out of some unconscious mechanism to seem and appear caring? From my perspective it appears that most of what glows from our screens as we check our Facebook profile is superficial. Do we post pictures of our vacations to "share" or more so to brag and invoke feeling of jealousy? If the latter is the case, then are these people really friends or an audience we have collected to marvel at our lives? It has been noted that Facebook is often cited during divorce hearings as being a contributing factor. There is a new level of safety and comfort experienced when one never has to look another in the eye. Often people will write things, perverse, argumentative or abusive, things they would never utter if they had to speak them aloud to the other person. One could argue that this is authentic, another could argue that it is spawned by the knowing that you will never have to confront the person face-to-face to whom you are writing. Which again leads me to question the authenticity of our communications on such forums. Very easy to be brave, outspoken or politically charged in the safety of our chairs. Perhaps I will pose a question.

What I am asking is "Does Facebook and similar vehicles perpetuate the quantity of communication devoid of any real meaning and despite its intentions does it manifest into a society that has become physically detached from one another? Or, does Facebook provide an authentic forum for sincere communication which allows us to stay in touch with loved ones and develop new friendships?"

Keep in mind that I am guilty of all the above charges, I continue to have a Facebook profile, one which I check almost everyday. I am guilty of experiencing a boosted sense of confidence knowing that I may never have to see my audience, and I shyly admit that Facebook propelled my ability to develop my life long relationship with the woman I am devoted to. Nonetheless I wonder what would life be like without Facebook ... I experienced such a life but I can no longer recall if it were fuller or emptier, filled with real friendships or ones similar to those I experience on-line? It's strange, but I can't recall, perhaps another unexpected side effect of Facebook.

Please feel free to respond and I encourage you to forward this to others. I look forward to any and all responses. Ironic that I am using a form of the mechanism I just questioned to further this conversation.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

"Where we was" um, what?

I have never paid as much attention to language, both spoken and written as I do now. I am by no means a linguist. I often miss use and miss spell words. My point being is that no matter the mistake, I am using real words, they exist in our beautiful language. I am not making words up, nor are my sentences pragmatic. When I speak to another, they don't look at me wondering what it is I might be trying to say. Well that's not always true, unfortunately there are a lot ( yes that is two separate words) dumb people out there but our tolerance allows this so who is to blame? I have been witness as of late to a number of brutal, massacres of our language, committed by both adults and adolescents.

For example, last night we meandered our way through the isles of the local
Bulk Barn. Whilst walking, a mother called out to her son " where are you?" . The child who appeared to be about ten, responded, " I'm in the isle where was we started". What the fuck? " where we was started?" I realize our government has made substantial cut backs to education but have they done so to the point where it has become acceptable to piece sentences together at random? I wonder if our current education system coupled with our lazy society is resulting in a new breed of human. The "super dumb". It is as though we have relapsed into a prehistoric period, at a point when we just began to comprehend language for communication. If you doubt this just look at the number of people who no longer write using full words, even in e-mails where there is no limit on the number of words. All the abbreviations drive me mad, the brb, lol, 8's, cu's. In only a few short years I presume we will be right back to grunting and pointing. I continue to lose faith in our educators, specifically those who teach elementary and high school. I recall the teachers who were entering the profession as I was leaving high school, they seemed more interested in being the "cool" teacher as portrayed on FOX after school specials then actual educators. That was over ten years ago, what are they like now? I am not putting the entire blame on our educators, parents it's time you get your shit together. Apparently it isn't alarming enough that the current generation has a shorter life expectancy then their parents. This is a first in history by the way. Child obesity is through the roof. But hey who gives a fuck right. If their going to be fat and live short lives who cares if they can read, write or communicate? In any case the end of the world is approaching, Mayan calender ending in 2012. For a moment however let's consider if it doesn't. The world continues, do we want it to be led by these poorly educated, video game addicted, live at home until your 35 or your parents die types? Why don't I have kids, for the above reasons, the world is a scary dumb place. Heather and I would have glorious, magnificent kids but I fear stupidity is contagious so our best attempts at raising brilliant beings would be a lost cause. But hey, these are just ramblings, induced by wine, in the end what do I really know.

Everything, is the answer. If you don't believe me just try to spell check lol.

Peace and love and please get your children to read books, real, tangible books, filled with words.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Satan's Village

Peering out the window I am forced to take note of all the snow. It covers everything. To prevent myself from slipping into a self induced hibernation I will share with you one of the last rides I had this season. Appropriately on a trail system known as "Santa's Village."

The name results because these trails are adjacent to Santa's Village in Brace Bridge. More often then not, they are referred to as Satan's Village do to the carnage of bodies and bikes which often result from riding these North Shore inspired trails.

As I am a fan both of riding and of Satan, who often gets a bad rap, I was all aboard when the opportunity arose to ride these famed trails. We met in the parking lot and readied ourselves. A variety of bikes formed our Calvary, everything from burly DH rigs to long travel trail bikes. I of course was riding SS. There was of course some skepticism as to whether or not a single speed would hold it's own on these trails. Needless to say, all doubt was quickly removed and my claim that " I have yet to find a place I can't ride single speed" remains true.

I can best describe these trails as O natural. Rocky, rootie with a sprinkling of North Shore style ladder bridges and skinnies scattered throughout. Mixed in are some white knuckle descents and some lung buster, make you want to vomit climbs. Add in the fallen leaves and some wet roots and you have your self something epic and fun. The trails feature more then a few of Mother natures own wonders, including several steep, get your ass back, way back, descents on open rock faces and a wicked three step drop.

When it comes to Satan's village, believe the hype. This place lives up to it's reputation. If you manage to finish the ride, and by finish I mean with an in tact bike and body then you more then certainly earned yourself a beer or two.

Happy trails, cold beer and sweet sweet single track.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Entry 2, The Forgotten Ones

Regardless of spiritual beliefs or hang ups relating to inanimate objects possessing souls, I feel that we can all agree that there is something indescribably spiritual about being outside, the ground beneath us and the canopy of leaves above. If we can agree on this point then we can agree when I say trails abandoned, left to overgrow and slowly erased from existence is a tragedy which should be mourned.

This past season we loaded the bikes and the dogs into the car and headed to Calabogie. For those of you who are scratching your heads as to the geographical location of this strangely named local, it is roughly an hour outside of Ottawa, which for the the youth of today is the capital of Canada. We did so based under false pretense. Word was that Calabogie was home to some amazingly technical trails and some equally technical down hill. Calabogie Peaks, the ski hill which was home to these foretold gems, website boasted of such things. In the past Calabogie has hosted both O-Cup XC and DH events as well as one of the few, if not only, X-Terra races in Ontario. Expectations were high and the itch to let it all hang out needed to be scratched.

We arrived late on Friday night, beers consumed and talk of what adventures would be had. The following morning we arrived at the base of the hill. Strangely there were no other bikes, anywhere. No trail signs, maps or for that matter any sign of trail. We sought the expertise of an employee. The words they uttered were a shot at the very soul of cycling. " The trails are closed, the down hill was shut down last year and you can't ride on the hill." Imagine if you will the heart break, the disappoint and more so the audacity to tell me I can't ride on the hill. I immediately disobeyed this mandate. Soul Mate having competed in both the 0-Cup and the X-Terra became the guide in our search for the forbidden trails, which turned out to be the forgotten trails.

In five hours of riding we uncovered only a small portion of what was a trail system. This portion was a testimate to the lore. It was technical, steep and required more then just the ability to pedal. This brief glimpse into the past revealed that this trail system was incredible and a loss for all those, including myself, who missed riding it during it's hay day. A few artifacts were happened upon. Two signs, both black diamond foretelling of what use to be. These signs left to be consumed by the forest, which had already reclaimed the majority of the trail system could not be left. I took these signs, stealing a piece of the past.

Searching revealed that these trails closed some time in 2009 if not in late 2008, a combination of Insurance issues and land owners. The closure of these trails put an end to mountain biking in the area, unless of course you enjoy riding ATV trails of which there is no shortage.

Exploring what once was, I left Calabogie feeling as though I had missed out on something special. How can we, as riders, just let a trail system parish? I reached this conclusion. We often take for granted our local trails, expecting that they will always be. Never wondering how they came into existence or picking up a shovel or a rake to help maintain them. We ride, blissfully unaware that like all living things they too may one day leave us. Having had this experience I now more then ever appreciate the struggles that IMBA faces in keeping trails open and turning illegal trails into legal ones.

This is a mournful report. Calabogie's trails are CLOSED. Let this be a lesson to not take our local trails, any trails for granted. I have spent many hours this season, after this experience, maintaining and building new trail. In doing so my riding is enriched knowing that as long as I pitch in these trails will not see their death. I encourage every single rider to get out there and help keep our trails alive, because where else are you going to ride?

Peace and love and happy trails.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Journal Entry 1

Today the slowly rising sun revealed rain. Rain which washes away the snow. Snow which covered trails not yet ready to hibernate. All of this has me asking "what the hell man?". I ask that " whom it may concern" weather it be a God of some kind, Mother nature or some wizard who controls weather patterns hidden behind a curtain make up their mind and choose a season. Let it be winter or summer. These transitional months are ridiculous and as my mathematical calculations have revealed, unnecessary. My math, it should be stated, has no real formula, chalk board full of numbers or validity. In reality I am only writing the words"my math" for argumentative purposes only. None the less I stand by my statement.

By all accounts I should be happy, I had a long and full riding season. The first trail ride was had in May and the season was filled with riding my favorite local trails and finding some new ones abroad. Riding in Calabogie, Pennsylvania, New York and northern Ontario. Jumps were jumped, logs and ladder bridges ridden, down hills conquered at break neck speeds and climbs mountain goats are to timid to attempt ascended, all might I add on a single speed. Is there any other speed? Despite all of this I am left wanting more. Greedy? Obsessed? or suffering from mad cow? What ever the cause I am not ready to let the trails rest. I have gone as far as talking myself into a state of understanding. Seasons change, so on and so forth. The natural course and more green redirect such as that. I just don't believe myself. I have even taken the drastic step of cleaning the bikes, new chains, tires, cables all bestowed upon them. The magical, mythical things which comprise a bike and breath life into it. They now sit high above us in our living room, perched at a height reserved only for Gods. They sit there, looking down on me with judgement and a look of abandonment. Yes there is skiing, snowshoeing and all things cold, but riding is the catalyst of my soul. Yes, indoor bike parks will be visited, giving me a fix, like a junkie. The fact remains that like that junkie I too have an addiction. However no support groups will be sought or court ordered. Instead I will seek to satisfy myself through daily visits to Pink Bike, frequent visites to Bike shops and alone time with Dirt Rag. Note to self, buy more Kleenex and lotion. I have choosen instead to pray.

" To whom it may concern or please. Bring a swift end to winter or if it pleases thee a rapid increase in global warming your call. While your at it, fire and brimstone on all land managers and those who hold the belief that trails are reserved for hikers and horses. If this is your will give me no sign and rid the world of Justin Bieber, Celine Dion and watery beer. In some name we pray. "

Now I wait. It might take a bit it does have to go to space and back, a bit like the Internet I suppose.

Peace and love and fast flowy dreams.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Life is full of warnings, usually to prevent the dumb from doing dumb things. We have all seen them, they litter our landscape. Caution, beverage may be HOT. Well ya it's a coffee smart guy. Caution, do not reach hands under lawn mower whilst in operation. Well of course not because A) you will loose said hand and B) you will make a mess which someone will have to clean up. For argument sake these warnings exist only because someone of lesser intelligence committed an act which warranted these common sense Warnings.
Fortunately however some signs are beacons of hope. They point to what lay in our immediate future. Take note of the sign above. "Bicycles stay ON single track. Do NOT detour around obstacles. Trail unsuitable for novices " I was confronted with this sign as we entered the beginning of the trail system in Elicotville NY. My first reaction was physical, I had a hard on. My second reaction was less obvious. The synapses in my brain began firing rapidly, lighting the neon sign in my brain that glows the words " Fucking Awesome". This home made sign, as simple as it is, guarded the gates to what can only be described as true mountain biking. Roots, rocks, gnarly climbs and descents. A tuck your balls in and get it done kind of trail. Unfortunately over the past several years riding has become slightly pussified. Trails have become over groomed. Obstacles have been given "chicken out " options. Logs have had ramps built to aid riders in getting over them and in some cases, do to the lack of riding ability often demonstrated, logs have been altogether removed. This is total and utter bullshit. If you can't ride it, get the fuck off the trail. If your looking for smooth terrain which is obstacle free, shave your balls, slap on some Lycra, perhaps something that says "live strong" and put a road bike under your spineless ass.
Boys and girls this is mountain biking. Grow a pair. Learn how to ride, truly ride. That means being able to ride anywhere, anytime without any excuses. "Oh my bike isn't designed for this type of riding".
Shut your mouth.
" I don't like to climb"
" How do we get around that log?"
I should kick your ass.
Lets take a look at the true meaning of this sign, read between the lines if you will. "Stay on the single track". This really means double track and road are for those wanna be riders.
"Don't detour around obstacles" I love this part. It means grow a pair, a pair the size of grapefruits and ride the line. Don't walk your bike it's not a dog. Don't make a cut around the obstacle, unless your from Hardwood. "Trail unsuitable for novices". Clear as day. This trail is for riders. This is not a gimme, you have to earn the right to ride this shit. This trail is not your mother, it will beat you like pimp beats a hoe. Pause for a moment, if your wearing a matching kit, if your bike match's your kit, if you have a recovery shake in the car rather then beer, this trail is not for you son. Take your kit and bike to a road near you. "cyclists yield to hikers". Note the choice of words, hiking not walking. Hiking dictates rough, rugged terrain. Translation, awesome.
Well there it is, a warning of warnings. Actually it's more like a leading suggestion. Get it done or get out of the way. Perhaps I have read to much into these simple words. Perhaps, as unlikely as it is, I have added more meaning then this sign intends. Perhaps.
Perhaps you should through your leg over that top tube and try to keep up?
Peace, love and single track for life.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Reputations and Cock Suckers

How important is a reputation? Some people define their existence by their reputation. In light of this how in control are we when it comes to our reputation? I recently heard that " the only thing we are in control of is our character". It is our character which influences how others view us and intern our reputations are born. If hundred people meet you and judge you as weak, whiny or intolerable then you can presume that your reputation will be one that reflects these character traits. If one were to meet say someone like myself, your reputation would probably reflect character traits similar to the collective great minds of the past present and future. You may be describe as unimaginably handsome, scarily brilliant, deep and profound, unshakable and of course grounded because it would be unbearable to co-exist with someone who not only posses these traits but knows he posses these traits. Thus a reputation is born or in my situation a LEGEND.

Unfortunately though the world is fraught with those who lack all desirable character traits and posses only those of, well lets see, I believe the current term is cock sucker. Yes, the world is fraught with cock suckers, not the gays despite their love of the cock but true, hate full cock suckers. Now fortunately I don't give a fuck, not a fucking fuck or a flying fuck. This being said, there are those who do care and are hurt by the malicious words of those who find joy in tarnishing a reputation. As stated, a reputation is the collective opinions of the masses, so to tarnish a reputation takes a substantial amount of work. For shame. Think of how these people must hate themselves so, that they outwardly hurt others. These people often grow up to become the loud mouths who tell everyone else how to live their lives, what people should or shouldn't do. Well, let me tell you for those who are to afraid to "shut the fuck up".

I am taking a stand. In a similar fashion to that of Robin Hood I will protect the weak, those who cannot defend themselves against the cock suckers of this world. My motivation has been birthed from the idea that it is better to be "for" something rather then "against" something. It is a spiritual idea, yin yang, Tao, Karma so on and so forth. In lay terms it is positive energy and focus verses a negative energy and focus. This is deep shit, not to be taken with a grain of sand nor a shot of whisky. As I am a spiritual being of profound intelligence whom of course remains grounded whilst on his worldly journey, I naturally was drawn to this belief. So I have chosen a righteous path. I am no longer "against" the cock sucker but I am "for" a world without cocksuckers. I will be the defender of those who lack the sharp wit to defend themselves. I will look the cock suckers of the world in the eye and say " shut the fuck up you dirty cock sucker." I will hold rallies not "against" but "for" a world free of cock suckers. I will hold charitable walks and rides with those nifty bracelets. Where cock suckers rear their despicable faces I will appear and use my intelligent wit to beat them into a brain seizure, leaving the cock sucker to rock, alone in a cornor. Yes this is what I will do.......

I'm sorry I zoned out, what was the question?

Peace, Love and all together " down with cock suckers!"