Forecast for the Future

"Every individual without exception bears a potential writer within himself. The reason is that everyone has trouble accepting the fact that he will disappear unheard of and unnoticed in an indifferent universe, and everyone wants to make himself into a universe of words before it's too late. 

Once the writer in every individual comes to life (and that time is not that far off), we are in for an age of universal deafness and lack of understanding."

- Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting

Monday, May 12, 2008

Week 18: "Reading Week" Recap Pt. 1 (Bikes and Other Things and Not Books)

I have been alternating between massively gleeful and horrifyingly depressed. Life has been up and down for me lately, despite staying largely the same. Meaning, it's all been in my idea-overflowing head.

First things first: this past week must certainly be redacted in the Hyperliving annals as "Vacation Week #2", subtitled Mental Recuperation and Reconstruction Week.

So what happened for "Reading Week"? I didn't read. Or hardly read.

I needed to finish my book club book before we meet next week and I hadn't even started reading it. I ordered two copies (accidentally) but the first didn't even come until Friday. In between then, I attempted to read Ulysses (beyond hilarious, laughable, the perfect metaphor for the ways in which I almost force failure by overreaching on simple aims)--resulting in, essentially, opening and closing the book and then nothing. I moved on from there to Don Delillo's Underworld, but I also was unprepared to get into that weighty tome, and so I finally hunkered down with JG Ballard's Empire of the Sun, of which I read about 35 pages in a hour of reading on Thursday night before finally relenting and deciding to accept the week as another week off.

I mark Week 18 as a failure week for sure, but at least it generated some good: a big reason that reading was such a struggle right now, beyond my generally non-longterm concentration lifestyle, is that lots of things have been going on in my life and I've been feeling pretty great about some new pursuits I've been engaging in.

Chief among these "new pursuits" is that I've become completely obsessed with bicycling. I am not one to generally talk such talk, but I'd say right now that it's approaching feelings of "This might be my 'salvation'". I've been struggling for years for find some way to get myself back on a track of exercise and healthiness and I think I've finally found it.

Compounding my new interest in biking is the fact that last Sunday I got a "new" bike on long-term loan from a friend who's father had just gotten a new bike and wanted to pass his old one along, an early 90s Japanese racing bike. This bike is just completely amazing and has taken the experience of biking for me from great to "I need to be sitting on this bike every minute of every day." I will write more on this bike and my history of bikes later, as there's something there, but suffice it to say that right now I have a hunger to be on the road.

In the past week I rode (according to the bike odometer) 96 miles. My rides this week included biking to work on Wednesday and Thursday and then three particular bike journeys on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Wednesday Ride, 17.62 miles
Wednesday was the day of The Great Hot Dog Ride Photo Recapturing with Ben D.

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Ben has been taking a statistics course on his way to beginning a path toward becoming a physician's assistant and for a final project he decided to canvas the city to evaluate the hot dog cart pricing. He did this as a part of a healthy 32 mile bike ride, but forgot to bring the memory card to his camera and was therefore unable to take any photos, so I agreed to meet up with him and recapture some action shots. I rode to work via the 59 St bridge and then met him downtown after work at Houston & Broadway. I snapped some poses and then we went for a ride to his house and continued our discussions on the finer points of Photoshop editing.

Here's a few photos I took (amazingly he didn't eat a single dog on his first journey, despite stopping at over 100 hot dog stands):

Saturday Ride, 13.81 miles
On Saturday, E-bad and I went on a sweet little bike tour of Astoria:

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We left from Williamsburg and headed over the Pulaski, the same way I ride to work, but then headed toward the East River and rode along that, seeing some of Astoria's lovely riverbank greens. We stopped along the way at Socrates Sculpture Park near the Noguchi Museum to relax and see some interesting outdoor artwork.


We finished the ride by riding east across 20th Ave, the northernmost street in Queens, and then cruising down Steinway back toward the Burg. We'd hoped to find the Steinway piano factory somewhere along our route, but no such luck.

Sunday Ride, 28.19 miles

I am hoping to participate in a 65 mile bike ride on Long Island next week (more on that later), but I'd still never ridden more than 20 or so miles in a day, so yesterday I went on a long ride of 28 miles:

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I began in Williamsburg into Queens, over the 59 St bridge, north up 1st Ave eventually reaching 145 St, then back down and through Central Park on the bike/ride/walk loop, all the way down and then back up to the E90 St exit. I then rode down 5th Ave to Broadway, and then more or less (there was a street fair on part of Broadway) down Broadway to Canal and then over the Manhattan Bridge into Brooklyn and then home via standard Fort Greene route.

It was a great ride and probably the longest I've ever taken. Unlike the other two more leisurely rides, I attempted to ride fast and hard, and so my legs were basically exhausted by the end (including a few incidents of cramping, which probably could have been avoided had I stretched better and eaten a few more sugars before beginning). I will need to work on pacing myself if I'm going to ride 65 miles next Sunday. Laugh with me on that one, please.


So we're getting back on track--regular updates going once again starting today.


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1 comment:

MertMengelmier said...

Your guide to surviving Ulysses, one chapter at a time....

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