INDIEchouette


FAHRRAD FAHREN
26 March, 2009, 1259 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

I drank Mountain Dew at about midnight.  Now I am just waiting for the caffiene to kick in or wear off.

Until then, I feel the need to document biking adventures for people who are considering investing in a bike.  I’m new to the whole thing, too, so I’m just going to share my own experience.  You can’t really take my word as The Word.  But I’d be more than happy if you’d share tips or your own experiences with me!  I’m currently obsessed with biking for many reasons, one of which being my lack of hunger for candy.  Another of which being that waiting for the VCU Campus Connector bus really blows sometimes.  I prefer to take the fate of my timeliness into my own hands.

I purchased my bike, named Ponyta for no apparent reason other than the fact that Virginia thought it was appropriate, at Bunnyhop Bike Shop on West Grace Street.  Before I made my purchase, however, I checked out Re-cycles on West Cary Street and one other place on Main Street, near Carytown.  I guess you could say that it’s on the way to Carytown.  Since I’m easily intimidated, Bunnyhop was the place for me just because the staff guy was helpful, friendly, and also…they a bike in my price range, which I fell in love with right away because it was so cute.

Ponyta is a green AMF Voyager with a basket and a bell and the kind of brakes where you petal backwards.  If you see her around, you should thread a note into the basket saying that I’m a sexy vegan because SOMEone did that last week, and I don’t know who it was, except that I’ve eliminated about five people.  Secret anonymous notes have serious potential to make my day.

Anyway, I started by riding on the sidewalk, which is apparently illegal in Richmond, but I have ridden past the cops on my bike on the sidewalk about ten thousand times, and they’ve never done anything to prohibit me from this activity.  If they did, then I think that would be very anal.  They’re probably more worried about legitimate problems like muggings and maybe shoplifting.  Plus, I saw a biking cop riding on the sidewalk.  So I think it’s okay.  But if you’ve ever walked on the sidewalk in Richmond, you’ll notice that they are very uneven, and the brick ones are extremely bumpy.  This is not only fairly dangerous, but it also makes progress pretty slow and requires strict concentration if you want to get anywhere.  It’s also common sense that if you want to maintain control of your bike while you’re going over any bikes, standing up briefly makes it far more tolerable.

For the record, my bike is a one-speed and I think it’s actually a kids’ bike.  Because I am lamely kid-sized.  But you know how gear bikes make clicking noises while you’re not pedaling?  Well, my bike is silent except when I go over bumps, in which case, it sounds like a shopping cart.  I think that’s why I have a bell, but I feel like an asshole ringing it at pedestrians.  Hi, here’s a cheerfuck “Fuck You” and by the way, get out of my way.  Pedestrians prefer if you ride in the street, and drivers prefer if you ride on the sidewalk.  It is a no-win situation.  For now, I ride generally ride on the sidewalk to get to main campus and I ride mostly in the street to get back to the other campus.  To get to Carytown, it’s fine to ride in the street on Main.  There’s enough room and it’s so much quicker that way.

I have rules of thumb regarding riding my bike between classes, too.  If it is between ten till and o’clock, I walk my bike to my destination because the sidewalks are so crowded with students getting out of and going to classes that it’s hard to keep from hitting anyone.  If it is any other time, then I can manage to ride.  I just think it’s kind of a courtesy and a safety thing because lots of pedestrians are unaware.  It’s a dick move to ride on the sidewalk with so many pedestrians.  It’s like you’re breathing down their necks.

For me, I think pedestrians are so cute and predictable, so fragile that you need to look out for their slow selves.  Drivers, though, are generally assholes to bikers, just as they are sometimes to pedestrians.  In my little experience, I guess you just have to hold your ground if you have the right of way and if you’re riding in the street.  When I’ve done that, I’ve had no problem.  Lack of assertiveness has created problems, though.  Drivers just need to respect that ground and not get impatient because really?  It’s not going to make them any more late to have to be able to wait to pass a bike.

Also notable:  I am gaining muscle pretty rapidly.  First of all, my thighs, which normally have no substance, are gaining a little muscle and I can tell when I sit down and pedal because my pants are tighter right there.  And for some reason, I am feeling my biceps building up probably not because of actual riding, but maybe because of lifting my bike on and off of bike racks and up and down curbs because I can’t hop.  Ponyta herself is light, but she is heavy when I have my Deutschbuch and assorted notebooks and novels.  The rest of my body seems to be very gradually evening out because with physical activity, I’m not so tempted to binge on candy and other unhealthy snacks.  I haven’t bought Sour Patch Watermelons for so long.  Instead, I regularly crave salad and cranberry juice and pasta.  And biking makes me tired but gives me motivation to get off my ass and work to get food.  I like this.



BEFORE MARCH ENDS

I think this one is easier on the ears.

1.  Sea Legs | The Shins
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The beginning to this song, before any melody or lyrics, sort of reminds me of something Switchfoot would do, and I loved Switchfoot when I was maybe fourteen.  I have since moved on, but you could say that I am comforted by familiar things.  Everyone is.  In addition to reminding me of Switchfoot, the Shins will always remind me of some scene from Garden State, even if only two of their songs were in the movie.  “Sea Legs” is a darker Shins piece, but it’s not unpleasant.  In its boldness, it is pleasant.  It is assertive.  It is an evening piece.  The evening is my favourite time of day.  That’s why I put this on my March mix, because it’s starting to get warmer, it’s spring, and the evenings are beginning to grow more and more enjoyable.

2.  Unforgettable Season | Cut Copy
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Sometimes, when I have a clear head, blank slate, and I don’t already have a song in mind, I’ll allow my iPod to shuffle around songs that I don’t listen to very often.  That’s how I grew to like “Unforgettable Season.”  The reason I allowed myself to listen instead of switching the song is that it’s encouraging and atmospheric, like most summer songs.  It’s not summer, but it’s close enough.

3.  Can’t Stop Now | Keane
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As I said before, familiarity is comforting.  Keane is familiar.  Also, Keane and piano rock in general both give me this weird romantic-comedy feelings.  It’s probably because Keane always has this pained, broken-hearted sound that captures the feeling that someone is lonely and trying very hard to be happy in order to get over something dreadful.  I’m not going to lie (and really, why would I lie), I love that sound and I love that feeling.  Emotion keeps my heart running.

4.  Take Me Anywhere | Tegan & Sara
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I think Tegan & Sara’s short songs are the best ones because they pack the most feeling into the smallest packages.  For example, listen to “Soil, Soil.”  That’s one of my favourites.  Also, the short ones tend to be the catchier ones.

5.  Jedi | melpo mene
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I have a newfound love for Star Wars.  And I have a relatively newfound love for the style of elevator music that Melpo Mene produces.  But my love for gentle, delicate voices is not newfound.  It may be because of “I Adore You” or maybe because of the all-around sound that their albums produce, but I find that Melpo Mene is the epitome of a cloud-band.  Also, for some reason, maybe because his voice is just so delicate and his songs just so tender, Erik Mattiasson somehow reminds me of a Swedish version of Gael García Bernal’s character in The Science of Sleep, which is endearing.  It makes me want to tuck him in and make him breakfast.

6.  Pagan Angel And A Borrowed Car | Iron & Wine
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Ali pointed out to me that Sam Beam looks like Jesus.  I already somehow realized this, but having her point it out so bluntly is only a little bit of a setback, because I generally love hairy people.  I really don’t care that he has taken up the typically unattractive Christ-look because of his delicate, smooth, and intimate voice, which is revealing but still manages to retain a great amount of dignity.  I love Sam Beam’s work.

7.  Let It Fall | Lykke Li
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I uploaded this song only a few days ago, but here!  I’m giving you another chance to introduce yourself to Lykke Li!  Every time I listen to this song, I want to hopskotch, jumprope, draw with chalk, and play outdoors kids’ games.  Do not ask why.  Probably because of the sing-songness, syncopation, and “so happy-ee-ee-ee!” Maybe I’ll make a mix of new childhood nostalgia songs for the summer.

8.  Soul Meets Body | Death Cab For Cutie
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I also uploaded this song recently, but I don’t think I ever explained just why.  I went on a bike-trip for dinner to Carytown with Virginia and Bryan, neither of whom have websites that I can link to.  We ate dinner at Nacho Mama’s and then left to gather up our bikes and as we drove past Nacho Mama’s again, we heard this song emanating from the outdoor speakers.  When I hear a song that I already love playing in a public place, I will be hooked on it for a while.  This one’s for the good biking weather!

9.  Coat Check Dream Song | Bright Eyes
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Cassadaga wasn’t as awesome as Conor Oberst’s older material.  We all know that.  The warbly voice was gone, the drugs were absent.  There were, however, some winners, such as this one, which features some woman as a guest–who is it?  Is there more than one woman?  Is one of those women Maria Taylor?  I think that the woman in this song really makes it.

10.  Dance Dance Dance | Lykke Li
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I searched Lykke Li on Youtube.  I found this video.  A dancer all alone.  This song could make you feel so alone in a crowd.  The percussion.  Her lonely voice.  The lonely lyrics.  I became ecstatic and fell in love with the song.  What I love is that there is not really any buildup and it never becomes a huge fanfare, though it gradually becomes a little more lively, a little more happy until there is a chorus of women and maybe one man.  Also, it’s probably the only song in the world written and performed by a self-proclaimed shy person.  I love that.

11.  Wedding March | Erin Tobey
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I don’t like the idea of marriage, but I love the idea of a female acoustic artist.  In fact, I love the idea of acoustic artists in general.  Or acoustic artists that are purely instrumental.  Or purely instrumental artists.  Lyrics sometimes get in the way.  That doesn’t happen with Erin Tobey.  Erin Tobey’s voice is so gentle, anyway, that it just combines with the guitar and absolutely floats as it ascends to meet Melpo Mene in the clouds.  Listen to the lyrics, though.  They are how I feel.

12.  Avignon | Pinback
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This was my first taste of Pinback years ago.  So when I was asked by Ke at the beginning of last semester if I had ever heard of Pinback, yes, I had, but I didn’t know it until I checked out my Last.fm charts from forever ago.  My first taste of Pinback was via Last.fm and I was probably sixteen.  I must add here that it was a faster verion and that I officially love songs with pet names.  In this case, they’re sad pet names.  In other cases, you get pet names like Baby Girl, which is basically my cat’s name.  Babygirl.  Babyqirl.

Avignon (Full Band Version) | Pinback
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This is the faster version.

13.  Hanging High | Lykke Li
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Supposing I have children, I want them to grow up listening to this serene tune.  That’s the first thing I thought when I first heard these bittersweet sounds.  She has a delicate but distinct voice, so sweet and dignified, so bold, and so young.  She’s so young.  It all shows here.

14.  Effigy | Andrew Bird
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You can tell that Andrew Bird definitely loops the beginning, which is a magical procedure to witness live.  He has to be so precise!  Anyway, I heard this one at Cherry Alley, which was another case of falling in love with a song I know and then hear in a public place.  I recognized Andrew Bird’s distinct voice immediately and felt calm.  As far as I’ve noticed, he rarely uses guests, but when he does, they’re incredible females.  Ali put it so simply:  It’s such a beautiful song.  Even if it’s about death.  Well really, those can be the most beautiful because they’re loneliest.

15.  House By The Sea | Iron & Wine
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I feel that I need to show you a picture of Sam Beam’s Jesus-ness in order for you to understand.

Not Sam Beam.  Actually Jesus.

Not Sam Beam. Actually Jesus.

The reason I love this song so much is that it talks about two jealous sisters waiting in a house, basically just prepping, doing nothing, waiting for something terrible.  I picture an abandoned house where my sister is making angels in the dust on the wooden floors and I am walking around, loving her, trying to take care of her, trying to change the locks on the door, trying to keep her safe even though we can’t be safe anywhere and we will have to leave soon.  There is a lot of imagery, and it reminds me of myself and my sister, Rachael.  Or what we could be if we were terrible people who had to get along because we had nobody else.  Also, I love raspberries.  And I love the way Sam Beam sings about raspberry leaves.  And I love the guitar riffs.  This is currently my favourite Iron & Wine song.

16.  Underground | Sentinel
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Even if the guitar parts make little sense to me, it’s my favourite part.  I like this song because it has potential.  It succeeds in being atmospheric and a definite travelling song, which is all I really ask of it.  My favourite part is either the beginning or the last ~30 seconds.  If you like it, then I advise that you check out “Avalanche” by Sentinel.

17.  2 O’Clock | Kaki King
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Kaki King is playing a childish game with us.  Her voice is like Erin Tobey’s in that it floats up in the clouds.  I’m guessing that this song is about someone who is taking care of a very injured person who doesn’t love her. the pain is the reason I love this song.  And the sing-songness she uses when she gets to the built-up part.  I generally love Kaki King’s ability to capture any melancholy emotion, though.  In a sense, it’s a shame she doesn’t sing more, since her voice is tinged with pleasantness, but then, I’d be afraid that her voice or lyrics would get in the way of her music, which would be unfortunate.  Also,  you need to listen to Kaki King’s retaliation at the end of the track.  Don’t stop when she stops singing.  Keep going.

18.  Out On The Weekend | Neil Young
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Listening to the original really stresses just how well Conor Oberst/Bright Eyes can cover Neil Young.  Or how much Neil Young influenced Bright Eyes.  I wish I had good taste when I was younger.  Don’t fret that it’s a really quiet track, either; my dad converted all of his records into mp3 format and that’s why.  “She’s so fine/She’s in my mind/I hear her callin'”  Yeah.  Favourite part in any version.

19.  Resurrection Fern | Iron & Wine
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My attention was called to this piece because it was on a mix that someone close to Jaimie had made for her.  It shows how close.  Whenever I hear, “Like stubborn boys across the road we’ll keep everything,” I think of Charles, Coleton, Phelan, Travis, and Torey and how close we were the summer of 2007 on North 11th Street under Charles’ tree.  Every day!  Every night!  Circle Meetings!  We were a family, along with my real family, Rachael, Alexa, and Shannon.  I loved them all.  I still love them all.  I miss being lonely, underage, and terribly sad.  I think that it’s harder to be lonely and of age.  I really do.



OFTEN, I LOVE RICHMOND

This is my first roll of Diana+ Dreamer film.  I exposed it a little before I started, while I was loading, because it confused the fuck out of me.  I am a n00b, but now I know.

Also, I want to give you a song as a peace offering.  It was warm yesterday and this song came on at the bus stop.  On beautiful days, I’m extremely open to listening to music that I haven’t tested yet, whereas on dreadful days, I prefer comforting familiars.

Town of 85 Lights | The Occasional Keepers
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It’s been on my computer for probably forever, but it really struck me as something else, you know?  It’s almost as though it’s from a different era.  It’s a weird listen, but not displeasing.

Today, two friends and I journeyed to Carytown, because apparently it hit a high of 70 degrees Fahrenheit here, which is sweet.  It was a nice walk, and I got to ride a bike part of the way.  I love riding bikes, and I love bike riders.  It’s a problem.

While we were in town, we hit up Richmond Camera to pick up my film.  The people there are always helpful, not snobbish like you may expect artistic people to be.  We also went to Smoothie King for sick smoothies and then Bang-on to browse.

Tomorrow, Virginia and I plan to take rva’s advice and hit up Re-Cycles for sick bikes.