Stylocycle’s Blog

This Indecision’s Buggin’ Me
October 28, 2009, 2:39 pm
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I had a big post… but deleted it.

In the writing and deleting I decided that I prefer to spend my afternoon today prepping for my son’s 17th birthday tomorrow than to set myself up for an emotional tear-down with him at a therapy session scheduled for this afternoon.

I’m not biking across town in the rain to get emotionally and mentally pummeled. He can work out his own stuff. I’ll bike in the rain to get the provisions to make his birthday a better one than he’s anticipating. Why? Because even though he is beastly, I am his momma and I love him. They tell me that’s the parent’s burden in the teen-years: to love someone who hates you. Sometimes I wish I could be just a little more “Animal Kingdom” about it and beckon the hyenas. But when he’s sleeping, I go all Robert Munsch… and love him forever. Arg.

I wish that we could do as they do in Sleeping Beauty and put all teenagers to sleep for 100 years and have them awakened only at the point when there is someone else to step-in and take care of them.


Autumn Respite
October 27, 2009, 11:13 pm
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The weather has been remarkable for the past few days: neither rainy nor frigid, but very pleasant: just cool enough for riding to be pure pleasure. I have a few routes to and from work now, and on my Tuesdays and Wednesdays, I always break up my ride with a stop for a café-au-lait at my favourite patisserie. It turns the ride into 2 8-10-minute sections with a little socializing at the mid-point. It’s a very civilized way of doing things.

I’m also enjoying some respite from the three (!) rounds of viral illness that have hit me since we moved house on the last week-end of August. I think that since moving I’ve been sick about 50% of the time…. so being out and about on my bike feels really great.

Among the things I’m enjoying doing on my rides now is surveying the residential architecture in my new neighbourhood. It’s largely folk victorian, but I’m fascinated by the various additions people have put on to their houses, and by transformations of what used to be summer kitchens into full-year kitchens. I like to look at people’s gardens; there is a general movement afoot to get rid of grass, and to plant perennial beds on the boulevards in front of the houses. I’d post pictures, but I’m not comfortable posting shots of *other* people’s homes.

I *will* post photos of the new quasi public space that forms the commercial courtyard at the base of the Bauer lofts up the road from where I live. The project is more than 2 years overdue, so there’s been much anticipation. The region’s best specialty grocer will finally be able to move into the new space, and there will be a florist as well. But there’s also what promises to be a moderately sized piazza type courtyard in the middle that is accessible and useable space for all who go into the shops, i.e.: it’s not just for those who live in the lofts. I like that.

When they have it officially opened, I’ll post some shots of that. I hope the view will be suitably autumnal and not positively hibernus.

Fall down. Go boom.
October 18, 2009, 10:41 am
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Not me. Just the Blue Beauty.

We had a nasty windstorm about a week ago, and while BB was parked outside, she was blown over and landed so hard that the front brake lever was snapped in half. I’ve since had her all tuned up for winter and the lever repaired, but now I’m thinking about getting one of those double-sided kickstands with a base (kind of like what I’ve seen on a few Pashleys). So I’m hoping readers might have some suggestions. BB is heavey, but also can catch the wind because of the coat-guards on the rear wheels, the saddle-bags and front panier, each of which can function rather like a sail in the wind.

So, readers? Any thoughts?

I’m also taking suggestions on favourite riding gloves. It’s been frigid here for the past week, and I’ve been wearing gloves, but I’m thikning that this year I want a better solution than last year (in which I put neoprene and goretex riding gloves on over my slender dress gloves for 2 layers: one warm and the other waterproof). But if I could please find for this year something stylish that is also warm and waterproof in *one* pair, I’d be thrilled.

Again: taking suggestions.

David Byrne’s Bicycle Diaries
October 14, 2009, 2:02 pm
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I can’t stand reading fiction. When I was young, I read all kinds of fiction — mostly 19th to mid 20th C. with large doses of the Russians, French, and Irish writers. My ‘trash’ reading leaned toward John Irving and Milan Kundera, both of which really twisted up how I thought about the world for a long time. In my late 20’s I found I had no stomach for fiction anymore. I’d get the newest big buzz book and find that I was bored to tears within three chapters. I’d skip forward to see if anything was happening that I hadn’t already guessed would happen, find I’d guessed correctly and abandon the book.

A few years ago I returned to ‘pleasure reading’ when I discovered that I prefer to read non-fiction prose. These are not precisely autobiographies, but personal observations and experiences saturated by the qualities that come of living a life embedded in some kind of cultural-production world. Ruth Reichel’s books are among my favourites in this genre.

But now David Byrne (of the Talking Heads, yes!) has a book about cycling coming on the market. I’m going to pre-order it today. I hope it will arrive in time for the end of classes so that I can read it over the December holidays. Bicycle Diaries, I think, must be a tribute title to Jim Carrol and so I’m already hooked. But the subject matter — a rock-icon’s view of the globe from a two-wheeled perspective promises to be riveting. And what I like about these kinds of books is that they don’t have a particular narrative arc, no formula; the writer often writes about things s/he had not expected to happen (and so as a reader I don’t get bored). Real life is harder to predict than scripted lives are.

On the NY Times website today there is a video segment with Byrne in which he discusses, for example, the surprise that it’s neither Copenhagen nor Amsterdam that he has found to be most bike friendly, but the many smaller towns and cities of Northern Italy. Interestingly, I found the very same thing a few years ago when we were in Tuscany. City centres were pretty much car-free, and people of all ages rode on bicycles to get where they were going. I have some great photos on my old computer and I’ll dig them up and post them here later.

Y’all might want to cruise over to the NY Times and check out the video with Byrne. It’s on the homepage for the ‘paper’.

A book launch — for me! — or: letting the world come to me.
October 3, 2009, 2:31 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Wow. I don’t have the coordinates yet, but I’m just gob-smacked in the most happy way that a lovely person I met over the summer is so keen on my work that zie’s arranging a book launch for my new collection to take place early in the new year. The venue is to be determined, but we are aiming for a place that welcome both general community and academic community folks. There are some obvious candidates, but until we have the details settled, I won’t name potential locations (as that just seems inappropriate for a fairly public place like a blog). What I am just blown away by is the sheer number of people who want to see a formal launch (you know, with wine and cheese and books for sale, etc.) happen and who are helping to do the coordinating.

I am really very blessed.

It’s only too bad that I’ve spent most of this week in bed with the flu and haven’t been able to get out at all. I’d love to be riding around town in the crisp autumn air.

Ah well, at least I’m fortunate enough to have the world coming to me!

Anyone who is interested in the book I’m all excited about launching can check it out here:
Critical Intersex on Amazon

or directly at the publisher’s site, here (where you can download selections from the book):

On a completely unrelated note, I modified a recipe from the NY Times tonight and made tomato-cheese eclairs (made my own pastry, made my own cheese filling from blue cheese, pecorino and pressed yogurt with a hefty amount of garlic), and roasted plum tomatoes in olive oil with sea salt and rosemary. Oh. My. God. Yum. I highly recommend this as a side, as an alternative to salad, or as an amuse-bouche for parties. The original recipe and other similar ideas can be found at: A Hearty Appetite

I love that my new neighbourhood has a family-owned grocery that is a short walk away and permits me to do these culinary experiments on a moment’s notice.