Feeling Ill

They stole my bike last night. Bicyclemark’s bike was stolen. -THE HORROR- I suppose they needed it. Maybe a junkie had to ride his sick mother to hospital, and my bike was the first one he saw, plus I probably didn’t lock it properly. So that’s how I’ll imagine it… my bike was stolen in the name of saving the sick mother of a junkie; a noble cause.

I’m not surprised it happened.. considering how distracted I’ve been this week. My mind might have been racing from the intensive catch-up session I had with the Torontonienne, who has moved on to another blog(a blog I also love). I can’t explain why or from where the feeling comes from, but I see our lives growing apart, and there’s a sadness there. Then again, I guess some birds weren’t meant to be blog-caged.

On the IM last night I spoke to J.J.legs my long-time college friend, artist, prankster and paraolympian. The man who made stale college parties and nights on the town worth while. One of those New Jerseans who I miss and look forward to visiting. He gave me the odd news that an old girlfriend, Miss America is do to be married. I guess lots of us have experienced that age, when the old significant others start marrying. Haven’t spoken to her in years, and it was odd news to hear. Still, I wish her best of luck with Mr. America.

And then Arafat died, and that’s a solemn and surreal thing to watch in the media. As the angry arab has said on his blog, “they won’t have arafat to kick around anymore.” I wonder who they’ll blame now when they refuse to seriously pursue peaceful solutions.

What has most left me dazed and confused this week, besides potent maté, has been the siege of Falluja in Iraq. As I watch the videos, photos, and reports of what is happening there, I feel dirty. Like something terrible is taking place in my name and in the name of humankind. I wonder how others feel as they watch? All the explosions, gun-firing, talk of “controlling” the city… what good can come of such madness? Democracy by the barrel of a gun, leaves me quite sad. For my part I would choose neither a dictator, nor militarily-forced democracy… we should be more creative and innovative in our solutions to problems, instead of this archaic bullshit of bombs and armies.

Today’s Sounds: G. Love – The Hustle (Loving Me)

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Cheers the Computerlab

An enthusiastic international student friend of mine walked into the fishtank in the wee hours of the morning, and greeted me as I was manning the bridge. He stopped and said:

    You know BM, it’s always good to see you here when I walk in. It’s sort of.. comforting, like an old friend who’s always there.

I don’t usually think much of my fishtank duties at the international school, it’s certainly not the reason I work there, but at that moment – I felt like I was making a difference in people’s lives. No wait, I felt like Norm from Cheers, only without the beernuts.

This little “moment” reminded me of my days in Aix-en-Provence, at Spoiled American University. The most loved Internet Café was run by these two young, French, computernerds. Of course, I loved them. We all did. It was one of the best parts of the day, that initial walk-in conversation in French, usually consisting of:

    Bernard: Salut Biciclettemark!

    BM: Salut Bernard, Ça va?

    Bernard: Oui, et toi?

    BM: Pas Mal… Pas Mal.

    Bernard: Ok, computer 12 is open man. C-YA.

Yeah well, I only REALLY learned to speak French in Lisbon. France was more like language training camp, and I was the recruit who kept falling in the mud-puddles. But that’s a whole other story. The point of this trip down memory lane is that I realized for this student, I was Bernard, so to speak; that young, potentially hip guy who lives and works in the country where you are temporarily studying. And just like I’ll always remember the French guys at the internet-café, some of these students will always remember Bicyclemark who worked in the Fishtank sometimes. I’m honored to be a fixture in people’s memories.

Freshly back from Paris, Jamie of The Known Universe came to the ranch for some conversation and whiskey. As he mentions in his post, we talked about everything under the sun, including my PHD plans of studying the Culture of Weblog Readers and Writers. He was clearly fascinated at the idea, never having given much thought to the idea of himself becoming the museum exhibit behind glass.

Please do not touch the blogger.

Please do not speak to loudly, as it will startle the blogger.

Notice his leather jacket and walking boots,scientists have yet to reach a conclusion of how this affects his writing.

I’ll be giving the tours of course, wearing a white labcoat and latex gloves.

Jamie and I spent some time talking world affairs, specifically about Ivory Coast. We worried about the safety of a journalist friend of his, and talked about how the situation will undoubtedly get worse. Reading the latest and watching the videos, I’m annoyed with both the French Military and the Ivory Coast. I knew Laurent Gbagbo was a dangerous manipulator, but I couldn’t predict this overtly colonialist behavior on the part of the French. They guard whatever the hell they want, they bomb whatever they feel is a threat to their presence in the country, and they act as if its perfectly natural to do so. Sound familiar? No surprise there I guess, for all their bickering France and the US have many similarities, as do Paris and New York.

Today’s Sounds: Bob Dylan – Blood on the Tracks (its been a while)

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Ending Moments

*post delayed because blogger is always skrewed up lately*

You know that feeling where you’re somewhere, with a certain group of people for one of the last times, and you think “this is one of the greatest times in my life.” My last 5 years have been a giant collection of those, from way back – walking home at dawn, on our last night in France, with my Polish and Jersean comrads after another night of horrifying the ladies and offending the guys, or sitting in the “womb” in Haledon, NJ, listening to Nick Drake, with one of the finest human beings on this earth and D-Rock, to a pair of years ago sitting on the roof of my Lisbon nest playing horn, to the present – talking gibberish and singing Sinatra with my roomates here at the bicyclemark ranch. At each of these moments, like last night, I realize something great is coming to an end, and I tend to take a mental picture, for that scrapbook in my mind entitled “The best of times.”

The roomates are moving out, first the king of jogging goes – this sunday. And next month my darling miss piggy is moving in with her man. Thus leaving myself, ironically the soul non-dutch person, effectively on my own. Sure I will still sing Dean Martin and G.Love as I cook my fabulous dinners for one, but it won’t be the same without the accompanying dance steps and random shouting.

Then again, this also means a new sort of beginning, in this case, my new roomate from Salamanca. We happily speak Portugñol – a nice mix of Portugûes and Español – and I’m not quite sure how to explain it, but there’s a familiar feeling/comfort hanging around with someone from the western side of the Iberian penninsula. He’s a mild mannered, charming dude; reminds me of me in 10 years, and I think we shall get along swimmingly. Perhaps we’ll even sing while we cook, but I doubt it.

Is it obvious that I’m steering the blog on a more personal course these days? It’s all part of my master plan friends… all part of the master plan. (clasps hands in Montgomery Burns style) Eeeexcellent.

Let’s talk comments for a moment. First of all, comments make the blogosphere go round! And if you disagree with that, then I dare you not to leave a dissenting comment. I spend hours reading blogs, at last count, 150 feeds in my bloglines. Half of those might be newspapers, but still, I make it my priority to not only read but also comment. It enhances the discussion on other blogs, and it stimulates some visits and comments back here on the communique. What do I mention this? Because some within my blog generation wonder what they should do to get more visitors to their blogs. Now you know one more way.

The other thing that I often speak of, that also increases your readers (potentially) is being syndicated via an RSS feed. Which is free and, like a broken record I remind you, revolutionary in terms of how the internet is used. Pretty soon my dinners and all my girlfriends will just come to me via RSS. Oh yes! Oh no. Maybe some advances are not so great, but for readin shit on the net, RSS is the best thing since powdered toast. It has come to my attention that some of you might want my help in setting that up. I may indeed be of assistance, but in return I ask that you take a little glance at ye Wish List or ye Paypal (also in the sidebar) and consider giving bicyclemark a little token of thanks. I’m especially fond of the “I’m So Going to Blog This” stickers.

Today’s Sounds: Rickie Lee Jones – The Evening of My Day

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Trains,World Order, and Moms

Part of the reason I am such an avid blog reader is simply the fantastic quality of writers presently populating the blogosphere. Some being extremely popular and others seemingly only read by a handful, either way – truly talented and all-around-fun people. In this case I wanted to refer to two such beings who’s recent posts were especially an adventure and a pleasure to read.

First comes Tony Pierce+Busblog’s tribute to his mother on her birthday. Like him, I will someday lay out a huge thank you and tribute to my mother, not mention my father as well, for being the incredible people that they are, and helping me get where I am. (where am I?) But nevermind me, his post is fantastic, not to mention the timeless photos, and I’m sure all of us Busblog readers will be referring to it throughout the blogosphere.

Now I also wanted to point out another insane-genius who does not get as much press: No Coins. This week’s recounting of his city-to-shore MS Bike ride from Jersey to Philly was funnier than funny. I’m not only entertained by his madness, it makes me wish I was there! Now that’s good writing, ain’t it? (by the way, I’m leading the campaign to bring ain’t officially into MY English language cause it adds style and flows well)

The AGVThat being said, climb aboard won’t you, because it’s time once again to talk trains. Now I heart trains, they rank just below bicycles on the “transport that best represents me” list. I love looking at trains, riding in them, and picturing future trains. So needless to say I’ve been reading every little article in today’s FT special on the rail industry. Here are my favorite details so far:

– You thought TGV was hip? Or maybe I did. Well, Alstom has developed the AGV (Automatrice à Grande Vitesse) which has distributed power and will pull into a station like a warm summer’s breeze baby. Maybe minus the baby.

– The ICE-3 (Aka: Velaro), which can be found in Germany and I swear I’ve seen it in the Netherlands, is a stylish but pricey little serpent. It’s about time I head to central station and hop on one of those. I should also by a ticket beforehand to ensure a comfy and legal ride.

– Automated, Driver-less metros are getting more popular. Paris’s line 14 is what the FT talks about. The first one of these I was ever on was in Lyon, France back in 2000. While I was disappointed that there was no driver (and a bit scared) but I must admit there’s nothing quite like that view sitting right up in the front.

We could, of course, talk a bit about rail travel in North America, but I was hoping to go out on a positive note. So instead I’ll refer to the guy who found a memory card in a taxi and is now creating a story for each picture. Amazingly odd. I just noticed the blog has suddenly been stopped, I wonder if the owner found the photos and got pissed. I would definitely feel a bit violated… but also highly entertained.

Today’s Music: Coheed & Cambria – Delirium Trigger (I’m addicted to Coheed)

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