Dec. 29, 2005
I have a map neurosis when I travel. Even when navigating a straight line in a grid city, I must pause every few blocks to reorient myself. God help me in a non-grid city like Boston or London. The spines of my guidebooks crack, the corners and folds of my maps turn soft, and any time I save by not getting lost is negated by all the time I stand checking coordinates and scratching my head.
It's in that spirit of wayfinding that I've been re-reading lately, giving second and third reads to the books that on their first read promised to be my guidebooks. Over the years I have shuffled along and changed, so it makes sense to revisit them. (And why bother having a personal library if it is never drawn from?) In this double-checking I reorient myself according to where I've been, what landmarks are now in view and what roads are newly opened or closed.
(That said, I concede that I'm not sure where I'm going, but I'm nonetheless happy with how I'm getting there. Recall my experience in Yosemite: I wasn't lost. It was the goddamn path that didn't know its way.)
No surprise, media consumption this year waned whenever the cycling waxed. Even though I didn't race as much as others, I trained like a madman, and my heaviest months for movies were the winter months when I plowed through DVDs on the trainer. (Movies spiked in May, but six of the seven were from the "Star Wars" series in anticipation of and including Episode III.)
Here, then, are my 10 most-enjoyed books, movies and races of 2005*:
"Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close," Jonathan Foer
"Ballad of the Whiskey Robber," Julian Rubinstein
"The Rider," Tim Krabbe
"Cloud Atlas," David Mitchell
"Slouching Toward Bethlehem," Joan Didion
"The Perfect Mile," Neal Bascomb
"Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance," Robert Pirsig
"Ravelstein" Saul Bellow
"Big Deal," Anthony Holden
"Chicago Noir," Neal Pollack ed.
"Hell on Wheels"
"House of Flying Daggers"
Circuit of Sauk
Fall Fling Criterium No. 1
Tour da Chicago (Tic Tac Toe)
Lakefront Road Race
Sherman Park Criterium
St. Charles Cycling Classic
Alpine Valley Road Race
Leland Grand Prix
Matteson Tuesday Series (June 28)
Tour da Chicago (Prologue)
* Not to be confused with "10 best."
** I saw only 17 theatrical releases, so big- and small-screen viewings are classed together.
Sept. 9, 2005
Two recent moments:
"I found your blog the other day."
"You must have a lot of spare time."
Songs I hear on the radio on the first Saturday morning of September: Neil Young's "Like a Hurricane" and Tom Petty's "Refugee." I change the station before "When the Levee Breaks" has a chance to come on. When the levee breaks I’ll have no place to stay ... Cryin’ won’t help you, prayin’ won’t do you no good.
June 5, 2005
Photo taken: June 4, 2005
Jan. 31, 2005
A month into this I suppose I should codify the rules.
Unlike some other blogs you may be familiar with, this site will have few, if any, of the following:
Examples of correct CSS.
Words all-capped for hyperbole OR IRONY.
Observations on current events.
References to work. (As far as the job goes, there is no blog. As far as the blog goes, there is no job. Please don't ask; please don't tell. Getting fired for a blog is just so 2003, and the cliche would destroy me.)
Named references to anyone to whom I haven't made a lifelong commitment.
Oblique and/or sinister references to anyone I'm avoiding naming.
Posts I may regret when St. Peter -- or other potential dates -- is Googling me.
Ruminations on anything outside my expertise.
Intimations that I am an expert in anything but me. (They say write what you know, and I happen to be the world's foremost authority on me.)
Stories about my children or pets.
Children conceived because I'm running out of material.
Quite frankly, it's going to be mostly photos.
Jan. 4, 2005
I suppose I should explain what's going on here.
Recently I came across a transcription I'd made of the following voice-mail message:
Hi, Luke. This is Greg Knauss. And on behalf of the entire Web community, we
want you to start writing again. We were goofing around today -- the entire Web
community -- and we kind of ran out of things to read. And so we went back and
poked around Minnesota Stories and, dammit, start. That's an order. Further
instructions will follow. This has been the entire Web community, saying "Bye."
Greg Knauss, Sept. 8, 1999
Remember those days? When it was possible to run out of things to read online?
Those days were great!
There is no longer such a shortage. In fact, there's such a surplus of good writing that any self-respecting person must consider the following questions before starting, say, a blog:
- Are you really all that interesting?
- Can you think of anything more narcissistic by nature than a blog? If no, are you OK with that?
- What, do you think this is still 1995 and you're still 19?
- If as a non-blogger you already suspect everyone thinks you're a moron, why blog and remove all doubt?
- Is it possible to do anything that's not being done already?
- What if it's found by people you know and respect? Worse, what if it's found by people you know and disrespect?
- Wouldn't time be better spent reading good blogs than writing, at best, a mediocre one?
It's all been considered and re-considered, and yet but so what the hell: Let's do this, even if it's five years late.
These are decisive moments. This is Decisive Moments. It's sort of a blog, but mostly not. It will be what it will be, and nothing more.