Monday, July 27, 2009

TO THE SUMMIT!

Man, what a weekend.

I slept for maybe 5 hours all weekend. And none of it was in my own bed. I think I spent about 80% of the time on my bike. The other twenty percent was spent either getting unintentionally involved in some manner of madness, or eating. It all started WAY too fucking early on Saturday morning. The alarm went off and I got up to drive to the middle-of-nowhere hippytown Connecticut to help Brooksie sell lots and lots of amazing TOTALLY SWEET vegan treats to hippies, yogis, potters, and other weirdos. All in all, a relaxing day in the sun with a giant table of vegan treats in front of me that I couldn't eat.

(The following pictures were taken with an iPHONE. I feel the need to make this disclaimer thanks a certain someone who has given me a complex about not being good enough.)

I found boulders out front of the Boston Children's Museum. Of course we had to stop and say hi.


There are at least 2 semi-quality boulder problems on these things.


I can not do any tricks.


Except for a no-hands trackstand.

Then it was off to meet up with the Geekhouse boys for a night of riding, eating, telling stupid stories and other random adventures. I ended up riding around Boston with Joe until some unholy hour and crashing in his spare bedroom for like 12 minutes until we had to get up to go compete in the George Street Major Taylor event in Worcester.

The view from less than 1/3 way up.

There is really no word to describe how daunting of a task this race is. It's only something like 500ft. A time trial sprint....UP THE MOST RIDICULOUS HILL EVER. An average grade of 18% with the steepest bit (conveniently located at the top of the climb) clocking in at a hellish 24% grade. SHO MY GOD. There were around 150 competitors. Riding on super expensive bikes, three person tandems, BMX bikes, track bikes, touring bikes, and one dude even attacked that hill in a really big crappy wal-mart mountain bike in nothing but sneakers and platform pedals. Due to poor planning, Marty and I shared a GEEKHOUSE bike as well as cleats for our shoes. We swapped out the rear cog and mashed up the hill on a 46-20 gear ratio and I think we did bloody well. Marty beat me by 2 seconds even after taking a nasty spill half way up on his first go because he is an amateur and can't handle the bike he built with his own two hands. Marty's entire family rides, and his dad and younger brother both raced as well. Overall, this event was great fun. And I will definitely return next year to beat my time this year. (Which for the record, I got because of BAD ADVICE from Marty.) I can definitely shave AT LEAST 5 seconds off my time. Anyhow....whatever.

Me just leaving the starting line. Before shit got *difficult*.


Approaching the 28% grade. So steep.


Marty at the starting line.


Ladies and Gentlemen, MARTY WALSH.


Second go, much better. WOOO!


Um. That's really quite a hill.

After that we went back to Marty's parents' house and stuffed our faces with vege-kebabs, boca burgers, veggie dogs, and sprite. Then headed back to Boston for an evening of riding, eating, and movie-going. Turned out amazing. THE HANGOVER is a surprisingly good film. Unless, of course, you're a ritard.

I'm heading to San Francisco for some friends' wedding this weekend, but when I get back there's a lot of cool features coming for THIEVES LIKE US. I have confirmed the interview and video session with GEEKHOUSE, as well as one with OPEN. So those should make for some insightful and mildly entertaining reads/views. So keep checking back on that front. I also have some product reviews coming up...which I will reveal more about later.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

RECORD ROUNDUP

ell. It seems as though there has been a slew of new/new-ish records to come out lately. All of which you should own. I am not going to post any of these for download for several reasons: 1] A lot of them were released by my friends, or friends of mine are in the band. SO you should actually support them. 2] It's too much danged work. 3] There is NO excuse to get THIS MUCH great music for free. Ok, here goes:

PAINT IT BLACK-Amnesia EP

Even if you had been living in a cave, or on the space station, I would still find it hard to believe that you have not heard of this band. If I had to make a list of current hardcore bands doing anything relevant, the list would be depressingly short, and right smack in the number one position would be PAINT IT BLACK. This EP is certainly no exception. PAINT IT BLACK have always somehow managed to capture raw, in your face, blasting hardcore energy, and seamlessly meld it with anthemic, melodic, sing-alongs. My personal favorite is "Nicotine", which is probably the perfect version of what I just described. Get this record. Now. Stop reading this. Go. or rather, GO!


COALESCE-Ox LP

I will not lie. I fully expected this record to suck like some sort of industrial super-powered vacuum. I am nauseatingly tired of reunions, so-called triumphant returns, and comebacks, that I will probably puke my fucking moustache off if one more mediocre 90's hardcore band announces a tour, a record, a show, or that the band members are even still friends. However, I stand corrected with this record. COALESCE has returned with a record that drags you across the floor by the collar and then throws you against the wall. Honestly, most COALESCE records with the exception of "Functioning on Impatience" and the "002" EP were an utter freaking bore. But this record is awesome. One thing I am unsure of is that this record has some "singing" on it. Not sure if I am a fan. My friend Nate says it gives the record some "breathing room". Which I don't disagree with. Then again, Nate also said his band is touring with COALESCE, and then immediately posed the important question of "What is this, 1993?" Sometimes, Nate makes jokes.


NARROWS-New Distances LP

This band might be a bit of what is referred to in the biz as a "supergroup". Featuring members of Unbroken, Botch, These Arms are Snakes, etc. you can see why they might get that title. Deathwish Inc. put out this record, and while that label can usually be relied on for quality stuff, this record really busts out the jams. And more importantly, I would say that Deathwish does a good job of putting out a lot of records that sound identical, so this NARROWS album is a fresh cut for sure. I feel like maybe if I was a critic/asshole, I would call this album "post-hardcore" or some such non-sense. But really, I am neither a critic (for sure), or an asshole (debatable). So I will just call this record "totally awesome". It's really hard to listen to this record and not think "Whoah, this guys voice is the realness". Find out for yourself.

NARROWS: GYPSY KIDS (2009) 872 x 480 from My Black Cat on Vimeo.




THE LEGENDS-Over and Over LP

This band has been around for a long time. All their records sound completely different. Their last album "Facts and Figures" was a synthpop wondergem wrapped in Scandinavian goodness. The Album before that "Public Radio" was a masterpiece mash-up of all the best bands of all time (Jesus & Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, New Order, The Cure, etc.), and before that, "Up Against the Legends" was essentially an amazing garage rock record. This time around, THE LEGENDS are offering up an almost over-the-top tribute to shoegaze sounds. But in a very poppy way. It's almost hard to describe. But man, it makes a whole danged earful of sense when I listen to it. Also, you should look into the related bands: CLUB 8 and ACID HOUSE KINGS. You will not be disappointed. Unless, of course, you don't like good music.


DANANANANAYKROYD-Hey Everyone LP

There is something about DANANANANAYKROYD that makes me really want to hate them. Perhaps it's the fact that they all look a little TOO DAMN HIP. Perhaps it's the fact that there is a Siberian Husky in their music video, and it makes me violently jealous. Either way, this band is really really damn good. It's like an updated version of Cap N' Jazz meets some modern version of mid-90's emo-core. God, actually, now that I read that, it makes the record sound like the worst thing of all time ever. Just get the danged record.




VNV NATION-Of Faith, Power & Glory LP

I make no qualms about my insatiable lust for all things synthpop, gothic, and industrial. I have been a huge lover of VNV NATION ever since I was first introduced to the politico-posi-goth beats on "Praise the Fallen" back in 1999. And every record of theirs is completely amazing in it's own right. This newest offering is my favorite in a while. And makes me think that perhaps, if Laibach were a synthpop band, it would probably sound an awful lot like this. Also, I just saw them live for the 5th or 6th time, and they effing KILLED it. SO good. Feel the sweet sweet beats, enjoy the empowering positive lyrics, embrace the darkside. Victory Not Vengeance.


GOD HELP THE GIRL-s/t LP

BELLE & SEBASTIAN's frontman held a contest. Yes, a goddamn contest to pick out some of the female vocalists for this little offshoot/side project thing. Never minding the fact that that might be the single-most ridiculous pseudo rock star bullshit I have heard in a long time....this record is a gem. And while BELLE & SEBASTIAN might very well be the most uptight whining pretentious shit of all time, it's undeniably amazing. And GOD HELP THE GIRL pretty much follows suit. The only other artist to pull of this kind of image and snobbery without deserving to be publicly flogged was MORRISSEY. And I think that's saying something. God help us all is more like it. We are helpless against music this good.


Monday, July 20, 2009

CITY SLICKER

It was nice out.


I met up with Joe. Who dresses well.


We rode our bikes all over Boston.


We helped Zack and Josh from OPEN do some fun charitable work for an incredible organization called Cyclekids. And by "work", I mean we all raced each other in a room full of rich people and got free food and drinks.


Then we went to Charlie's in Harvard Square where they have nothing remotely interesting for a vegan to eat. But The Tour was on the TV, so we stayed.


Bridgey and I barely made it to the last train home.

Unrelated.....


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

THE DEATH OF COOL

Well, this is it. The concept of riding a single speed/fixed gear bicycle being at all socially relevant or valid is officially done. The final nail in the coffin has been hammered in with one swing by Urban Outfitter's new online "bike shop" (barf). As most of you know, UO is where trends and brands go to die.

I don't want to sound like a hater. Because I would rather people be riding just about ANY bike. But really? Urban fucking Outfitters? To think that they give even the tiniest amount of shit about the local, national, or worldwide cycling culture is laughable. Plus, it's lousy stuff like this that puts good builders who are truly offering a custom experience to the customer at risk. Not to mention all of the awesome local bike shops that would be able to sell these kinds of lower end bikes to people. What a freaking shame.



I am not "too cool" for Urban Outfitters. I shop there on occasion. This is bigger than that. This is about Urban Outfitters yet again co-opting something special and turning it into a huge, embarrassing failure. There are about a zillion examples of this in UO's history. And this is certainly no exception.

All I am saying is, please check out any number of these fine custom bike builders before you give your money to people who are so crooked that they probably have to screw their pants on in the morning.

and about a million others....

And if you live in the Boston area, consider going to an actual bike shop where someone might shake your hand and you might get grease on your palm. Neat!:

and about a million others....

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A DIFFERENT KIND OF SUCCESS

Just as I was beginning to think this was no longer a climbing-related blog, the clouds broke and I made a run for Rumney. I hadn't seen the sun in so long that I half expected to burst in to flames like some creature of the night. Much to my surprise (and probably everyone else's chagrin) I am still alive. A daywalker. Just like the rest of you.

And while I might be good at making vampyric metaphors, I am apparently no good at sport climbing. Sunday was my first day outside since I was half way across the danged planet. And after monsoon season, it appears as if I have lost most of my ability to climb hard. Or something.

At any rate, the weather was fantastic. A little humid for me, but still quite good. And Alexa and I had some more goes at our projects (Good Earth 12c, and Dr. No 13d respectively.). Alexa has been working on this route for a while now. She took a horrifying fall off it last season and smashed in to the wall behind her consequently filleting her arm open like a freshly caught fish. After much coercion on my part, she has gotten back on it this year and is about as close as is humanly possible to sending the rig.

Alexa getting serious on Good Earth (12c)

As far as my little boltering project goes...before I left for South Africa, I had that thing all stitched up, and merely had to leave it be due to getting rained out. And thought for sure I would get the thing over and done with Sunday. Boy, was I wrong. I don't even know what happened. A poor showing for certain.

My good pals Nick and Caitlin whom are here for the Summer from Gainesville came along, and took some shots of me getting my ass beat like a Chinese gong:


Friday, July 10, 2009

CONVERTIBLE


As promised, here is the THIEVES LIKE US mix, Vol. 1. It's nothing super fancy. The tunes on here are not hard to find. I am not trying to impress anyone with my pseudo-music intellect. i am sure I will have plenty of obscure tracks on forthcoming mixes. But now is not the time for that. Indeed this mix is a fun-time mash-up of jams that would provide a soundtrack to the kind of summer we all hope we have. Track order is important:

1] JUNIOR BOYS-Bits & Pieces
2] MINITEL ROSE- Zombie Lady
3] PASSION PIT-The Reeling
4] JUPITER-Starlighter
5] PHOENIX-1901
6] PET SHOP BOYS-Pandemonium
7] ANNIE-Antonio(Fred Falke mix)
8] VNV NATION-Defiant
9] FRANKMUSIK-3 Little Words
10] DANGER-00:01 (Feat. Vyle)
11] LA ROUX-Going in for the Kill
12] SALLY SHAPIRO-I'll be by Your Side
13] THE OTHER TWO-Selfish (single mix)
14] KITE-Ways to Dance
15] DELPHIC-Counterpoint
16] NEON NEON-I Told Her on Alderaan
17] LADYHAWKE-Danny & Jenny
18] SOVIET-Radio Kursk
19] CLAN OF XYMOX-Heroes (pop version)
20] ANORAAK-Nightdrive With You


HERE IS THE DOWNLOAD LINK (Someone let me know if for some reason this is messed up.)



Geekhouse cruiser. This thing is fecking beautiful.

In Other news, I have just confirmed an exclusive interview with my good pals at GEEKHOUSE BIKES. I am going to start trying to do some video interviews with people whom I feel are doing things that other people should know about. Inspiration, after all, comes for free. And Marty and the rest of the GEEKHOUSE crew are doing some amazing stuff and I am pumped to do a feature on them here. I have other interview features in the works, ranging from music, to retail, climbing, and fashion. So keep your eyes peeled.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

SISSY FINGERS

A few things worth mentioning, to those of you who take the time to read this here blog:

1] There have not been any climbing updates because I have not climbed outside since I got back from South Africa. This is massively depressing. There are 30 days in June, and it rained here 27 of them. This is not a joke. Today is July 7th, and we have had 4 days of rain so far in July. Also, not a joke. I think that God has a sick sense of humor and when I die, I expect to find him laughing. Funny thing is, the joke is on him. Because he isn't real.

2] I am working on some pretty cool features for THIEVES LIKE US. I am going to try to move towards doing some slightly more journalistic style entries. Not just me rambling about how much I love tofu and black metal. I can't give too much away. But it should make for some exciting reads.

3] I also have decided to try to put together a regular MP3 mix on here. One per month. It seems like I am constantly being asked for/about new music. And I like making mixes anyhow. So why not bribe you people in to visiting my blog regularly by making free downloadable mash-ups of sweet sweet beats? Seems like a perfectly reasonable thing if you ask me.

TECHNOSURFING

I have recently gotten a few iPHONE apps that I think are worth mentioning here. For those of you whom have iPHONES, you should look in to these. P.S. They're all free.

Cycling Grub: This application is essentially a collection of streaming cycling news. Everything from brand blogs, to velonews, to BBC cycling, to Trackosaurusrex. It's really quite nice. And allows me to stay up on things without having to do anything more than tap and slide my obsessed little fingers. Now, if someone would just make something like this for climbing. I'd be all set.


iMAP MY RIDE: This program simply uses your GPS to track, log, and time your rides. You can then create a profile on their website, and all of your data is stored there as well. Set training goals and more. This program gives you detailed readouts on time, speed, distance, etc. Plus maps the entire ride. Genius.



Vegan Yum-Yum: In case you A] Are not vegan, or B] Are Vegan but have been living in a frigging idiot cave, then you should know that Vegan Yum-Yum is probably the raddest vegan cooking blog on the world wide interwebs. Basically, this is a mobile version of the blog. Tap and scroll through to see amazing photos of the dishes, ingredients lists, and instructions. I have already used this. My personal favorite feature is the ability to check off which ingredients I have in the application to make my trip to the grocery even easier. Brilliant!

Vegan Steve: This is a simple vegan food/restaurant locator. I haven't had too much opportunity to use this, but it seems really good, and works pretty much anywhere. Although the database is most thorough in the US. It simply uses the GPS in your phone to provide you with a list of vegan food options nearest you, along with reviews, prices, links to sites, etc.

FEELS GOOD TO LOOK GOOD.

If you watched the Team Time Trials tonight, then you know what riding a bike really fast on a technical course looks like. But, did you catch what Lance's TT bike looked like? I fucking did. It was co-designed by Marc Newson, an incredible industrial designer who has worked with G-Star and has done everything from uniforms to furniture. Anyhow, I like the idea of art, design, and cycling coming together like this. Not that it's anything massively new. But nonetheless.

TT Bike for Lance Armstrong designed by Marc Newson


Lance also had a bike done up by Shephard Fairey. Ya' know, the artist that once was anti The Man, and essentially now *is* The Man. OBEY.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

INDEPENDENCE


Le Tour starts today. Yessssss. Woke up and watched pre-race coverage. Astana is looking solid. Clearly the team that will be talked about. Lance says he is not his strongest. Whatever the fuck that means.

Also, tonight:

SHO MY GOD.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

THERE'S JUST SOMETHING ABOUT HAVING FUN

There is so much going on in the cycling scene right now. Not that it's a newsflash, but man. Even right here in Boston there is some AWESOME stuff going on that I am happy to be as much a part of as possible. Hopefully more info on that front later.

In other news, Morehart Films is about to drop a movie. And if it looks half as good as the trailer, then it's going to be awesome. (Oh my god, is that a fixed gear fastplant at 00:39? So good.)

THE REVIVAL/KEEP ON KEEPIN' ON from morehartfilms on Vimeo.



"In the name of good times, great spots and progressive riding, we are proud to announce that we’re packing our bags and hitting the road. Armed with HD cameras we’ll be heading out in search of some of the best riding North America has to offer.
Beginning on May 16th, 2009 we will be touring eastern cities, starting in Toronto then heading to Montreal and finally arriving in the Big Apple. We aim to reveal the riding and culture that exists within each one of these amazing cities. Filming is also underway in Vancouver where the locals have been pushing hard to lay down some of the best lines ever seen on a fixed gear. Along for the ride are some of the most progressive riders on bikes today, including but not limited to:
Tom Briggs, Duncan Lewis, Sam Miller, Tom Mosher, Ryan Nariata, Eiichiro "TenTen" Temmyo, Torey “HFwido” Thorton, Wonka, Wayne Morehart
and Many More."


As long as I am talking some hipster cycling trash, in case you didn't know, designer Steven Alan has teamed up with NYC's Chari & Co. to release this fucking masterpiece:

"The latest riding enthusiast to try his hand at bike-friendly gear? Steven Alan. Alan's new flannel riding shirt—designed in conjunction with Lower East Side track-and-fixie mecca Chari & Co.—has a long tail to cover your ass and a Velcro-fastened rip-open chest pocket that's been relocated to a messenger-bag-friendly position. There are also sweatshirt-style ribbed cuffs on the sleeves, sturdy snaps on the placket, and what's being called a "hunting pocket" zippered into the back. Unless your cycling is a lot different than our cycling, we're thinking this is more for a banana, an MP3 player, and a portable pump than for, say, upland game—but then again, who are we to tell you how to roll?

About $220, available in October"

Lastly, this video makes me want to go out and ride my bike. Badly. Excellent song choice.

Fun With Bikes! from Patrick Lawler on Vimeo.