Friday, October 22, 2010

Because they care...

I am now the proud owner of a Twin Six Fat Cyclist cycling jersey. AND it IS the proper size. It was almost NOT the proper size. Because sometimes I'm vain and think I'm smaller than I really am, and order too small of a size in garments. Which is what I did in the case of my pre-order/special-order-only 2010 Fat Cyclist jersey. I realized my mistake after I had already placed my pre/special order, and I emailed the guys at Twin Six Alternative Cycling Apparel in the hopes that they would take pity on me for a narcissitic (and possibly alcohol related) miscalculation on my part. They did. Because they are a fabulous company, and they know what customer service is. I highly recommend Twin Six for all your alternative cycling apparel needs.

For anyone who is interested, here is the exchange between me and Twin Six:

First, I want to thank all four of you folks who are the brains and brawn behind T6. Second, I want to thank you for the fantastic new jersey that I just received today (The Dotty, Half-Price Humpday). It is the first item that I have ever received from T6, and not only do I find the quality, fit and design to be top shelf, but I am also thrilled to find that the dots on The Dotty are not actual dots (which I was perfectly fine with), but skulls! I am new at cycling, am 5'1", and my road bike is one step above child-sized, therefore I do not have an intimidating road presence. Having found myself very concerned about the lack of stylish yet intimidating cycling jerseys for women, I am more than pleased that my The Dotty has skulls on it. Thank you very much for thinking of such important details as quality, fit, design and intimidation in your products.

Now, I mentioned that The Dotty was the first item that I have ever received from T6, but it is not my first purchase. On July 18th I pre-ordered my first jersey ever in the history of my ordering jerseys, the women's Fat Cyclist jersey, because my boyfriend and I are rather devoted followers of Fatty's blog. In the excitement of pre-ordering my Fat Cyclist jersey (or possibly because of the Gonzo Imperial Porter I was sipping on at the time), I accidentally ordered a small instead of a medium. Now, I know that it may be too late to change the size on my order, but I'm just taking the chance to inquire because I want to maximize my sexiness (and self-deprecation) by wearing a jersey that fits me. If it is too late to change the size of my jersey order from a small to a medium, then I will live with the consequences (and go on a fruit and water diet).

Many thanks and regards,

To which Michael Fischer responded:

Glad to have you as a fan! The Dotty is a fun kit. I'll make a note on
your order that you'd prefer a medium. Our order was placed based on what
all of you Fatty fans told us, so no promises, but I imagine we'll be able
to make the change.

I *heart* Twin Six...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Danse Macabre

Caveat: I am in no way responsible for the songs contained herein getting stuck in your brain. Enter at your own risk.

It all started this morning with the very catchy Grieg song In the Hall of the Mountain King. You see, it was in my head. And I couldn’t get it out of my head. Even Slim playing Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries at full tilt couldn’t dislodge it from the record player in my brain that was playing it over. I posted my conundrum to my Facebook profile and about two hours later found a response left by the lovely and talented ballet mistress Linze McRae. Her suggestion, “Add a little of Saint-Saens Danse Macabre and you'll be on your way!” Hmmm…although the name was terribly familiar, I couldn’t recall the melody (probably because In the Hall of the Mountain King was still stomping and stomping away in my attic). So I looked it up, and was delighted to find that Linze’s recommendation of Danse Macabre jarred all thoughts of Mountain King out of my head. And the Henri Cazalis poem upon which the Saint-Saens piece was based is just as delightful! Now, I have a rapidly swirling and crashing waltz stewing in my thoughts:

Zig, zig, zig, Death in cadence,
Striking with his heel a tomb,
Death at midnight plays a dance-tune,
Zig, zig, zig, on his violin.
The winter wind blows and the night is dark;
Moans are heard in the linden-trees.
Through the gloom, white skeletons pass,
Running and leaping in their shrouds.
Zig, zig, zig, each one is frisking.
The bones of the dancers are heard to crack-
But hist! of a sudden they quit the round,
They push forward, they fly; the cock has crowed.

Dance macabre (Dance of Death) by Henri Cazalis

Perfect for Halloween!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Looking Under My Boot-soles

Saw John’s mom in the library today. She told me that John’s killer only served a year and a day for what he did to John. People have served more time bringing chewing gum into Singapore than John’s killer served for shooting him with a crossbow. She told me about the letter that she wrote to the killer and to the judge, the letter that she read aloud that day of sentencing. There probably wasn’t a dry eye in the courtroom. I told her of the passage I had written about John only hours after she had told me of his death. It was a journal entry that I wrote while terribly upset, a journal entry that I had been unable to share with her these last two years because…well, I was afraid to. After all, he meant more to her than I’ll ever know…more than anyone will ever know. I finally printed a copy of the journal entry, along with Song 52 of Song of Myself from Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, and gave it to her. I put it in an envelope and asked her to read it at home. I couldn’t read it again. I don’t have to read it again…

Southern Vernacular

Having a book discussion here at the 'brary today. It is part of our Lunch 'n Learn series, as well as part of our Gadsden Reads. Boss Lady and I are leading a discussion called Ava’s Grandson: The Works of Rick Bragg. Since I had tried to write down all of the Southernisms Rick used in all three books, I thought it would be fun to have a Southern vernacular vocabulary discussion to break the ice at the beginning of the talk. I am proud to say that I have, at one time or another (and with complete sincerety), used all of these words and phrases.

Vocabulary Words:
Fat pine

Done eat…
Got run off…
Blind as a concrete block…
These got to do me…
Prayed into heaven…
A little piece off (just a little piece down the road)…
Be back d’rectly…

It is nice to see these words and phrases printed in New York Times best selling books. It lends them a legitimacy that they are not often afforded...

Friday, October 8, 2010

Quiet and Poetic Prose

I’ve been rereading some of Rick Bragg’s books lately because my boss lady and I are going to lead a discussion next week about his three most beloved titles: All Over But the Shoutin,’ Ava’s Man, and Prince of Frogtown.

Just finished off Ava’s Man last night for the second time. Near the end of the story, when Charlie’s death is within a stone’s throw of being upon him, Rick gives us an account of his grandfather’s last moments. They are moments that are beautifully recounted:

It was a fine walk. The trees and shrubs and crawling vines were in flower or already green, covering the gray bark that always looked so dead and hopeless in winter, and new grass covered a cow pasture not far from the house. Later, the night train would rumble across the Tredegar trestle, shaking the trees, stabbing the darkness with a lance of yellow light, but now there was just the dying sunlight, and the wind, rushing.

The men were passing a pasture gate when he just stopped, to get a breath. He looked around him, as if it was the first time he had seen anything like it, anything so fine, and fell onto the new grass.

I found the words so lovely, and so reminiscent of another favorite passage of mine, the closing of Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front:

He fell in October 1918, on a day that was so quiet and still on the whole front, that the army report confined itself to the single sentence: All quiet on the Western Front.

He had fallen forward and lay on the earth as though sleeping. Turning him over one saw that he could not have suffered long; his face had an expression of calm, as though almost glad the end had come.

If you read Bragg’s and Remarque’s passages together, you can almost envision them written for the same man.

One of these days, I’ll stop talking about Rick Bragg…but not just yet.

Listening to: Miles Davis’ Quiet Nights

The Trucker, Again

Dad has been feeling pretty good lately, and getting all A’s on his cardio exams. He still has a fib, but probably has had it all his life without knowing it. He just operates that way. If an ache or ailment doesn’t get him down enough to put him in the bed, then he doesn’t let it get him down, period. That’s a little scary, when you think about it, cause he had a heart attack once, and didn’t even realize it until the doctors told him six months later…it’s just the stock he comes from…

Daddy usually calls tomatoes da-matoes, which is real Southern of him. I suppose (or, I reckon) it would be even more Southern of him to call them da-maters, because so many hill folk put an er in the place of the e or a vowel ending.

As I was mowing mom and dad’s lawn last Saturday, Daddy came out to move the cars out of the way so that I could get closer to the garage. As I made a swipe near the driveway, he was walking along towards the back porch. He kept on walking, raised his hand to wave, and smiled real big at me. His smile reached all the way to his eyes, and for just a second, I caught a glimpse of the black-haired young trucker who held his little redhead in his arms one day long ago when the Goodyear Blimp came and touched down at our small local airport. His eyes are still as blue as they were that day…

Holding tight to the mower’s steering wheel with one hand, I raised the other to furiously wave back at him while I grinned like a fool. The good Lord is looking down on us in many ways. For one, He’s keeping an eye on my daddy. For two, He didn’t let me hit a hole in the yard and fall off the mower while I driving one-handed while waving at my Daddy. Daddy would’ve never let me use the riding mower again if that’d happened, no matter how cute he thought his little redhead was.

Listening to: Charlie Parker