Empty Days

Saturday, September 11, 2004



I finally saw the new people from upstairs - I think they're drug dealers. At least their demeanor and all-night lifestyle fits the profile to a t. What's more - they're local drug-dealers, that is small-time crooks from the borough. As long as they don't do any trouble, that's ok. But it's in these flats that trouble usually starts - something goes wrong and bad people come to smash the furniture.

I hope their business goes well - for as long as I live here at least, heh.

Friday, September 10, 2004



Yeah, self-reliance - it's made of much more that just the ability to spend the night and live to see the day after.




Looking for....?

The paradoxical truth here is that no matter how much I hate my present conditions I am not finding any brighter *realistic* alternative to go for. Yeah, the fucking landlord killed the tree and made this place even more disgusting than it already was - and yet I don't see how I would feel any better if I found a way and moved some place else. Maybe it's just bad vision and I can't see the obvious. Or maybe it's just refusal to admit the obvious because I can't see a way of actually doing it.

But where is the truth of it? I can't create meaningful relationships with people, I can't even find a soul to keep my cat - so in actuality I am bound to my parents by the mere fact that they're the only social-network I could ever rely on, and it's really mostly impossible to exist without a soul in the world to turn to. I can't create a new social network for myself - I don't have the basic life-force to push me into lasting deeper contact with people.

How ridiculous is that?

What travel does is that it removes any necessity for creating such lasting human contacts while affording easy interaction and removing any permanent conditions of survival. That's one of its principle "liberating" effects for me. And it's worth nothing.

I don't know how to restore life - I don't know why I don't have it in me.




Endless dead-end.

I know what's wrong with me - I see a dead-end. I see that I can't move anywhere because I will not find any more will to live for it - no matter where I go to settle I will not find it inside me. The only time I feel somehow able to live is when I am travelling - but this is because travelling removes me from my general helplessness inside the human world. Yet I always have to return to that helplessness and it immediately takes away all sense and purpose. Therefore travelling is an illusion - the backstage is full of pits.

I am a shadow of myself sitting here being stuck - but reality is only temporarily atteignable, it doesn't last and doesn't give any of its force to the permanent shadowy state.

Yes, I hate the city - because this is where all my life is. I hate my life, to put it simply. And I cannot find any other life - only temporary states of being.

How the fuck can I get around this? What masterful illusion can I create to cover this glaring fact?

I talked to a military guy on the internet who appeared such an enormous cheerful enthusiast for m/c bike touring. Then it turned out that he's broken with PTSD from his tours of duty in ravaged places, and that all this bike-travelling of his is in fact a desperate running away from that permanent state. He didn't say it but it was not hard to guess, really. It's all an escape, never a solution.

Well, I don't know of any solution. The solution should be inside me and it's simply not there - it's a fucking void. I can't find no purpose to my life because there is no such life - I am just hanging on, trying not to disappear completely. But this hanging-on has no force of its own, it doesn't create anything. Can I really leave all and run away into the void which is my real abode? That's what it would be like, to be on the road for good.

It's negative freedom and I can't surrender to it - though it would be a pretty drastic alternative to suicide.

Being on the road is a powerful way of forgetting - but it doesn't do anything else, it only lets me forget. The joy that it brings is short-lived and has no restoring power. The fact that I came back to feel my hell with even greater acuteness is a good indication - forgetting execerbates remembering.

What the fuck can I do?

There won't be any way out and I won't be able to either find it myself or even see it pass by - I am not equipped to notice.




This is even better though (click on link for bigger view).






Olden days, simpler days.

I am feeling incredibly frustrated and confused - in fact I feel exactly as I used to all throughout July, probably this is just my usual mode of being - utterly ineffectual. So I browsed through some german retro site and found a certain relief in seeing this picture:


Rome, St. Peter's square, July 29, 1950.
Arrival of three Dutchmen after a sixteen days' cycling pilgrimage from Delft to Rome.

At the www.maporama.com site I found out the following: distance between Delft-Netherlands and Roma-Italy - 1348 km on car roads. Look at these guys' luggage: do you even see any luggage to speak of? Just two simple rather small rear panniers at best, and the bundle you see on the back-rack of the right-most biker is just a wool-blanket. Any questions? That's exactly it - why is it that folks seemed to travel so much lighter in those days, and just look at those bikes they used...

Beautiful.

Look at the map - I think there were mountains on the way :-0




Huge Pileup on Montreal Highway Kills One Person and Injures Six Others

MONTREAL (CP) - Flames shot several metres into the sky as a major pileup involving several semi-trailers killed one person Thursday, injured six others and caused traffic chaos on a busy highway.

"We have four semi-trailers, two transport trucks and seven private vehicles involved in the accident," said fire department official Jean-Louis Bachand. Quebec provincial police spokeswoman Chantal Mackels said the pileup was triggered by one of the heavy vehicles hitting a concrete wall on Highway 20 a few kilometres from downtown. "Its gas tank burst open on impact and all the fuel leaked out," Mackels said. "It was raining as well so the highway became really slippery. A second heavy vehicle rammed into the other one and then the pileup occurred."

Ambulance spokesman Eric Berry said three people were sent to hospital with minor injuries while three others were treated at the scene. The victim was the driver of one of the semi-trailers.

"The flames were so powerful that, without describing what we saw inside because it wasn't very pretty, it was obvious he had burned to death," Berry said.

The accident occurred on eastbound Highway 20, which links downtown Montreal and the populous west end of Montreal, including Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport. One of the westbound lanes reopened a few hours after the accident, while the eastbound lanes were to remain closed through Thursday afternoon.

The Canadian Press, 2004 09/9/2004 10:39 EST


Yeah, I know exacly where it is - it's a concrete buckle suspended high over the railtracks (where I frequently cross to Lachine bike-trail) and it's narrow, you can't escape from there. I just can imagine what happened when that truck hit the wall... Such concrete narrow buckles should really be called "high-speed death valleys" because you simply have no right to a mistake in there, hardly any space to move - just fly through and try not to lose your steering while in the bend.
It was bad luck - but oftentimes bud luck goes with bad places.




An older guy I met on the trip said he did Montreal-Quebec in four days - very much my speed.




This little exercise in practical self-disciplining immediately produced a brighter outlook - it's amazing how this travelling desire fires me up, a true light in the darkness.

I don't need no fucking chatting or anything else whatever - I only need to get going!!!!

*

Some things I can take on my next trip:
far less fear regarding where to spend the night,
far less fear of physical hardship,
far less concern about sleeping and riding under rain,
far less concern for money even if it runs out,
new skills such as rapid unpacking/packing & tarp setup
proven on-the-road repair skills such as flats

*

Small but important notice about stealth camping: always make sure nobody is around to see where you're about to set camp - never set camp if somebody has seen you, even if the spot is perfect. Caveat camptor.

*

The road to Quebec will likely be along the river and thus very much in the flat farmlands areas. South or north shore? Most people take north roads to go faster - but my eventual destination is in the south valley, I should check the topography there, too far south it gets hilly again.




I don't know who those new neighbours upstairs are - hopefully not the brainless student girls i've glanced downstairs today. But they come home around 3am, walk in shoes, and play stumping stereo with all the bass-n-trebble in the world. Anyway - I am trying to channel my anger towards moving somewhere else soon.




Inner dialogue.

Fuck, what a limbo.

Chatting is empty, thinking is irrelevant, and action is stalled. Damn.

What are the advantages of staying put as against being on the road?
Column one: security, warmth, laying down whenever I want, no physical fatigue, predictable tomorrows, internet, no spending.
Column two: hopelessness, routine, powerlessness, city.

Now, what are advantages/disadvantages of bike touring aimlessly?
Column one: new experiences, unpredictable tomorrows, movement, openness, liberation, stamina, nature.
Column two: insecurity, much physical hardship, more spending, having to go back eventually.

Ok - which do you prefere? Please choose NOW.

I prefer being on the road.

Ok! Next - what do you need to do in the most immediate future to get back on the road as soon as you can?

I need to:
find somebody to feed my cat,
true the rear-wheel on the bike,
get a new tarp sheet,
see if i can put a krypton bulb in the headlight,
do my laundry :-0

OK! That's better. Now, how will you deal with the cat problem - what are your options?
I will call the SPCA tomorrow morning to see if they know of any volunteers who come to people's homes to feed their pets. Maybe they will be able to suggest something, if not. Otherwise, I will need to go and beg my parents on my knees :-0

Gut. And what about that rear-wheel? Will you ever get down to do it properly, hein? I should, that's right - I've been lazy and timid about it and procrastinating a lot. Ok then - do it tomorrow, please. The weather will be great so you simply have to do it already.

*

Anything you forgot? Oh yes - the driving idea is to go look up an old friend from high-school whom i haven't seen in 15 years and who sent a random postcard to my address a few years back, looking to resume contact. I didn't reply then because I was too depressed - but i feel adventurous enough now to take it up. I know her parents have a house in a small town near Quebec city - and she said she lives there now, without a telephone (that's mysterious).

So I'll go to look her up. Quebec city is about 250km away - and her town is some 60km down south-east from it. That would make for yet another lengthy trip because I'll be as slow as ever and I don't care, heh.

This trip will obviously take longer than 10 days. In fact it may take a whole month in case I develop a big taste for more of it and continue farther east all the way up to Gaspesie. Will I freeze to death up there? I sure will, heh - it will be october by then.

But what about finances, hein? You don't have nearly enough cash in your accout to last you even a week. Are you being entirely unrealistic and crazy here?
Maybe I am. But I have a secret idea in my back pocket - maybe I'll stop in some apple-orchard on the way and ask for 1-2 weeks of work. Who knows. Otherwise I'll just abuse my credit card, that's all.

I really don't care about nothing anymore - I live for the last time ever.

Thursday, September 09, 2004



Rain.

Finally the bad weather set in so I don't have to get all frustrated about not going anywhere. The rain is cold and nasty, not at all an appealing prospect for being out there somewhere in the open... On the other hand, there is some satisfaction in braving natural hardships - much of the unpleasantness is compensated by this abnormal feeling.

Bad weather isolates - maybe that's why depressed folks love it so much rather than sun and clear skies. It's not so much that it suits one's mood, it's rather that it takes away that hopelessly frustrated wish to participate in the world. Who wants to participate in anything with nasty cold rain in it? Heh.

As they like to say out there: there is no such thing as bad weather, there is only bad clothing. Very true indeed. If I had something warm and simultaneously truly waterproof to put on my back, I'd feel like a king and I could care less if the skies are low and earth is a mess. I've seen some photos on a cycling group where the guy toured Alaska in winter - on a bike, in real deep snow. Don't know how he did it, but apparently it went very well :-0
The bike in the snow looks pretty impressive - it's also true that it was some very special bike indeed.

That's basically why I was worrying so much about shoes and getting wet feet when it's cold. Heh - it's not a pleasant feeling. If I go again soon I will certainly have to deal with that factor somehow. My sleeping bag would be a blast if I could double it with yet another similar sleeping bag - the two together would make for a hot stove. Ah, dreams. Anyway - I will have to disregard all this once again.

*

Online chatting has proved a waste of time - as it normally does - and I think I am using it too much as a way of escaping my immediate situation. I wish I could move to another place but I don't know how to find it and so feel stuck - and so escape. The usual thing. I feel I need to change something quite drastically inside my head but I am not finding any will to do that - I resist change instead of trying to further it somehow.

This has been my usual pattern for longer than I can remember, and it's very hard to imagine how this could be otherwise. Perhaps even if I went to the moon and back, just the mere fact of returning would put me back in my usual rut. Perhaps I just can't really change on my own, that's all.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004



Finally I have a workshop.

My parents cleaned my kitchen - thank you very much. As a result I now have a very well-lit room (my actual room has no ceiling lights) with a perfectly empty table on which I installed my bike in an upside-down position (it's convenient since I have a mirror fastened to the handlebars now and thus can't put the bike upside-down on the floor anymore without unscrewing the mirror every time - already did that on the road). This is ideal for truing wheels as it's right at eye level.

The wheel-truing is going ok. I smoothened out the worst wobble, now it's a matter of a lot of little turns here and there to achieve a certain... how would I say?... approximative roundness, heh. I want this bike to be less hard on me - when it's all crooked and skewed I am exorting much more pushing power than I should. Maybe I will change the chain too - it's so mucked up I marvel how it even runs through the derailleur :-0

I think the kitchen will serve as a bike-shop now. The primary advantage is that it has two ceiling lights and is thus very bright in the evening but also in the morning because of the big window. The food will be cooked closer to the sink and around the actual stove. All the other space will be reserved for bike repairs, heh. I have a makeshift bookcase there that's been empty ever since I sold all my old latin/greek books, so now it will hold tools and such.
I love this new idea because I've always been prevented from working on the bike at night due to insufficient lighting in the room. Nights is the best time because of better concentration, at least for me.

I still have to figure out how to raise the handlebars - or even how to turn them on the stem. The whole thing seems completely blocked no matter what parts I unscrew and loosen. Maybe there's is a blocking mechanism somewhere inside of which I am not aware - or there's been some corrosion and the stem-metal is firmly glued to the frame tube. So far I have no idea what's up with this.

Another big advantage of the kitchen now is that I can't see the former space of the tree from it. Thus - less depressing.

*

Heh, I am doing something wrong with the wheel - I wish I understood the principle better. Spokes are off-center on the rim and provide tension to each side plus stability by being criss-crossed. Ok. Now, to which side pulls each pair of criss-crossed spokes and how is this related to the diametrally opposed pair of spokes "upstairs" on the wheel? Blah. It shouldn't be that difficult - but it sure looks easier on paper than it is in reality. Curiously the wheel now seems slightly obliqued on the axle - but there's less wobbliness.

Hilarious.

*

Well, how can I avoid Sheldon Brown's site, heh. What's more I will probly need to read his article on wheel-building if I want to get a clue as to what I am doing to the poor wheel. Besides there seem to be some differences between rear and front wheels in spoke-tension due to the freewheel etc. Who knew. Quick "how to articles" don't mention that kind of thing. All in all I will probably ruin that rear-wheel completely by tomorrow morning. Heh.

*

Ok, Sheldon, I have a problem. You say:

If the rim is off to the left, tighten spokes that go to the right flange and loosen those that go to the left flange. If you do the same amount of tightening and loosening, you can move the rim to the side without affecting the roundness of the wheel.

But on my rear-wheel where the rim is particularly badly off to the right (yes), the so-called "opposite" spokes which is those that run from the left flange, are far tighter already than those from the right flange which are suspiciously loose. How the fuck am I gonna tighten them even more than they are already - and how am i gonna losen already very lose spokes on the other side?

Maybe I am just not getting it at all as yet :-0

*

It's interesting - I could have gone and asked all this questions of the mechanic with whom I had those philosophical conversations. But this is his trade and if I ask questions concerning his trade he will think I am trying to use him for practical purposes. I am pretty convinced of that. There is never such ridiculous touchiness with an amateur - where there is no cash involved, people share information much more readily. So in actuality I must actually avoid any bike-talk with the guy just because I come to talk to him in his bike-shop and not somewhere else. Hilarious situation :)




I fucked up the tarp sheet by wrapping it on the balcony - I had to make holes in it to fasten it to rails so it would hold better and flap less in the wind. Now I'd have to patch it up all over - which I will do, of course. Another solution is to just buy another such sheet of tarp, maybe of lighter plastic even. However this bulkier version served me well when I slept under open skies, because i used it folded in multilayers as a mat under the sleeping bag - it was pretty cushy.

New tenants moved upstairs and are making some noise - I don't care. The tree is gone and I won't be staying in this place very long, it just can't be otherwise unless I plan to kill myself soon.

If I get stuck here over winter I'll get suicidal again, it's obvious.




Running away.

Another obvious conclusion is that there will be no peace of mind for me if every time I return it feels like I am back in jail. Does this mean that I should simply move somewhere else, where there is less bad symbolism, or is it that I can't stay put in one place without feeling trapped?

Could be both, really.

In a sense I am not sure I will be any happier in a small town - maybe slightly less miserable. But if I am stuck there like I am stuck here, where is the difference?

It is an eternal truth that people who are always on the road are running from themselves - while thinking that they're running away from places. Otherwise there'd be no point in all that travelling.

But at least it's a way of living out a life - even if it's pretty fucked up and doesn't add up to much.

I think Forrest Gump the film captured this perfectly: taking off from the porch and running aimlessly for 3 years until all the grief and desperation are out of the system for good. But without all the newspapers, heh. It's not a feat - it's a necessity.




My cat actually symbolizes stability and attachment - I have to provide a home for him and I also need to be around because he needs me. I can't leave forever - if I do, I'd have to recognize that I broke my promise to this animal, which was to take care of him for the rest of his feline life.

It can be done but it's not without consequence - betrayal of trust never is.

But it can be done.






Maybe I should ask my cat... heh.




Another question is: why can't I pull myself together now and start out again no matter what?

For this I can't find a clear answer - something is not working in my head and I'd love to know what that is.

I need to make a final decision here - a big one, without compromises. I need to definitively ask myself if I can indeed go on and on until i drop dead without either a goal or any sort of before-hand security (like knowing that I have a lot of cushion in my bank account)?

All I need to do is make a decision - so far I can't.




The real question is - why did I even return?

Was I too tired or too scared about money or too timid to just go on and on? All of this and more. I was tired and my bike needed repairs (which I am still not doing) and I didn't have the mental preparation to keep on going.

And what else?

It was a mistake - I should have gone on until i'd drop fucking dead.




My cat - yes.

I am exhausted. Both from wanting to do something and not doing it, and from wasting energy on whatever else. The cat is turning out to be something of a problem, the poor beast - I would need to ask my parents to feed it again and of course they will be very reluctant to do that, since i didn't give them the satisfaction of being welcome to wreck any sort of havoc in my home. This time they really have no incentive to oblige me - I am pretty sure they would refuse.

So what do I do with my cat then? There are probably some kindly souls out there who volunteer to feed animals for lone people like myself - but I need to find them first.

If my cat were a dog I could perhaps take him with me - it's not unthinkable, he'd run behind on a leash :) But you can't displace a cat - it's a sedentary animal with his own sense of proprieties.


Introducing Mr.Tiger


He looks especially silly here but that's how I prefer him, for some reason.




When to listen to intuition - and wtf that is.

I am feeling somewhere deep inside my mind that at this time I must not worry about how to make a buck but should gather my wits and leave on a next trip. I can't explain the rationale - there is none. It is frankly unreasonable, wasteful, contrary to any practical-economic sense or what have you.

And yet.

I don't know where this feeling comes from - but it's pretty powerful. Going off for weeks to gather apples now would be a mistake. Am I luring myself or is this some intuition that knows better and sees larger than I?




Long live international islamist movement! Turn around and face the wall!

MOSCOW (AP) - The militants who raided a school in southern Russia last week were led by a man dubbed the Colonel, who enforced obedience by killing three fellow attackers - two by detonating the explosives they had strapped to their bodies.

I am never sorry when these guys get their balls cut off, accidentally. Anywhere in the world. You heard me, pigs.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004



At the same time, I wish I could be more like Kafka - who had it in him to be philosophical about unending chaos. I am longing to read some of his short parables. But I am made of a different wood, there's no question about that.




But on the whole I am still very much that small animal whose burrow has been recklessly destroyed and who runs around, trying all sorts of nooks and cranies, looking for a new place to build on - it's a chaotic, desperate activity and the goal here is simple: survival.






Ladida.

One thing I learned about the abyss between men and women is that no amount of philosophy or whatever unrelated talk can overcome mutual tendency to fall into that abyss. What's more, no amount of geographical distance can overcome it either - people keep falling in love online, just from chatting, without even seeing each other. I gotta be mindful of this somehow but I usually can't prevent feelings developping. I already fell in love over the internet once and it was a big problem rather than big joy - I hope it never happens again though. Heh.

I am not a cold person in general - so the emotional element is really "dangerous" here because it gets under the skin quite easily. People open up, I open up - and then... boom. It'd be quite perfect if I weren't such a loon in general - I am quite convinced I can't live with another person, be it for love or just roommating.

Maybe it's just due to terrific lack of socialization throughout most of my life. Or maybe it's just the way I am - a solo traveller by nature.

Once I and my father went to a chinese restaurant where they have those fortune-telling cookies - well, his biscuit said that "joy prolongs life" which was kind of opportune because he's indeed a pretty vivacious joyful person despite all his woes; and my biscuit gave me "eternal walking on the road" or something like that. Could hardly have been more precise as a description.

I think once I reach the full realization of my mode of life I will start having sex again - but I won't sacrifice any of my liberty for a mere relationship. People do that all the time and are willing to accept all the limitations of a companionship. For me it's simply not worth it - not yet at least.




Humans.

I've been talking a lot on icq these days. And for some mysterious reason I was able to make pretty warm and meaningful contact - even tried one with a woman but it didn't work out well. I don't know why it's so hard for me to talk with my sisters in gender - it's either me or it's them but it rarely ever works. Why is it that it's easier to find common ground with men? or is it simply because with guys there is always a slight element of flirting present (or call it "pleasing"), no matter what's the subject? On the other hand, it doesn't matter because I am incapable of making friends with people for very long in any case - most of these new contacts will vanish eventually and it will be my fault. I can't be too optimistic about this, due to past experience.

And on top of all this chatting, I took a drastic step over my usual reservations and went to visit that bicycle mechanic who straightened the front-fork on my bike for free. He was so excited to see me and so nervous, I felt a bit overwhelmed at first. Of course there was a lot of flirtatious vibe in the beginning but we immediately started talking philosophy - a bit too immediately, I would say. Then something funny occured: his current romantic interest walked in to ask him out for a beer and the three of us played a bit of high comedy. Then I left despite various polite protestations, but will go talk to him again soon - I am pretty sure we will have a better talk next time, having broken the ice already.

All these highly intensive contacts have a clear purpose for me right now - I just feel I need to let the energy run free and burst open some of the closed doors inside my mind. It's a natural consequence of my trip - it gave me a huge emotional boost and made me far more mobile than I usually am. I need to keep the engine running - otherwise the whole thing will slump again into nothingness and procrastination. Plus I really needed to avoid post-travel depression.

The ultimate result of all this will be my moving out of this apartment and hopefully the city itself - I've never done something like that, it would be a first.




The grit of it.

So - I payed my bills and it turns out I have slightly less than $150 on my account to finish september. And the electricity bill next month will be around 60 bucks. Well, what can I say - the only way to travel would be to go without any cash at all or very nearly.
So I promptly called all possible places for apple-gathering and will try again tomorrow because none of those people was around their telephones today. Heh. If this is not in the cards, it won't work no matter what I do - but it may just be in the cards, I have to find that out.

On the other hand if this doesn't work, I will take off anyhow - and I don't care what happens. I will use the goddam credit card. Won't starve, that's for sure. All in all things are going very well. Now all I need is to just find a solution to move out of this godawful place here.

The killing of the tree is a clear sign that I need to get out of here - either it's karma or a good omen or a kick in the butt from the gods - either way it gets on my nerves just enough to make me mad and proactive.

I do hope I will have a chance to punish the landlord before I leave :-0

Monday, September 06, 2004



Goddam woods.




I am in a limbo right now. Then I think back to february/march when I dreamed so violently about this trip I've just been on - dream realized, but only partially.

I was writing back then:

"That's what I am saying. Who the fuck needs all those modern super-expensive brittle bikes? Look through the log to see how often these things break down. And look at that 40-year old bike - it comes straight from garbage :)"

I still think that way.




My bags still smell of campfire... Good grief.




Cyclist attacked by Grizzly Bear.

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) - A mountain biker on Togwotee Pass fought off a grizzly bear that repeatedly charged him until a companion drove the animal off with pepper spray. Kirk Speckhals escaped his encounter without a scratch; he had only four dirt marks from the bear's claws on his forearm, a punctured bicycle tire and a bent rim.

He said he hopes others learn from the mistakes he made during his ride around Pinnacle Buttes - including not making enough noise to warn bears, not riding together and not carrying pepper spray. Speckhals, 46, and companion Tom Foley, said the grizzly was persistent and backed away only when there was about a second's worth of spray left in the can of deterrent. Speckhals gave credit to Foley, who carried his can of spray on his hip, for saving his life.

"I was on the ground with the bear on top of me,'' Speckhals said. "I was waiting for a bone-crunching bite. I was ready to die.''

Speckhals and Foley said the day started innocently enough when they left for the loop ride on Aug. 29 with another friend, Mark Wolling, near Brooks Lake. The route traverses a couple of passes on the Shoshone National Forest at the 9,500-foot level. The area is near the Teton and Washakie wilderness areas and core grizzly habitat in the Yellowstone ecosystem. Speckhals, a ski patroller and quality controller with a construction company, said he had ridden the loop several times before but had never carried bear spray. Before taking off, Foley offered his extra can of spray. Wolling took it, figuring if anybody got in trouble, it was more likely to be him since he was bringing along his dog. Speckhals said he had been ringing his bicycle bell at regular intervals to warn bears of his approach. As he climbed to the second pass of the trip, he pulled away from his companions and stopped making his regular warning. Speckhals said he crested a rise and heard a noise he knew meant trouble.

"In the woods, 300 feet away, he was in full charge, coming right at me,'' he said. No question the bear was a grizzly, Speckhals said. "I got off my bike and put it in front of me and started yelling 'Bear! Bear!''' he said. Foley, some distance back, heard the cries but could not see the confrontation. Wolling was farther behind. "All of a sudden I heard 'Bear! BEAAAR!!''' Foley said. "Whoa, God, I better get up there,'' he thought.

From the screams and sounds of the struggle, Foley realized Speckhals was wrestling with a bear. Said Speckhals: "I lunged my bike out at him and yelled and he stopped.'' The bear moved in again. He charged "six or seven times,'' Speckhals said, each time deterred at the last moment by the bicycle. "Finally, he grabbed my bike out of my hands,'' Speckhals said. "He started stomping on it.''

With the bear distracted, Speckhals started creeping away, but the bear immediately left the bike and put its front paws on Speckhals. In a Greco-Roman wrestling stance, Speckhals sensed he was going down. "This time he just took me out - drug me to the ground,'' he said. "I knew I was in trouble. I rotated and got on my chest.'' Foley arrived to see the bear sitting atop his friend. "Immediately, I knew I had to get over there, see what I could do,'' he said. With pepper spray drawn, he advanced to within 15 feet and fired. The bear got off his friend but turned and began circling Foley who was still spraying in the animal's face. "That's when I got scared,'' Foley said, adding that the bear's eyes were very large. "They were full of bear spray - not a blink.''

The bear continued to circle as he backed up, yelling for Wolling. Foley's can of spray was running low; "I knew I was almost out,'' he said. By now Wolling had made it to the site along with the dog and fumbled with his pack trying to find the second can of spray. The dog rushed up, barked twice, then retreated down the trail "as fast as his little legs could move him,'' Wolling said. With perhaps a second's worth of spray left, Foley tried a new tactic. He yelled at the bear at the top of his lungs. "I could tell his eyes changed,'' Foley said. "I knew it was over. All of a sudden he took off.''

:-0

Sunday, September 05, 2004



Hate and misery.

I must be projecting really bad vibes at the moment because I feel like a devil trapped in a holy grail or whatever they say - I wish I could destroy everything within reach with a simplified nuclear device.

The weather is threatening to turn gray-cold-rainy for a long period of time and I will probably feel less frustrated because it's less exciting to get going under such conditions. But who knows. It is just amazing just how much I loath this place here - previously I had no idea I hated it that bad :-0




A proper cyclist on a proper bike should be able to do about 25-30km per hour. My usual speed is something like 10-15km per hour - whenever I ride everybody overtakes me, except for the very old :)




This is a test-post from the miranda IM client :-0
It works!

*

I just had a chat with a UK woman from the cycling msn group - the group seems pretty lousy because there's just no one in there. On the whole it's a huge waste of time - apparently yahoo groups are more lively, but i will resort to that only if i can't find anyone else to talk with elsewhere. The web-interface of all these places is heavy and ladden with ads, it compounds the waste-of-time effect. I don't like it. I should get off the internet but am being compulsively driven to it because I can't face reality - it's too ugly at the moment.

*

Yesterday I went biking in the stinky-wealthy area where our landlord lives: luckily I couldn't find his street because I was about to commit vandalism on his property. At the moment I violently hate all rich Jews - I am a violent antisemite at the moment.

*

At the same time I tell myself that the killing of the tree can also have a positive outcome for me - I may just get mad enough to want to move outta here and find a much more convenient place. But I lack knowledge as to how to move out into the country - this creates a sense of powerlessness, I don't know how to put my desire into practice. This is why I rage against the landlord instead of doing something more constructive: I have no idea where to start, actually.




Lord almighty - these memories burn right through me, it's like a torture and a socratic demon right there. I AM IN LOVE - I am in love with the road.

There is a strange, overwhelming element here that I can't really explain. Why should it be so overwhelming - what is it that grips me so bad about this whole thing? Is it wilderness silence and animals, or is it rather the sense of incomparable liberation that travel affords: having no form, being unattached, rolling away into unending discovery?

The joy of just being - without any purpose at all.

I am truly in love, this is crazy.




Symbolically, on the first day of my trip, I had a conversation with an older and quite philosophical blue-collar guy who came up to me at the gas station with the following sentence: "I saw you and was thinking: after all this travelling, you would have to get settled, don't you think?" To which I replied with a question: "but when you were young, didn't you go on such travels yourself?" He started saying that in the 1950's they didn't have all the ultra-light equipment that the young people have now, and that it wasn't a thing to do in general, and this and that. Basically he was extremely curious of me - and I think a little bit jealous, which is why his initial reflection was a bit defensive.

A lot of seemingly "square" people are deeply attracted to freedom - yet never dare to admit that they might have practiced it too if only they let themselves.

Because I roll my cigarettes we had a long conversation on drug-laws and he said that they make no sense really, and this was simply a topic that concerned freedom - that's what we were really talking about and we both knew it.

It was a very good contact - warms my heart just to think of this guy.




Symbolically, on the first day of my trip, I had a conversation with an older and quite philosophical blue-collar guy who came up to me at the gas station with the following sentence: "I saw you and was thinking: after all this travelling, you would have to get settled, don't you think?" To which I replied with a question: "but when you were young, didn't you go on such travels yourself?" He started saying that in the 1950's they didn't have all the ultra-light equipment that the young people have now, and that it wasn't a thing to do in general, and this and that. Basically he was extremely curious of me - and I think a little bit jealous, which is why his initial reflection was a bit defensive.

A lot of seemingly "square" people are deeply attracted to freedom - yet never dare to admit that they might have practiced it too if only they let themselves.

Because I roll my cigarettes we had a long conversation on drug-laws and he said that they make no sense really, and this was simply a topic that concerned freedom - that's what we were really talking about and we both knew it.

It was a very good contact - warms my heart just to think of this guy.




These two people essentially represented two radically opposed ways of life - one was submitting to phantoms, the other was riding tall on the horse of his imagination.

What is the better way, you think?




Another guy, the world-tourer, that I briefly met on the trip was very different - he was methodically executing his own idea of life. His very demeanor, the way he talked about his travels and what it takes to do that - all this sounded like a world of his own he's built for himself. He said he was working seasonal jobs for his trip - this summer he was doing Quebec and working on gathering apples for two weeks to finance the project (that gave me the idea to do it too, btw). That's what touched me about him - this determination to live life on his own terms, no matter what.

Respect.




The guy I met on the trip was also pretty aimless - and unhappy, it was obvious. But he thought that his unhappiness was due to not having all the things he was somehow "supposed" to get in life - find a wife, buy a house, make a big salary... He couldn't even understand what I was talking about - that these are just things implanted in one's head through social consensus, that these supposed causes of unhappiness are illusory, that one can break out of this hell of set ideas - and actually must do so if these forms of life prove impossible to achieve. To him my discourse basically felt like some sort of blasphemy against his most basic convictions, it upset him no end. In a way this guy reminded me of my brother - who is an eternal believer in all the ready-made joys of the world and an eternal self-condemned loser for not being able to partake in them. I know what it is - and I know that such people can never break free from their ordeals.

My ordeal is different - I ditched the whole package, now I need to custom-build my very own survival kit.




What is freedom?

I seem incapable of "capitalizing" on my best experiences. This trip was pure bliss - but I can't reconcile all this positive energy with my present reality, it simply can't get through the hellishness of these four walls.

I am happiest on the move - I must move again, soon.

In this life here I feel powerless. Therefore I must invent a way of life that gives me some meaning - and it is only while biking and going precisely nowhere that I finally found it. May I leave soon and never return.

*

Most people spend 90% of their year making a living in some dreary hole, and throughout they dream about how they will "escape into the sunset" when they finally get their paltry 2-week vacation.

This is called normal life. To me it is the most terrible and abnormal thing on earth - and fuck all those economic and social laws that force people to submit to such awful existence.

I submit to my own weakness and awfulness - I can break my own laws.




Five Easy Pieces.

I caught this movie again on tv tonight. I don't know - I must have seen it a half-a-dozen times already in recent years. For some reason the character of Jack Nicholson resonates so much with me in this film I basically want to drop everything and do as he does. Also - this movie is so evokative of a certain melancholic ambiance (or let us call it "controlled despair") that it manages to express in all sorts of ways, including rainy rustic scenery and wonderful D-Minor music and dialogue and everything put together. Plus the cutting humour of it...

Anyway - I just love this film. In my humble opinion it's one of those odd gems that never made it all the way up to the ranks of cult or whatever cinematic glory. Yet this is a small masterpiece, there's something utterly intelligent and perfect about it - don't know what it is exactly.

The final scene where he just hops into a truck and leaves everything behind - his jacket, his wallet - like some sort of a suicidal Christ... this scene is actually perfect. Both the way it's shot and the way it's played by J.Nicholson.

Today it went right through me - more than ever.





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