Bicycles: The Greatest Form of Transportation Since the Invention of Feet

zappaOl’ Franky wailin’ on that bicycle; gives me shivers every time, and Freddy Mercury singing about the joys of bicycle freedom; makes me long for two wheels beneath my mobile corpse. I got my first bicycle when I was five, a red and black Murray with a coaster brake. I learned pretty quick how to lock that up on loose gravel and lay skids a mile long, and once those training wheels were off, well hell knew no fury like a freak child on a bike. As I grew up, I learned to work on my bikes, mostly out of necessity (because I only had shit department store tanks), but also out of an innate interest in how derailleurs functioned and what made my bicycle ride faster. I remember the day i figured out how cable tension worked, epiphany for sure.

Well like most kids, I left bikes for awhile in a short affair into automotives, but once my second transmission went out I lost trust in that mistress. My final year of college I decided that my bicycle obsession should become official, so I set about drawing plans for a total construction. I spent hours pouring over books and magazines at the library. I’d skip work to go buy parts, and skip class to repack bearings. One day, I was wondering the shelves of my university library when my attention was drawn to a red bound tome with gold accents, and I knew something magnificent was about to happen.

bicycle builders bible

That book, The Bicycle Builder’s Bible was about to open up my world to everything bicycle occult. Jack Wiley wrote in a manner that made me long for a wrench in my hand, and like a new convert I passed it around to my closest friends. I also found next to that book an even greater treasure, The Custom Bicycle, this book I have up until now never spoken of to any other living human. It holds power beyond recognition, and knowledge so great that the bicycle community feared it may end up in the wrong hands. However, after meeting with the bicycle overlords (and finding the available pdf) we feel it is now time to bring this valuable publication to light. These two books have the combined power to make any being a master mechanic. Once my Schipperke learns to read the written word, she’ll be mounting tires, repacking hubs, and crimping brake cables like a champ. However, the bicycle overlords and I agree, that with great knowledge comes great responsibility, and that is why it is of the utmost importance that you befriend, consult, and enjoy the company of your local naves at your local bike shop. I cannot stress enough how those surly gents and ladies could be the most valuable and loyal friends you may ever know. Some of the kind folks I’ve worked with at LBS’s (Local Bike Shop for those completely out of the know) may present a stern exterior and gruff demeanor, but if you bring them beer, cookies, or the occasional monetary tip, you’ll have a personal mechanic, protector, and riding companion until you die. Seriously, bike shop people are great. Okay, back to the point of all this…

So I researched and then built. As a college student, like so many, I had almost zero dollars to work with, so much of my bicycle was actually constructed from found parts. I started with an old Raleigh frame that had been repurposed as a trainer bike, but was still sturdy, and had been discarded in an LBS dumpster. I repacked Schwinn Approved hubs and laced those to some cheap box rims. My prized piece was a Campagnolo crankset dug from the depths of a grease filled trashcan behind a Chinese restaurant (hey you never know where those parts are hiding).  The other odds and ends were harvested from flea markets, and the bicycle graveyards that surrounded my university. Once everything came together it was time for the maiden voyage, in which I learned about pedal strike the hard way (it was a fixed gear), stripped the hub, and snapped the chain. Success! I walked the bike home and plotted its resurrection.

I found a great way to source parts for my bicycle was by working at a bike shop. Sometimes you get them for free, and the worst part is they pay you to work on bikes. I took my first job working at Competitive Gear Bike Shop in Erie, PA after doing some graphic design work for the handsome and always charming Peter ‘Zoltan’ McMaster. It was under his watchful tutelage that I mastered the repair, maintenance, and construction of all bicycle types, and even had several opportunities at restoration and overhaul of several boat anchors.

Since building my first bicycle from the ground up, I have found it is a yearly activity. I have built bikes for myself and friends, forced builds have happened due to incidents with motorists, and I’ve found the best form of catharsis is to wrench out the pain. My current bicycle obsession is based around long road rides with occasional detours through mud, gravel, and grassy terrain, maintenance of my ever shifting fleet of steeds, and plans on total knowledge of steel frame construction.

Punk Rock Saved My Life, But Also Made Me a Pariah

Growing up in the Rust Belt is probably a lot like other places where social interactions are limited to your family, peers, and occasional grocery checkout faux pas, so when you’re called a faggot at ten years old and beat up on a nearly daily basis you have to form some type of alternative outlook to survive. Punk stepped in to the fill that void when I first heard “When I Come Around.” You see, I was in kindergarten the year punk broke, so discussing the revolution of The Clash or reactionary politics of Crass just seemed like elitist reminiscence of a bygone era. I preferred the music that people like myself were actively making, sure I tried a lot of the past bands in order to develop a subcultural perspective, but I tended to live in the current. I played in bands that were progressing a contemporary dialogue, always searched for the horizon when it came to music reviews, and wrote zines about topics that seemed like eternal problems, but were really conditionally contingent upon my own experience. Maybe this is making sense to someone, but to me it seems like a complete construction, so I suppose I should be a bit more self-critical.

Up until very recently I had very little idea of my actual makeup. I lived a confused life that consisted mostly of doing the day to day shit everyone bitches about, and I consoled myself by dreaming this punk ethos, I supposedly enveloped, made me unique. However, I moved out of my geographic conditions and gained perspective on my life, and what I found is that yes, I am a bit of a freak, but also completely and boringly normal. Yeah, I’m genderqueer, but honestly I have a relatively forgiving outlook when it comes to cisgendered individuals, and yes, I am bisexual, but again that is also dubiously in check by my holistic understanding of the human condition. I have a history of drug use (and some would say abuse), but really in a world were “straights” get by with 5 hour energy boosts and a diet of box food who really can say what a drug is (certainly synthetic additives should be lumped into the so-called world of drugs, and let’s not even start on genetically engineered products…nothing is fucking natural). My ethical obligations are tethered to activist causes, but that’s only because I espouse a determined will of self-reliance that despises corporate manipulation that I view as a corruption of individual human dignity. So, let’s just say that at the end of the day I sit down with my issue of Maximum RocknRoll, keep my tongue firmly planted to cheek, and manipulate my sense of self-worth based on productivity.

You see, for me punk was a great way to grow up, but it also created a neurological minefield that needed to be diffused so that I could interact openly with people of differing cognitive makeup. I’ll probably continue to be hampered by my social inadequacies, but those might be more accurately ascribed to my upbringing in a place that limits the number of interactions. Punk was an easy security blanket, but I’m learning each day that it also constructed a facade of escapism and a cynical perspective to otherwise benign institutions. My continued dismantling of my ego, coupled with a will for a brighter future, should yield dramatic results (or at least I’ll be a little nicer to the postman).

My final words, before you go to some messageboard or log onto twitter and post about how I’m some kind of poser shit I’m going to go rock out to some Neon Piss harder than you’ve ever thought possible. So FTW, my life not yours, and we can maybe be friends anyway.

Just Get to the Point Already


So last we spoke, I didn’t quite get around to the point of what this tiny grain of the internet is actually about. It’s about everything and mostly nothing. Kinda sounds like a Seinfeld pitch I know, but honestly it’s about the things that make me tick. I tend to nerd-out over things, get totally obsessed, involved until I no longer can distinguish reality from the object of my intense focus (certainly some amount of this can be blamed upon my past dabblings in illicit substances), and often when I do forget about the immediate and can only focus on my myopic vision I end up being a dick. However, this is not going to be a teenage diary about how I hurt the ones I love because I was so taken by having to own the coolest car…and that’s because cars mostly suck and also mostly because I have enough foresight to not act like a total chode to the ones I love. I suppose the most essential thing you need to know about the future content of my virtual nest is that I think I like pretty cool shit. In fact I’ve had some pretty cool people call me cool, so that at least mildly affirms my coolness to me, and I guess I don’t really give two shits if you think I’m cool, unless of course you’re considered cool to me, and then I hope to Baphomet you think I’m cool. Anyway, you’ll probably come around to accepting my coolness (I’m pretty sure it’s not cool to use the word coolness, but we’ll continue and pretend it’s okay) once I generate some more content on this thing. To clarify though, I don’t really care if I’m cool or not, and I often make attempts to appear less cool which is why I’ve accepted the moniker of Esoteric Nerd. Right now I’m just going to write a really long list of things that I like and think are cool, and hopefully it will be so long that you’ll get bored and go to another blog, like or …: bicycles, motorcycles, records, punk rock, metal, Salvadore Dali, silver era comic books, the occult, Aleister Crowley, Thelema, Winston Smith, horror movies, zombies, The Munsters, art history, Baphomet, world history, science, nature walks, national parks, tattoos, St. Vitus Bar in Brooklyn, New York, whiskey, weed, The Acheron Concert Venue, Amebix, Zyanose, Nux Vomica, militaria, genderqueer, third-wave feminism, contemporary art, cassette tapes, rubber cement, The Ramones, Zounds, Freemasons, silent films, experimental films, Kenneth Anger, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Motorhead, grandparents, Schipperkes, Paris-Roubaix and all forms of bicycle racing, restoration projects, gardening, camping, bonfires, picnics, boating, exploration, spelunking, abandoned structures, squatting, graphic design, beer, home brewing, survival handbooks, recycling, Twelve Angry Men, Warehouse 13, Farscape, Joss Whedon, Zippos, Nigel Pennick, geomancy, Ley Lines, The Cramps, Thatcher On Acid, Joe Strummer, George Gurdjieff, zen, Brad Warner, Black Flag, Keith Morris, civil rights, culinary cuisine, homemade ice cream, Nikola Tesla, and psychedelics.
Still here? Well, I hope you enjoyed the list. You probably could have spent your time better, but I appreciate your display of determination and your attention span. Honestly, my adhd would have kept me from reading that. If you googled any of those words and went down an enjoyable internet rabbit hole, well I’ll accept your appreciation in donations of money sent to the paypal of Until next time, shine on good soldier.

Welcome, Bienvenidos, Bienvenue, Begrüßung, and Let’s Get Fucking Started!

I’ve written a lot.
I’m just going to let that statement sink in for a bit.
More for my own benefit than yours.
Yep, that’s enough time.
I’ve worked on a lot of blogs, some minor successes, but mostly incredible failures, so you might say my track record for successfully maintaining a virtual domain is less than stellar. However, I’ve gotten a bit of life experience under my belt, tried a few new drugs, sat under some trees and stared at stuff, and in general matured. I guess I was finding my voice, or growing up, or whatever euphemism you’d like to use to describe the process of becoming a fully functioning human being.
Whatever, I’ve done that.
I spent the last two years of my life in Nueva York, that’s New York to all those still living in the Midwest and inexperienced with the bilingual United States. I went with a simple goal in mind, that was to allow the nearly 400 years of white oppression through American dream via servitude, dirt accumulation via human grease application, but nevertheless life-loving rot to sink into my very core and infest my life like some kind of zombie virus.
Great success!
Recently, I returned home and have kinda (at least momentarily) become that guy that I feared being…you know…that one…that lives with their parents. Yeah, that’s me. Let’s just say I have a lot of down time now, a lot of projects in the mill, and some things on tap, but a life plan I have not as of yet figured out. What I do have is a lot of time to contemplate my life, analyze the situations and choices that have brought me to my current status, and tons of time to wax poetically about the simple things in life. What you’re reading, this blog, is meant to be my nerdy, dweebed-up, over-caffeinated, dork patrol, outcry about everything I love, hold dear, and consider holy. Sure I use a lot of words, and some of them you may not understand, but if you bare with me and allow me to progress to the point you’ll get to taste a little bit of what it feels like from my socially awkward, slightly Peter Pan syndromed, but eternally sincere perspective. So with that I’ll bid you adieu, so goodnight you princes of Maine, you lords of whatever Michael Kane says in that movie that I’ll confess to having been most likely stoned during. I’m sorry Michael Kane; I really don’t mean to offend your artistic devotion, but you know…anyways, I’ll throw some more words at you soon enough. Buh-bye!