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Sporadic » 2009 » October

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Archive for October, 2009

The Gecko who wasn’t

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

For years, I used to play this game which I called “Plane Nun” which draws its name from a story I think I remember my uncle telling when I was a kid. The story goes like this:

He would travel frequently and got bored telling the same stories from flight to flight and so he decided to just make something up. He starts to tell some guy he’s sitting next to he’s a brain surgeon* but soon realizes that he’s sitting next to an actual brain surgeon so he confesses the ruse. The brain surgeon loves the game and so they start fresh with new personalities and play the whole flight.

The brain surgeon was a minor league short stop and my uncle was a nun. Purportedly, when they exited the plane the flight attendant says to my uncle “Take care, sister”

I have played this game on and off for a while. My favorite instance was when I told a pipe-fitter from Akron that I was the  guitar player from 90’s band “Filter” .  At the end of the flight he asked me for my autograph for his daughter. My ruse was believable enough for several reasons, Filter was from Cleveland, so it makes sense that I would be flying to Pittsburgh especially around the holidays, Filter wasn’t famous enough to be recognized and he was a 50 something pipe-fitter. My guess is that since Filter fell off the earth right after that and his daughter was 14 that the autograph was probably a prized possession. I was even enough of a band dork to know the right name to sign (Richard Patrick) I mean, how would she check that? So she had a theoretical autograph from a semi-famous guy and Filter probably got an  album sale that they wouldn’t have.

Anyway, so I have just figured out that the game was played on me.

Here’s the ruse:

I’m on a chairlift at Homewood last season and I’m riding with an older guy who has a sort of Aussie accent. We do the standard “what do you do” conversation and he tells me he’s a voice actor. I say “Wow, that’s neat! Would I have heard you?”

He spins a yarn about how he’s the Gieco Gecko. Tells me a whole story about how they fly him down to L.A. once or twice a month to record new spots. He lives in Tahoe year round on the retainer they pay him. It’s believable and just like the guitar player for Filter, it’s just unfamous enough that why would I check on that?

I have been telling folks for the past year about how I met the Gecko and blah blah blah.

Yesterday I’m trying to find out whether I can get the series “Red Dwarf”** from Greencine and I’m following around some links on the web and I find a link to “Jake Wood, British Soap Actor and Voice of the Gieco Gecko”. So I check into his info on Wikipedia and IMDB. First of all, the unassuming middle aged aussie fellow is not a mid-thirties British soap actor and second of all he doesn’t live in London with his wife and two children.

I guess that’s fair. I mean, I’ve been duping people for years, why wouldn’t somebody have duped me? It actually makes me happy that there’s someone else out there playing the game. Sort of gives the universe more certainty.

* Uncle Jay worked for Westinghouse, I think he did some kinda project management before he retired a few years ago, so…not a brain surgeon.

**Late 80’s British sci-fi sit com in the vein of Doctor Who***

***Yes I know, I’m a big dork. Shut up. Go ask Jody about which Star Wars is the worst and why or ask Ivy why light sabers are certain colors for certain characters.

Too cool for brakes

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

I know it’s been ages. I forgot my password and then I forgot that I forgot my password and then I forgot to forget that there was something to remember. Basically I slacked out for about 3 months.

However, I got an email from our old friend Sarah and she asked what had become of the bucket list and I realized that I had better get to it.

Fortunately, there’s something that I’ve been wondering about and so it lends itself to a instant topic.

In most major metropolitan areas* there are these folks who have what’s called a fixed gear bicycle or “fixie”. These are bikes that have, as you might imagine, only one gear that they are in all the time. Not unlike that huffy you had when you were 7. The difference, dear reader, between these bikes and your huffy is of course that the people that ride these are not 7… oh and most times these bikes don’t have brakes.

The other day I was explaining to Jen what a fixie was and I tried to explain why there weren’t brakes on the bikes and I couldn’t. According to some of the more popular fixie websites, it has something to do with being really connected to the road, bro.

Fixie culture seems to indicate that if you want to be …um… “super connected to the road” you must also be the kind of hipster that claims “I don’t even care what you think man, I’m just gonna be myself”**

As far as I can tell, fixies are like skateboards with more moving parts. You are required to outfit your fixie in all sorts of expensive ways like turning over and then sawing off the handle bars *** or sticking one of those idiotic center bar pads on it or making your wheels not match, or painting it some kind of spacey lime green or sticking one of those goofy mag wheels on it**** 

According to The fixed gear gallery: “In general, these bikes tend be more light weight and simple, requiring less maintenance than other bicycles. The lighter weight and continuous feedback through the transmission can translate to increased performance in some conditions, such as a better sense of control on slippery surface.” What they don’t tell you is that since you’re clearly too cool for brakes, it’ll also make you a menace if some objects gets in your way quickly.*****

I’m sure that were any of the fixie enthusiasts to actually come to my website (they won’t), they might call me a “hater”******. I’m okay with that. Anyone that tells me they love the simplicity of something and then spends hours and hours fixing something up needs to hear about their double standard. It’s like my friend in high school who told us her didn’t care about what people thought and then spent like 6 months perfectly adjusting the # of safety pins in his very carefully etched leather jacket with “The Exploited” painted on it. I even remember the day he told us it was finally just right.

I guess I should be glad they’re not driving cars….



*and especially here in SF

**And then working very, very, very hard to look like he doesn’t care, while still wearing all the right deisel fashons and bike messanger gear.

***Known as the “flop and chop”

**** but only on one of the wheels  (see rule 3)

*****Like a dog or a child or a swiftly moving 2 x 4 being swung at you from a conscientious resident of the sidewalk you insist on riding on (hey buddy, isn’t that a bike lane over there? Yes, right over there? Oh, you didn’t realize that you could use the bike lane for your ….uh…bike?)

******that’s youth speak for someone who doesn’t like the thing that you like used in a sentence like this “why do you haters got to hate on my super cool neon bike with no brakes”