Falling in Love with Le Tour


Sunday 24 July 2011

How cool was the Tour de France?

This was my first time watching the tour from start to almost-finish most nights.  Being in Australia, it's a 10pm start, and so for the past three chilly Winter weeks I've come to understand from the warmth of my bed some more of the nuances and intricacies around teams and tactics and lead-out men and pelatons and to be honest, cynicism aside (at least for this paragraph), I'm feeling slightly overcome by the romance of the whole damn thing.  All of those chateaux and uber cute French villages and dickheads running along the side of the road in their jocks with capes, an extreme amount of campervans, and riders taking corners so so fast that they crash into trees, or slide on road markings, or veer into car parks ... or even get thrown into barbed wire fences by careening team cars.

I'm feeling all taken with the romance and the anarchy, and the way the Tour is staged.  There is a whiff still of a sort of gentlemanliness about this race, looking out of my sleepy, rose-coloured eyes (and so therefore karma to you, Alberto Contador).

This was my first real tour I watched from start to finish, and one of those people that those who have been following the Tour for years and getting out on their road bikes probably detest.  My first full tour-watching, and an Australian wins it.  You can't get much more of a fairytale than that.  Throw in the chateaux and the Pyrenees and the Alps and even the downside of lack of sleep and viewing the HTC Desire S mobile phone commercial eleventy-nine times a night and I feel like the sort of interloper who hasn't been to a game all year but now sits transfixed in his Grand Final seat that he's scored free from Uncle Jack, whose dentist's cousin got a couple of freebies from work.  All from the space of my bed.

Congratulations, Cadel Evans.  Only some kind of uber horrid bad luck stands between professional pinnacle-reaching for you and an oversaturation of bobbleheaded blabberings on the TV for the next fortnight for us, fodder to fuel the mass spewing forth of suddenly-knowledgeable-ever-since-last-Sunday people who will be holding conversations around Australian water coolers for weeks to come.

Careening and chateaux and dickheads in their undies.  Phil Liggett, twists and turns and Mark Cavendish loving his new bike 900 times in the ad break.  Polka dot and green and white and yellow jerseys.  The first Australian standing in a yellow jersey, potentially about to win the Tour in a fairytale sort of a fashion.  What's not to love?

Looking forward to next year already.  And in a true spirit of egalitarianism, I hope next time it's your turn, Mr Andy Schleck.

Friday 22 July 2011

It is winter, the time he is loudest in his call for a mate.  And so though he hides, being shy, twice in a row we have heard his array of fine impersonations on our walks to the falls.  His range of bird mimicry is top-notch, one imitation after another to such a high standard that you'd think there were 10 different varieties of birds all hanging around in a hidden clearing beyond the ferns.

And although it's funny and impressive, it's his kookaburra impersonation that ultimately makes you know it's a lyrebird you're having the privilege of hearing.  Not being a speaker of kookaburrian myself, I nevertheless can spot something a little off-key about the call - it ends differently, a little too soon, like a kookaburra with Alzheimer's.  It's as if someone comes reciting an impressive paragraph of prose to you, with a fine command of the intricacies of the language, only to furrow their brow when you ask them what their name is :)

The lyrebird's native call is a hard-to-describe sound, a sort of downward ewwwwww followed by an upward sort of something which sounds the way a whip made of cool mint would, hitting the air.  Sometimes it rings out so clear, the sound lingers for a second or two, like a singing bowl in the air.

I have posted this before on my blog but it's worth a repeat.



Thursday 21 July 2011

Science is human beings conducting experiments.  The knowledge that we can uncover when we turn our minds to exploring reality is toe-curlingly deep.

Mystics are not categorised with scientists, and yet they spend their lives facing and tasting and delving into those realities which so many run away from or ride over as if they're not there, as if death didn't exist for all of us.  So do Buddhists.  So do everyday people who meditate.  These people of all persuasions or no persuasion have as a laboratory their minds and their bodies.

Some things and some more things


Monday 18 July 2011

This here be's my interpretation of a thing, and a thing, and a thing.  They are either reclining on a bed of blue dot things, or flying on said blue dot things.

The big blue thing seems to be giving birth to something or, alternatively, has a prolapse which urgently requires medical attention.  The thing to its left seems pretty happy about something, and the thing to the right seems to busting some kind of thingish move.

This, then, be my interpretation of things.  Amen.

Empty Square Boxes


Friday 15 July 2011

An empty page.  An empty Word document.  An empty square Blogger box. Sometimes those things look so scary they fling me off into doing something else.  But I've barely written anything in two weeks, and so this morning the empty square Blogger box looks possible.  It looks like a big white swimming pool with a whole lot of white-type words in it.

Except now it's not.  Empty, that is.  It's now got a paragraph full of 62 words in it.  Except of course that now it hasn't got a paragraph with 62 words in it, because in talking to you about the number of words contained in this blog post, I am getting myself into a corner.  And so I shall now break out of that corner by informing you that this blog post, in its entirety, contains 161 words (which is up to and including the last word I have just typed here right now here this one right now.)

Okay, now that's sorted.  I've written almost 200 words.  Some people write 200-word posts and say something in them.  And then there's mine :)

Perhaps empty square Blogger boxes only look scary in proportion to the amount of scary that's going on out in the world.  I think there's a lot of scary going on out in the world.

I had a very honest conversation with the health food shop lady yesterday.  She came and asked me what I was looking for just as my partner was pointing out what I was looking for (ye olde St John's Wort, an extra crutch to help me through the latest winterly funk seeing some spiritual God conceptions I've crutched on in the past, according to Mr Marx, just don't seem to be working for me any more.  And who knows?  Maybe he's right.  I just don't know.  I miss the comfort of sitting in the happy-to-not-be-able-to-define-the-ineffable-but-think-it's-still-there.  I do still think it's still there, I suppose, in some fashion, but I know even less than I did a few years ago.  Which wasn't really all that much).

I wasn't the only one feeling this way, the health food shop lady said (depressed, that is.  I didn't talk to her about any God stuff because we don't do that here in this country.)  Seems a lot of people have been coming in to this lady's shop try to find some kind of bottled remedy to stop impaling themselves on sharp objects.  It seems, she said, that so many of us are feeling as if the very ground underneath our feet is trembling.

Which in some parts of the world it is.

Our entire conversation was filled from start to finish basically with how shite everything feels at the moment.  And this coming from people living in one of the richest countries on earth, some of the most privileged people on the planet.  And yet still, even for us - perhaps even more so for us in some respects because we have the time and the privilege to sit and ponder how shite and trembly everything is.  We are not starving, our standard of living is unbelievably high, we have health food shops full of worterly potions, supermarkets full of food, clothing stores full of blankets and fleece.  We are the privileged ones who feel the full force of modern ennui where we're full of stuff and yet our culture is empty as all fuck.

It was a really quite edifying sort of a conversation in the end.  Perhaps because it made me feel a bit better somehow, knowing that lots of other people are struggling through this weird, fucked-up trip called life.  There are so many people who have their niche, and they're happy within their niche, and it gives them meaning and solace and comfort and then they try to tell other people about their niche, and how meaningful and comforting it is for them.  I miss that feeling.  I'm not sure what I think/believe/feel about spiritual stuff any more.

I want there to be a capital G God.  I want there to be a benevolent force in the universe that is looking out for us.  I miss that space, because when you believe that is true, pathways open up to you which do not when you do not know anymore if you believe that that is true.

But maybe there are myriad pathways.  Sometimes, part of being on the pathway is not knowing where the fuck you are.  Good things come out of Where the Fuck Am I? Lane, after all.  What I find difficult, though, and which some others just don't seem to find difficult (and which makes me wonder if I have childish conceptions that need putting away) is that I have a psychological want, or maybe even need, for that road to feel like it's leading somewhere.  And right now, I just don't know whether that's not into a brick wall, or laying down childish conceptions, or into a glorious golden age, or into a death with nothing that comes after it.

I want something to come after it.