Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The story.

This is the point in time where I cautiously enter the room, somewhat abash. Everyone sits with their heads drooped between their shoulders: hunched over a drink. They are all sipping from the same cloudy bottles. One Sudanese gentleman pours a small quantity of fluid between his lips, allowing it to swill around in his mouth before swallowing. This is no nectar. The grimace on his face makes clear the shocking bitterness. It is the drink of Neglect.

As a loose floorboard squeaks beneath my left shoe, they all turn their heads towards me. The Blog-Followers. They peer over at me, their eyes bleary with Neglect, and it is clear what they want: a reason why. Why have they been forsaken? Why has their been no warning? Why have their been no blog-posts? Without a word, these questions are communicated to me. I'm looked upon with the same disappointment and disdain found in the eyes of a mother as she catches a boy desperately trying to cover himself with his Playboy. When  he finally emerges from the bathroom, the sense of awkward embarrassment is thick in his mind. It is this same shame with which I come before you, the Blog-Followers.

I could brush it off: "I've just been busy. There were final exams, and I had a lot of work to do."
But no, you deserve the truth...
I've been involved in a top-secret excursion to save the world against rabid-laser-wielding-lions. It's been a long, top-secret battle, but we've finally prevailed...top-secret-ly. This is why I've been gone, but now I'm back!

Coming soon! The International Bicycle Film Festival: A detailed look into what this was all about, and an insider perspective of what it's like to be Dead Fucking Last in a bike race (this was me).



Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Fucking Word of the Day

I am under the delusion that grad school might be in my future, so I've been stuffing ridiculous vocabulary into my brain as of late. Unfortunately, it seems that I've been created with a design flaw which allows all information entering my brain to promptly exit within the subsequent five minutes. Clearly I need to brush up my memorization techniques.

One method for memorizing terribly useless and dull words is to associate them with things that are worth remembering. I have discovered the ultimate source for applying this tactic.

the fucking word of the day

My new challenge will be to stop myself from spontaneously cracking up while taking the GRE.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Cranksgiving Food Drive Alley Cat: November 21st

To misquote a friend, "There's never nothing to do, this city sucks!" To which I never replied, "Why don't you advertise for an awesomely fun benefit event that involves Miami's citizens in doing something good for their city and it's people?"
"Absolutely, and why don't you help by posting about it on your blog?" were the words that never left his mouth.

Here's the event.


Of the 3 people that read this blog, 2 of you might be wondering, "What is an Alley Cat?" I will give a definition by leading you through a creative exploratory journey into your own soul:

-Close your eyes ( but keep reading...)
-Imagine yourself at the beach, or at least at a coastal city in South Florida.
-Envision yourself participating in a scavenger hunt, harkening back to the joyful days of your childhood.
-Envision this same scavenger hunt, but with a fast bike between your legs, taking place in the streets of your said coastal city in South Florida.
-Envision all the hot people of the opposite sex watching you do this and thinking "damn, I want that speedy person's children."

This is an Alley Cat race.

Be sure to come out, and as always, refer to miamibikescene.blogspot.com for all your Miami cycling needs.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

SOFLO Skate and Bike Shop

Miami has been up to the same old same old this October. CSI: Miami continued to be a terribly written show set against an unrealistically vivid depiction of magic city, pot-holes lurking in the shadows cast by palm trees have caused me at least 3 flat tires, and a solid crew of dare-devilish locals participated in the monthly Loose Cannons Race. However, considering my diet consists of more Pollo Tropical yucca fries than you could shake a palm-frond at, I decided to sit this one out due to out-of-shape-ness (or maybe being too shapely?). Not to let one of the precious few quality Miami nights pass me by, however, I motored on over to check it out. 


I bet you're thinking, "Nice helmet, Arthur!"...I know.

This month's race started at a relatively new addition to the loose cannons circuit: SOFLO Skate and Bike Shop. These guys have been in Miami for years as a prominant skateboarding resource, but have recently branched out into the cycling scene; specifically the fixed gear aspect. I wish I had my camera with me at the time, but alas I can only describe my visual experience in words. For starters: Pretty flippin' sweet.

Once you walk into the relatively small shop, you're faced with a colorful explosion of custom painted skateboards, a glass-fronted counter stocked with the latest and greatest of skating and cycling accessories, and a small collection of beautiful bike frames displayed about the shop. The walls are decorated head to toe with the doodlings of the same artist who is working with the shop on creating the custom skateboards. With the added charm of a pair of vintage barber-shop chairs, an awesome dog named Cognac, and the laid-back attitudes of the shop's owners, you can count on an atmosphere of chill during your visit. No snobbery here.
I managed to talk with a co-owner of the shop, Cristian Moreno, before the race began. When I found him, he had just finished setting up a set of cycling rollers in the front of the shop. Without hesitation, he gladly gave me a tour of the shop, and we sat down in the barber chairs for an interview:


Arthur: What do you guys do here at SOFLO?
Cristian: Mostly chill. Help customers with all their skateboard and bike needs.


Arthur: Who are your customers?
Cristian: We have a base of customers in local skaters. Skaters who go to Peacock Park have been coming for some years now, but over the last year we've picked up bikers. Not that we've ever ridden much fixed gear before, but we rode all types when we were young. Everything from bmx to cruisers. We started to get involved with the MIAfixed forum, which inspired us to help people get into fixed gears. So the number of cyclists coming in is starting to pick up. David Berger of Bikes-to-Go has been great in helping us start up.


Arthur: Are you finding that there's much overlap between skate culture and bike culture?
Cristian: Since I've been riding, I've gotten at least 10-15 friends into biking, whether they were skating or not. My roommates, my friends, they've all started getting into it. Biking is getting huge.


Arthur: What made you get into bikes?
Cristian: I've skated for the last 12 years or so, So relative to that, I've only recently started riding a bike. I got hooked up from Bikes-to-Go at a great price ...it gave me liberty to go from one end of the city in the matter of an hour. It's pretty much the freedom of riding throughout Miami with no problems... something you can't do with a skate board.


Arthur: What do you think people should know about your shop?
Cristian: If you're a skater, I've got the best prices and selection you can find. As for the bikers, nothing pleases me more than seeing somebody ride out of here on their own bike. If I know that I've helped them accomplish that, It's the best feeling. Whether its building up a frame they've found, or getting them a bike from scratch.


Arthur: What makes the products here so unique?
Cristian: On the skating side: most products are small companies, usually owned by pro skaters and made local to the states. We use a really small west-coast distributer who provides with stuff that's hard to find at bigger stores. As for bikes; we're still pretty new, but we're developing a pretty good collection of vintage parts and frames.


Arthur: How about the clothing?
Cristian: We've got mostly earth friendly stuff; organic cotton and such. We carry Satori Movement from San Francisco, for instance.


Arthur: You guys have stuff going on at SOFLO besides bikes and skating?
Cristian: We plan on having acoustic shows, the un-plugs of local bands. We also have our blog at soflomofo.wordpress.com. We update it all the time with everything that goes on here; products, events, general info.


Arthur: what's your favorite aspect of Miami?
Cristian: The last couple of years, Dade County has opened up some free skate parks which is great. They're always packed with young skaters. Something I've been waiting for in the 12 years I've lived in Miami. It was everybody's dreams, and now its coming true.


Arthur: What is your least favorite aspect of Miami?
Cristian: Shitty law enforcement. Also, the heat and rain is a bad combo.


Arthur: where's the best place to chill in Miami?
Cristian: The News Lounge is great to chill at after a Loose Cannons Race, and SOFLO before the race.


Arthur: Thanks for your time.
Cristian: Of course bro.

The next event happening at the shop is on October 15th: the Grove's Bicycle Scavenger Hunt. Check out SOFLO's blog for more info.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Flip Flops 2

Flip flops are the only variety of footwear known to me that are named after their onomatopeia.
That's like calling a duck a "quack quack", a gun a "bam bam", a spanish sports announcer a "GOOOOOOL", or a condom an "ohhh yeahhhh baby, yes! yes!"

Perhaps this name is used for these insufficiently-strappy-sandals because using it's descriptive name would be poor marketing. For example, imagine this advertisement:

"Now, 3 for 1 at walmart, get your insufficiently-strappy-really-slow-back-pain-causers!"

Perhaps the purpose of flip flops is for the user to be constantly challenged by their footwear? Whether the flip-flopper is walking or sitting (note: running isn't an option), the flip-flopper must constantly struggle to even keep the flip-flops on their feet. With how often flip flops will fall off, it is almost as if the user's feet know better, and are trying to expel the foul objects from their vicinity.

More hate to come! In the mean time, excuse me while I tie the shoelaces on my sneakers: shoes which are named for being most likely to be worn by quick and stealthy beings such as ninjas.

EDIT: I forgot to include something hateful directed at the 305...Miami sucks!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

IRHM...but Panera Bread is rocking my world right now.

There are a number of spiritual activities I engage in while not being force-fed the arrogant, aggressive haggis that is Miami's essence. In case you don't know what haggis is, please reference this self-referencing sentence with a click. Another interesting fact about Haggis besides being:
a) gross
b) the best way to describe what it tastes like to be imprisoned here amongst the palm trees
 is that
c) the URL http://www.haggis.com is worth 200,000 Euro, and up for grabs!

Back to spiritual activities. The most satisfying spiritual activity I engage in (besides writing this blog) is my 7 mile ride to school. It is strangely predictable in that I can always count on it being slightly different each time. Nothing sends oxygenated blood to my brain like dodging through the traffic which is actively sending carbon-monoxide-ated blood to my brain. The best part of this trip, however, occurs in the front yard of a house at approximately sw 97th ave and 46th st. I URGE you to ride by and find it for yourself.

Besides this spirtual activity, there is the lesser one of going to Panera Bread in Sunset Place. This is grand simply because of how everything seems to make sense there. For instance;
-the internet is free and fast
-the hot tea = a hot cup of water with as many bags of tea of whatever flavor I want!
-there are lemons by the soft-drinks
-they will probably never serve haggis

Wasting Time

The best part about tabbed internet browsing is that you can feel productive while not actually doing anything at all. Try it. In different tabs open...


-your email
-your other email ( you know you have at least 2)
-facebook/myspace/twitter/whatever
-that message board you always go to
-that web comic you always read
-that internet radio you always listen to
-that awesome shopping website that has the best deals on things you like to buy
-that news site you always read


... and lookit that, you're up to 8 tabs already!


It probably took 10 minutes just to enter all those different usernames and passwords. Within half an hour of mindless clicking, you've gotten absolutely nothing done while feeling relatively accomplished about all the different things you're getting done, and you haven't even started chatting yet.  


Of course, wherever I say "you" in this blog post, I'm actually just referring to "me", and godammit it looks like I really need to spend less time online. 


Still, I'd rather waste my time online wishing Miami never existed, as opposed to wasting my time by existing in Miami. 

Saturday, September 19, 2009

23

I turned 23 today, and in order to commemorate my 23rd trip around the sun, i'm going to share a few interesting  facts about Miami that also have to do with 23.

.Univision 23 is the biggest spanish tv channel in Miami. Probably because of  "Sabado Gigante!"
.Ronnie Brown of the Miami Dolphins: #23. Also had 23 rushing touchdowns, as of 2008.
.The "Miami 23" is a fishing boat, probably owned by some Miamians.
.AESU is a travel firm that offers an "around the world in 23 days!" tour that starts in Miami.
.
.
.
... So there isn't very much that is interesting that is related to Miami and the number 23. To be fair, it isn't 23's fault. It is Miami.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Flip Flops

Not long ago, while talking to my new friend Steve, I noticed that I could form a line of sight in any direction and easily find one thing I didn't like (eg: palm tree, pot-hole, flip-flops, etc.). Moreover, that thing was inextricably linked to Miami. 


This got me thinking: maybe I should go easier on Miami. 


Then I thought: No, Miami needs to realize that flip-flops are a waste of time already. Get ready for a mega-hate-post in the near future.


In the mean time, if you do happen to wear flip-flops:
a) STOP IT!
b) At least don't buy them from walmart....



Note: these are not my feet.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

IRHM's Official Figure 1.1

I've been back in town for a couple of weeks and of course, the standard afflictions have been getting back to me: insomnia, overwhelming monotony, and the general sense that my character and personality are being sucked from me every minute. It's alright though! Us few Miamians who survive this and still manage to lead relatively meaningful lives tend to discover and create avenues for achieving "happiness", or as I like to call it; "choking it down."

On that topic, I figured that I would take this time to share with you a couple methods that I like to use for "choking it down," by using a few figures.

Figure 1.1: Gin and Tonic; This little whipper-upper is a fure shire way to take the edge off.

"Arthur's Gin n' Tonic:" 20 oz. tumbler. two parts gin, 1 part tonic, 1/2 lime, and the 4th season of  It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Alternatives to Arthur's Gin n' Tonic that are considerably more socially acceptable can easily be found at your local chain-restaurant-bar-and-grill, or, if you're willing to stick your neck out, a place not unlike Fox's Lounge.
I freakin' love this place for two particular reasons: Gin and tonic (please refer to fig.1.1) and their Rueben Sandwich. I love it so much I'm probably going to do an IRHM Official Review of it sometime soon.

Figure 1.2: I forgot what went here because Figure 1.1 (please refer to fig.1.1) worked so well.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Anonymous luxury car drivers: why are you so angry?

It is a commonly known fact that commuting in Miami is an all-you-can-eat buffet of garbage. If you've ever been to one of those economy pan-asian buffets in the strip malls with ugly beige paint scheme (a.k.a. all of them), you've experienced that everything looks pretty edible from afar, but the closer you get to the food, the more repulsive it actually is. Forlorn, you return to your table with a plate adorned with 3 lumps of the least disgusting options, but once you sample each, you realize it's exactly as bad as you feared. This again could be paralleled to using Miami's roads, and even more so if you're doing it on a bicycle. The main difference is buffets have trans-fats, and Miami has road-rage.

I'd love to showcase a class of Miami drivers who are particularly good with road manners, but I've yet to identify any. However, it is very easy to notice which group is the worst: the luxury car driver. Specifically if the car they drive is a German sedan, you can typically expect their reaction to your very existence to be an attempt to end it, preferably with your blood neatly splattered accross the Audi logo.

One of the most successful research opportunities for evaluating drivers' abilities to:
a) keep their cool
b) understand the law
c) share
is to participate in your local Critical Mass. Critical Mass is a cycling event which occurs once a month in cities accross the nation. Every individual rider has their own definition and purpose for it, and here is mine:

Critical Mass is a radical attempt to create awareness and dialogue between cyclists and motorists about the rules of the road, about the fact that cyclists need to use it, and about how both cyclists and motorists can step on eachother's toes unless something serious is done to improve road usage for everyone. It is done so by a leaderless gathering of cyclists who meet at a pre-determined time, and set off on a group ride on city roads. If there is a sufficiently "critical" amount of cyclists on the road together, they can easily occupy a lane or two of traffic, if not the entire road in attempt to get wherever they are going. Clearly, this gets the attention of motorists, who are forced to wait, slow down, or find alternate routes: the same challenges that any individual cyclist faces on the road every day.

This being said, let us put in perspective what cyclists may excpect on the road with some statistics.

i) Bicycling Magazine recently listed Miami as one of the worst for cycling in the U.S.A.

ii) Although New York recently stole the crown as the city with the most road rage from Miami in 2007, we still sit at a healthy number 7.

It is no suprise then, that when over 100 cyclists took part in Critical Mass Miami: August 2009 edition, they were occasionally met with honks, yells, profanity, reving engines and general threats to their well-being. However, the relatively few offensive drivers weren't the ones driving the beat-up carolla home from work, but the guy in the suit and the brand new BMW.

Drastically violent attempts to cut off cyclists were inflicted by someone driving a Mercedez, and more than one Audi driver came within feet of a cyclist before squeeling to a stop, slamming on his horn. All in all, there were relatively few cases of irrational explosions of rage, but 9 times out of 10 they came from somebody who clearly earned far too much money to wait for cyclists. On the other end of the spectrum, cyclists were aided by patient drivers, cheered on by others, and at the very least were tolerated by the vast majority of motorists.

So, what's the deal anonymous luxury car drivers? Why are you so angry? Is it because you paid good money for your 500hp engine and damn it all if you can't use it right now? Are you afraid that if anyone saw you waiting behind a bicycle, you might lose some of the respect that your finely tuned german car has been earning you? I'm truly at a loss here, because l would assume that anyone who had the patience, maturity, and solid work ethic to get to a point in their lives where they could afford such a nice car, would have also developed the ability to get over themselves once in a while.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz

"After bewilderingly challenging, diligent exploration for gloomy hell, I've just known lame Miami: Naggingly obstrusive; pathetically, quixotically ridiculous. Seriously tattered underwear. Very whiney Xantus (Yaks). Zebras!"
-Arthur the Procrastinator

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The 8th Ave Bike and Coffee House, Gainesville, FL

As I might have mentioned, I've been out of town, which has been great. Unfortunately, I'm about to be back in town this Saturday, which means we can re-commence hating everything together. Until then, I'll be wrapping up my vacation in Gainesville: A place where the drivers are friendly, the bike lanes are a-plenty, the music is non-stop, the beer is affordable, the coffee is local, and the rent is cheap. I've thoroughly enjoyed my summer here, and this next bit will be on my new favorite establishment in Gainesville: The 8th Ave Bike and Coffee House. That's right, it's a bike shop, and a coffee shop, simultaneously. Could we please get something like this started at home, Miami?

The day I visited was the grand opening party, complete with balloons, banners, and free coffee all day. After my morning teeth brushing, beer can recycling, and dishes-doing, I rode on over to check it out. When I walked in, the most strikingly awesome thing about the relatively large space was that all the walls were covered with gorgeous bicycle frames. I’m talking a mid 20th century international array of lugged beauties in paint schemes that only existed in the dreams of 1960’s Italian frame builders.

The incredibly friendly staff were quick to  share  stories about all the rare frames they've acquired, all while sipping piping hot cups of  Sweetwater coffee, a local brand to Gainesville. Curious cog-heads and coffee drinkers trickled in and milled around the shop all day, test riding the vintage rides, as well as bringing their own bikes in for a little service.

The shop’s focus is vintage road bikes, but they also carry a small selection of new bikes by a company called Gavin, which is based out of St. Augustine, FL. On the coffee side the shop, the commitment is to buy local, which they do so for all their coffee and chocolates. Complete with a generous amount of chairs and tables, free wi-fi access, and all the vintage-bicycle-eye-candy anyone could ever want, it's no surprise that this place was an instant hit for me.  To quote one of the customers, "It's like a dog park for bikes." 

Between snapping bunches of pictures and drinking mug-fulls of coffee, I had a short conversation with Musa Blount, a co-owner of the business, and with Eliza Lutz, one of the baristas. Mr. Musa Blount, a friendly guy with a constant smile, greeted me with a hug.

Arthur: What's your favorite aspect of this shop?

Musa: I think it's meeting new people, sharing stories, and seeing cool bikes.

Arthur: What are the challenges of opening up another bike shop in Gainesville, a place with so many already?

Musa: I guess the challenge is to not impede the business of the other local bike shops. But they all have their own niches and target markets, so that gives us room to do what we do.

Arthur: What are you most excited about achieving with 8th avenue bike shop?

Musa: Giving people what they want: More choices. If they want discounts for buying bulk they can have it. I want people to have cool bikes for the money. I want to pay people well to work here, and I want this place to be a nice place to hang out and talk about bikes. 

Arthur: What do you have to add to the city that Gainesville is missing?

Musa: I’m not sure there’s anything missing from gainesville, actually. We’re just adding more of the same good stuff.

Arthur: Can customers of 8th Ave expect events and attractions besides bikes and coffee?

Musa: We hope to be a venue for local musicians, artists, and poets. Probably more. We want to give people a place to do the things they like to do. It  should be a fun place for races, events, and rides. 

Arthur: What got you into bikes?

Musa: It’s the sense of freedom. As a kid, it’s the only way to go anywhere on your own. It’s something that you have a lot of control over, too. When you're young and don’t have money, you could still figure out how to fix your bike. You can pick the colors you want and the components you want. It’s definitely the freedom.

Arthur: What should potential customers know about this shop?

Musa: They can expect unique bikes and components at good prices, with good, fast service. They should also expect a level of professionalism here. Bicycles are serious vehicles, and you can die on them, so we believe it requires a level of skill and professionalism to maintain them properly. We’re here for everyone, so we want to cater to whatever ideas our customers might have. Maybe they have an idea for their bike that other shops would scoff at, but we’re willing to give anything a try.

 After speaking with Musa, I headed over to the coffee bar. Eliza had just finished talking to a customer about the locally prepared chocolate they sold when I came over to ask for an interview.

Arthur: What's your name?

Eliza: Eliza Lutz

Arthur: Lutz like the “triple lutz” in ice skating?

Eliza: I'm a single Lutz.

Arthur: What's the philosophy of the coffee shop?

Eliza: Well, I wasn’t in Gainesville when 2nd Street Bakery was around, but the guys always said that the environment was what made it great. Very laid back, and comfortable. I think that’s the kind of environment we want here. Also, everyone there was into bikes. Bikes are big part of Gainesville culture, so I feel like the two shops are nautual fusion here at 8th Ave Bike and Coffee House.

Arthur: Coffee shops and bike shops are both very aromatic establishments. What do you think about the mix?

Eliza: I think that the coffee aroma definitely overpowers the bikes, which is a good thing. Doesn’t actually smell much like bikes here, which is good for most customers.

Arthur: Is there anything about the shop that you think potential customers should know?

Eliza: It’s a great place to get bikes that were assembled by people who really care. Same for the coffee. It may not be the absolute best you’ve ever had, but it will be really solid, and something most people can afford.

Arthur: What would you like to see the coffee shop grow into in a year from now?

Eliza: I would hope that eventually we can expand and solidify the menu. Im not big on iced drinks, but we’re in the south and its hot, so its gonna be a fact. I’d like to have all the standards and basics, but to always improve our products, and keep our purchases local.

Arthur: What’s your favorite aspect of the shop?

Eliza: The fact that I can get super caffeinated and work on my bike.

So, next time you're in Gainesville, and you're on 8th Avenue, and if you have a bike, or if you like coffee, stop on by the 8th Ave Bike and Coffee House.

Monday, August 17, 2009

I Really Hate Miami's Official Music Review: Jacuzzi Boys

We all know that IRHM's true purpose is to issue little blocks of hateful html periodically, only to be read occasionally by Arthur the author, who will giggle to himself as he dreams about being famous for his razor sharp wit and his devilishly good looks: A dream with as much potential for transcending into reality as Miami does of ever becoming a cool place to live. 

With this goal, along with being an excellent source for paragraph-long-sentences and hyphen abuse, IRHM rarely achieves anything else...until today. 

As was mentioned merely one post ago, we are about to enjoy a few lines of adoration towards something great. Moreover, something great which, against all odds, rose from within the fiery hell-sphincter which marks the border of the Miami-Dade County line. This unexpected fresh breath of air is a band called Jacuzzi Boys

All of the talented writers here at IRHM (all zero of them) like to listen to good music, so it was pretty obvious that when Pop Mayhem made its yearly occurrence at Gainesville, Florida, I was there. This is where I saw the Jacuzzi Boys. 

A band which I can only describe as pop-tastic surfer-rock n' roll, Jacuzzi Boys definitely put the "Mayhem" in Pop Mayhem. Somewhat reminiscent of The Cramps, Vocals ranged from achey to antsy to downright wailing, all backed up by 100% grade A guitar licks,  easy going bass, and constantly clashing drums. Jacuzzi boys made music that would be equally at home at a late night club show, or on the beach during a sunny day. The music was fun from beginning to end, with a sort of nolstagic simplicity, harkening to a time when the summers were long, the beers were cheap, and the guitar solos were fucking awesome.

The band is comprised of Gabriel on guitar/vocals, Diego on the drums, and Danny on base. After the show, I did a short interview with Gabriel. Here's a picture from that night.
                                 

Arthur: How would you classify your music?

Gabriel: Rock n' roll.   
               
Arthur: Your music has a distinctly summer feel to it. Is touring during the winter something the band is capable of?

Gabriel: We've played shows in January once, but it's too fucking cold. We're just not built for it. We even got Asthma attacks.

Arthur: Your performance as a band was tight. What's the secret?

Gabriel:We're a pretty close group. We're all latino, and we're like family. It's a latino thing.

Arthur: I noticed you've got some pretty crazy facial expressions on stage. Anything to say about that?

Gabriel: Yeah. We call it the "doc eyes." Or the "Florida Lizard King." 

There may have been more, and the questions might have been different, but I was really drunk, and I'm having a hard time reading or remembering what I wrote in my notebook. In any case, I'm pretty sure there was a part that went like: 

Arthur: Thanks for your time.

Gabriel: Thanks. Check out our myspace to listen to our music, and check for upcoming shows.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Miami: Out of sight, out of mind.

It's been months, and I'm sure that as the days of your lives slowly pass through the trim waist-line of the hour glass of your existence, you've discovered knew reasons to hate your unfortunate Miamian location with a regularity only otherwise found in a well-fibered diet. Normally I would sympathize. Normally I would blow it out of proportion. Normally I would write about it in the world famous "I Really Hate Miami" blog. However, I've been hate-free recently.

This state of being is certainly not credited to Miami, but only a result of my being away from the dreadful place. I couldn't be happier. I wish it could last forever. To be frank, the fact that I have to return makes my insides grow cold in a fashion most akin to refrigerated milk ingested by my virus-stricken stomach; a wretched organ, ready to hurl back anything offered to it via my bile-soaked esophagus. To be doubly frank, it is only a recently acquired food born illness that has reminded me that life does suck sometimes, and therefore brought my attention back to Miami's existence.

On that note, I'd like to apologize for the lack of posting here, and to explain that it has been my hate-free-ness which has led to me astray. I'll back in Miami shortly, and until then, you can expect a small series of articles showcasing  a city that doesn't suck nearly as hard, and expressing my adoration for things that are awesome. I hope that this temporary bout of positive-mindedness doesn't disturb any of my die-hard, hate-wracked readers. Please stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I Really Hate...certain Miami-Dade commissioners

Alright. Off the bat, I sincerely apologize if you're from District 12 or 13 of Miami Dade County, but I've got beef with your comissioners. As a matter of fact, I've got beef with all city commissioners who voted in favor of moving the UDB, but I'm sticking to two for the sake of readability of this blog.

In case you don't already know, there's an Urban Develepment Boder issue in Miami Dade county. Get up to speed here.
As a quick and slightly drunken rundown...
Miami-Dade County has a border that officially marks where urban development ends, and farmland + nature begins. This border has been disputed lately, largely because developers are trying to develop right outside the already determined line. The largest and most impactful development in the works is a community called Parkland, a 7,000 home suburb which would be erected during a time when unemployment is high and more houses than ever are sitting empty accross the nation.
It is painfully clear that there is no need to expand the UDB.
Miami-Dade is already a ridiculous sprawl as it is; it takes half an hour or more to get anywhere. Miami needs to build up, not out. County planners agree that Miami has plenty of land within the UDB that is ripe for usage before we need to even think about expanding. With proper usage of free land within the UDB, as well as using urban development as a tool to improve currently deteriorating communities, the people of Miami might actually find their city accessible and easy to get around in, for once.

Furthermore, farmland doesn't just pop up anywhere. If it already exists where it does, it is a precious resource that should not be stripped barren and pummelled like a porn-star's lady bits.
The same could be said for precious wetlands. For me, the question is, "What mysterious quality is there to farmland and wildlife preserves that Miami-Dade proper doesn't have, that's got developers licking their bottom-line-loving-lips?"

Oh yeah, it's cheaper to buy...no mystery there! Manatees be damned, cutting costs is priority number one!

Speaking of manatees being damned, this brings me to my previously mentioned "beef with commissioners." Lets start with Natacha Sieja of District 13, who amongst sucking in general, votes in favor of expanding the UDB. There is so much to say about Natacha Sieja, that by now, any dirt I could dig up on her is old news. This being the case, I'll just point out one particular instance of lameness. She has openly voiced that she dislikes Manatees, an animal that can eat 10-15% of its body weight daily. For no particular reason I find this mildly ironic.

Now for commissioner of District 12. At first, It appears plausible that Jose "Pepe" Diaz's inspiration for wanting to expand the UDB is simple; a little good ol' fashioned bribery. Mr. Diaz is under federal investigation for allegedly recieving gifts from developers whose plans he's voted for, but I think that's too simple. I've got a theory, suggesting that the root of this issue runs deeper than mere corruption.

I think the man has adequacey issues. I mean, I almost feel sorry for him; check out his district map. He's got maybe 10 square miles of developed Miami-Dade sprawl to look after, tops. The rest is all farms n' glades. Who wants to be commissioner of that? So heck, why be a guardian of Florida's great wildlife preserves and precious wetlands, when you could stand tall with your swollen district map penetrating sturdily into the moist, wild, and delicate gateway to the Everglades?

Luckily for Florida, a judge ruled it unlawful to expand the UDB to accomodate for a new Lowe's store that was in the works last month. This might be a good sign and a turn for the better, but to be realistic, if the people of the county don't do anything, nothing will be done. I strongly urge you to read up on the issue, and do what you can to help out. There is so much information out there, and I hope that in the end, Miami-Dade's commissioners will do the right thing. Unfortunately, I don't have much faith in that happening. If this is the case, it might just be up to us to make the difference..

Monday, June 8, 2009

I Really Hate Miami's Formal French Fry Review (1st installment)

If you've ever heard someone mention the word "hipster," and secretely hoped they were talking about you, then you are probably aware of Miami's Poplife, and their recent 10th Anniversary Party last saturday.



A ten year anniversary for one of Miami's best weekly parties exhibiting the finest independent music sounded like a perfect way to distract myself from the bitter fact that god is a bartender who whips up Dark n' Stormies like it was going out of style. So, brimming with excitement, I buttoned up the ol' skinny jeans and double checked the directions to the White Room, just to discover that I should have pre-ordered my TWENTY dollar ticket by now. Considering that
a) I wasn't gonna get in the club before sunrise, and
b) 20 bucks is on the high end for someone who's got an 8 hour work week, and likes to drink...
I reconsidered my plans for the night. It was this very brainstorming session, combined with the fact that I was hungry and broke, that I decided to innitiate the soon to be world-famous:

"I Really Hate Miami's Formal French Fry Review"

Holy jumpin' catfish! I'm sure you can practically taste the salt stinging your lips already! Much to the bereft of my girlfriend and cardiovascular system's pleasure, I create balance in my life by eating well and excercising during the day, and pairing fast food with alcohol by night. I figured I might as well do something productive with this lifestyle by sharing tips on how to experience the most satisfying of self-destructive behaviors.

This is how it'll go. We'll be using ratings of poor, fair, decent, good, and great to describe the fries. Bonus points might be available to deserving contestants, all combined in a fancy equation to give the fries an overall score.
The first installment of this highly critical evaluation of processed potato product took place at an establishment that is not so much local to Miami so much as it is one with franchises in 113 countries from Andorra to Yemen. That's right, we're talking McDonald's.


Exhibit a)

Presentation: Fair. The paper bag containing the McDonald's small fry is low on packaging waste, which is good, but otherwise there's nothing special about how these fries are laid out.
Sauce Options: Decent. And a good thing too. With options of ketchup, sweet and sour, and barbeque by the pump, as well as a fair selection behind the counter, you've got enough high fructose corn syrup to cover the otherwise bland flavor.
Service: Fair. Eh. Welcome to Mdconald's.


Exhibit b)

Appearance: Fair. Mildly appetizing. At least they weren't shriveled or dry.
Scent: Poor. Mildly repulsive. Definitely smelled like they could fuel a car.
Texture: Fair. Salty, greasy, and lacking any true crispiness. Their insides weren't drastically softer than the outsides, which were limp and squishy.
Unique features: Poor. Often over or under salted. Also, considering that the fries are only as hot as you're lucky to have them, getting a "good" batch of McDonald's fries is a crapshoot.


Exhibit c)

Flavor: Poor. Pure salt is the main discerning flavor of McD's, unless you got an unsalted patch of fries, which will just taste like oil, or whatever you dip them in. Without the sauce options, I wouldn't even eat them. The best descriptors for McDonald's fries are bland, soggy, and strangely addictive. I'm not sure what combination of chemicals in these fries keep me eating every last one, shaking my head with disappointment in every bite.
Bonus Points: 0 Unless getting high blood pressure is an added plus, no bonuses here.
Overall score: 3.5/10 Basically just like cigarettes. There isn't a single good thing about them, but you just can't stop.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Loose Cannons on the Run




This little Ampulle contains hormones harvested directly from the adrenal glands of such badass animals as hogs and ... sheep. Be sure to inject directly into the muscle for best results. Thigh is good, buttocks is bad.

Or,

ii) Loose Cannons on the Run

This death defying extraveganza of a bicycle race is probably the purest source of 100% grade A adrenaline one could obtain on a regular basis here in our not-so-fair city. An event organized by I Am Your Villain, the Loose Cannons race is a monthly occurance, on the first Thursday of every month. This is perfect timing for most Miamians, considering this is right after we've paid our exorbitant rent, ridiculous credit card bills, and are generally left with the sensation that hurdling through traffic is the only prevention to an onset of deep depression.

These races usually begin around 10pm at a fine local bike shop such as Revolution Bicycles or Keirin Cycles, and end up at The News Lounge, a few miles north of downtown Miami. One of the refreshingly liberating aspects of this race is that it is a no holds barred, every man for himself surge of speed from point A to point B. No checkpoints, no planned route, you just go. This allows for creative use of Miami's streets, testing the riders knowledge of the area, as well as quizing them on their reflexes and decision making skills.

Anyone interested in participating in a Loose Cannons race merely has to show up, and acquaint themselves with the fact that the race is only as safe or dangerous as they choose to make it. If you win a loose cannons race, it is safe to say you probably took a couple risks, which is indeed part of the appeal for many of the riders in this event. To quote a participant from the last race, "Woahhhhhhhh! (crash)"! He actually fell very gracefully, and pulled up through the pack for a 6th place finish, which is quite good considering the turnout for Loose Cannons is usually upward of 30 riders.

So, if you've got a need for speed, always wanted to be part of underground racing but couldn't afford the car payments, or if you just plain enjoy a good time on a bike followed by some good beer, this may be the Thursday night for you. For information concerning this, and other cycling to-do's in Miami, be sure to navigate your browser towards miamibikescene.blogspot.com.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Palm Trees. What's the point?

Seriously. My occipital lobe is abused daily by the site of these pillaring odes to uselessness. Here, first give yourself a few moments to analyze this picture for reference, before I continue:


Look at them, Leering ominously. Not only are these phallic Obelisks of Ugly incapable providing a single square cm of shade, they are also undoubtedly the least fun tree to climb. It is actually no surprise that these frond-bearing dildos reside in miami, the place I hate.
To add to the problems associated with these "plants", the strangely incompetent planners of Miami have managed to bring out the worst in palm trees. That is, to line them up along every man-made object in the area.
It's true, perhaps the majority of man-made objects in miami are so ugly, they need to be covered by something. Palm trees however, physically manifest the fact that we are prisoners to sucky-ness by resembling the bars of a jail-cell everywhere we look.
Furthermore, they are a menace to all users of the streets, by lining up along roads and casting fronds and coconuts to their heart-of-palm's desire. Usually, they land right in the precious few bicycle lanes we have here, only to be NOT be cleared out by road maintenance EVER.
Finally, palm trees, which there are a lot of in miami, are actually more dangerous than sharks, which there are also a lot of in Miami. Falling coconuts kill 150 people worldwide anually, which is 15 times the number of shark fatalities. 

IRHM...but I love the Fi'zi:k Arionne CX saddle

It's the one on the very left. I took this nifty test saddle for a spin at the velodrome, and i found it to be very comfortable. Perfectly padded, perfectly narrow, and its flat shape was very supportive. Best of all, my nuts weren't the slightest bit numb.
To quote a respected bicycle shop manager, "Of course you liked it. It's the best saddle known to man. WITHOUT EXCEPTION."

IRHM

Here you are. You sat in front of your computer, clicked yourself a couple o' clickity clicks, and decided to type "ireallyhatemiami.blogspot.com" in your address bar. You might have even typed "http://www.", first. Thats a lot of work. This URL is as cumbersome as they come. You must really hate miami. Or, you might be a friend of mine, being nice. Thanks.

In any case, I just want to apologize about the number of keystrokes that are required to get here. To be frank, although I do really hate miami, I was actually gunning for ihatemiami.blogspot.com. Its a solid word shorter, and a lot easier to remember. Problem is, it turns out that I'm not alone in my hatred for miami. 


At first I was pleased to see another who's out there spreading the truth. Upon reading the blog, though, all one post of it, I noticed that it hasn't been updated in five years. Furthermore, he grouped all of Florida into his hatred, which just isn't cool.  So, to solve this wordy problem that is associated with my hateful URL, I will propose the acronym "IRHM" to be used in reference to this website. Consider the following scenario:

 You could be standing by the water cooler, where your coworker is lamenting about how he "spent too much money at the Booby Trap and now he needs to use the atm machine." You pull out a gem like this: "I was reading IRHM the other day, and it turns out that Miami was the first city ever to have an ATM. Also, saying 'ATM machine' is redundant."

Pretty cool huh? You know what isn't cool, though? Living here. But! If that's what you're stuck with, I feel it is my responsibility to help you ease the pain as best I can. Stay tuned for super great information, such as: 
  • Suggestions for places to go that don't suck. At least not all the time.
  • Dirty martini reviews.
  • Things that I, and other woeful Miamians, do to take the edge off.
  • Places to ride your bike that won't kill you.
  • Of course, stuff that does suck, so that you can avoid it. 
  • General information about Miami that I probably pulled off wikipedia five minutes ago.
Enjoy!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Welcome to "I Really Hate Miami"

Welcome. Before we get started, I'd like to clarify something. My blog's title, claiming that I hate Miami, is not sarcastic. I truly do. I was born in this sweaty armpit of a city, and I have lived here for virtually my whole life. Time and time again, my heart will fill with hope that perhaps it isn't so bad here, only to be squashed in the clamp-like grasp of this greater metropolitan area's evil spirit, leaving my abused organ bleeding on the ground like a kinderg√§rtner's unsuccessful attempt at filling a water balloon. These instances usually lead me to question whether or not this city should even exist, and after much pondering, my conclusive answer to this quandary is always no.  My main source of solace in regards to this glaring problem is that our 305 (and sometimes 786) area code is so close to sea level, that it will eventually be swallowed whole by the steaming hot, ice-cap drinking oceans of the earth. Fingers crossed.
I normally would not consider my disdain for this geographical pimple to be blog-worthy, but today, the first of June, 2009, was the last straw. I was riding to class on my bicycle, when I was guerrilla attacked by a thunderstorm. As to be expected, the weather was gorgeous before and after my half hour commute. As I sit soaked from collar to sock, the sky is blue, and the clouds are sighing gently across the sky, displaying obvious satisfaction in their job well done; thoroughly shitting upon one of their favorite targets. However, fifteen minutes earlier I was being deprived of any one dry spot on my body by rain and the inconsiderate splash of an 8th street driver, causing me to shake my fists at the nearest Pollo Tropical and cry, "I really hate Miami"!