rit 17 / 0.45

Okee, toegegeven, ik was er een beetje mee bezig, en natuurlijk, een record aan kilometers is het niet, daarvoor zitten er te veel ritjes van een uur bij, maar toch: 17 ritjes in november… er is geen maand dit jaar waarin ik meer tochtjes heb gemaakt.

Vandaag weinig tijd (een deadline te halen). 16.00 – 16.45. Motregen, somber, net boven nul. Toch lekker.

Marcusstraat – Amstel – Middenpolder – Kalfjeslaan – Amstel – Marcusstraat

cycling,nl | November 30, 2008 | 18:41 | Comments Off on rit 17 / 0.45 |

Zaterdagmiddagritje / 1.40

15.20 – 17.00. Ik vind het heerlijk om een tochtje te maken, ook als het koud is. Zo koud is het niet. Zuidenwind, 5 graden, zoiets. Bij de Gouwzee was de lucht even precies even grijs als het water: een flits van oneindigheid: ontbreken van een horizon.

Marcusstraat – Muiderpoort – Schellingwouderbrug – Broek in Waterland – Zuiderwoude – dijk – Uitdam – Poppendammerdijk – Liergouw – Schellingwouderbrug – Flevopark – Ringdijk – Marcusstraat

cycling,nl | November 29, 2008 | 18:45 | Comments Off on Zaterdagmiddagritje / 1.40 |

Uurtje rijden / 1.00

15.40 – 16.40. Even een uurtje rijden, pauze van het werk. Het wordt toch echt snel donker. Mistig en bewolkt, zuidenwind, niet heel koud, wel handschoenenweer.

Marcusstraat – Ringdijk – Diemerpark – kanaal – Driemond – Gaasp – Diemen – Diemertrekvaart – Marcusstraat

cycling,nl | November 28, 2008 | 18:34 | Comments Off on Uurtje rijden / 1.00 |

Manovich: Software Studies

Reading through Lev Manovich new book Software Studies, which is downloadable here: http://lab.softwarestudies.com/2008/11/softbook.html.

Being massively jealous of course (“hey,I could’ve easily written part 3, that’s my research”), I wonder if what Manovich is doing in this book — which at first quick reading through seems to be great as a summary, and very teachable — is in fact first “interface studies” and secondly software studies. Shouldn’t way peel off one more layer, open one more black box to reach at — well, how software is made to function so it makes us function? Or is this criticism due to my fascination for programming — not being a programmer myself?

Naturally their are many smaller issues on which I’m tempted to take issue with Manovich, or where I think he might have missed something. (German media theory?). I wonder if remixability is as central as he claims it to be. Yet, exactly making such a claim — remix as dominant form of cultural production — produces clarity too.

Just as Language of New Media this could be a book that one simply cannot go around / escape, when doing software studies. Even if one’s own approach would be different. (Manovich focussed mainly at American and Americanized culture, less at more marginal software cultures, et cetera et cetera).

Well, this is all very very preliminary, having read Part One, skimmed through Part Two, and read diagonally across Part Three. But I couldn’t resist…

And well, this is a great quote: “In the era of Web 2.0, we can state that information wants to be ASCII.”

en,reading matter,research,software | November 27, 2008 | 22:58 | Comments Off on Manovich: Software Studies |


Ah! Today it arrived in the post, the long awaited English translation of Roberto Bolano’s 2666. Five pages far and I am already deep into it.

en,reading matter | November 26, 2008 | 23:48 | Comments Off on 2666 |

Paul Fournel: Need for the Bike

There is so much to say about this little book by cyclist, writer, publisher and OULIPO-member Paul Fournel, that I do not know where to begin. It is perfect. It captures what riding the bike is about, in just a few works, a few sentences he describes the essential.

Why, you ask, gather all these data about rides, how far and how fast, measured by computers and GPS-devices, when you need just a few well chosen words that condense the reality of it. (Ezra Pound: ‘Dichten’ is condensare).

I recognize almost everything in Fournel’s ‘need for the bike’. Which, I guess, is a way to say I am a cyclist like him. (Only I think he’s way faster, more competitive, I never did any sports prior to buying a racing bike when I was 30, I am a late-comer).

Just a few quotes — in English (the translation is by Allan Stoekl, the book is published by the University of Nebraska Press):

“Bike speed requires you to be selective about what you see, you reconstruct what you sense, In that way you get to the essential. Your gaze brushes over the title of a book or a cover, a newspaper catches your eye, you glimpse a potential gift in a window, a new bread in a bakery. That’s the proper speed of my gaze. It’s a writer’s speed, a speed that filters and does a preliminary selection.” (p. 44/45)

“As soon as I knew how to ride I grasped the idea of a greater world. When I left tot do a circuit, everything inside the circuit was ‘home’.” (p. 63)

“Road maps for me are dream machines. I like to read them as if they’re adventure stories. When I drive my car I use them to find the shortest route, to find the long roads where cities join, roads that don’t go through the country. As a bike rider I use them for everything else. If I know an area, every centimeter on the map is a landscape laid out for me. If I don’t know it yet, every centimeter is an imagined landscape that I will explore.” (p. 79)

For me maps are dream machines too. And there is the reason why I still use maps, and do not have a GPS device — though I am fascinated by how these technologies change one’s relation toward space, landscape and dreaming. I find it impossible to dream while staring at Google maps and Google Earth.

Should I write an essay on that?

(Btw: thanks to Alex Myers for bringing this book to my attention)

Paul Fournel is here: http://www.paulfournel.com/.

Woensdagmiddagritje / 1.30

15.30 – 17.00. Somber weer: het leek droog, het bleek te motregenen. Mistig. Het wordt vroeg donker. Toch lekker gereden. De hoogspanningsleidingen knetterden.

Marcusstraat – Ringdijk – Diemerpark – kanaal – Driemond – Gein – Hoge Dijk – AMC – Ouderkerkerplas – snelweg – Amstel – Marcusstraat

cycling,nl | November 26, 2008 | 18:51 | Comments Off on Woensdagmiddagritje / 1.30 |

De sneeuw ontweken / 1.00

Zondagrondje. 12.00 – 13.00. Lekker gereden, slechts een uurtje omdat de buienradar voorspelde dat het ten oosten van Amsterdam om half een zou gaan regenen. De wind leek te draaien tijdens mijn ritje (steeds in de rug). Het bleef droog. Thuis spijt dat ik niet een langer rondje had gemaakt. Een kwartier later begon het te sneeuwen.

Marcusstraat – Ringdijk – Diemerpark – kanaal – Driemond – Gaasp – Penbos – Diem – kanaal – Science Park – Watergraafsmeer – Marcusstraat

cycling,nl | November 23, 2008 | 15:16 | Comments Off on De sneeuw ontweken / 1.00 |

The Eagle of the Canavese

‘No better way to combat cycling-blues — now that the season is over — than to read a good book on the history of cycling.’ I could say that, although it’s true in a general sense, it doesn’t make sense for me now as I have managed to do a fair amount of rides after the end of the season.

I also read Herbie Sykes The Eagle of the Canavese, a biography of Franco Balmamion (ai, with a ‘m’, not a ‘n’ as I thought) centering on the story of the 1962 Giro d’Italia. I would be exaggerating if I would say that this is an outstanding book, on pair with Benjo Maso’s Het zweet der goden, or the biography of David Millar, yet it is certainly far beyond your average cycling biography. Sykes does not only tell the story of the 1962 Giro — one of the heaviest ever –, he not only sketches the character of Franco Balmamion — a rider who’s largely forgotten — he also manages to give insight to the whole socio-cultural context of Italian cycling in the early 1960s. (The role of the sponsors, the regional differences, etc.) And to top off, it does also give you mini-bio’s of companion riders like Giudo Nero and Germano Barale. If I would be making lists, I’d say this book could make my top 10 of cycling books.

(After, or next to both Benjo Maso’s books, Richard Moore’s Millar-biography, Krabbe’s De Renner, William Fotheringham’s Put me Back on my Bike, Marchesini’s L’Italia del Giro d’Italia, probably Les Cahiers de la Mediologie 5, Merci Freddy, merci Lucien (nostalgic reasons), and maybe Rolf Gölz Het Volk en wat volgt).

There is of course also a great attraction in the fact that this book exactly covers a period in cycling that is simply not so well known. I know a bit of the early sixties, but that’s centered around Anquetil, Gaul, Bahamontes and Rik van Looy. For Italy it was a transitional period. The times of Coppi and Bartali gone, football becoming sports number one, and no new heroes yet. Only two, three years later a new generation of champions would capture the imagination: Adorni, Motta, Gimondi, Zilioli, Bitossi (admitted: I would love to read a book on those champions too). In the meantime Franco Balmanion won two consecutive Giri. The Silent Champion, a modest character, a good climber, his main contender his teammate Nino Defilippis. He did not attract the attention of the public, hardly won races, but apparently was a very intelligent and constant rider.

Get the book here: http://www.mousehold-press.co.uk/detail_Eagle_of_the_Canavese.html. (It might seem a bit pricey compared to some other cycling books — it has photos and diagrams of all the 1962 Giro-stages, yet it is not your photo-biography-type-of-book — but I found it worth the muneys).

And here two videos, in total 20 minutes about the 1962 Giro:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-lYyIGrXj4 and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SLG2Ar-xnyk.

cycling,en,free publicity,reading matter | November 22, 2008 | 18:32 | Comments Off on The Eagle of the Canavese |

Novemberzaterdagmiddagrondje / 1.50

Hagelbuien. Sneeuw. Zon. Noordwestenwind. Wit (in het gras, de berm, hagel die net niet smelt). Kletsnatte weg spiegelt. En toch heerlijk om een stuk te rijden. In de zon, eerst van de wind af, ik mis de buien net en daarna gaat de wind even liggen. Ik fiets goed, heb het gevoel dat ik, voor mijn doen, ‘in vorm’ ben. En dat in november.

Marcusstraat – Amstel – Nes – Uithoorn – JC van Hattumweg – Westwijk – Bovenkerk – Ringvaart – Nieuwe Meer – Oeverlanden – Amsterdamse Bos – Kalfjeslaan – Amstel – Marcusstraat

cycling,nl | November 22, 2008 | 17:51 | Comments Off on Novemberzaterdagmiddagrondje / 1.50 |
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