I was laid off 2 days before my birthday in 2009, a dismal blessing. I miss health insurance and payroll, but I haven't bought bread since the pink slip because I have time to bake.
Sometimes I'm a serious job hunter, sometimes a serious slacker, but mostly, I'm an underemployed, freelance Jaqueline of many trades including writing and dogsitting. Either way, I scrapbook my finds and activities here for your benefit and amusement.
Follow me on Twitter if tv/movie/pro-cycling spoilers and unplanned live tweets won't hail on your parade. And yes, I do work blue so don't be huffy with me if you don't like cursing or merciless roasting of public figures.
Oh, hi. I started a new Tumblr with cycling-related blingees called CycleCycle BlingBling (christened by Sansenmag). It has been called “the Doonsbury of contemporary professional cycling” by me.
If you’d like to contribute a blingee, make one and e-mail me its URL: cyclingblingees/at/gmail.com. @CyclingBlingees on Twatters will update whenever I post a new blingee if you don’t wanna follow on Tumblr. Thank you.
One thing you’ll notice: lots of rice. Ketchell has had the team on a “gluten-moderate” diet since 2009, in an attempt to curb what he sees as inflammatory effects of gluten on athletes’ bodies without restricting their nutrition too much. With Garmin-Cervelo riders currently occupying the top two slots in Tour standings and a gluten-free Novak Djokovic nabbing his first Wimbledon championship, it’s really been a banner weekend for gluten-avoidance.
The 2011 edition of Tour de France is so fucking good. Most cycling fans bust their pro cycling cherry with le Tour, and this might as well be your year if you are up for it. Every day, a new story unfolds and ends with a cliffhanger: no other sport has a day-to-day narrative thread like cycling. I’ve been desensitized to the adjective “epic”, but a three-week Grand Tour is the noun “epic.” It is the Iliad on two skinny wheels.
So many broken bones and broken hearts. So many guys absolutely beaming to get silly looking shirts. So many predictions upended in the most delightful ways. This is the summer for you to get hooked on cycling. Come with me all the way to the Champs Elysees and tell me ol’ Homer couldn’t make this shit up.
The chiropractor, Matt Rabin, told Zabriskie he had the highest sensitivity to food on the team. Another blood test showed Zabriskie had the highest inflammation of his muscles.
During last year’s Tour de France, Zabriskie turned down the red meat being passed around the dinner table because he thought it required too much energy to digest. In the late summer of last year, he began phasing out all meat from his diet and by October, he had also cut out dairy.
After nine months on the diet, Zabriskie says he’s feeling better than ever. He has had some of the best results of his career and says he feels more focused.
Unfortunately, Dave Zabriskie crashed out of the Tour de France, but this WSJ piece on his diet is like a book falling open to the exact page I needed. Like DZ, I have food sensitivities and inflammation, which aggravates an injury. He went on a mostly plant-based diet with salmon twice a week; I’m on a gluten/dairy-free diet (and avoiding soy and corn) with salmon twice a week.
It’s encouraging not only to know someone feels better, but to see it in DZ’s stellar season so far. He’s won a handful of time trial stages at prominent races as well as the US Time Trial Championship. Until he crashed, he was making the whole field suffer with his relentless pace-making. I’m at a point where vigorous exercise may or may not be off the table for life, but reading this piece makes me more hopeful than not that changes I’ve made to my routine may add up to something.
An unrelated footnote to this is the definition of the term “vegan.” WSJ uses and asterisk and “(Almost)” to denote Zabriskie isn’t 100% vegan. The vegetarian/vegan credo is “nothing with a face” and eating fish, even in tiniest quantities wouldn’t qualify as vegan semantically. While I can’t even comprehend the undertaking of riding a Grand Tour on a mostly vegan diet, I can relate to the annoyance of having to explain your weird diet to people, who think they are dietitians with sage advice. So I understand why it’s easier to say one is vegan than to provide a litany of things on your no list.
For more about endurance sports and veganism, also check the NY Times piece on Scott Jurek, a for reals 100% vegan and an ultramarathon runner.
PR Tip: If you’re a press officer of a top tier cycling team, don’t be a petty dick by blocking fans from your official team Twitter feed.
I realized I only saw RT’d posts from @leopardtrek, then discovered I had been blocked. I couldn’t immediately think of why. All my dumb jokes about the team and its riders were harmless and no one else had been blocked. Further digging revealed the team press officer Tim Vanderjeugd had blocked me too. Why? The only connection with him I can remember: I old school RT’d his post with the dumb hashtag “#fabiancanalsosprint” with my comment “fabian c anal so sprint?” You see, Leopard-Trek management are known for their puerile boasting smugtweets with stupid hashtags I call “douchetag.” How would I know if Fabian Cancellara anal sprints or Fabian C also sprints?
Vanderjeugd, the press officer for a multi-million Euro budget cycling team, decided not only to block me from his personal account, but from the official team feed too. This is petty to the point where, if my PR intern had done such a thing, I’d fire the kid. The essence of PR work is conversion—not the narrow SEO/SEM definition, but more like the reason why Silicon Valley start-ups create annoying job titles like “brand evangelist.” It’s his job to convert me to the Leopard-Trek point of view. Instead, he decided to shut me out.
Is my dumb joke RT of his lame tweet to 1000+ followers more harmful than my “WTF @leopardtrek blocked me!” tweet? No way. I did a feature, albeit satirical and mocking, on Leopard-Trek earlier this year at nyvelocity.com. Now, I’d be reluctant to give a fraction of a column inch to such a petty douchebag. Flattering or not, publicity is publicity and a petty asshole is an asshole.
Assholes can make great PR people, but they are inevitably assholes with style, who win you over. If you don’t have the charm and the wit to pull it off, don’t. Don’t go around blocking fans from official feeds. That’s Switzerland, neutral territory. If you can’t understand that then you really shouldn’t be managing the branding strat for a multi-million Euro company that promises to deliver fan dollars to sponsors.
According to Ben, each of the roughly ten Manrods received the password from Landis. They interact via Twitter’s Direct Message feature, but few of them know who the others are. Landis acknowledged tweeting through the account up until a couple of weeks ago, around the time Outside started reporting this story.
“He’s definitely tweeting,” says Ben. “There’s some madness there, but there’s a method, too. The joke he keeps making is that someday he’s going to have to explain all this to some poor jury.”
This Outside story uses the hackneyed Fight Club reference to describe Floyd Landis’s online antics, but this @GreyManrod Twitter hydra is way more fresh and of consequence than Tyler Durden could ever hope to be. Until the stream went “full retard” unhinged a few weeks ago, I thought the whole Grey Manrod concept was Jonathan Swift meets Abbie Hoffman.
Maybe what Landis did wouldn’t impact the world at large, but the way he orchestrated his Twitter accounts is a 21st century addendum to Steal This Book. Instead of the usual doping/FDA investigation circular argument in traditional cycling media, Landis flipped over the listing ship of cycling to expose the rotting hull and made it the most entertaining, baffling spectacle we’ve seen in a while.
Lance Armstrong may have won (with an asterisk) seven Tours de France and have millions of Twitter followers, but he hasn’t done a lick to make me appreciate him even begrudgingly. Floyd Landis, on the other hand, converted me from ambivalence to marvel. For me to use Jonathan Swift and Abbie Hoffman as touchstones to someone’s Twitter campaign—well, it has to impress me, and Landis sure did with equal measures of recklessness and cleverness. I can only wish him well so he can surprise and delight this wannabe Yippie.