Bicycles of the Apocalypse

On Saturday I went to check out the Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby, but I got there pretty late in the day, so I missed the procession of human-powered contraptions and only got a few snapshots of people chilling with their creations.  The guy in the fish-bike picture who looks like he walked off the set of Lost (especially when his hand isn’t covering his face) is an old co-worker of mine from the 20th Street location of Capogiro.  I knew he lived in Fishtown, but I didn’t know he was putting an entry into the derby, and running into him was a pleasant surprise.

I don’t visit Northeast Philadelphia very often.  Okay, I’ve only really been there once that I can remember, and it was a year ago on a thrifting excursion with my friend Jenny, who was visiting from Berkeley.  We hit up Circle Thrift, and I walked away with two t-shirts and a three-piece YSL suit for probably not much more than $10.  Granted, I never wear the suit, but it was $6, and one of these days I’m going to take it to the tailor to see if they can alter it.  Come on, it’s the principle of the thing.  Six dollars!

Okay, so the Northeast–it’s very popular.  From what I gather, Hipsterdom travels in a Northeasterly direction in Greater Philadelphia.  The South Street area used to be hip (or so my hairstylist tells me), then it was Northern Liberties, and now Fishtown/(New) Kensington/Port Richmond.  I list all three because I’m honestly not sure what the difference is–for all I knew before Saturday, the area might as well be populated by dragons.  However, I was really impressed.  After we checked out the local artists and etsy people hawking screenprinted onesies (as an aside, I modeled etsy onesies for my mother in the Eighties, back before etsy was a big effing deal–more on that at a later date) my Northeast tour guide, Andy, and I walked over to Greensgrow, a really cool urban farm/CSA built on an industrial brownfield, and then to Memphis Taproom for some dinner.  I had some pretty good hummus with sumac and fried chickpeas that tasted like puffs of legume-y ecstasy, and jackfruit cakes, which are a vegan substitute for crabcakes.  I’m not vegan or even vegetarian, but I don’t eat much meat (expensive! carbon-intensive!) and I wanted to see what jackfruit tastes like.  We couldn’t decide whether I ended up with jackfruit cakes or the crustacean-derived real deal, because when the server came out he said, “Crab ca–er, jackfruit cakes,” and the check read “KRABB” in block letters.  In any case, they were quite tasty, and if they were jackfruit, it’s a damn good substitute for crab.  If not, Memphis Taproom has good crabcakes.  Either way, everyone wins.  That is, unless you’re vegan, vegetarian, keep strictly kosher, or have a life-threatening allergy to shellfish.

So that was my extended introduction to Northeast Philadelphia, a neighborhood I’ll hopefully be frequenting more in the future.

And on a completely unrelated note, I’m reviving one of my blog traditions from when I maintained a Xanga page (remember Xanga?)–that’s right, it’s Italian Idiom of the Day!  Hopefully this will help me prepare for the translation exam I have to take in the fall.  And so without further ado, I give you the IIOTD, taken from the book 2001 Italian and English Idioms.

Today’s idiom: cacciarsi in un ginepraio–to get oneself in a fix (lit. to get oneself in a juniper thicket)

Per risolvere i problemi degli altri finisce sempre per cacciarsi in un ginepraio. For trying to solve other people’s problems he always ends up getting himself into a fix.

Don’t you hate it when you get yourself into a juniper thicket?  Just the other day I did, and I thought to myself, Come mi sono cacciato in questo ginepraio? Because my internal monologue is in (probably grammatically incorrect) Italian.

Okay, it’s getting late, so that’s all for now.  Thanks for reading the first post of Ye Olde Royle Blog!


2 thoughts on “Bicycles of the Apocalypse

  1. I’m glad I wasn’t the only not sure what the magical submarine bowling pin monster bike was all about. Still the Amish Horsemen of Death bike was the best, just barely beating out the Kenzinger BeerTruck cycle.
    Nice to have you on the blogosphere. BBB

  2. Are you thinkingof building something for next year perhaps?? I might suggest a Star Wars theme and just happen to have a few dozen things stored in the garage…..looking forward to reading your brilliant ramblings. Bravo!

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