Kicking It Over: Innovation and Self-Expression

So far this week, we've looked at two (2) videos made by two separate human-shaped animals, each of which states in its own unique dialect of moronese that people should ride their bikes on the sidewalk or else they should get run over and die.

Subsequently, one of these videographers (whose name I cannot recall) has made his video private:

While the other, "DonnieDudeDarnit," has removed his altogether:

I'm oddly fascinated by the sorts of people who take the time to record deliberately provocative videos, post them on a public forum, and then remove them when they actually elicit provocation.  It's a strange human impulse, like challenging people to fistfights and then running away, or sexually propositioning people and then making lame excuses when they actually accept.  ("Oh, sorry, I left my genitals in my other pants.")  I suppose what it comes down to is that certain people are oddly thrilled by the notion that someone might catch them doing their weird Buffalo Bill from "Silence of the Lambs" tuck-in-the-pee-pee dance and so they leave the blinds open, but when people actually start peeking in they panic and go back to sewing their bodysuits made from human skin.

Speaking of handicrafts, a reader has informed me that you can now purchase little planters for your bike:

Are you one of those people who is consumed by an unbearable longing for your houseplants when you're away from home?  If so, this horticultural "hipster cyst" is for you:

Do you love riding bikes? What about plants? Bring your plants on an adventure and let them enjoy some sunshine and fresh air! If you’ve ever dreamed about attaching a plant to your bike, now you’re in luck! This bike planter is made with 3D printing tehcnology, so not only will you be showing off your love of nature, but you’ll be showing off a little piece of the future.

Do I love riding bikes?  Yes I do.  What about plants?  Well, I dunno, I never really thought about it, but I suppose they must love riding bikes too.  And it's true, it's not really fair to keep a plant cooped up inside all day--you can tell they resent it because sometimes when you've been away for a long time you get home only to find they've torn up your clothing and peed in your shoes.  Moreover, I have in fact dreamed of attaching a plant to my bike, though it wasn't a "Wow, if only..." dream, it was more of a nightmare in which my hands turned to vines, I started sprouting palm fronds from my head, and I became a permanent part of my Scattante.  It was awful.  Still, I think the bike planter is a pretty good idea, if only because I can finally fire my very expensive plant nanny and just take my houseplants with me everywhere I go instead.

Of course, if you have a lot of plants a bike planter may not be enough, and you might just have to get a botanical bakfiets:

No helments on those plants?  For shame!

And certainly no plant-portaging bike is complete without an ivy lock:

Sadly, it's no match for a decent pair of pruning shears.

However, for the ultimate in bike-and-plant smugness, you really can't beat using your bike to make fine art paper out of invasive plant species:

Simply gather some vegetation, run it through your bicycle-powered beater, and then write your most smug insights in calligraphy using 140 characters or less.  Then, frame it and hang it in your local coffee house or bicycle co-op.  This is known as "artisanal Tweeting."

I wonder if there are any bicycle paper makers in Portland.  If not, I think I may launch a Kickstarter for a sustainable bike-powered artisanal toilet paper business.  All I'd have to do is set up one of these bike-powered paper mills somewhere with a lot of plants, like maybe Forest Park, and then I could pedal away making toilet paper all day and sell it for $25 a foot.  Sure, that's a lot compared to a roll of Charmin, and my product will no doubt contain all sorts of irritating and possibly painful imperfections ("Oops!  Looks like some poison oak got in the beater again!"), but you can't put a price on a self-satisfied and utterly guilt-free bathroom experience.

In fact, I got so excited about becoming a toilet papersmith that I headed over to Kickstarter to see if anyone had beat me to it.  They hadn't, though there was someone who wants to make bike tacos:

Sometime during the past ten years or so food preparation officially surpassed filmmaking as the loftiest form of creative expression for the liberal arts demographic.  Furthermore, it's essential that this food be prepared and served from some sort of vehicle (preferably a truck or a bicycle) instead of from an actual restaurant.  Part of the reason for this is of course that it's cheaper that way, but it's also because gentrification moves so quickly now that you need to be able to descend upon a new neighborhood within hours of reading a Tweet about it so you can provide all those young "pioneers" with the food products to which their refined palates have grown accustomed.   In any case, I have no doubt that if Darren Aronofsky were getting started today he'd never have made the movie "Pi;" instead, he'd be selling actual pies from a bakfiets.

But when it comes to creative expression, one of the most timelessly uncool forms is the art of puppetry, and the Austin Bike Zoo are combining theater, puppetry, and bicycles in a way I'd always hoped was impossible:

The Austin Bike Zoo’s Human Powered Puppetry is dedicated to inspiring communities through the creation of unique human powered vehicles, bicycle-based theatrical performances and educational programs for youth.

This particular play is called "A Typical Day in Portland:"

And it features the World's Scariest Recumbent:

As well as some thrilling stage combat:

(The protagonist of "A Typical Day in Portland" fights the dreaded Crotch Monster.)

I always thought Austin's motto was "Keep Austin Weird," but apparently it's actually "Keep Austin in a State of Delusion Akin to the Latter Stages of Syphilis."

Lastly, speaking of recumbents, while browsing Kickstarter I also discovered this recumbent motorcycle:

I really think the inventor may be on to something, though I'd also recommend a few tweaks.  In particular, I'd add a second pair of wheels for stability, as well as a canopy or roof for protection from the elements.  The enhanced stability would also allow additional room for passengers and cargo.  Here's a crude rendering:

(Behold: The Recumbent Motorcycle)

Sure, it doesn't have the thrillingly raw appeal of a Harley-Davidson, but there's no reason you can't drive this bad boy while decked out in heavy boots, leather chaps, and a skid lid.  When you slip into formation with all those burly bikers, just explain to them you're riding recumbent motorycle, crank up "Born to Be Wild," and be sure to blip the throttle at the next underpass.
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