Creepily watching through an apartment window

I hate to admit it. Let me rephrase that. I don't hate to admit it, but perhaps I'm a bit embarrassed to. I'm not proud of the fact that I will sometimes spend time browsing through the list of places where readers of the blog are from. Through the magic of IP addresses, a huge amount of information is captured about those of you who come to this blog. I find myself staring at the list of visitor's paths, wondering who the person in Tunisia is, the one that keeps coming back to the blog and often looking at the same few images. What about the person in Japan who checks on the blog three times a day, or the one who reads the blog while working at Trek during the afternoons. Then there's the loyal reader from Cane Creek, a company which I now know has its headquarters in North Carolina. There's also the person who reads the blog during the third shift at the Smithsonian. I see all this information, and I wonder who these people are. I wonder if they ended up here by mistake, or simply by searching for images of Oakley Jawbone sunglasses (as an astonishing amount of people do). I have no connection to the people behind those IP addresses. I don't know them, and they don't really know much about me either. I've met a few readers of the blog in person, and was surprised by how kind and friendly they were. But for the most part, the relationship amounts to me creepily looking at the paths they took as they looked through the blog.

Some years ago, I watched a low-budget documentary about obsessive record collectors called Vinyl. The film, despite some of its flaws, was particularly effective in its ability to show the obsessive and rather depressing tendencies that make people become collectors. The overriding theme of the film is just how detached from humanity many of these collectors become. Unable to understand or cope with the complexities of humans, the collectors portrayed in the documentary choose to withdraw into a world that is easy to manage and understand. One filled with inanimate objects, which unlike other human beings, are predictable and simple to understand.

One of the many collectors featured in the documentary Vinyl. This particular collector aims to buy every single record ever made. He already has millions of them. He funds his obsessive collecting habits by working at a car wash.

The film's definitive moment is when the filmmaker, himself a record collector, admits to the fact that he seldom interacts with other humans. The most significant interaction he has with others, he feels, is a weekly ritual in which he picks records from his collection, and then puts them out on a bin across the street from his apartment. From his window, he then watches as pedestrians go through his box of free records, picking the ones they'd like to keep. This, he feels, is the only way he can interact with others. To him, it's a meaningful exchange, one he has come to treasure. Although I don't think I lack the ability or drive to interact with others, I sometimes feel just like the director of that movie...creepily watching from the window, to see who is going through the box, wondering what (if anything) they'll do with what I left behind. This is perhaps enhanced by the fact that I too tend to keep to myself. At least in real life.

A few housekeeping issues
Though you may not have noticed, this blog now has advertising in it. If you hadn't noticed, look on the right hand column, and you'll see it. I thought about this for a while, but was unsure about taking ads. This changed, after I had a lengthy conversation with the photographer Horacio Gil Ochoa on the phone. One of the many reasons I reached out to Ochoa was the fact that I wanted to compensate him for the use of his images on my blog. It was the correct thing to do, and I acted accordingly. Suddenly, the blog went from merely costing me time and effort (though I'm such a genius that these posts often write themselves), to costing me actual money. So you can think of this post as my official announcement regarding the fact that Cycling Inquisition is open for business, and operators are standing by for any potential advertising offers.

Paying for photography aside, another monetary concern that has come up as of late has to do with sending ongoing shipments of new and used clothing, shoes and bike parts to kids in Colombia. Do you know how much it can cost to send box that weighs 25 to 50 pounds to Colombia? Honestly, I'd rather not tell you...because the number alone can bring most grown men to tears (as an example, a few years ago I wanted to send a friend in Colombia a medium sized book, and FedEx wanted $95 for that small shipment). Having said all this, the funds I've gathered from jersey sales has been of much help whenever I've put these shipments together. And in the end, I can only imagine how excited young kids in Urrao will be when they open up a big box full of awesome.

A big thanks to all those who contributed to this latest shipment of goods.

Lastly, in a dramatic switch over to the world of commerce, I'd like to remind you of four things:

1. If you want a fashionable apparel for winter, considering buying one of my brother's Speed Metal Cycling wool jerseys. I'll be buying one, so you know they're good.

2. If you want Cycling Inquisition socks in large sizes, remember that Mauricio over at Rebolledo Cycles still has some in stock.

3. If it's a Cycling Inquisition jersey you seek, head on over to Gage & DeSoto.

4. If you missed out on the last run of Cycling Inquisition caps, worry not. I have a small shipment of them coming in soon. Stay tuned for details.