Weekly Feature

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Anti-Trends: Going Against the Grain

August 19, 2008
by findingDulcinea Staff
Trends are attractive, usually heavily praised, surrounded by excitement and sources of great anticipation. But some people insist on doing things differently, and embarking on unlikely journeys, whether they’re supported or scoffed at. Today we introduce a few lighthearted souls who aren’t afraid to go against the grain.

‘Beater Bikes’

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Sure, riding along winding country roads on a sparkling new motorcycle, or careening down city streets on a flashy scooter sounds great, but a group of adventure-seeking guys from Tennessee and Oregon have taken a different approach. Alternative weekly newspaper the Portland Mercury featured the group, known as the 555.

As they made their way on dilapidated motorcycles from Knoxville to Portland, the riders were not without rules. All bikes had to have been built before 1975 and had to have cost less than $500. The brazen boys also vowed not to take any interstates, sticking strictly to back roads.

The Mercury was particularly impressed by engineer Will Cantrelle’s disarmingly loud bike, which he found in barn in Crossville, Tenn.

“A farmer gave it to me for free,” Cantrelle said. 

The team was not entirely free of technology or innovation, however. They posted videos and updates on YouTube and Twitter from the road. The Mercury called the team “inspiring in an era where self-publishing is possible for almost anyone.”

The 555 seems to have been equally inspired by their off-road encounters. Mike Fairman, a carpenter and member of the 555 said, “When you go off the freeways, it’s amazing some of the people you meet.”

Anti-Foodie

In defiance of the endless string of gourmands appearing on television, divulging advice in newspaper columns and waxing poetic on blogs, writer Ayun Halliday discovered that people were just as interested in hearing funny stories about unusual meals, such as peanut M&Ms stuck between couch cushions in movie theaters.

Released in 2006, “Dirty Sugar Cookies: Culinary Observations, Questionable Taste,” is Halliday’s version of foodie literature. Austin, Texas, bookstore Bookwoman hosted a reading by Halliday, and gives a taste of the book’s style on its site.

Halliday also writes travel essays. Her travel/food story “Tommy’s 21st Birthday Cake” was published on Rolf Potts’ Vagabonding

Visit Halliday’s food blog, “Dirty Sugar Cookies,” and learn about her quarterly zine “The East Village Inky,” for some quirky inspiration.

Dirty Sugar Cookies” is available for sale in the Dulcinea Media Store.

Going Green? Go Away!

Andrew Hecht is fed up with the green trend, a concept he feels does nothing to protect and restore the environment.

A contributing writer for the NYU newspaper Washington Square News, Hecht writes that capitalism is the culprit for Earth’s deterioration. Addressing anything else, such as reducing one’s carbon footprint, is simply a way to avoid reality, he feels.

“Capitalism inherently evaluates the environment in order to form a market price … it pits humans against one another and desensitizes us to the other living creatures that make up ecosystems,” writes Hecht.

Hecht even shrugs off hybrid cars, despite their using less fuel.

“Consider the materials needed to produce a car. Their production requires incredible amounts of water, energy, natural resources and labor to produce,” Hecht writes.

Judge for yourself whether Hecht’s sentiments are realistic, or just angry, impossible dreams. His full article is available online.
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