Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tue, Jun 16, 2009 - 31.10 mi [Cycling]

Tue, Jun 16, 2009 - 31.10 mi [Cycling]
31.10 mi in 01:59:38 hours at 15.60 mi/h on Orbea Volata. [Cycling] Was planning on putting in a moderate ride but ended up going crazy. Almost got a negative split. Pushed up all the climbs and the hope church climb I "paused" for a short time but actually ended up pushing over the top. Yeah for me!. I think I picked up the most time by pushing over the climbs rather than pushing on the descent. crushed my time from the first time on this route. 7 RPE
Posted from My Cycling Log

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Impaired anal sphincter function in professional cyclists!!!??

Thanks to a good poop for this one!

Being a scientist with a recreational interest in cycling I could not help but make note of this incredibly important scientific finding!.

I just have the typical questions regarding this study. One, how exactly did these people recruit their subjects? Two, just how uncomfortable is it to have a balloon shoved up your rectum and inflated? Finally, were these mountain bike riders thinking that this may be bad but it's a whole lot better than being in the saddle and do they get a discount on any prophylactic devices developed?!

In conclusion, I am heading off to my LBS and demanding that they start stocking really really nice comfy shorts and underpants! There is nothing more embarrassing than having to say,"oops! I pooped myself" while on a group ride.

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

why I'm not a vegetarian

I have very few useful skills. It's true. My one true strength is that I have the internet equivalent of ADHD. I am constantly peeking in some of the weirdest corners of the internet.

I recently came across some YouTube homemade videos of one of my most favorite Canadian groups, the Arrogant Worms. So many of their tunes are clever, funny and self-deprecating about being Canadian. This particular video is (I believe) and actual produced by them video of one of my favorite songs. Listen, and laugh. I know I do :)

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Too much of anything...

Below is the abstract of a recent article (discovered by a good poop) reporting a run on meditation induced psychosis!?


Apparently relaxing too much is bad for you, especially if your doing this while engaging in exercise and training. To quote

"A 24-year-old Caucasian male artist was referred because of an acute sensation of being mentally split during a Hindustantype meditation. It was an unguided and intense session. The patient had recently trained extensively for a marathon, which resulted in a weight loss of 7 kg. In addition he was experiencing relationship problems and work-related stress"

I always knew there was something fishy about those relaxed, laidback types. They're trying to suck me into their dastardly plan to take over the earth and feed the proletariat to sheep, causing massive outbreaks of mad cow disease.... wait. I think I've been relaxing too much. I think I'll go get some coffee.

the entire report can be downloaded here for your edification and amusement.

Background: Meditation is a self-regulatory psychological
strategy that is frequently applied in Western as well as non-
Western countries for different purposes; little is known
about adverse events. Sampling and Methods: A male patient
is described who developed an acute and transient psychosis
with polymorphic symptomatology after meditating.
A literature search for psychotic states related to meditation
was carried out on PubMed, Embase and PsycInfo. Results:
In the case presented a diagnosis of acute polymorphic psychotic
disorder was made. Other case reports dealt with either
a relapse of a pre-existent psychotic disorder or with a
brief psychotic reaction in patients without a psychiatric history.
Conclusion: Meditation can act as a stressor in vulnerable
patients who may develop a transient psychosis with
polymorphic symptomatology. The syndrome is not culture
bound but sometimes classified in culture-bound taxonomies
like Qi-gong Psychotic Reaction.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Sheldon Brown RIP

I learned today that Sheldon Brown

recently passed (Feb 3).

Although I never met the man personally, I have never admired someone so much. As a newbie cyclist I always knew where to go to get clear, easy to understand information on anything and everything bike related. His website has wit and never condescends. A true educator and enthusiast. Rest in Peace Sheldon.

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Just some fun photos from my recent single track ride.


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Friday, February 01, 2008

Shut it

Hey, guess what. I have not blogged in over a month! For those few who regularly check my site I apologize. When I decided to get a little down time I quite literally unplugged and relaxed. Never the less, I'm back in the swing of things and after a hectic first month I'm able to squeeze out a few lines again.

What?, you say. You were relaxing but had a hectic month? How can that be? Well kids, it goes a little something like this...

Over the course of the previous semester, I had accumulated a vast number of holiday projects that I actually wanted to do. Things like: do some more training on my linux machine, get my videos into DVD format, hang some art that has been in storage since we moved into the house 2+ years ago. All things I actually wanted to do but could not justify when I was running like the red queen last semester.

There was also the issue of gift purchases for the little missus and family on Nova Scotia (a country quite difficult and expensive to send gifts to I might add - who knew).

Another hectic element came from my wife and I finally biting the bullet and deciding to stop using her 30+ year old bedroom furniture (click if interested) and become grown ups. We brought in the wife of a colleague who was an an interior designer and got her input on window treatments, bed coverings, reupholstery, wall colors, accent color, art, mirrors, chandeliers, ceiling fans.... have left anything out here? I have to say it was a serious of fun, exciting, mind bending, heart wrenching roller coaster decisions. Then came the estimates and our dreams took a little smack to the gut. That's a lot of $$ for some paint, that's a lot of $$ for window treatments.... It was a LOT of $$. So back we went, making adjustments, spreading the cost over several installments and stages. We've finalized on most everything an the painters are in the house every day making our house beautiful! We've lived in apartments pretty much our whole lives and we so tickled to see color, any color, that was not flat white!



What made it even better is the architecture of the house is such that it lends itself really well to a cool contemporary paint scheme but still homey and warm and cozy.

They've been in the house for 2 weeks now and we expect another 3 but man are we crazy about the job these guys are doing. We are really getting what we paid for. One guy literally, yes literally , was down on the floor with an artists brush doing fine detail work along the baseboard to make sure his lines were straight and there was no bleeding of colors! WOW.

So, that's the kind of relaxing home time I had. When the semester began again I had a whole new set of challenges. 4 courses, 2 subjects, one of which was a new prep and the other a complete revamp since many of the slides and material is over 3 years old. So, I've got ~160 students that I have to entertain and get excited about biological psychology and contemporary theories and methods for studying psychological disorders. This is not a problem for me, I'm Mr. nerd geek and love this stuff but it can be like pulling teeth at times, getting the kids involved. As an added challenge, the vast majority are regular, church goin' folks who don't have much time or inclination to accept evolution as the reason we are the way we are. It can make it a tad difficult to discuss physiology and the use of animal models as good test subjects for new psycho therapeutic compounds when the first response is... uh why would they use a rat? Humans aren't like rats.

Well this post is getting a little long winded so I'll leave my cycling woes for another post but as you can see if you quickly glance to the right, I have not been riding and I'm very edgy right now.. So SHUT IT and GET OFF MY CASE. I've been a little busy fer chrissakes :)

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Awesome timewaster site

"stumbled upon" this cool site. Click the link to see a freaky painted elevator floor.

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Monday, December 03, 2007

Back in the Saddle

Mon, Dec 3, 2007 - 13.45 mi [Cycling]

13.45 mi in 01:00:21 hours at 13.37 mi/h on Trek 4100.

First day back on the bike since my first 30 mile ride. It's not that it took me that long to recover (tho' it was a bitch of a ride), but at the time I was fighting off a cold and the 30 miles really took it out of me. It took 4 days of feeling like I had a head the size of a watermelon and on the cusp of exploding from all that sinus congestion. I even had to cancel two days of classes on the final week of the semester. Not a pleasant time.

I was able to dope up on some sinus decongestives and get through 6 hour stints (just long enough to lecture and then collapse) and I was still hoping to get a final 5 miles in before the end of the month. That would have put me over 200 miles for the month. Sadly, it was not to be. I decided I would take some extra days to recover and start fresh in the new month. I accomplished a lot in November and I felt good about it so while the 200 milestone was tantalizingly close I left it for another time. I had set out to ride 150 mile, some more 20+ mile rides than October and at least 1 30 mile ride and I got that. I did not want to get greedy or burn myself out in such a way as to make cycling onerous and not fun.

After getting my 30 mile in I decided the next long ride goal will be a 40 mile ride by the end of January and mapped out a cool looking route to a lake I had never heard of. The catch is that it is on the road AND (more importantly) very hilly and if there is one thing I learned from the 30 mile ride with single track, I have no climbing ability. So December will be road riding month. I'll start going along the route and training on the hills. Any climbing tips? I've read lots of forums and Sheldon Brown's site so I got the repetition, steady cadence thing planned but frankly, I want to be able to burn up a climb. I have a friend who bikes with me sometimes and while I'll whoop his ass on the flats or over long distances he always gets me on the climbs and that irks me. I'm shifting down to granny gear and huffing and puffing to keep my cadence steady and the balance between lung and leg burn steady and he mashes by me in 12th freakin' gear just before we get to the top.

What I want to do is ride next to him up a climb and then attack near the top and blow him a way (then sit up and wait for him to catch up - this is after all a duo group ride :) ).

So there it is, my goals for December: 180 miles, at least 5 20+ mile rides, and 3 30+ rides, and train for hills. Oh, and get under 195lbs.

On a different front, my reward to myself for meeting my November goals was to purchase a baselayer, wind breaking vest and some arm warmers. I got to test them out today. If was Dorthy and Toto weather out there today and getting a little chilly on the descents (46 F) and I have to say, they did the job quite nicely. No chill, I wasn't cold and actually got a little warm in spots before I scaled back the exertion to I didn't explode after 8 days of not biking. Now I'm looking forward to the colder weather. After I get me some long fingered gloves and some knee warmers for Xmas I think I'll be set for the harsh (yeah right) North Carolina winter.

Posted from My Cycling Log

Primate route

Friday, November 30, 2007

Case in point

In my last post I mentioned that many organic companies are not necessarily environmentally neutral. However, being the active member of society I am I do my bit and try to initiate change where ever I think I can make a difference. To whit, I sent an email to a organic coffee company concerning the packaging and recently received (i.e., today) a reply. Obvious identifying characteristics have been redacted per homeland security prerequisites ( :) ).
Hello ,
Your customer support request has been responded to.

Your Request :
Email : J6P@pseudorandomnumbergenerator.UPPERlevelDomain
your coffee and the organic/fairtrade aspect. However, I've noted that
your coffe is bagged in plastic. No where on it does it mention if it
is recyclable. Is it (an of so could you let me know if it's 1, 2, etc.
- our city will recylce 1 & 2 only) and if not have you done any
research into biodegradable/environmentally neutral packaging?


Our Reply :
you for your inquiry! At the moment, our coffee bags are
non-recyclable. However, we are in the process of finding alternatives
to make our bags recyclable in the future. We will certainly pass your
suggestion to our packaging and quality control departments.

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Recycling: Consumers beware

I live in a town where there is some recycling. That is, once a week a truck comes by and picks up our separated paper, cardboard, cans, glass and plastic recyclables. I give full Kudo's to the city for providing this service and I'm sure it keeps our local landfills open longer, decreases our eco footprint etc. etc.

Here's the thing (and I'm not even sure if I should be griping about our city for this as much as the plastics/packaging industry). The city will only accept plastics labeled 1 and 2. My first reaction to finding this out was outrage! OK, outrage is a little strong, how about I was perplexed? I dutifully examine my labels and recycle my 1's and 2's so as to not gum up the system but what about my numbers 3, 4, 5,6, & 7's. These all have the little recycle triangle around them so presumably they are recyclable. Why doesn't the city take these?

Doing a little research, I found out that (and no big surprise really) not all plastics are created equal. Further #1 and #2 are preferred because they can be combined with fresh, virgin plastic pellets to make a lower grade plastics (but not 100%). Each time plastic is recycled it becomes a lower and lower grade. Recycled plastic needs to be combined with non-recycled plastic to be useful.

Each of the other numbers have very little use as recycled packaging because of nasty volatile chemical and tend to be limited to use in plastic lumber of all things (again, in low percentages compared with virgin plastic) and items that are NOT recyclable.

So here is my first conundrum. If recyclable plastic is only good when used with virgin plastics and to recycle the plastics that
that already exist, you need to use more virgin than recycled, how is this helping beyond slowing the growth of virgin plastic use (and frankly not all that much)? We are still using a rapidly diminishing resource for packaging. Something ultimately design to be discarded. This does not make a lot of sense.

My second conundrum is a bit of a slam at the "green"/fair trade/organic market. I'm hip with the whole organic thing. It's not that I think these foods are tastier or more healthy or are better for you because they are "natural" I just do not buy that specious strawman when big agribusiness like ConAgra of ADM trot out studies showing no nutritional difference between their genetically modified corn or other produce compared to organic produce. Big yawn. You're growing a beet for crying out loud. The difference is that the organic produce did not have 80 billion tonnes of fertilizer/pesticides thrown at it that leeches into the soil, contaminates ground water aquifers, contributes to algal blooms and deadzones in the ocean. But. And this is a big but, have you ever noticed how much "green"/organic/fair trade stuff is packaged in plastic?! You're kinda shooting yourself in the foot guys. I happened to purchase some organic fair trade coffee that other week and it was packaged in plastic (and not even a type that could be recycled!

I'm really trying not to be cynical here but I'm here trying my best to do what little I can to make the world a better place for me, my loved ones and future generations. So I try to make responsible choices. Why is it that I'm seeing one step forward and two steps back? I buy organic but packaged in non-renewable plastics, I buy fair trade and it's coming from have way around the world by container ship, I buy green and but is not a renewable resource, I by local but it's not fair trade or organic.

I seriously think that I want to just drop off the grid sometimes. I'm tired of being scammed and taken advantage of by the latest fads, crazes and good for the environment cr*p that companies are putting out just so they can get a better margin without really thinking through the full picture. What we need to a greater emphasis on what has been dubbed "true cost" economics. Consumers need to be told that total cost of each item. How much did it cost for raw materials, the "externalized cost" of environmental disruption/destruction, manufacturing, disposal, long-term storage, waste containment..... I think you get the idea.

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