31 July 2011


So July -- counting yesterday -- looks to be a 140km month.  (Bleck.)  Some of that is a sinus isssue, thankfully responding to treatment; some of that is a couple weeks where exercise outside would have been a "do you want to die?" issue (Humidex of 48 C. Gah.) and some of it is this whole count-the-commute-and-it's-a-50-hour-week thing, which leads to getting home falling over tired when it's hot enough that sleep tends to be fragmented.  (I am starting to think that in another 25 years, people will still cycle 3 seasons in Toronto, but the season they don't cycle in will be the summer.)

So, anyway, yesterday.  55.86 km per the GPS; throw in the round-the-block seat height test and the crawl up to the streetcar stop and it's somewhere a bit ove 56 km.

And it was, so far as I can tell, a really good ride up to the point I blew up; a hot but relatively dry day, nice breeze, having noticed the seat post crawling down I had the seat post back where it should be and everything worked every so much better (except the shoe cleat I'd adjusted *before* noticing the post was down, on the theory that the cleat had crept; I will presumably get it back to the right place eventually...) and no one even tried to squash me.  (A member of a gaggle of Japanese students tried to use me as a way to kill himself in Ashbridges Bay Park, but I'm sensible enough to ride that path at ~15kph with both hands on their respective brake levers, and he failed.)  So, anyway, hit 55 km, legs went from "this is sometimes work" to "I shall scream", and I had (what I thought was) a fit of sense and took the streetcar home from there. (Obviously auspicious; I got on a streetcar that never had more than 12 people total on it, which isn't actually miraculous on a Saturday afternoon but certainly felt that way.)

Get home, eat dinner (had ~20 g maple hard candy, ~150g mixed nuts and dried cranberries, ~300g fries on ride, reheated beef and tortilla chips as dinner once home), drink lots (1.2 L water, ~2 L Nuun electrolyte replacement, .5 L iced tea on ride, .5 L lime-and-ribenna + .5 L water around dinner), regular vitamins (taken at breakfast and "lunch") include ~330 mg potassium supplements, ~1.4 g CA/.7 g Mg, go lie down for a bit.  Get up an hour later and both legs cramped badly enough that I made noises that distressed the cat and dry-swallowed ibuprofen, which fortunately mostly worked.

This is becoming a consistent pattern; really bad muscle cramping from rides that don't feel like I'm pushing anything at the time.  (For example, this morning, my left knee, victimized by the cleat misalignment, was mildly sore; from the way it felt yesterday, as I kept stopping and fidling with the cleat alignment, I could expect that.  Same with the sore-if-I-think-about-it stomach muscles; that felt like progress at the time, that I was starting to get ride effort getting up into core muscles.)

Nothing about the actual effort of pedaling felt like it was execessive or enough or "yeah, that's it" until about 55 km, where I (thought I was being) sensible and got on a streetcar in response to strongly twingy pre-cramp sorts of feelings. (and I was being sensible, becuase the cramps would only have been worse if I'd kept going.)

This was not a hard ride; rolling average of 17.2 kph, 607/651 metres elevation gain/loss, total time 277 minutes, 194 minutes moving.  (many stoplights, several pauses.)

But I'm clearly doing something wrong.   Too much distance after a week off?  Not enough carbs?  Some kind of electrolyte balance issue?

17 July 2011

Hanging basket

From early in July, before all the flowers wilted. (There are any number of very tall tiger lilies out there crisping inward from the petal edges.)
No idea what they are; the hanging basket is on my walk home from the subway station.

Not bad for a point-and-shoot.

Partial recovery from torpor

It's been wretchedly hot, and work has been alternating between "sooner than now!" and "twiddle, twiddle, wait for specification" and my general supply of neurons to rub together has been somewhat sub-optimal. So it has taken me awhile to get various things both on the bike and photographed.

Here we have the Experiment being held up by a combination of set brakes (those little dark lines around the brake levers are elastics) and a Click Stand.

Front end showing new front rack extensions; fitting a decaleur seemed somewhere between impractical, hopeless, and not helpful enough to be worth the expected effort, so I went for the Nitto rack extension for the Rivendell M1 rack.  The only thing I really mind is needing to offset the headlight; the centre hold is an attachment point for the extension on the to the M1 rack, and the bolt size is larger than that used by the headlight mount.
The now-usual luggage; front rando bag, courtesy of David Parsons, and the Arkel Tail Rider, which is being used as a tool-and-spares bag.
Demonstrating that I can still use the front low-rider rack, despite having half an octopus worth of stays holding the front platform rack on.
Now if only the humidex would dip below 30 for any length of time in daylight....

07 July 2011

Today's discovery

The small-centre-hole cap on a bottle of goo-be-gone is not sufficient to prevent gouting from the bottle if the bottle is squeezed.

I do not believe I have ever, or would ever, plan on having a navel full of de-greaser, but at least no portion of my anatomy appears to have dissolved.

03 July 2011

Narrative Subsumption

At the present moment, there's a bunch of lengthy discussions going on in various places over how Rebecca Watson noted very publicly that being propositioned in an elevator at 04h00 was an indication of the kind of behavior that discourages women from showing up at atheist conferences, and these discussions are full of the usual total gibbering failure of communication one might expect.

What occurs to me is that much of the process failure, the thing that keeps communication from happening, is that most of those involved are presenting the events as narrative, but by no means the same narrative.  It's a contest to see whose narrative wins, what becomes the accepted story describing the events, and, well, this has a bunch of drawbacks.

First off, events don't form narratives; brains form narratives, and the process must be thought of as lossy compression, because every time someone studies it, they find it's plenty lossy.  ("this is an instance of common pattern, isn't it?  Oh look, there go the inconvenient details..." saith the narrativizing brain.)

Secondly, narrative implies moral judgement; you can't even get to a utilitarian metric, you get to a sort of "what kind of story is this, that such an event would be found therein?" filter, and the discussion, rather than being about events, or even the kind of pattern represented by the events, starts being about the kind of perception appropriate to the kind of story that is said to contain and describe the events, and things have promptly gone too meta to have an actual conversation about. (At least not without a very large common body of terminology already being established.)

Thirdly, and I think most importantly, narrative subsumption is a way to construct hierarchy.  It's a conflict over whose reality map, whose pattern of perception, is considered right, and inescapably about how everyone else's, or every other story, is wrong.  This can be effective (he says, pointing to five thousand years of kings and emperors establishing political legitimacy through connection with official, god-sanctioned narratives describing ideals for society, human behavior, and individual persons) if the goal is to produce conformance to a fixed pattern of authority, but it is an active, ongoing barrier to co-operating in groups, especially flexible groups with situational organization.  (That is, you don't expect a fixed hierarchy to produce people who can handle all the problems; you grant authority relative to skill and past results at solving similar kinds of problem/doing this presently relevant kind of work.)

So, really, actually co-operating in groups—collaborative effort to solve problems—requires something other than a fixed hierarchy. (Just for starters, you probably don't know what the problem really is when you start.  You're going to have to change the people (which people, or what the know how to do) involved in order to actually succeed.)  But narrative subsumption—you must agree with me that this is the right way to tell the story—will only give you a hierarchy, so it won't solve the problem.

So, generally, don't do that.