Oct 19

Just add weekend

A fine fall weekend we had. It wasn’t long enough, but it was perfect and I didn’t do enough with it. So, yes, perfect indeed.

One would think that after a certain number of autumns you would be able to solve this contradiction. First you’d have to realize, though, that it isn’t a contradiction at all. But it is very much a thing.

Those pesky things.

Anyway, we had a lovely little bike ride on Saturday. It was a nice and warm and sunny day. We did it in the little ring, the point being lighter pedaling and a higher cadence, or something. We took one of the very traditional routes and cut it in half. Just the beginning and the end, if you please. And somewhere pretty early on I got dropped, long before it was respectable to be dropped to be frank.

But then there was the turn around and just before I got there, we crossed paths:

And then there were six-and-a-half miles back to the house. I chased on for about five of those miles before I finally got to close her down. That last mile was spent trying to bridge the final bit of the gap and get on her wheel. It was probably 20 minutes of pedaling like crazy, I had no more to give. How racers do that and then attack over the top escapes me.

Saturday night we sat on the deck and made S’mores and looked at the stars, which was pretty perfect.

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Just saying.

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On Sunday afternoon … we went for a walk.

Here’s the maple in our backyard:

We have a fruit tree which doesn’t bear fruit …

And we have a little creek that runs through the woods immediately behind our house. And I love being in the woods. A straight branch here, an almost right angle there, there’s so much personality to slowly feel your way through. Tracks, sounds of critters, curious holes in fallen trees, it all makes for a lovely experience.

This is well down the road, and almost into the string of houses on the other side of the woods, which are just as peaceful and full of magic and possibility:

It’s hard not to be romantic about a place like this:

The colors are just starting to go, too:

And we met a new neighbor, too. Behold, the friendly green frog:

She said he was also having a fine weekend. We’d probably heard her the night before. I’d like to her song all year-round. Alas.

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Oct 19

Let’s go ride bikes!

I’m more than a little disappointed in the HD quality of this upload, but it is a clip from a nice little bike ride this evening:

“My offseason goal,” The Yankee says, “is to perfect the cycling photobomb.”

I’m not sure if the deliberately done, on demand, photobomb is technically a photobomb, but that composition has style. Which is good since it also has some focal quality issues. I’m going to blame the one handed, barely breathing, back camera, keep-it-on-the-road nature of the moment. That’s where the authenticity is, by the way. That’s where the vulnerability is.

Anyway, it was a nice ride. Just using the little ring, thinking about high revolution more than speed. As I have neither, it was just a nice excuse to be outside with my best girl. The shadows are longer, the days are shorter, there’s a bit of different color in the sky, there was a chill in the air once the perspiration began, et cetera.

It made my Monday. What made yours?

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Oct 19

A TV show’s trailer is the high water mark here. Really.

It was a low-key weekend. Oh, there were plans, goals even. There were tasks to be performed and achievements to be met. It turned into one of those days where you have the big ambitions and then meet none of them. It turned into a weekend of those days.

But, hey, I did have a lovely dinner with friends one night and at least I got all the laundry done and the dishes washed.

This trailer came out. Perhaps you’ve seen it already:

And then someone at Gizmodo broke the whole thing down in almost frame-by-frame detail. The people doing that should get an advance screening, just as a reward. It’s OK, I can wait another day.

Mostly I’m relieved the Data bit is a dream. It’s going to work out better that way.

So maybe CBS All Access is the service I’ll pick up. At least until someone does a skin service for all of these things. There’s a marketplace for that, legalities be damned.

Anyway, today was a long day that just kept getting longer, somehow. It concluded with a meeting that began at 7 p.m. An important meeting, and I was happy to be a part of it. But I left the office at 8:15. Then I went to the wrong place, because it was that kind of day, before going to the right place. It’s the same store, on basically the same street, just 2.8 miles and a 12-minute drive apart. That’s good franchise planning, and accounts for my general confusion in this instance. (But only this instance.) After that, the next place I had to go closed precisely one minute earlier and the people inside just looked at me as if they were struck dumb by the prospect of a customer, in general, let alone the hour. If I’d chosen the first stop correctly I could have made it to the third place prior to the store closing. But that’s Monday for you.

Very well, then, back tomorrow, when the morning side crew will be no less surprised, because who stops by a store on a Tuesday morning anyway?

After that failed customer experience we finally had dinner, about an hour before the chosen restaurant closed. So there were two tables filled, which was nice. A quiet restaurant for two! The nice young lady who served our table (better than the humorless lady who would just rather … not) really wanted to do her cut work and go home, so she was happily elsewhere. And, happily, we’re a pretty low maintenance table.

Anyway, in a few minutes I plan on trying to fall asleep. Perhaps I’ll fall asleep reading some news site. I just hope it’s not the comments. Or maybe it will be the comments. What a thing to fade off, too, comments on some news story that seemed like a good idea at the time when you opened the tab, but now that nine tabs are open, you start to question the choice. And so you read the comments. And then you drift off.

That’s how you get a head start on Tuesday.

Sep 19

The exercise of the weekend

We did the Outrun Cancer fundraiser Saturday. It was a beautiful, warm, not-a-cloud-in-the-sky, late summer, early autumn day. The sort you can’t take for granted. The kind you do. It’s more apogee than perigee, but definitely neither. It could go on forever, but you know it won’t. You wouldn’t mind if it did, though. You’re not that lucky and so don’t take it for granted, this warm sun, the sting of sunblock in your eyes, the sweat everywhere.

This run on Saturday was the third run on my current rehab tour. I taped up my foot that morning, added another layer and then considered what I’d done previously. On my first run, earlier this week, I did two miles on a 1:1 run-to-walk ratio. On the second run I did three miles, with a bit more running than walking. And easing back into this is important. So naturally I started this 5K with a solid one-mile run. OK, fine, a good jog. After that I walked about a third of the rest. Probably should have had another walk interval, but I was as bored as the rest of this paragraph.

On this particular 5K course around campus you take the last left, go down a little hill and then right back the other side of the next hill. You hang one more left and there’s probably a block or so to the finish line. On that last hill I saw The Yankee working her way up the left side of the road. So I found myself sprinting up the right side of the road and hanging that last, blissful left, to hit the finish line before she did so I could do this:

No matter the distance, finishing with a smile is a big deal in our house.

We walked back to the car in front of this going on in one giant parking lot:

I counted 25 air fans supporting the front of the bounce house, which is billed as the largest in the world. You wonder if there’s serious competition. And if the other guy has surreptitiously come to one of these events and measured the thing, and found it lacking. You wonder if that’s just a trademark, or if there’s something in China or Indiana or Washington state that is just as big or bigger.

You also wonder about why there were security guards in security t-shirts stationed inside the thing. You wonder about how much those people must hate their boss who made them wear the black one today. It was warm.

Now, ordinarily, I’d be especially excited about a bounce house. But the amount of perspiration would only create even more flesh-on-plastic stickiness.

There was a ball pit, and I missed out on it. I had my fill working at Chuck’s in high school, but this ball pit wasn’t like that. The bounce house was so large that for scale the ball pit was filled with beach balls.

They’d be even more demanding to clean after the inevitable accident, I’m sure.

On Sunday we went for a bike ride in the afternoon. It was a nice 20-miler on another Chamber of Commerce day. I got out front early, because I figured if I could hang on through at least two of the pre-planned turnarounds first she’d give me a big smile when we met one another. (She’d do this if she was in front of me, too, but that somehow didn’t occur to me when I was breathing hard.) At one point I probably had about a minute on her and three guys from one of the Little 500 teams picked me up. I stayed on their wheel for a few miles until their route differed from ours, but mostly answered my lingering question: yes, they are faster than me. And younger, too, what’s more.

So through the first turnaround I had the lead, down by the house with the big drive just before the side road rejoined the bigger state road. And then, at the second turnaround, on the quiet little neighborhood road that feels like a private drive, I saw her again. Closer this time. So now I have to pedal harder and faster, because the next section of road favored The Yankee’s strengths, but after that was the one sorta-hill, which favors me a little bit more, somehow. And after that big hill was the third turnaround. And if I got there then that’d mean three smiles!

And that’s how you trick yourself to going a little harder than you think you could. After that it’s hang a left, two rollers, then a right and down to the second of the big hills. Two more quick turns and then you’re back in the neighborhood and through that area I know there’s not going to be an opportunity for her to catch me. Great! I can do the gentlemanly thing and open the door for her.

As I got back to the house I remembered: She had the key.

Sep 19

I promise, we do not discuss the doppler effect of honks

This was my Friday afternoon. I’d pulled into the driveway, walked to the mailbox and heard the honking of the Canada geese. They aren’t on their migration pattern just yet, so I’m assuming one of them got word of some great bugs or grass in a nearby pond or field:

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I've flown into the weekend like those guys.

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Maybe they were going to the lake, or to the pond on the back of Old Man Thompson’s place.

There is a pond on a Thompson property on the general line of the geese’s travel. I looked it up. No idea if he’s an old man or not. You just always assume so. It’s never Young Man Thompson, is it? Probably because of that Nathaniel Hawthorne allegory we read in school. Young Goodman Brown leaves an impression. It’s either that or the fear of the unknown as represented by Mr. Mertle in the Sandlot.

The Thompsons could have owned that land for generations. Maybe it’s a part of the family that’s trying to get back on their feet. Maybe it’s just the place a middle aged Thompson keeps for his art studio. Could be a young family treating it as a starter home. The point is, they now have geese, unless they don’t. Those fowls could have been going anywhere. They are most assuredly gone from there by now. That flight was on Friday, after all.

I received the most on brand fortune cookie script of all recently:

If that fortune cookie algorithm only knew. I suspect it does know. That algorithm is tied into various other outfits. The smart devices in your home are listening to your takeout phone calls, or private conversations and decisions to just pick something up rather than to cook the same old same old. Again. So now my thermostat is sending info packets up the ISP after it sneaks a peak at the phone number I called. That data dump winds up at the takeout joint.

Now, sure, that’s just letting them know that we’re coming. (Aside from, ya know, the actual phone call I just made.) But what about the specifics? Your search results and your television viewing habits and how often you text your friends are all elements being scrapped in a huge data mining effort. That information gets shipped upstream and then, of course, there’s the cookie itself. Why, you’ve forgotten, again, the edible RFID concern. And how often are you going to forget those guys? That firm has placed a little device in the flour and vanilla mix and all of that data is cross-referenced against the pre-written fortune.

And there’s a person working there who shuffles the box of fortune cookies, they call her The Shuffler, and she makes sure the right cookie end up in the right spot, considering the 20, no, 25 minute wait and all the customers that may come and go before we get there.

It’s a modern miracle, really. And if you ever get the wrong one, you blame The Shuffler. Or you just choose the wrong cookie among your dining companions.

I went for a run. This is ordinary, except it has not been ordinary.

I haven’t gone for a run since April, when I ran an official 2.34 miles on April 3rd. Aside from limping through 10 miles one day later that month in Texas, this was the first real effort on foot since then. I’ve been nursing a foot and heel issue back to health, and that’s happily improving somewhat. So I taped it up well, and I tried out a brief run-walk interval. I did three minutes on and three minutes off and registered a little two-mile run this morning.

The many miles of bike rides in between don’t exactly translate to total running fitness and does not mitigate the immediate question of “Why do my calves ache?

The good news is that my foot felt fine. I’m sure it was the tape job and my present stride might favor the part that has been bothering me. The bad news was that everything else that complained about the effort.

Everything else will get used to it. I need to get down to Old Man Thompson’s place and check on those geese.