May 17

Cruising Loch Ness and touring Culloden Moor

Where’s Nessie? We found Nessie! This morning we searched for the Loch Ness Monster. Also, we cruised by Urquhart Castle:

And this afternoon we visited the field where the 1746 Battle of Culloden took place. This video tries, in vain, to explain the modern interpretation of that battle, a bloody affair that ultimately marked the end of the 1745 rebellion.

May 17

Thorn to be wild

Well I’m having a lovely week so far. How about you?

I’d like to sleep a bit more, but that’s a problem for another day, it seems. Otherwise, the days are pretty rosy. Take this bush out front, for example:

Rose bush, rosy, get it? (I have another one of these jokes for tomorrow.)

Anyway. There’s the day’s work, of course. And all day long I have felt fairly fatigued. I think it is a lack of good sleep and my ride yesterday. So I took today off from the bike and got some evening shopping in. I picked up a few lights for a photo project and got some groceries and went home for dinner, a bit of house cleaning and to watch the day’s bike race.

That’s the pace of things this week — an easy, one thing at a time, few things a day, one day at a time pace. That’s my pace of things.

May 17

Keeping up

Tonight I had the chance to enjoy my first group ride of the year. The group has been going out probably for a month or two now, but I’m hanging out with the students on Tuesdays and Thursdays while the cyclists are out riding around. But with the summer upon us, my Tuesday and Thursday evenings are free and I can ride. So there I was, sitting in the office considering with dread a route I’ve been on before, thinking of how poorly I’ve ridden it the last two times out and wondering how today could be any different.

We got to the parking lot of the giant church where the group meets and there are 17 or 18 people and we all set off on this little 25-mile course. I think I was the third wheel at the beginning, which basically just means I pushed off from the parking lot early. So there was Kyle, who is in IT at the university, and then The Yankee and then me and behind us a bunch of other interesting and talented people. And after a bit The Yankee passed Kyle and I went with her and some people latch on to my wheel and we just go. She’s crushing rollers in the 20s and I’m not even using any of my gears. I’d put my chain on one of the harder gears and it stayed there for the first eight miles, until we got to a real hill. My legs, which had felt tired all day, came alive and I’m sitting just off to The Yankee’s side and she’s leading the whole group. My heart rate is up a little and the breathing is up a tiny bit and I’m singing. I’m singing while I’m riding and just trying to hang on to the leader of the pack.

And she was so strong on her bike today that if you slowed up to take one picture — or to get a swig of water, or to glance at your gears — you’d spend the next two miles working hard just to catch her again. So this was the one photo I took:


There were never more than two or three people ahead of us, the real climbers of the bunch put us in our place on the hills, which we are still learning how to deal with. But we were bombing the downhill runs into the low 40s with ease, and then riding that momentum until we’d get to the next uphill.

It was my first “fast” ride of the year. The sort where you are a bit silly with the speed and delirious about how your legs are moving up and down. It was positively average, really, but I’m taking it.

May 17

I don’t yet know where this is going

I rode my bike to work this morning, thinking I would pedal slow, so I wouldn’t get my heart rate up. Didn’t want to break a sweat before a day in the office. I walked outside with my bike and it was a bit chilly. More than a bit, really. So I figured I would pedal a bit, just to get warm. Then, of course, I was in the breeze and getting chilly.

So I broke a little tiny sweat. And then spent the rest of the morning trying to convince myself I didn’t have a chill. By lunch I was better, but it was lunch time, which of course meant going outside. But the sky! It was blue! Of course it was. We’re into May. It is supposed to be nice weather. It is supposed to be routine and shouldn’t be a novelty. That’s the point. If you are saying “But look! The sky! She’s blue!” That’s pointing out the novelty. In May.

But at lunch someone complained about the pollen. And later, in an evening meeting, someone else complained about the pollen. It has been bad. It has been horrible. I haven’t noticed, thankfully. No big piles of yellow powder, no sinus difficulties. So there are trade offs, I suppose.

My meeting this evening, by the way, was with new student media leaders. Think of that. This is finals week. They’re in a long planning meeting for next year. They could be cramming. They were in a conference room. I love that about people who work in student media. They could be most anywhere, but there they are, giving you good work and devotion to their product.

When I rode my bike home it wasn’t cold. And I could ride my bike home. I think of that a lot on the four miles in. Didn’t notice any pollen, either.

I mentioned yesterday the bull fighting frame I got at the Surplus Store. I got one other thing there, too:


This is a giant poster. A re-creation of a 19th century map, complete with period advertisements on the side. Even the water stains are a reproduction.

Now, normally, I don’t go in for reproductions. I’m snobby like that, but this cost me $.50, and it represents the work of an 1856 cartographer:


Plus, it’ll be fun figuring out the stories about the advertisers on the borders. Whatever became of them and their businesses and dreams? Do they have descendants still here? Whatever I find will wind up here, too, and that’s worth the half dollar I spent on it. 

Just like a good map, to tell you where you’re going. 

Apr 17

The goodbyes continue

Last Friday night the first show of the year to wrap had their day. Tonight, we’re saying auf wiedersehen to the news show, Hoosier News Source. As always, I learned a lot and I had a great deal of fun. I hope they did too. Those two ladies are the graduating news directors, and they’ve meant a lot to the IUS-TV project in the last few years.


We’re also closing down, for the summer, the pop culture smash hit show What’s Up Weekly. It has been a lot of fun to see, even some of the fashion segments!


This crew has only had to put up with me for the one year, of course, and I hope they found it useful.


Some of them will be going to work in Illinois, here in Indiana, Virginia and elsewhere. They are a talented group of young people. I say it a lot, and think it more often, but they come in on their free time to work on these projects when they could be anywhere. They come do this because they believe us when we say it will be good for them in the long run, professionally. (And it will be.) But they could be anywhere. They all know it, but the few dozen that take part, they’re the smart ones. They’re working extra hard on yet another project that, if I had my way, they’d view as an almost-full time job. They do it without receiving a lot of recognition and they do it for free. They do it because they are awesome.

I, at least, appreciate the effort. I hope they appreciate the experience, and that it serves them well.