Category Archives: Uncategorized

Instagram and other social societies

I recently started using instagram, and am pretty damn impressed. (user brianbernard for anyone that cares). I’m certainly a dedicated word nerd and defender of written language, but being effectively planted into peoples’ lives is fascinating. You see their world through their lens with no written filter. A picture of a dog in china is just as relevant as a picture of a dog in the US. Writing 140 characters can’t accomplish that, and Facebook can’t either. Pinterest is similar, but decidedly hyper-feminine in demographic and design.

The only knock I have is the somewhat limited ability to share pictures from the app itself to the larger Internet. There’s no retweet, or share, or even link that you can access easily from within the app.

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‘PRO’ vs. No

A gentleman’s disagreement has occurred on this internet, and being the type that cares deeply about the alleged meaning or non-meaning of a simple three-letter word, I want to weigh in.

Some background:

Joe Lindsey at the esteemed Boulder Report created a bit of a ‘things that must go’ list, and included one of my least favorite, yet incredibly ubiquitous shorthands/twitterese/acronyms-with-no-substance words, PRO.

Brendan at Competitive Cyclist then mounted a defense of the term with a collection of images.

As much as I respect Brendan’s point of view and his passion for cycling, he’s dead wrong on this, and someone as committed to the craft of writing as he is should know better. ‘PRO’ amounts to the easy way out, a crutch, perhaps, when discussing the sometimes-indescribable nature of professional cycling, the culture surrounding professional cycling, or the relationships many (mostly men) have with the sport.

Once you’ve utilized every adjective that quickly springs to mind, ‘radical,’ ‘awesome,’ ‘sick,’ ‘sweet,’ et cetera, you have to either more deeply examine what it is about an image, a place, or concept that makes you feel a certain why, and further, what that feeling is, or you use a crutch to get your point across; in this case, ‘PRO.’

The images Brendan chose to make his case are good, if not great, representations of bits of what makes cycling special. The open, lonely road, the old Belgian men carefully placing cobblestones, the spare Ambrosio rims laced to DT hubs with Vittoria Pave tires glued to them for the Classics. These are the bits of minutiae that make the sport special. Each one of those images tells a story so unique from anything else in the sporting world that it is a shame to simply categorize them as ‘PRO.’

This is the first and last time you’ll ever see ‘PRO’ printed on this blog. You can also be assured that you won’t see it anywhere that I have creative control. And, I sincerely hope that cycling fans can move beyond this crutch, and talk more openly and honestly about how the sport moves them and what it means.

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My Footprint

Carbon footprint, that is. I’ve mostly avoided looking into exactly what my carbon footprint is because I’ve never been satisfied with the format of the data. What the hell is a pound of CO2, anyway? Well, a friend of mine doing his Master’s thesis on the social impact of global warming turned me on to the Center for Sustainable Economy, and I have to say, it’s pretty slick. Their quiz takes 5 minutes or so, and returns a well-grounded, easily understood data point – how many earths would it take to support your current lifestyle. My results in Global Acres are substantially lower than average, and yet it would still take 2.25 earths to support me. 

Wow.

My score is interesting for two reasons; one, a vegan diet is dramatically lower impact than any other diet. And two, I take a vanpool fifty miles round-trip to work each day. It may be shared with other people, but that’s still a lot of gas. When I rode to work all the time, I’m sure my footprint was a lot smaller. But still, more than two Earths. Damn. 

CSE encourages small steps, and I’ll be making more. 

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Trainer Time, all the Time

After a rather nice four days off for Thanksgiving, it was back to the grind this evening. And by back to the grind, I mean an hour and a half on the spin bike. I’m starting to really hate the spin bikes for all the reasons you start to hate a bike that isn’t yours. Even though you supposedly set it up at the same dimensions every time, it always feels just a little different. 

Then there’s the issue of the saddle. What an absolutely godawful piece of ass hatchet bullshit. It’s not padded enough to be a ‘comfort saddle’ nor is it slim enough to be a ‘racing saddle.’ It’s somewhere in between, and that’s where it gets ugly. For comparison’s sake, it’s more padded than a WTB Laser V, but just barely. It’s wider at the back, too, more like one of those ‘sporty’ hybrid saddles. Anyway, it’s great for 10 minutes, but starts to descend into varying degrees of awful as the time goes on. And the bolts are loose, so rather than having a solid platform to put out power, you start to slide back and the nose tilts up. Awesome. The only upside is that it encourages me to do more standing climb drills. 

At any rate, I’m hopeful that the house we want to move into becomes available sooner, rather than later. It has a garage, so I’ll be able to set up a bike on the trainer and have a good ol’ time; crank the music, turn on a fan, and sweat my ass off in the comfort of my own pain cave, without having to worry that I’m grunting too loud and scaring the the little college freshman girls on the ellipticals.

The legs feel good, though. As much as I’ve always resisted riding inside, and even though I still generally hate it, the results are undeniable, even in less than a month. 

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Vegan Thanksgiving

Three years after eschewing meat and other animal products, the family is starting to understand and accomodate a little bit. I made a big batch of delicious risotto, and they set aside some squash and mashed potatoes before cutting the rest with butter and heavy cream. 

Even a fully-vegan Thanksgiving dinner was enough to send me to the couch for a food coma-induced nap after dinner. I do wish there was something I could do relatively easily to make a true centerpiece of a dish for events like this. Field Roast makes some really phenomenal meat substitutes, but even those fall a little short in the accessibility to non-vegans realm. 

Two flights in less than 48 hours took their toll on my immune system, though, I’ve come down with a bit of a lingering sore throat. Hopefully getting back to normal eating and full nutrient levels (rather than relying on two sides of hashbrowns and a side of avocado for breakfast) will combat some of the germs making the rounds this time of year. 

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Cool Stuff from the Internet

The first installment of stuff that I find on the internet that is fucking cool.

 

Code Cards (via CoolHunting)

Minnesota State Cyclocross Championships

Condor Custom Paint

Julie Krasniak

Pepper Spraying Cop Meme Farm

National Geographic Photo Contest (sorry, I can’t remember who tipped me on this one)

 

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Not My America

Not My America

Created this in photoshop this afternoon from the no-famous image of Officer Pike cavalierly spraying defenseless and non-confrontational protesters at UC davis.

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November 20, 2011 · 6:46 pm