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Have I mentioned that I love soccer? And also, cycling? And even, winter?

Young Geoffrey sets out for his soccer afternoon in Ottawa.

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I'm sick. 2nd degree hacking cough and a head full of mucus.

The cold came on fast Friday afternoon and evening, during what turned out to be an 11 hour shift. Nevertheless, I hoped on my bicycle for home come about 02:15 Saturday morning, then got back on it at about 11:15 for a return trip and another 11 hour shift on Saturday. I returned home a little after midnight, having cycled about 35 kilometres since the onset of symptoms.

I say all this not to brag (or not to brag much), but to note:

Less than 10 years ago, when I caught a cold it was my practice to take to my bed, to suck down Neocitrin, and basically spend the next four to seven days in bed.

Since then, though, I stopped smoking, cut my drinking by more than half and started biking a lot more and playing soccer. And — fancy that! — now when I catch a cold, I function. I doubt I get over it any faster, but I don't take to my bed like some upper-class Victorian lady with The Vapours, I just carry on. (And, probably, spread my illness around to my passengers, but what the hell; I'm pretty sure one of them gave it to me in the first place.)

And speaking of that cycling, I've long maintained that my bicycle is my primary mode of transportation; now I have proof.

After I bought a new machine some time back in August, I decided to splurge on an odometer. Which turned out to be an unreliable piece of junk, which I was fortunately able to return. At which point I took Raven's advice and tried out a GPS-based cellphone app called Strava — which works like a charm (so long as I remember to enable my location services). I started recording my rides on August 23rd. I've missed a few and will manually enter the information later, so the image below does not include all the miles (kilometres) I've cycled since then, but it's not too far off.

1,290 km in less that three months, damn it! And you know what? I'm proud!

1200 km cycled in less than 3 months!

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Those of you who also know me on Facebook might remember me posting some while ago that I was facing about a month's wages worth of dental work. Said sad news came as a shock to me, since I have always been able to make the honest claim that "I've never had a cavity."

No longer true, but in fact, the bulk of the work (and the uninsured costs) came from "pocketing" in the gums around my upper rear molars, especially. The gums were getting so loose that my bloody teeth not only hurt, they were starting to get a little loose. (Some of you may also remember that loose teeth are among the horrors of my subconscious life.)

So. A two cleaning sessions and two laser sessions to get at pretty extensive calculus "growing" beneath my gums, my new dentist is optimistic that she's fixed the problem. And so am I.

And so it was that, this morning, I prepared myself to head once again to her office, this time for my very first filling. le sigh ...

* * *

If you live in East-Central North America, you'll know it's been god-awful and eerily hot so far this September. July-hot, and never-mind the autumnal shadows of the lowering sun. Sweat-like-a-pig weather, especially if — like me — you have a 12+ kilometre cycle to work, and you play soccer under the blazing sun on Sundays.

But the weather-casters have been promising an end to the torrid temperatures and this morning start nice and cloudy, presaging a beginning of the end. Or so I thought until I opened our front door and stepped ... into a blast of blinding sunshine that contained the promise of yet another sweltering day.

I didn't quite shake my fist at the sky, but I did look up and curse. "Fuck off, Mr. Sun!" said I, adding, "Nobody likes you!" I then turned, locked our front door, hefted my twin back-packs, loaded with laptop and lunch, a change of clothes, some reading matter and my notebook computer (among other things; no, I don't commute light) and made my way to our garage, whence I'd left my wheels in the "bike cage."

I swear to god, I was under roof no more than 120 second, but when I wheeled my bicycle out to the street, Mr. Sun was nowhere to be seen. From the grey skies fell not light, but rain. So if any of you Ottawa folks got caught by it at around 10:15 Wednesday morning, it was my fault.

All of which is preamble to the weirdness that "began" my rather long day.

Despite the rain, which was continuous but light, I arrived at my dentist's (near Billings Bridge, maybe a three or four km ride) just a little damp, not dripping as would have been the case on Tuesday, when it was dry but o! so fucking hot. And I soon found myself on my back, looking up at a ceiling whose dials were painted to look like clouds scudding fast against a blue sky, while my dentist and her hygienist applied gauze and a topical anaesthetic in preparation for the scrapping to come.

Now it so happens that people notice that I ride a bicycle, what with the helmet and casual clothing. And they tend to be impressed when I tell them that I work at the airport. To the uninitiated, it seems a long way. It also happens that there is a labour dispute at the airport. The airport taxi drivers have been locked-out for more than a month now, with no end in sight. And, as I was about to learn from my hygienist, there was some kind of violence on Tuesday. (I'd been working, but the excitement happened sometime while I was on the road between Ottawa and Dorval.)

And somehow, as I lay there, half my mouth nearly immobile, we got into it. The hygienist (let's call her Maggie, just for fun) let me know that the drivers' position was hopeless and so they should give in. And also that she didn't get a raise every year, so why should the taxi drivers? (No, that didn't make any sense. The taxi drivers were refusing to pass on a 400% increase in "dispatch fees" to their customers, arguing that it was both a greedy cash-grab on the part of their employer and the airport, and a self-destructive move on the part of their employer when Uber is making all kinds of inroads on the business But I digress.)

I tried to argue the drivers' case, but she was having none of it and, in any case, we were straying more and more into (what I see as) a modern defeatist tendency to just shrug and say, "that's the way things are now" and recommend capitulation. Which drives me a little crazy.

In any case, we were both getting increasing heated when I suddenly had had enough. "Look," I said, "I really don't want to talk about this now. I haven't had my coffee, or breakfast, and I can't feel the right side of my face. You think I'm wrong, I think you're wrong and I'm not in the mood to keep arguing about it."

But she wasn't about to concede the point. "I'm not arguing," she said. "Everybody has a right to their opinion."

"Of course you're arguing," I countered. "You're telling me the cabbies should give up their struggle, that's your position!"

And with that, or maybe after another back-and-forth or two, she insisted she'd taken no position and how dare I tell her what she thought, then tore off her right glove and hurled it to the floor before storming out of the room.

I stared, agog and bemused (and also, I admit, angry), at the door through which she'd stormed.

Moments later, oblivious, my dentist returned and asked how my mouth was feeling.

"I guess okay," I said (mumbled; remember, I could really only feel half of my face) and added, "but I'm afraid your hygienist and I kind of had a fight."

"What? A fight?"

"Er, yes. About politics." I laughed a little. "I'm afraid she's really angry at me."

"How did this happen? I was only gone for two minutes!"

How indeed? I haven't often been involved with something that escalated that quickly.

I very nearly cancelled the appointment. "She's really angry with me," I said again, "I'm not sure I want her poking things in my mouth." But after a little one-on-one, I was convinced that she was (a) a professional and (b) only going to be doing suction and (c) my mouth was already frozen. "All right," I said, "we might as well get on with it."

The procedure itself was painless, and quick. I didn't enjoy hearing the drill as she cleaned out the decay, but it didn't hurt and didn't take long. Fifteen minutes later I was on my bike and heading south. Indeed, the only physical problem I had was when I tried to eat some breakfast (a sandwhich from Tim Horton's god help me) but had to stop when I realized I was, quite possibly, starting to eat part of my lip along with the sandwich.

But I'm afraid no real apologies were exchanged before I left the clinic, no hands shaken or smiles traded. I've got a cleaning schedule three months down the line, but I'm not going to go unless I've been assured that someone else will be prodding my gums and scrapping my teeth.

ed_rex: Winter Warrior icon (Weekend Warrior)
  This is what obsity looks like? Photo: Young Geoffrey takes a break on the sidelines of the pitch, summer 2013. Photo by the Phantom Photographer.
  This is what obsity looks like? Young Geoffrey takes a break on the sidelines of the pitch, summer 2013. Photo by the Phantom Photographer.

I know it's been said many times before, at length and probably with greater eloquence, but sweet Jesus don't we make a fetish of numbers! Give some phenomenon a number with a decimal point — say, for instance, 30.2 — and we leap to embrace it as a Significant Truth, as Science, no matter how shaky its foundation nor how often that particular scale has been debunked.

I'd meant, some three or four weeks ago now, to update my personal blog with a little bragging amid a more general report on the State of Young Geoffrey's Corpus.

Y'see, I've been cycling quite a lot again, since the snow melted, and when I went out for my first soccer game in a couple of months — and a 90-minute game it was, not a mere 60! — I was really pleased to note the improvement in my fitness. I not only jogged across the field at half-time to find the bathroom (and jogged back), but was surprised when the game was over.

"That's it?" I called out, "I thought there was another 20 minutes to go!"

"You've got the energy for another 20 minutes?" one of my team-mates, a 20-something named Paul, asked me. And when I said, "Yeah, I think so," I realized I was pretty sure that I did.

It was, to put it mildly, an awesome feeling for a once-heavy smoker, and I whooped and hollered as I cycled my way home for the sheer joy of movement.

I wanted, too, to discuss the fact that the psoriatic arthritis I first mentioned a couple of years ago seems to be in remission. Concerned some enzymes in my liver were a little high (I hadn't cut back quite as much on the beer as I'd been supposed to, I admit it), my specialist told me to take a week's break from the Scary Powerful Drug he'd put me on, Methotrexate. So I did. And, when I felt no sign of pain returning, I took another week off. And another after that, and so. Six months later I still hadn't taken another dose and, when I saw said specialist for a follow-up, he shrugged and said to keep on keeping on, so long as I felt okay. "Start taking again and call for an appointment if the pain comes back. Otherwise, come back in year."

And that, more or less, would have been that. Young Geoffrey feels pretty good, he's playing soccer with 20-somethings, thank you very much, and he feels both vaguely grateful for (and maybe just a little bit smug about) his good fortune.

Image: Photo of Taylor Townsend, September 5, 2011, by Robbie Mendelson, courtesy of Wikimedia.org  
Detail of photo of Taylor Townsend at U.S. Open Juniors on Sunday, September 4, 2011. Original photo by Robbie Mendelson, courtesy of Wikimedia.org.  

Unfortunately (or not) for the state of said personal blog, I came across a couple of items that combined to complicate my report. Three or four weeks later, I don't remember which came first, but I don't suppose that really matters much. One was personal, the aforementioned 30.2, a number that applies to me. The other an item I read about a young, female, African American tennis player called Taylor Townsend.

Though I am by no means a professional athlete, nor a woman, nor black, nor (if the truth be told at all) even all that young any more, Taylor and do share something in common. We are both, at least according to some standards, fat.

In fact, though my blood pressure is excellent and my resting heart rate typically clocks in at just over 50 beats a minute, I carry some extra flesh on me. If there is a 6-pack to be found on my abdomen, it is well-insulated, or perhaps, as my sweetie puts it, it is disguised as a one-pack.

Image: Young Geoffrey's BMI rating: Obese, via hall.md.

To add insult to injury, the internet, via a 150 year-old measurement that is still, apparently, accorded a not insignificant diagnostic respect by laymen and medical professionals alike, has informed me that I not only jiggle a little, but that I am, in truth, obese.

Not pleasantly plump, not chubby, not carrying around "a few extra pounds", but obese. A big fatso, a lardass, a Homer J ...

And presumably, so is Taylor Townsend, who (by the way) made it to the third round at the French Open a few weeks back.

Would my knees thank me if I dropped 20 or 30 (or even 40) pounds? Presumably. At one point in my 20s I got myself down to about 145 pounds and if I still felt like the chubby kid whose clothes all came from the Husky racks, photographic evidence from that era shows I was pretty close to lean. If I'd been playing soccer and cycling 2 or 3 thousand kilometres a year, I probably would have been.

Would Taylor Townsend's knees thank her if she dropped a 10 or 20 or 30 pounds? Presumably. But would dropping that weight make a better tennis player? Maybe not: Teen Tennis Prodigy Taylor Townsend: 'My Body Is A Total Gift'.

Despite the subject's own answer, my instinct is to say yes in answer to that last question, but really, what do I know about the best "fighting weight" for a particular 18 year-old African-American woman called Taylor Townsend? Presumably knees are always calling for a lighter load to lug around, but the rest of the body is, or at least can be, a hell of a lot more complicated.

What isn't complicated, and the reason I'm going on so god damned long about this, is that far too many of us and, I believe, too many doctors and other ostensible health professionals who ought to know better, look at a person's BMI, at the number and presume it means something, all by itself. Because ... number! With decimal point!

By all means, check heart rate and blood pressure; measure body fat; maybe see if you can pinch an inch ... But don't look at a height/weight ratio and think it means something! It might, for those who have a typical European's body type and who carry an average amount of muscle tissue and have average length arms and legs. For the rest of us: for real athletes and chubby weekend warriors, for the naturally skinny and new mothers alike, it isn't even useful as a ball-park figure. It's worse than useless, in truth, because it's liable to be mis-interpreted and to create all manner of useless anxiety — or unwarranted self-confidence.

If your doctor looks at your BMI number and not at you, find another doctor.

This isn't, by the way, intended to by some fat-positive message either. To be honest, though my sweetie thinks my "roundness" is "cute" (and thank god for that!), I don't. I don't much like the figure I see in the mirror and would love to trim down some. But all the real indications are that any weight problem I have right now is aesthetic and cultural, not medical.

So, come Sunday afternoon, I (and my belly) are going to "bounce across the field" in all our enthusiastic glory after a little round soccer ball. Wish us luck!

Right. It's nearly 04:00 and I need to be at work for a 12-hour shift by 13:00 hours. Time for something really offensive to take us into that good night ... Take it away, Bruce McCulloch!

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Here in Ontario (as in much of North America) we have this thing called Daylight Savings Time. Judging by that name, it means that we arbitrarily set clocks forward by one hour in the spring, then roll them back again in the fall. The link I provided above probably includes an explanation as to why we do it, but I'm not even going to scan it, because I know I'll have forgotten the reasons come morning.

Even so, since the clocks rolled back very early (either 0201 or 0101, depending on your point of view) this past Sunday morning, I've had not one, but three near death experiences. And so, being of a fairly primitive — or should I say intuitive? — mathematical constitution, when I see three of anything in a short time, I see pattern. And I jump to hypotheses, if not to conclusions?

Could the fact of the "time change" have thrown people's good sense off?

  • Item: Coming back from Montreal on Monday morning, I was driving west on Davidson Road, approaching the intersection with Bank Street. For a wonder, the light was green and so I did not step on the brake, but instead carried on. Nevertheless, with mental caution. In the opposite lane, and turning left, was a dump truck. Through many thousands of kilometres, I believe I have developed some driver's intuition, some facility with reading the body language of motor vehicles, and even from a few hundred metres away, there was something not-quite-right about this truck (I've had a Bad Experience with a dump truck before, which might have something to do with it too). And so it was that, when that monster's driver decided to turn left as I was crossing the intersection at 80 kilometres per hour, I had checked my right side-mirror and new it was safe to swerve in order to avoid that metal saurian's nose crashing into my vehicle's left side.

    "JeZUZ kerIST!" quoth Young Geoffrey, as he watched the beast blithely make its turn in his rear-view mirror. When he apologized to his passengers, the senior flight attendant was not offended. "That's okay," she said, "that was a legitimate reason to swear."

  • Well, shit happens, eh? I shrugged it off.

    But today ...

  • Item: I'd dropped off my crew and was heading north on Uplands towards the gas station on Hunt Club. Ahead of me, a white sedan pulled into the left-turn lane, signal flashing. Clearly, going to the airport.

    Or not. Once again, there was something, some hesitation, not quite right with the vehicles body language. I checked my right-side mirror and raised my right foot, let it hover over my brake. And not shit, buddy decided he didn't want to turn after all. Without even shutting off his left-turn indicator, he swerved right, maybe five metres in front of me.

    If that dump-truck would have sent me and my flight attendants to the hospital at best, my van would have totalled buddy's passenger car.

    Fortunately, I was paying attention. I leaned hard on the horn and just as hard on the brake. He heard me and stopped his ill-advised merge, saving me from crumpling his right side like a proverbial accordion. I cursed, shook my fist in the idiot's direction, then carried on my way, figuring that was it.

  • But if bad luck comes in threes, so to does good. Or maybe, paying attention can help to render bad luck moot.
  • Item: So there I was. The van was full, the airport behind me, and I on my bicycle was making the transition from the Airport Parkway to Bronson Avenue, a relatively complex interchange that includes a few merges near which I see, not infrequent, the broken plastic and metal results of people not paying attention.

    Fortunately for me, I was.

    This time, the idiot was coming from the right. I watched as the vehicle paused (as it should have, yielding the right of way at a merge) to let an oncoming car ... come on. And I watched ... as the driver then proceeded to move, utterly oblivious to my flashing headlight or my brightly-coloured reflective safety vest.

    Had I not been paying attention, my speed and hers were such that she would have hit me with her passenger door, possibly sending my hurtling into oncoming traffic. The collision wouldn't have killed me but the after-effects might have.

    Fortunately (again!) I was paying attention.

    My bike is old. No bells that I've tried actually fit the handlebars. But bells are slow to use anyway. And in a crisis, I don't want my hands to leave my brake levers or handle-bars.

    "Ting TING FUCKING TING," I roared, as I squeezed my breaks and (having previously checked my left side) swerved a bit to my left. But the driver — a woman perhaps in late middle age — heard my makeshift klaxon and slammed on her own brakes, allowing me to release mine and carry on.

That that third close call, or near-miss, released a fucking flood of adrenaline, I'll tell you that much for the cost only of having read everything that came before. When I got home, I felt physically exhausted, and emotionally drained.

Stress, they name is Idiot Driver.

For fuck sakes, people, when you're moving at high speeds, pay attention.

And now, to bed ...

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Tuesday 22 January 2013:

(14.8 kilometres to work @-16C)+(1 Canadian grown Internal Digestion Engine+2 Wheels+2 Canadian thighs) X (14.8 kilometres from work @-20C)+(1 Canadian grown Internal Digestion Engine+2 Wheels+2 Canadian thighs)=
One Cold but happy Young Geoffrey

Wednesday 23 January 2013:

-26C = Fuck it. I'll take the bus.

 

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Well, that was(n't) fun ...

Memo to Christmas Party organizers.

If you don't provide a phone number but promise a note in the lobby, with instructions on how to get buzzed into the building ... MAKE SURE THERE'S A FUCKING NOTE IN THE LOBBY!

I don't mind a 10 k ride in a December rain, but I'd prefer there was a reason for taking it.

Meanwhile, I can drink the beer, but what'll I do with all that baklava!?!

No love,

Young Geoffrey

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Among my passengers there seems little in the way of consensus about my status. Professional, like a Greyhound driver, and so beyond tipping, or more like a long-haul cab driver and thus, deserving of a cash thank-you?

Thus far, things range from nothing at all, to a handful of change, to my very first passenger, a pilot by name of Mike, who has decided to slip me a folded tenner every time I drop him off somewhere. Usually, I don't even get a chance to man-handle his luggage (keep your minds out of the gutter, kids! I'm talking about his suitcases). Needless to say, I like Mike, though he is also friendly and respectful, to me and to his co-workers.

But most of my passengers don't tip at all. Some of these are very nice (except that they don't tip), while others leave messes behind as though part of my job obviously includes picking up their empty coffee cups and banana peels.

But today's fare, a flight attendant from Montreal, to which city I delivered her last night, took the confusion to a whole new level.

The first hour or so of the trip saw me listening to the radio while she made call after call on her mobile, some in French, some in English (Montreal is a genuinely bilingual city).

But she was done with phoning around the time we crossed over into Quebec. She then started up a conversation and soon invited herself into the shot-gun seat. We exchanged brief biographies, she told me about her work (she spent last summer traveling with the Blue Jays — very nice guys, apparently — and the state of English and French in Canada (an awful lot of Quebecers don't realize that there are significant numbers of French Canadians outside of Quebec as well).

And when I pulled up beside the employee parking lot at 23:00 hours last night, I hoped out of the vehicle and got her luggage out and onto the pavement.

"Wait a minute," she said, crouching over her purse. "Let me get some change." (Well, I wouldn't be dining at the Ritz, I thought, but looneys and doubloons add up.) But when she rose, she handed me a single bill and said, "American."

"Thank you very much," I said as I unwrinkled the unfamiliar currency. And immediately regretted my pro forma expression of gratitude. A buck!?! A dollar had been something I had had to force myself to pretend was exciting when my grandmother would hand my brother and I a fresh one dollar bill — and that was back around 1975, when one dollar would buy four comic books.

My first buck
(perhaps I should have it bronzed)

By the time I thought to hand it back to her, perhaps with the suggestion that I couldn't accept such magnificent generosity merely for doing my job; or that she obviously had fallen on hard times and so must need the funds more than I do.

For the sake of my continued employment, I suppose it's all for the best that I didn't think fast enough to spew the sarcasm in her general (let alone her specific) direction.

But really. A dollar for two hours of my time? Quite seriously, nothing at all would be preferable.

Meanwhile, back at the office circa 01:30, the night dispatcher had kindly made arrangements with another driver to give me a lift downtown, but I demurred, smiling. It was much warmer than it was the night before, I said, and I could use the exercise.

"Okay," she said, "if you are sure."

"I'm sure," I said, "thank you very much anyway, though.

"Okay. Thank you for your help."

And that (I thought) was that. I drove the van over to the parking lot and hopped on my bike, waving at a co-worker as I peddaled into the night.

It was maybe two kilometres into my trip (around Hunt Club and Uplands, for those of you familiar with Ottawa's geography) that I heard a sudden hiss from my rear time. And soon after, felt the unmistakable bump of rim on pavement. My tire had decided it didn't like a patch-job I'd done a few weeks ago. I suppose the temperature might have had something to do with it.

Ottawa's a small town. Transit is essentially non-existent after 1 in the morning, so I started to walk, thinking to hail a cab.

Ha ha! Ha ha ha.

I walked about eight kilometres, through ice-and-snow covered sidewalks, pushing my bike, before a cab finally deigned to have mercy upon Young Geoffrey. It was one of those mini-vans fitted to take a wheelchair in the rear, so getting the bike in was a piece of cake. Add I was tired enough that I didn't begrudge the extra fee (five bucks) for taking my wheels as well as myself.

Still, the driver was friendly and laughed as I recounted my tales of woe. And more, handed back the tip I gave him come the end of the ride.

No moral to this story series of anecdotes, but I ended the night feeling quite a lot better about my fellow humans than I did between dropping off my charge in Montreal and finding myself ignored by the umpteenth cab before my guardian angel pulled up to the rescue.

And ... exuent. I fear I babbled.

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Me and my riding machine (the hockey stick, yes, was an affectation) after a 14 k run from the Ottawa International Airport, January 15, 2012. Thanks to the Phantom Photographer for the image.

Well, that was a first for me: my bicycle chain froze.

Yes, Gentle Readers, Young Geoffrey has his bragging hat on again.

13 kilometres there, 13 back. And that last half was at a temperature of -18 C (that's about exactly zero Farenheit for you Yanks).

The frozen drive chain meant that I had to keep up a constant pressure on my pedals. Any time I eased up (let alone dared to try pedalling backwards!) the thing would escape the cogs and just slide forward when I tried to move forward again. Only thing that would fix it was to dismount and jiggle it back and forth with my glove a few times, then get back on ol' paint.

Truthfully, it's really not that hard to do; the worst part is that the roads are narrower because of the snowbanks (and yes, a little more treacherous due to patches of snow and ice improperly cleared. I ride faster in the summer).

Surprisingly (at least it was to me, when my parka gave up the ghost a few years back), the key to staying warm is what your mom probably told you: layers.

The proof is in the freezing

That's right: if a screen-cap is proof, then I've got proof!

I wear a headscarf (like an Arab or a slavic babushka) under my helmet; a pair of jogging pants over my pants; a t-shirt, button-shirt and sweater beneath a leather jacket. Add in a pair of glove inside a decently warm pair of mitts and — voilà! — I usually need to unzip and loosen the scarf before I reach my destination.

And that's about it, really. Just bragging.

I suppose I can add that I'm really glad that I braved the weather for more than bragging rights. As some of you might recall from Facebook, I managed to pick up a flu that knocked my onto my ass last week (despite having had the shot; Raven didn't get it and so far hasn't got the flu, either — go figure), so my body was craving some exercise.

Aw right, maybe I've lost the magic touch when it comes to these personal entries. Or maybe not. What do you think?

ed_rex: (1980)
To say I now understand how Scott and company felt while on the return leg of their Antarctic holiday would be both crass (as crass as calling that fatal voyage a holiday) and untrue.

But, mercy! Cycling 12 or so kilometres in the face of a north wind that made -9C feel like -17 feels damned cold at 0400 hours.

And yet, strangely enough, I feel good. And I am super glad to see snow replace all the god damned rain we've been having.
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Adding insult to fatality?

I don't actually enjoy speaking ill of the dead, nor do I enjoy blaming the victim.

But sometimes there is an important difference between moral and practical blame.

The death of Ottawa civil servant and avid cyclist Danielle Naçu marks one of those times when it is better to risk hurting feelings than it is to observe the social niceties of soothing grief and anger.

So it is necessary to point out what many cyclists — and others — in Ottawa seem to have missed.

Namely, that if Danielle Naçu had been following two basic rules of safe cycling, she would not have been hit and so she would have almost certainly still been alive today.

For the rules and a bit of a rant, click here.

ed_rex: (1980)

I know, I know, I promised photos and regular reports, but they have not arrived.

In truth, my soccer/football season died a premature death and this afternoon's game was it's capstone — and one I missed. The fourth in a row, in fact.

My sixth match saw me play what I thought was my best. I was running fast and hard, blocking shots and stealing the ball more than once from players (somewhat) strong and (much) younger than I.

When I came home, I was sweaty and tired and very, very happy.

A couple of hours after that return, however, I was also very nearly crippled. I could barely bend my right knee, spent literally a couple of minutes just getting into bed. I limped badly for a couple of days, then the healing began, and has continued, but not fast enough.

I've missed four games, have had to stop the tennis and the badminton and even the jogging. Very frustrating, as my body had finally begun to respond, to grow noticeably stronger, in response to a regimen the likes of which I had not put it through in probably a quarter of a century (dear god! That's a long time!).

And so, no photos. There was always "next week" — until there wasn't.

I think I'm ready to try a run again, tomorrow or Tuesday, but only making the effort will actually tell.

But still, the same league has a fall season, and there's hockey to look forward to, if I can find a game to meet my (limited) skills.

And the cycling, of course — oh wait. After waiting out a downpour beneath the Bronson Street overpass by the canal this afternoon, Raven and I rounded Dow's Lake until I felt something ... no right with my 25 year-old machine.

I dismounted and realized my centre bar is no longer connected to the frame! Where it metal (should) meet metal, just over the crankshaft, is now a shifting gap, which is rather disconcerting (though also, I think, it's rather impressive the machine will still go at all).

I'll be taking it into a shop tomorrow to inquire whether some welding will be of any use, but I reather suspect it's time to strip the beast for parts, discard the noble frame and see about resureccting the nearly 50-year old beast I have in the basement.

Or maybe, I should take Raven's advice and look for some on Kijiji.

Despite the travails, I'm busy and pretty happy. How's your summer been?

ed_rex: (ace)
The CBC's weather page says it's -26 C out there (-35 with the wind-chill, but only small children and naked old people count that). I am recently home from a soirée, which I bicycled to and from which I cycled back home again. I've been reminded that the air in one's tires contract quite a bit at these kinds of temperatures, so it was slow and difficult slogging, but otherwise quite exhilarating. Why yes, I am kinda hard-core. Why do you ask?

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