Happy Festivus!

Yeah, just wanted to get that out there. As you all may know, as I can see from the many aluminum poles in the audience, tomorrow/today, December 23, is Festivus. As such, we all need to be prepared for:

  • The Airing of the Grievances
  • Feats of Strength

Before we come to that, however, I’d like to catch up on a couple of things.

Saturday – Almost a foot of fresh snow, and a great mix of powder and costal New England concrete laid a wonderful base for about 7 miles of XC at Bluff Point. I basically did the epic Bluff Point Trail Race 7~ish mile loop in reverse, and was completely in reverie the whole time. I always love getting out on the local trails on cross-country skis, as it’s a quick and easy way to survey the other post-hippies in the community. No deer, though.

Sunday – Extra sore from the XC – man, does it really, really work the core. Skipped the morning’s Hundred.

Today – Work, supper, kids, and headed to the Y for a swim. I’m in “Base” mode preparing for Mooseman in June. Essentially, what I’m going to try to do is to swim 1K to 1.5K on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, bike 30 minutes to 1 hour on Monday, Wednesday, Sunday, and run 30 minutes to 1 hour on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, with Friday as a rest day. Shoot for about 8 hours a week training, shower included. More on this another day.

Today’s swim was good, at least as good as last week’s trip to the base pool when I realized it was a 35m pool instead of a 25m pool. The only bit of awkwardness was afterwards in the locker room with one of the guys who can’t stand to be naked with other guys. Gives me the creeps.

OK, so, let’s get on with the festivities:


  • Food – Why are you so darn tasty? If you weren’t, I’d eat just what I needed to survive, and would have fabulous abs.
  • Fat – Leave. Just leave.
  • Weather – All I ask is for one nice hour each day. Is that so hard? Why do you have to squander so many nice hours during the spring, summer, and fall when I’ve got to be at work?
  • Shoe Companies – Look, just stop already. Nike – the Air Pegasus 25th anniversary edition is darn near perfect. Asics – I dig me some Gel Cumulus X’s. New Balance – Why did you mess with the 803’s from about 3 years ago? I’ll wear out the pairs I’m using now soon enough, and will happily buy more
  • Clothing Companies – Can we get some options for guys besides baggy pants and t-shirts? Oh, and would it kill you to build more shirts with pockets for mp3 players?
  • Sunglass Companies – How ’bout something that doesn’t make me look like Bono?
  • Other runners – the fuel belts look dorky. Sorry, they just do. Pick up a banana at the gas station. They’ve got water and juice, too.
  • Gadgets – Look, here’s what I want: one thing that I can strap on my wrist that logs everything – run, bike, swim; inside and outside; treadmill and stationary bike; and if it could electronically monitor my blood glucose level to estimate how much I was eating, so much the better. Then I want it to automagically sync to my web interface of choice (Mac, PC, Linux, Wii, whatever), show pretty graphs and pretty maps of where I’ve been, and then write 400 witty words about the day. The 400 witty words could be done by a speech to text converter during the workout, ‘cept I’d like to be able to set a filter to edit around the f-bombs and other four-letter words to keep the blog about PG.
  • Beer – What happened to all the good Belgian imports?

Yeah, that was fun.

Feats of Strength

  • Uh, I plan to get up in the morning, and drag myself into the office and face the year-end tasks I’ve been putting off, so they’re not waiting for me in 2009.
  • Oh, and I’m going to the hundred in the morning. I’m building towards doing something like this every time I wake up.

So, Happy Festivus! Get the bile out of your system, and then either continue enjoying your religious holiday of choice. I cannot wait to go sing my lungs out at the Christmas Eve service.

Planet Money

Are y’all listening to NPR’s Planet Money podcast? I’m digging it, if only for (like the Thanksgiving Rickroll) finally hearing my peers in their own voices.

Demographers like to refer to my cohort as Generation X. But anymore, when we talk about our growing up, my friends and I sound like Generation Recession. We grew up in the 1970s malaise. We graduated into the early 1990s contraction. And now we’re looking at a wave of layoffs just when we’re hitting the prime of our careers. [From The Human Toll]

I <heart> Scott Adams

The balance of power has swung to the crooks and the market manipulators. Even if we could regulate away these problems, it’s already too late. There isn’t enough money left to support the planet under the current social systems, at least not when the boomers start retiring and unemployment starts climbing. [From The End of Capitalism]

A pretty sane look at alternative energy

A pretty interesting conclusion – wind power wins out.

“To place electricity and liquid fuel options on an equal footing, twelve combinations of energy sources and vehicle type were considered. The overall rankings of the combinations (from highest to lowest) were (1) wind-powered battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), (2) wind-powered hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, (3) concentrated-solar-powered-BEVs, (4) geothermal-powered-BEVs, (5) tidal-powered-BEVs, (6) solar-photovoltaic-powered-BEVs, (7) wave-powered-BEVs, (8) hydroelectric-powered-BEVs, (9-tie) nuclear-powered-BEVs, (9-tie) coal-with-carbon-capture-powered-BEVs, (11) corn-E85 vehicles, and (12) cellulosic-E85 vehicles. The relative ranking of each electricity option for powering vehicles also applies to the electricity source providing general electricity. Because sufficient clean natural resources (e.g., wind, sunlight, hot water, ocean energy, etc.) exist to power the world for the foreseeable future, the results suggest that the diversion to less-efficient (nuclear, coal with carbon capture) or non-efficient (corn- and cellulosic E85) options represents an opportunity cost that will delay solutions to global warming and air pollution mortality.” Journal of Energy and Environmental Engineering

I’ve got a couple of small gripes:

  • He includes nuclear proliferation as an environmental challenge, which is the main reason nuke plants fall behind carbon sequestration
  • Doesn’t really address the cyclical nature of wind and solar – I think that the storage infrastructure is going to be a pretty tough challenge.

Via Ars

Stupid Yahoo Mail

So, in the last couple of days, I’ve been getting a TON of spam on the yahoo account I still keep through ATT. Cannot figure out if it’s because they changed their anti-spam software, or what – there’s still a filter that I can check on mail.yahoo.com, but man, does it stink.


First Item:

Head on over to NPR. First to pause for a moment to commiserate with the 7% of the staff that got axed, and second to tune into their Jingle Jams. Good stuff, though I don’t see James Brown’s Funky Christmas anywhere on the list.*

Second Item:

Spam. Man, Yahoo mail seems to be full of it.

Third Item:

Have I mentioned that I LOVE to run? Tuesday’s run was incredible. Perfect weather as the temp had risen into the 50’s, the rain and wind hadn’t started. And, interestingly enough, I’d left my headphones in the car. But I ran anyway. I think I may be past using the iPod as a crutch.

Fourth Item:

I’m getting a bit fed up with Rodale. A while back, they moved Bicycling magazine to an automatic renewal policy. Which is fine, ‘cept they wanted to charge me $22 for a year’s subscription this time around, and send me some crappy new lifestyle magazine. This is a problem when there’s fliers in the dead tree magazine, and a huge add on Bicycling’s website offering a subscription for $12/year. So, I called up, cancelled the old subscription, and re-subscribed for 2 years for $21. Why is it that people feel entitled to take money out of existing customer’s pockets?

Fifth Item:

Swim Class at the Y. The boys are over the moon, ’cause their dad is going to be taking swim lessons at the Mystic Y, just like they do. They’re offering a triathlon swim training class on Monday and Wednesday evenings, 5:30 to 6:30 Mondays and Wednesdays, which is perfect with my class schedule. Things are really falling into place for Mooseman.

Sixth Item:

Training programs. I’m open for suggestion, especially for base development for January and February. I’m partial to modifying TriNewbie’s half program. It looks to be about 7-11 hours per week, which is about the volume I think I can reasonably support (I know i’ll just be squeaking to finish a half; but I’m realistic). The other one I like is Scott Herrick’s. Now, when do I sleep?

Last Item:

Looks like this blog is branching out a little bit. I’ll try to keep a fitness focus, but will likely do a bit more rambling here in the near future.

OK, so that looks like it’s about all. Hope everyone’s having as good a holiday season as can be expected. I’m completely loving life. We’ve got our church pageant on Saturday (with CAKE afterwards). One more class this calendar year; then three whole weeks to catch up on reading.

*They do have Run DMC’s Christmas In Hollis

Please Vaccinate your Children

The diseases against which vaccines protect were awful cripplers and killers of children, on massive scales.

This month a significant paper was published by Hviid and Melbye in the December 1 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology. They examined 871,234 children in a Danish birth cohort, comparing asthma in those who had MMR against those who didn’t. MMR-vaccinated children were massively and significantly less often hospitalised with an asthma diagnosis, and used fewer courses of anti-asthma medication than unvaccinated children. This “protective” effect of the MMR vaccine was more pronounced for hospitalisations with severe asthma diagnoses. [From Bad science: It’s not what the papers say, it’s what they don’t | The Guardian] (emphasis added)