Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Edward Abbey Day

Today is Edward Abbey Day.
"Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell."
"Society is like a stew. If you don't stir it up every once in a while then a layer of scum floats to the top."
"The most common form of terrorism in the U.S.A. is that carried on by bulldozers and chain saws."
"In the Soviet Union, government controls industry. In the United States, industry controls government. That is the principal structural difference between the two great oligarchies of our time."

There was a pretty good article yesterday in The Times about how the suburban sprawl is not going well in places. I'm quite a bit darker about it than most.

I can't decide whether the point of this article is that the old lions want to maintain their place on the all-time list or that they really believe what they're saying. Bogle's positions make a lot of sense given his history, and Soros is such a freaking kook who knows what he's going to come out with, but John Reed? I mean, Citibank represents EVERYTHING that's screwed up about our obligations to big banks and their chieftans. Whatever is really going on there, Lloyd Blankfein and Goldman are no good. I keep trying to figure out what societal good these guys provide. I mean, I've spent an inappropriate amount of time trying to figure out why the world is better off with Goldman et al. The stock phrase is doing well by doing good. These guys seem to take evidence of doing good from doing well. Huge disconnect there.

A funny thing that struck me this morning is how successful NPR has become. Public media's come a long way since the father on Family Ties was shilling on telethons. What makes NPR so successful? And by successful I mean that they enjoy incredible ability to pull in funding through donations. Is it that everything else on radio sucks? There's definitely a leftie slant to much of what they do, but when your options for hearing the rightie slant are Rush and Glenn and Hannity and who's the other guy on around here, and that toolbox Bill O'Reilly (but didn't his radio show go out of business), a little leftie slant starts to look just plain wonderful. I don't know.

Last, whatever anyone thinks of DC's current mayor, Marion Barry is still a complete criminal. The bitch set me up.

When the game is making it look good on Computrainers, here are my notes:
1. I had a significant dead spot at my optimal cadence and power. It's pretty easy for me to roll about 310 watts for a long ass time at about 106 rpm. There were a LOT of times when my option for putting out 310 watts were to either spin like an eggbeater in a smaller gear or push the next gear up. I know this is often the case on the road, but it seemed much magnified on the Computrainer. What's the best approach to overcoming this? Not sure. 285 or so at my regular TT cadence (which at 106 sounds high but doesn't feel high when I'm doing it) feels pretty recovery friendly, so I think the thing to do is just wail on it during the uphills and not worry that the display is showing me a number that will cause me to fracture into tiny little shards if I keep it up too long. No idea if that's right or not, just saying it's what I'm going to try next time.
2. When you approach the bottom of a downslope, you need to shift into a lighter gear just as your little man icon gets to the line. Even though the screen does a poor job of representing it, you approach that grade change quickly because you're going fast. When you get to the top of a hill, hold your upshift until your dude is almost past the line because you are going slowly into the line.

I guess that's it for what I learned. The next TT will mostly be about me practicing how to get myself to ride with a high output no matter how I feel. On Saturday, I felt "pretty good" and rode "pretty well." Once earlier in the week, I had felt "really good" and rode "really well," in fact substantively beating my average watts over the same duration as on Saturday. I lost a whole shedload of watts off of my 30 minute average during the difference between the end of my TT on Saturday and 30 minutes, but Saturday was actually the third highest 30 minute effort of that week. Apparently I rode too hard last week coming out of being sick, because once again on Sunday and Monday, I was sick. My throat is just now coming around again. But the point is, a TT shouldn't be about riding to the level of how you feel, it should be about kicking yourself in the ass and being a drill sargeant and just whipping yourself and putting out a great effort because it's a TT, regardless of how you feel. I stink at that. Every time I've hit a personal best output over an interval, my notes say "man I felt great doing that," not "holy shit that sucked I really put myself through it there." Something tells me that Cancellara is seeing black and sure he's going to die when he's kicking ass in a TT. Yogi Berra said it best - "90% of everything is half mental."


Newt said...

In defense of NPR... I agree that there is little balance in political journalism on the radio. What attracted me to NPR many years ago is the effort the reporters make, in most instances, to fairly report both sides of a given issue. Of course this isn't the case when commentators like Robert Reich present their views, but in those cases, I think it's pretty clear they are stating opinions rather than fact. The left-leaning views are likely a by-product of those of the reporters, but even then you usually get a fair airing of an opposing view.

I think what has made NPR so successful is they don't (often) stoop to sensational journalism and try to focus on emerging issues, laying out facts and viewpoints so the listener can make an informed decision. It's not like much of the other commercial radio programming where a listener is basically told what to think, and chastised for having a view that opposes the host or listener base.

Chuck Wagon said...

Newt I think you've hit the nail straight on the head. Reich is a perfect example of why I probably accuse them of being more leftie than they might be. But as I told a friend in an off-line discussion this morning, compare Marketplace and Kai Ryssdal to Jim Cramer and Mad Money (or just as bad, neo-con radio on your AM dial) and you'll instantly know why I prefer the old Never Positive Radio to the entertainment news paradigm. But Reich in particular, they let that guy editorialize and proseletyze as though he were the sole proprietor of the joint.

In related news (get it?), has anyone else noticed that the Journal's editorial standards are now in a flaming bag on someone's doorstep? It's really gotten bad. Thanks Rupert!