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Tag Archives: video

Stuck in the 90s again

2013-11-29 15.33.12It was a time of Seinfeld, X-Files, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and when we were still open to the wonders of computerized special effects in Jurassic Park (they had not yet been abused by George Lucas).  Accessing the world outside your computer was predominantly BBS and 14.4 modems.  It was a time when I was young – physically, mentally (not that this has improved), and to Calgary itself.  Moxy Fruvous said it best: we were stuck in the 90s.  Grunge was king (hey, at least they wrote their own music), U2 was riding high on Achtung Baby and Zooropa, and I was in high school in downtown Calgary. Western Canada High School was and is about French Immersion and the IB program.  I’ll be honest up front, I am not an overachieving kind of guy, and French Immersion was my entrance ticket to Western.  Lucky ticket, though; golden ticket.

2013-11-29 15.33.43For a lot of people, high school is painful, stressful, lonely and difficult: hormones are firing on all cylinders in both sexes, and it’s a time in our lives when average people likely experience the worst in themselves, as a result. For me, though, and quite a few of my friends (Erik, for example), high school presented some of the best years of our lives.  From September, 1990 to June, 1994, I called WCHS my home and met many people whom I still consider to be family.  Maybe it was my oblivious nature that shielded me, or maybe I was lucky, or maybe it was a deep-down desire to have fun wherever I was (I vote this, and I vote my friends shared this sentiment), but I avoided the bullying and cliques that found painful memories in so many people.

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Cycling is awesome

This is a cycling nerd totally geeking out.  He might be me.

This is a cycling nerd totally geeking out. He might be me.

Okay, just to warn you in advance, this article is a doozie. I also meant to post it months ago.

Today – Sunday, September 8th, 2013 – was a life defining day for me. Not in a “I’m quitting my job and living off the Earth from now on” kind of way, but in a life-defining “I know what I love” way. It’s a day when you recognize at the end of it that your life will never be the same, because you understand yourself that much better. My dad would have said it represented being on the path to self-actualization.

It’s a day when you catch foreign tourists photographing you as you make a phone call at a telephone booth while leaning on a mountain bike and are covered head to toe in mud; a day when you see your father cry as you approach him holding a piece of paper that says “degree” on it; a day when you turn to your brother beside you and scream “we’re going to the Stanley Cup finals!”; a day when you stand on a beach and watch the first place team paddle in and cross the finish line at Eco-Challenge; a day when you see your future wife walking towards you with barely contained emotion; a day when you stand on a mountain ridge and look around at 360 degrees of forever and realize it’s exactly the place you want to be at exactly the time you want to be there; a day when you get goosebumps as people cheer you on crossing the finish line at the Ride to Conquer Cancer; a day when you first hold your son or daughter, look down at them, and feel their warmth and their movement…

So now that you know my biography, what happened to me, today? Well, I went to a bike race. Sounds pretty stupid, right? Read more of this post

Baby Making Noises

I have to say, you don’t really understand until you’re a parent just how much fun it is to watch a baby grow up.  Graham is big now, and we can talk, and he can tell us what he wants (or doesn’t want), but it wasn’t that long ago that he was doing exactly what Sabrina is doing in the videos below.  They only have a year and a half between them!  Heck, it wasn’t that long ago that Sabrina wasn’t even capable of making eye contact!  How quickly things change and children grow.  Now Sabrina loves to grab things, and she’ll shift her body to the optimal reach position to get at something she wants, which makes her hard to carry sometimes.  She’s super-tiny (25th percentile or something like that), but that doesn’t mean she’s lacking in strength!  She also smiles whenever mom or I walk into her field of view, genuinely happy to see us.  It’s so much fun to watch.  I’ll stop gushing now.

First, here’s how you make a bib really wet, really quickly:

Second, here’s just how funny a bouncing ball really can be:

We have an absolutely excellent video of her talking as well, I’ll try to get that online tonight.

Trail Run on the Coulee

After not being able to run on Saturday with the other monkeys (Graham, sick, asked very sweetly to play with blocks with him and I couldn’t say no), I made it a mission to get out for a trail run on Sunday.  I know the monkeys went down and up the same trail, but I just decided to make a loop out of it from my house.  The weather was fantastic, at about 0 degrees, still cold enough that the creek was frozen enough to run on.

I decided to take out my Salomon trail runners as opposed to the regular Brooks running shoes.  They were awesome on the trail, but the second half of my loop was on pavement and they were really not good for that.  I ended up with sore knees and feet by the time I got home.  I know part of that might be my gait, and I continue to try to work on that.  I also used Yaktrax on this run, which made it much easier to keep my feet on the trail.  Still, I was surprised how much sliding out I still did on some of the really side-cut parts of the trail; definitely not safe to ride a couple parts of this right now!

Here is the loop and the run profile.  It ended up being 78ish meters of climbing  over what looks like about 2km, based on the proportion of the loop that was in the ravine.  I was too lazy to just measure the distance in the GPS software.  I loved running the coulee, but the loop back through my neighborhood was so boring.  I have a nice running loop through Silver Springs that is somehow much more satisfying.  I don’t know what it is about running around Scenic Acres, but it just sucks the will to live right out of me.  I digress, the loop:

Loop on the map, 7.2km

Run profile

Video after the break.

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Riding the Rollers

OK, with renos nearing completion, we’ve got most of our house back.  That means I’ve managed to carve out a space in the basement to set up the rollers again.  I was always big on the idea of using my own bike on a trainer indoors, as opposed to an exercise bike, but this takes it to the next level.  With a static trainer, you’re riding the geometry you’re used to, but the bike is supported by the trainer itself.  You spin, and that’s the workout.

With the rollers, it’s an entirely different story.  It’s like a treadmill for your bike.  When you supply power, that spins the two rollers supporting the rear wheel of the bike.  They are attached via belt to the front roller (which provides additional resistance).  The front roller spins the front wheel.  It’s actually a fairly simple design, and with both wheels spinning you create the force required to keep the bike upright.  In essence, you just ride the bike.

As for the workout, it’s much more intensive than a static trainer.  Because you’re riding the whole bike, you’re using stabilizer muscles to keep the bike upright and pointed straight, muscles that you could otherwise be lazy about on the static trainer.  You have to be smooth too, so it can help improve your balance, cadence and tracking on the bike.  You don’t know how bad you ride until you try to take it to a roller!

With all the benefits highlighted, some folks have said that it looks a little dangerous.  What if you fall off?  Well, I do fall off occasionally (way less than at first).  Because you have no momentum, you can just kind of step off sideways and put your foot on the ground.  If the bike wheels happen to hit the ground, you just get a “whizzzt!” as they stop suddenly, but that’s about the worst of it.  There is no flying into the wall or anything.

Hopefully I can figure out how to start without having to hold onto a chair, because I still do have to do that.  Anyways, here’s what a roller workout looks like:

Photography vs Security

Paranoia. It’s an interesting thing. I really enjoyed this exercise that a group of street photographers undertook in central London. It actually made me uncomfortable several times, and as a photographer I’m not sure how I would have handled the passive-aggressive nature of the security guards who were dealing with the photographers. I’ve never been approached while doing street photography in London or in any other city, and I carry just as much if not more gear than some of these guys do. The great thing to observe is how polite all of the police officers were: and that’s an experience I have definitely had in England.  When you travel, it certainly pays to always be on your best behavior, but also to know your surroundings.

Teddy Bear Toss

Mom and I went to the 2010 Teddy Bear Toss put on by the Calgary Hitmen.  This is a video from our seats of what happened after “the goal” was scored.  The Hitmen aren’t winning many games this season, but they were not going to lose this one.  The video is from December 12, 2010, but I just wanted to make sure it  made it up here.