Monday, August 19, 2019

Say goodbye MAA, say hello YMCA

Yep, my work used to have a gym membership at the MAA, who, in order to deliver another century of services to members, is undoing their entire building apart from the front face, building a new tower behind in the bottom few floors of which will be the new gym, and the top 30-50 floors will be condominium units.

This process will last two years.

So, we have signed up with the YMCA, the last final details of the deal to be finalized and we'll get the word likely this week. It is just a bit further than the MAA is, and membership will give me access to the YMCA that is also closer to my home; though, I am more likely to use the one close to work.

Through this summer I have mostly been exercising outdoors, in my neighbourhood, so while the MAA shut on July 31st, I haven't really noticed as I haven't been there since mid June.

That's about it for my fitness update.

Monday, August 12, 2019

why else would you

I've got to get better at engagement.

Yesterday, went for a walk, got into Terra Cotta Park, part way through the park a young lady sitting on a bench, I ask her 'enjoying nature?' she said 'yes, you?' I said 'yes' and just continued walking.

Minutes later and on and off since then; I've been thinking the simple 'you?' that she asked may have been an opening to engage in a longer conversation. I was in no hurry, had no deadlines to meet and could have stopped to chat for a briefest of conversation, or, an even longer one should that have worked out. But in the moment it didn't occur to me.

At my age and hers there is a generational difference, but no matter; I would be harmlessly friendly, curious and generous.

Perhaps this is a lesson learned and I'll be more engaged if this kind of situation was to present itself again.

Or, given a few days or weeks, this episode will reduce to a no longer memorable event and I'll repeat the potential social cue miss.

Friday, August 02, 2019

all that isn't, plus more

So; it is about time I post about last weekend.

On Saturday morning I drove to Calabogie Peaks to run in the Sprint (5km) Spartan Race being held there. What was odd about the registration was that there was no machine; a guy wrote down my name, number and recording chip number. Now; when I look at the results on-line, I cannot find my race time. This is a little disappointing, but no matter, I did finish the race, get the medal and t-shirt and was quite happy with how I performed. The first third of the course was to go up and down, and the last two-thirds was mostly flat; so even though during that first ascent I was starting to wear out a little, I pushed hard as I knew that following it would be a descent and the rest flat. I managed to complete all obstacles and even got the spear throw to stick, so that was good. I think I got a really good time as I managed to run through most of the course.

After the race I drove back to Arnprior where I stayed at the Knight's Inn, a motel that also offers free wifi and a very simple continental breakfast. Once I got into my room and showered I had a nap, then went to A&W for supper, then went for a walk in the cute little town of Arnprior.

Sunday morning I awoke early, had that simple breakfast at 7AM, and then drove back to Calabogie Peaks for the Super (13km) Spartan Race. Registration was normal this time, they scanned the barcode that denotes my registration. This course had two steep ascents, one steep descent, and one not steep ascent with two not steep descents, followed by the same flat section as the Sprint had. So, with three up-and-downs of the mountain, I also knew I could push pretty hard, especially given that there were only two steep ascents. About two-sevenths of the way through the course I found someone who was more or less matching pace with me; and by the three-sevenths mark I engaged in conversation with this person. I never got her name, but found she is originally from France (we spoke French and her accent was clear), is 30 years old, and this was her 8th or 9th Spartan Race and she hadn't done the Sprint the previous day as I had. She was quicker in the downhill sections and I was quicker in the uphill sections, so a few times we would separate, but then catch up with each other again. There were two obstacles that she missed that I didn't; and she did the burpees that you are supposed to do. This also made it so that she would catch up later as I had started to flag. Once she caught up, I was able to pick up my pace again.

I finished in the top 5% of all racers, top 8% of male racers and top 7% of the M45-49 group. This is the best finish I've ever had. Part of it was that Calabogie Peaks (232m vertical) is smaller than Owl's Head (540m vertical) and another part was having a partner through more than half the race that help to push me along.

Following the race, I went back to my car to retrieve my Sprint and Beast medals, and then returned to the race site and found someone to take my photo with all three medals. Finally, I drove home, uneventfully.

I had been saying that in the future I would not do the Beast (21km) race again and that I would only stick with the Sprint race, with co-workers, going to the race as a group; and, that during the race, instead of going my own pace, I would pair up, or group up with other people. However, I really enjoyed doing the Calabogie Super; not just because I partnered with someone, but that it was a more pleasant course compared to Owl's Head. So, for next year, maybe I'll consider doing the Calabogie Super in addition to the Sprint locally with coworkers.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

why else would she have kept from not doing something

Not all of the solutions presented themselves to the winner all at once.

She had to try, then try again. Sometimes, the solution would evolve only after a handful of trial and error episodes.

What was a key ingredient to her success was the perseverance and dedication towards getting to the end. If we all could have that commitment, a whole lot more would get accomplished in the world today.

I guess that's about all there is to be said about that.

In other news, more exo-planets are being discovered, I just read an article about one having been found 73 light years away. 73 ly is about 69E+13 km. Some of our fastest moving man made celestial objects can go about 100km/s which is 360,000km/h. To travel 69E+13 km at 360,000km/h would take 191667000 hours.

191667000 hours is 7986125 days which is 21865 years which is 219 centuries.

I guess we won't be getting there any time soon.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

bring out the clothing that makes you stink

I have never been a closet organizer or a leprechaun.

I have never been to Serbia or Nebraska.

I am presently wearing Adidas running shoes.

At the moment I am not wearing a wrist watch.

I have not flown a kite in the last three days.

There you have it, five facts about me for the day.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

rain and all of the groupings that make it fallow

After four solid days of heat and sunshine, today is a day full of rain with some extreme thunder storms popping in and out all day.

But then, you didn't really ask about the local weather, did you?

In other news, I read that the ICE will raid to deport upwards of 2000 illegal immigrants in the US starting on Sunday. That this made the media gives all of those people the opportunity to run and hide.

Curiously, both the Canadian and American lead bankers talked about current economic outlook and gave hints to potential future interest rate changes. Canada guy says that nationally things are looking pretty good but globally there are severe trade concerns that offset what is going well in Canada, so we'll stay the course. US guy says trade concerns are important, maybe we'll lower at the next meeting.

Next week I'll be MIA from blogging as I'll be up at camp.

Don't forget to remember the thing you haven't yet forgotten.

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Beware of Zebra crossings made of silk

Ignominy notwithstanding, a most curious happening happened when the sun was close to setting and the wind had drawn down to a mere whisper. Fortuitously not even a single person noticed; only the double people did.

All of the shapes of the sizes of the widths of the ninths of the leftists reminded all of the Democratic Party's 20+ leadership candidates that pretending to beat that current fish occupying the White House is not the least of their concerns compared to the Climate Crisis that so many people are ignoring.

One study showed the planting trees ought to make a difference. So, plant a tree.

Count to eleven, and then again.

Do not, however, stop at 8.3 on the way to eleven.

Friday, July 05, 2019

sideways not straight or grumpy

Stop selling all that you own, instead, stop buying.

Start preventing what you don't know from being so obvious to your peers.

Our brains bind together the sensory inputs so that they reach our consciousness together as one.

So, I type; my eyes see the text on the screen before my finger finishes typing. Also, I manage to hear the keypress sometime after I see the letters on the screen, but before I finish typing.

My consciousness takes it all in at once; some microscopic delay after it does the binding, waiting for the slowest feedback to arrive.

Just read 'Conscious' by Annaka Harris.

Not all of what you read is made of cream cheese. I should know.

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

When all else fails, bake pancakes

Not all of what you see is real, only our consciousness knows what is and what isn't, and who can trust her?

If our consciousness is really only an awareness of what we are doing and thinking, what purpose does it serve?

Tomorrow isn't going to be the day that comes after today. This is a fairly traditional way of looking at the days of the week.

I have eaten broccoli at least one time in the last week.

Not all of the news is as relevant to the reader as some of the news isn't.

I for one, like to eat meatballs. I also like to nap. I do not like to nap meatballs, however.

All of the listeners who listen, all of the watchers who watch, all of the talkers who talk and all of the see-ers who see; put them all in the back yard of my sister's neighbour's house and let them have a BBQ where only meat-alternatives are cooked and served. Wall flowers are not to participate.

I'm off to the movies, see ya later!

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Spartan Race - Beast Distance

Yesterday I competed in my first Spartan Race of 2019, it is the Beast distance which is 21km and 30 obstacles. Most of the course was going up or coming down a mountain.

I awoke at 4h42, ate a bit, then drove and got there at 6h50. Parking was quick and easy this time as there are fewer Beast competitors then there are Sprint ones. It actually turned out that I got to park three cars away from the entrance to the start/finish site, so that made it really easy for me to leave any items I had with me in the car.

I watched a few of the ultra and elite racers depart, and then my departure was at 8h30. I would say about the first hour was to ascend the mountain, with just one or two obstacles. It was pretty grueling to start this way, but I was still feeling pretty good by the time I got to the top to begin the descent back to the bottom. By about the half way point, though, I really started to wane, and had to take numerous breaks to recoup my energy.

In past Spartan Races there was only one obstacle that I would have trouble with, the Spear Throw. This time was no different, I did not get the spear to stick. In past Spartan races I also managed to get through 'The Rig', but this one I failed yesterday also. Finally, the sand bag carry I just skipped altogether; it was in the second half of the course and I just didn't have it in me to attempt/complete this obstacle.

Here is an example of a Rig video, though the one I did did not have that easier bar at the end of it.

It is mentioned in the Spartan Race info site that the Beast Rig setup is more difficult than the Super, which is more difficult than the Sprint, so hopefully when I do those other races I'll be able to do this obstacle successfully.

Soon after I crossed the finish line I asked someone for the time and it was 15h20; so I knew I was closer to 7 hours to complete this race, compared to the 5:40 I managed to do when I did the Beast race in 2017.

These two guys, Vincent and Colin, they came in first (in the 'Open' competition, not the Elite racers) and they were right next to each other, finishing at 3:56:56 and 3:57:02 respectively.

Matthis, who was the last to finish the Beast Open, was the 614th participant to cross the finish line in 10:29:22.

I finished 229th with a time of 6:50:42. Out of 441 men, I finished 181st. Out of 54 in the M45-59 range, I finished 26th. So, in all groups I finished ahead of at least half of the participants.

My next two Spartan Races of 2019 are back to back, with the Sprint distance (5km) on July 27, and the Super distance (13km) on July 28.

Friday, June 28, 2019


Last weekend from CT I bought a Pelican 100X, a 10' kayak. In addition I bought the paddle, life jacket and kayak carrier. I had measured my locker in the basement of the apartment building to be sure, first, if a 10' kayak would fit; and it does.

Here is the locker room in the basement with my locker in the center.

Unlocked the lock and opened the door.

Here you can see the kayak inside with the carrier on the floor next to it.

It is a bit awkward to get it out of there and out on to the street, but fortunately, there is a doorway from the basement to a lowered part so I do not need to carry the kayak up or down any stair wells. Once outside, I was able to secure the kayak to the kayak carrier and put within the kayak all of the supplies.

I walked the kayak through the parking lot of my apartment building complex and then into the tunnel that goes beneath the train tracks and the highway to get to the south side of the train tracks and highway. Fortunately, the entrance and the exit to the tunnel are sloped passages rather then steps, so these next two photos show the turnabout on the north side of the tunnel.

Here, in the midst of the tunnel.

Here, outside of the tunnel on the south side of the highway and train tracks.

It is straight from the tunnel exit to this street; the water can be seen in the distance, that is Lac St. Louis.

Where this street meets the water, it is thick with plant life and very steep, so it is far from ideal for launching a kayak into the water. This doesn't stop me, however, I push the kayak through the trees and bushes and it slides down into the water. Here it is at the top, partially pushed in.

This photo was supposed to show the water, through the branches, but it is so thick it is difficult to even see the water.

But finally, I reached the water at the bottom.

I had a blue cloth bag with me, sufficiently vibrant that if I knew roughly where to look to return back to it, I could find my way back to the kayak carrier and my route home. So I left the bag there, and left my mobile device in it (what I used to take all of the photos). As this was my first foray into this kayak on this lake and I hadn't been in one since the previous summer at a camp on a more protected lake, I did not want to take any chances and so took only the bare minimum with me on the kayak.

I went out for perhaps 30-40 minutes; it was nice, good for upper body exercise, but also nice to take the occasional break and just look around. Once I finally decided to return and head back I had gotten fairly far out, so I centered in on what I thought was the location of the blue bag, and came pretty close; once I reached near the shore I just had to go, say, another 10 meters or so and that's where the bag was.

If I manage to do this with more regularity, I think I'll begin to learn better the landmarks and be able to zone in more precisely on where I need to land.

The next time I go, if the water is sufficiently calm, I'll bring my mobile device to take photos from out on the water. I'll have a ziploc bag of some sort to keep it in when not in use.