A journal of questionable quality

Thursday, August 30, 2007

almost the week


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Tuesday, August 28, 2007


the science of rotation
It's all about cadence. In this case the revolutions of a bike crank. A push bike crank.

The weekend cleaning contracts disposed of; made easier with Yvonne in attendance, it turns in to the first day of my weekend: Monday. Monday is a fine day for getting the bike out and shaking all the weekend aches and pains out. At 52 you get aches and pains after a weekend of work, even if it isn't hard. I blame most of it on the fact that I sit on my arse for most of the week, then leap in to action on Saturday morning, feet actually having to support my weight.

As I said, Monday is a fine day for getting the bike out and going on a shakedown cruise.

We have been investigating various biking theories involving changing the rate of pedaling, usually increasing it. The theory is that the faster movement bring into play a more suitable range of muscle fibers. Great research has been done. Great cyclists have been consulted.

The consensus is that raising the cadence will in fact make for better cycling efficiency. This we now know.

Normal 'tyre kickers' pedal at a rate of about 60—75 rpm.

Lance Armstrong manages a constant 120 rpm. Too much for normal folk; that rate equates to two revolutions per second if my calculator is to be believed.

We need something in between. Definitely in between.

90 rpm is nominated. 90 is fifteen revolutions per ten seconds. Ten seconds is about the limit of counting time available while staring at a clock before you need to remember to look up in case, as has happened before, a car is parked in your path. We know all about hitting parked cars, all about it and none of it is positive.
Higher cadence tried and conquered. Be pleased you didn't have to witness it.

90 rpm. Baking up after a long ride yesterday (50 klms), usually a day in between but obsession being what it is, a demanding master, I have to go today. Memorize rpm counts for various cadences, get down to the lakeside circuit and start testing.

Conclusions: Lance Armstrong is a freak if he can maintain 120. I can attain it but my legs feel like they are going to fly off.

Original cadence appeared to be about 66—70. Normal for a noob I am told.

For the next thirty kilometers I managed to crank it up to the required 90 rpm, the target.

The much higher cadence requires lowers gears obviously, or I would have been topping out at speeds in excess of the road limit for cars. No one wants to see me going that fast. Short, shaved head, goggle glasses, stretching spandex in ways it was never designed to be stretched, and traveling at the speed of light—no one needs to witness that.

So, lower gears, faster pedaling, all good. Makes short work of hills, makes short work of everything.

Amazingly I still ended up with about the same average speed over the entire run. Don't know how that works.

Higher cadence tried and conquered. Be pleased you didn't have to witness it.
[ cross posted, because I can, at zoetrope101.wordpress.com ]

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

drought, what drought?

and it's been raining
This time for the entire week. It's Thursday, I got in a quick and wet ride on Monday (amazing what a bloke will do to get over his Monday blues), 30 kilometers, wet, often raining, hard to see where I was going, but indeed necessary.

Indeed. Lucky I did. A forecast storm, high seas, gale force winds, arrived an hour after I got home. Times like that you just have to be unbearably smug about your decision making.

Too wet, too windy to get back on the bike the rest of the week.

Could/should have been knocking up another splash page for the site—the old one has two years of service, needs retiring. Soon.

Spent hours attempting anything possible with fresh phone. It's good to be in discovery mode again; everything new and exciting, as exciting as it gets messing with a phone. Not quite the warm feeling in new relationship discoveries, the type that makes blood head out toward your peripherals, the glow, all over. Not quite.

It's a wonderful feeling is discovery. Learning. Testing. Planning. Distracting in the extreme, and designed, I suspect, to be that way. Productivity slumps. You're missing every second brain pulse. Imagination. Devious thoughts. Possibilities.

But, I was talking there for a bit about the phone. Good camera—so they tell me. Disaster on first trial; maybe I should read the book, but which one? So many, all dealing with stuff that I have no idea of. Yet. Plenty more time to figure what it's primary use is. Meantime I have the week to deal with.

Codeine headache proof it's after midday. A cure that is the cause as well if you forget. Regular loads keep that at bay.

Codeine added to standard afternoon headache subdues the thing, settles the stomach, wondrous drug that it is. Mental note: lose the habit one of these years, about the same time as you lose the Mogodon habit and anything else that's habitual. 52 years and at least 35 of them spent hanging up on something—almost pure by my own standards now.

Scudding clouds—maybe faster than scudding, gray, low, hurried things. The color of Yvonne's mood, sulking at some infraction I have committed. I would know the cause if I wanted to think about it, but I don't. The weather fits perfectly. Nice to get it all out of the way at the same time.

I will be punished. She has a routine of 'vagueness'; kinda forgetting the odd thing or two; passive resistance to most things, winds it in on a regular basis during her 'sulking' time. Me, I just bellow and get over it, but I do enjoy a play along with a good sulk. Saves me taking, making conversation, wearing out my voice. You know how it gets.

A mate, Jumbo, mentioned before, explains he can't like women anymore—love them yes, like 'em no. Been seriously fucked over by both his wives, different reasons, same outcome. Can't like 'em. You can see why when you observe. Parallel agendas and they're too fucking dumb to know that it's obvious to the most casual of observer.

Doesn't take too much hard figuring what he was about. Is that an example of 'superior' intellect and reasoning I read about? I think not.

Have to say I have known a few 'real' women though, and what a pleasure that has been, what an extraordinary pleasure that has been. Thinking back those few damn near make up for all the rest of the time wasters.

Hell, and people wonder why I prefer my own company..

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and the new phone

finally the motorola is retired
And so ends two years of putting up with shit from a phone.

Savage bastard of a thing; I wanted a Razr from the minute I saw it - thin, big keys for a man with very average sight, big screen, camera, everything I wanted.

It would quit. Right when you really needed it to go. Eventually informing me that it was available for 'emergency calls only'. Made it difficult to keep in touch. Sometimes it held on to SMS messages for two days before it sent them, announcing the fact with a note of triumph.

Too much fucking about; will the phone work, will it quit when I need ti.

Down to the Telstra outlet, 'freshen up my phone'. A seriously shitty collection of phones. Can't do the deal.

Hutchison Telecoms owns '3'. '3' do good looking phones. Promise to let me keep my old phone number. Promise all sorts of things. Easily sold.

Nokia. Again. After two Motorolas. Back to what we started with.

N73; this Nokia for me. Carl Zeiss lens fronting a 3.2 megapixel camera. Preview screen of 2.4 inches, even I can see the thing.

Damn shame that it doesn't have a sliding keypad, but the camera seemed to be more important than the size of the keys. I suspect I may have to take off my glasses and get the thing up near my nose to send a text message.

It does what is says on the box. Nokia always manage that at least. Took me some considerable time to get the thing set up - address book from one to the other etc, but we seem to have managed it.

Still looking at the mighty N95 - with maps and stuff, but the plan was too much just now. Maybe when it comes down a bit.

But there's [ more on the N73 ]  here. Should be enough to bore you silly.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

barcode phoning

n73 and barcode scanning
So, a backup camera, a backup video camera, a reliable phone, and we are back on the road, looking for toys. The beauty of Nokia stuff is that it's easy to find add ons from the army of developers out there; I already have it set as a web server thanks to a smart program from Nokia, and, more exciting for me, the new ability to decode barcodes straight to the phone.

Shotcode, Semacode, QR codes, they all purport to make life easier for the aspiring mobile phone addict by streamlining the process of adding long URLs, contact info, blocks of test, anything that might be a pain in the arse when you are attempting it from the worlds smallest keyboard.

They are all in the business of streamlining the process so well that all it takes is a camera to get a decent look at a specially prepared barcode, and it will decipher it and take you to the correct place. 2D barcodes as they are; in the DataMatrix format, some others with a slightly different format, and shape.

Some models of Nokia are shipped with a barcode reader of their design installed. This was not the case with the N73. The Nokia Mobile site does list a few 3rd party sites that provide the reader software as well, including the oft mentioned in these pages, Semacode.

Regular viewers will remember the serious viral campaign we mounted using the Semacode barcode. A pity, I think now, that not many phones actually supported it.

I first installed the Semacode reader on the n73 with great ease and found immediately that it wasn't going to work, would take over the camera and not give it back, eventually managing to crash the phone. Despondency—I had been touting the brilliance of barcoded URLs for years.
Easy. Camera on. Aim at barcode. Snap. URL is loading. Does exactly what it says on the box.
I tried another—UpCode, and delight and relief, their reader decodes and fires the URL in very short order. It also handles text, phone numbers, whatever you throw at it. The camera doesn't need to be a serious model as their software does all the thinking for you.

UpCode. Easy. Camera on. Aim at barcode. Snap. URL is loading. Does exactly what it says on the box. Go there, if you have a 60 series phone and download the software. Install it and brace yourself for another torrent of viral barcodes stuck to every available spot; lighting the way to a high tech treasure hunt perhaps; announcing a gathering, a concert, anything.

I have to point out, out of fairness, that UpCode is free for non commercial, non professional use only. If you have any doubt contact them.

If you can't think of an application for an UpCode then you have no real life.

The Nokia Mobile site list several other reader suppliers, but having achieved what I want with this one I will stay with it. And, it didn't manage to take over my phone or camera.
And so, the laborious business of getting your mobile to URLs is made instantly easier.

Day one experiences. It's not like I have a life.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

and all was well

oh no, the video returns
Bear up under the weight of another episode of visual blandness.

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Monday, August 13, 2007

no really, I'm still here

It's true, I am still here. I meant to add something today to confirm that, but the day got away on me. Still strange contacts, strange messages; why I don't rightly know, maybe I don't even care. Has someone stumbled on to the 'dark past'? Has someone guessed the time disparities—nothing really matches up when you look closely.

I'm documenting some of it at Jaiku. Some details are going to need to be left out. 'The names have been changed to protect the participants', indeed.
..new user-generated content platform designed specifically for use with any mobile device...
Another thing - private Beta from Nokia - MOSH. Our new user-generated content platform designed specifically for use with any mobile device. We're in it, we're on it and the relevant images will appear there first.

Still looking, but the clues, they're obscure - have you figured the Central Station one? But, really, have you? Or was it really all a magnificent waste of time?

Thursday, August 09, 2007

it starts small

making the invisible.... — Hillman Curtis
60 films, 170 plays, the human condition. Ingmar Bergman died July 30th. A stunning life, a massive collection of films.

A quote from him sums up the way it should be:
It starts with a sort of tension or a specific scene, some lines, a picture or something, a piece of music. It just starts as a very, very small scene. And from this little scene comes a trembling. I look at it and try to pull it out. And sometimes it remains just this little thing.. But sometimes it's more; I can't stop and suddenly I have a lot of material.
Ingmar Bergman
Hillman Curtis, often mentioned here, appears to operate on the same level.
It's down to motion, motion on the web. Short, intense experiences for the high speed viewer—something to make the hyperactive stop, look, think, appreciate.
I want audiences to feel, to sense my films. This to me is much more important than their understanding them.
Ingmar Bergman

The web is evolving to include motion in every form; vlogs are blaring at people every day, people are becoming anyone they want, sometimes even themselves, and feeding it to an increasingly hungry web. It's almost a mass voyeurism exercise going on; There is a growing band of short film makers using the web, their script, screenplay, digital, edited, and simply put up on the web—a brand new method of mass participation—online film festivals.

Free from the constrictions from our self professed arbiters of good taste and style— the Web 2 usability police, video, in all it's forms has been allowed to bloom. The style police, after all, only wanted to tell people what their site should look like, how it should behave, rather than list allowable content, although I do seem to remember....

There's no room for style and usability police in web motion. Film on the web, like film in the wild, assumes the personality of the creator.

Film, as he said, starts very small.

'Can we kiss?' - right up there, right up there.

You know, I know a guy who has never managed to even begin a script, but he panics if his copy of Final Draft is not current.

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suburban blues

life in the suburbs - and you'd better be happy with it.
Killing time. Waiting for the summer. The week has been surprisingly good to me—the dreaded westerly giving me a break on both the days I have been out on the bike.

Killing time. Waiting for the child population of the house to drop again.

Yvonne has decided to cement the new lifestyle she has adopted. She has now become a serious collector of children, friend of the mothers of the area, friend of anyone with a child. We are to increase the family by one for a week because it's mother is off to Asia somewhere to spend some quality tile with her husband.

We, ourselves, don't do quality time. That was a long time ago. Now she exists solely for the kids. It's strange to see someone so young suddenly turn into their own mother. Complete with the shuffling and wise tales. I am lucky in that I am a fully self sufficient unit. In fact, I prefer to be alone. Have done all my life. Times like this it makes it easy to keep way the hell out of the way - or get burnt by the acres of freshly baked child food. Next it will be hanging over the back fence talking to the neighbor. Already it's sharing delightful anecdotes and gems of child wrangling advice to the poor buggers picking up their kids. They're starting to look like rabbits caught in headlights.

Killing time; I have Carol and dear brother man 'Tom' to keep me in my reality. One running a brothel and one loose in the wilds of Canada, a place he seems happy with.

Tom and I suffer tortured satellite conversations on a regular basis. Somehow manages to make me believe there is some hope. That I don't have to take up knitting. That I can still think for myself.

The other member of the 'keep alive' council is ex Carol; still refusing to give in to the premise that madams should really be out of the business before they're 40. Too late. She lives 'the life' oblivious to anything real going on around her. We maintain communication because, over the years, we have gathered some serious shared history which seems to keep us connected. Sometimes you have only one person that will understand something. Happens a lot with us.

Summer will herald a return, after more than a year, to the wonderfully twisted world of kite buggying. Wind, a kite, and a buggy. Launch kite, hook in to harness, sit in buggy, and hang on. All hell breaks loose.
All this invented by a fellow Kiwi, Peter Lynn, from a place called Ashburton, in the South Island, where I went to school.

A ridiculous sport, an invitation for serious injury in the quest for more and more speed—and just the thing to get out of the inland sea of suburbia, get out to the coast, breath a bit of fresh air, clear the mind.

But that's for summer.

Right now we're killing time—at the gingerbread house.

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Friday, August 03, 2007

130 klms and miscellanea

forgot friday
Obsessions firmly implanted, reading everything, everywhere about cycling, over the initial fear of getting back on the bike, now into all the things that one can obsess about if one is of that nature. Tyres, tyre pressure, wheels, pedal, grips, everything that pertains to cycling. So pleased to be back, Promising I will take more care.

Cadence. It all comes down to cadence. And chocolate milk. You need chocolate milk.

Higher cadence, means more revolutions per minute. Like shifting down a gear. In fact it is shifting down gear based on todays trial of all that has been absorbed from reading most of the day yesterday. Pressure off the knees, pedal quicker, not harder.

In action, today, a quick 30klm round the lake, headwind, hills, anything shift down, maintain the cadence.

It works. It not only works but for some reason it also make the entire session quicker. Physics goes out the window here, but pedal faster in a lower gear and you are going to be quicker overall than grinding along in higher gear.
You also get into that strange place where you go when you're in a groove, running, cycling, whatever - a dreamland—maybe the place I was when I hit the last car.

That time I was head down contemplating whether the post girl on her step thru really did have anything on underneath that heavy PVC jacket; kind of mulling over the possibility that she didn't and working up a pretty detail appraisal of her breasts; Look up, car, brakes, late, awful noise [ more ]

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

100 kilometers and chocolate milk

the obsessions, ever present
The weeks tally. 100 kilometers. 100 of hard riding kilometers.

The latest discovery: upping the cadence, or revolutions of the pedals, will provide a better workout and a faster recovery time. So all the literature says. Naturally I have managed to read everything available on the net.

Increased rotation speed does in fact work.
Increased rotation speed does in fact work. Skeptical at the onset, I have to admit that after a 40klm blast I had a lot better feeling in my legs than the old, full force, grinding kneecap stuff that I was beginning to concentrate on.

So, Monday - 60 klms - barely raised a sweat until the last 10 and then it got a bit hard. Remember I haven't been on a bike in a year, so it's going to take some time to get going.

Wednesday - 40 klms, higher rotation, better gearing all round. Went out to the Wednesday night jobs, a whole two hours of work, and back with very little complaint from my legs/knees—unusual for a Wednesday night.

That will do it for the week. I should go out tomorrow for a backup run, but I'm messing with some short film stuff that I want to stay on. Future project coming right along.

The chocolate milk? That's a whole different story.

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the week

Chekhov and fixed gear bikes

There's no connection, Chekhov had nothing to do with it - a bit of research on the side, while away an hour here and there, this week of disjointed moves and outcomes.

'Chekhov's gun' actually, looking for something to place fairly early on in the piece; look it up yourself if you need any clue to what I'm on about.

Looking for a way to introduce something later on in a dialog. It would be nice to say a screenplay, but in fact a dialog. A clear view may be afforded later in the year perhaps.

fixed gear bikes...
A powerful lure to the cyclist. A return to clean, basic, still stylish times. Bikes had one function, no brakes and were ridden everywhere. Everywhere in one gear. One fixed gear. You stop pedaling, the bike doesn't. Therefore you are in a constant state of pedaling.

New York messengers—couriers perhaps, have made a new thing out of the old. I can only imagine riding the streets of New York on a fixed wheel bike, but they do, and they seem to have fun doing it.

You stop pedaling, the bike doesn't.
The very same process is seen on biking tracks, velodromes today. One gear, fast.

One day devoted to this new/old invention, reminding myself of a youth spent with fixed wheel as a major transport. You haven't lived until you've received a pedal in the calf muscle when you took your foot off the crank. They invented freewheeling stuff then and we were all on them.

The realization, later, but at least on the same day so that the obsession claws hadn't the chance to grip: I had promised the Doctor of all things good that I would refrain from biking in or on public roads and places affording more that a fair chance of an incident. This deal struck in the wake of the over mentioned 'shoulder from hell' affair. The deal designed to keep me slightly further from harms way. Raises the odds of survival.

Fixed gear bikes, a resurgence of something from the past - a novelty in itself, how very retro, but not for me, I have a shoulder to keep out of the firing line, least we have to go through the same thing again. The pressure of responsibility.

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