Thursday, February 26, 2009

Pedaling PEI revisited

The photos on Pedaling PEI are taken near my old turf.

I don't know why, but seeing these photos posted on a blog, in a decent size, is truly moving. Some may seem like random snow-covered fields but they are usually on neighbouring farms. Often, these fields had names (e.g. The Rabbit Patch) and were our playground for bicycles, motorbikes, and especially snowmobiles.

I'm pretty sure I know exactly where this one and this one was taken. This one is a no-brainer. It is like seeing family, in a way. Very weird and wonderful. Especially to think that, as a teenager in times of strife, I would look out across the snow, and wonder where I would be someday. I certainly never thought I would be in a good career in the midwest USA, with easy access to photos of PEI.

The thing is: the scene portrayed aren't really much different than when I was a teenager. I can tell that the trees have grown, but the vegetation and the drifting of the snow is exactly the same. They are time capsules.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Number 1 with a Bullet

Here is a time-sensitive link: it is the standings in the tri league. It is somewhat disingenuous as the #2 guy has one less race than I do, and is still on my heels. However, fraud has never stopped me from posting before.

I met the #2 guy last weekend at Wildwood, and I think I spoke to him at the West County Y as well. A cool guy and quite fast... He spins the bike like a hamster on cocaine.

An interesting factoid: at Wildwood in 2008, I did the event in about 57:20. This year, I was within 15 seconds of the same time. That may sound like amazing consistency but this year my bike time was 5 minutes faster and my lazy-ass run was 5 minutes slower. *shrug* Weird.


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Triathlon #4

The great fish moved silently through the night water, propelled by short sweeps of its crescent tail. -- Jaws

A great fish, indeed. The dorsal fin of our hero rises to the surface, slicing through the waves, seemingly without resistance. Other, smaller fish scurry and hide for cover. The presence is electric. At the end of a length, a swoosh of the tail and a flip to the other direction.

It is the Wildwood YMCA Indoor Triathlon. Everything is going according to plan. Our hero has temporarily shape-shifted into a tiger shark, as is apropros for the swim leg.

On the next flip, he notices a humanoid form standing above the water. Egad! Is it a hunter? Does he have a speargun? Our hero bears no malice to the other fish: this is a docile competition. However, if it comes to survival against man, then he will have no choice but to engage in attack.

Two lengths of the pool, and again on the flip, he hears, "*blurb* Michael *blurb*". Zounds! The miscreant has identified our hero and, worse, refuses to use his pseudonym. Surely he is being hunted. Violence seems inevitable.

This is war that the great fish did not choose, but will win.

Finally, at the end of the swim, our hero morphs from the tiger shark back into original form. Breathing heavily through new-found lungs, he slips from the pool. Quickly, he whirls to face his attacker.

Before him stands the inimitable Jim G, dressed in street clothes. JimG claps his hands together and says "C'mon Michael... let's go buddy! I don't have all day".


ps. JimG lives in Wildwood and came out to watch my tri. After realizing a battle was not at hand, it was good to see him. He heckled me on all three legs of the event, but was kind enough to bring me towels and water.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Worthwhile Canadian Initiative

Fareed Zakaria is a cool dude. He writes for Newsweek and is editor of the magazine's world edition; being from India, has a credible voice on the world scene. He is one face in an increasingly cosmopolitan America.

Here is a piece of his on Canada and the "common sense" of its banking system.

Some thoughts:

(a) Until the recent upheaval, the primary story about Canada's finance system was that Canada began balancing the budget in the mid 1990s and truly righted the ship (though the budget cuts were not without controversy).

(b) I'm not posting this as a "Go Canada!" thing. I think thoughtful readers from either the US or Canada might gain from seeing this rare perspective.

(c) I find the part about immigration, near the end, to be the most interesting. The immigration policies of the US are definitely not in its best interests. This is repeated by many thoughtful commentators throughout the political spectrum (this inherently excludes Lou Dobbs).

(d) The Canadian media portrays the economic conditions in the same dire terms as the media in the US. Perhaps we don't have a banking crisis but the other ills (housing, jobs) are a clear and present danger.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Pickles, Ice Cream, and Cupcakes

For out-of-towners, there is both major news and some fun pics over at the Cupcake Project. Check it out.... Demi Moore didn't have pastries in her iconic photo shoot!

Monday, February 16, 2009

More Diamond Dave

I don't know when this turned into the "David Lee Roth Parody Reference" but this site is too good not to mention: check it out here.

I have some good ideas and some modest success with web stunts but some people simply blow me away. Very nice.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


I had dinner with other night with JimO. Some may remember him from a former workplace.

Note that this is not JimG, my arch-rival! JimO is considerably older; I often refer to him as the "barkeeper who listens to your troubles".

Well, sort of. He also has a gruff exterior much like Clint Eastwood. When I saw the trailer for the new movie, Gran Torino, I thought of JimO (though minus the ugly racism, thankfully). A single man who lives alone, his only cares (on the surface) are: food, money, and to be left alone. I have told him repeatedly that he should sue the writers of Shrek on the basis of prior art.

Strangely, he is also one of my closest friends. This is weird to write as I only see him once every 4-6 months, but he is a true confidant and is one of the few people whose insight into my psyche is staggering. I think most of the people in our lives make comments and observations that are often spot-on (and God bless them); but, it is rare and downright eerie to know people who are almost always right.

Anyway, he is doing well. He still works for said employer. He could retire any time but he enjoys the work and figures he might as well stay busy. As for our convo, all I can say is that he asked one or two questions about my long term plans that, as always, made me hide my face while he cackled and said I would never change.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Q: How many people must be in a room for there to be a > 50% chance they were born on the same day, tested and vilified, and ultimately lionized and celebrated 200 years later?

A: Two, if the people are Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln. Happy 200th, lads!

Monday, February 09, 2009

A New Kind of Smackdown


The dark cavern halls echo the tortured groan of a man under duress. The scene is morbid: an array of pods, each encasing a human: they run endlessly on circling tracks. Sinister wires flow from the machines up to a large powergrid: they are generating electricity for their evil overlords. Veritable hamsters.

Our hero is one of them. A beast of burden.

The situation is dire indeed: there seems to be no way out of this jam. The tableau is so dark and despairing that even the nefarious JimG dared not enter into this misery. It is yet another Indoor Triathlon of Tyranny!

Our hero bows his head and continues to run, searching for an escape. Finally, an idea! He'll run so quickly that it will blow the system's capacitors, freeing him from this prison. He looks upward, straightens his shoulders, and lights the jets.

With each breath, the air becomes more humid, stifling. Before long, he grunts with every step, as though trying to break the pod with sheer sonic energy. A loud "Guh!", "Guh!", "Guh!".... with each pounding foot drop.

Suddenly, a middle-aged woman knocks on his pod. She lowers large headphones from her ears, and says, annoyed, "will you please shut up?" Just as quickly, she returns to her pod, and continues trotting.

Our hero shrugs feebly, and slows down a notch, quieting his breaths.

It is going to be a long day.

Double Congrats

I've written to he and his wife on email, but a hearty Happy Birthday to Phil and a major congrats for the new (second) addition to the family!

Keen readers will recall that Phil is my oldest friend: we go back about as far as possible. Strangely, we were born a mere 11 weeks apart and yet it fell across a major school admission boundary, so we were never in the same grade.

I have many friends for whom I am delighted on how things turned out... and Phil is way up at the top of the list.

Saturday, February 07, 2009


I am doing 3 mini triathlons in 8 days. Despite the glimmering patina of 'triathlon', these are short events. Yes, one has to be fit; but as an example this morning's gig was 48 minutes.

Doing this, and watching people's reactions with a certain bemusement, is from my father's influence.

Sending hand-written thank-you notes to the event co-ordinator and volunteers is from my mother's influence.

This post occurred to me during the bike leg this morning. I don't know why.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Quote of the Moment

"Wherever I travel, I'm too late. The orgy has moved elsewhere."

-- Mordecai Richler

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Happy Birthday, Colleen

A shout-out to my sister, who is 30-something today....

Happy Birthday!!!!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Cello Scrotum and the CBC

There are many intelligent, quirky media outlets in the US and Canada, but only CBC Radio can lead into a story with this, in a semi-straight face:

....Well, nuts to that! For years male musicians have feared a condition known as 'cello scrotum', an irritable condition from long hours at the instrument. However, it has been revealed that the British Medical Journal had fallen for something from one clever doctor's bag of tricks. CBC's As it Happens, the podcast edition: radio that chafes at junk science.

The story is wonderful: 30+ years ago, a young doctor and her husband read about a condition called "guitarist's nipple". She was sure it was a hoax, and tried to go one up. She invented "cello scrotum" and submitted it to the mighty BMJ (above). To her surprise, it worked. Now a baroness, Lady Elaine Murphy has come clean (click here).