Monday, September 30, 2013

Celina has a new nickname

The day started well, in the pool. No Katie, but then the public lanes were the shallow ones, so it's probably just as well. In the good news department, the competition pool was half full of water!

Since the pool opened I've struggled a bit on my form and water feel. Last few swims I was just getting under 10 minutes for 500 m, and getting sloppy towards the end. Today I was thinking about form, and keeping my head and chest down further. I ended up swimming that same 500 m in 9:30, and taking it easy. Could have gone on. Settled into some kick drill and other stuff for a 30 minute swim.

Pattern matching at work. I've already done a bunch of matches where there is an exact text match. Now I'm making a pass through looking to match against a serial number like C2002.25.1.B2 and the way it is in the other database is C2002-25-1B2. It's easier to make a pass through looking, than to write a bunch of scripts to strip out the glop.

We had a perfectly wonderful meal of BBQ chicken on Yum buns. The adventure came part way through the meal. Celina rampaged across the floor and swung up to the top of the cat tree, channeling her inner pirate queen or something. From the top, she then vomited several times. Windows, wall, baseboards, floor, armchair, cat tree. Some cats like to work themselves up to it, and you have a chance to get them on some easily cleaned surface. Not Celina. She makes less noise doing this than sneezing. There are no photos, and just as well. Her new nickname is multi-spewer.

I forgot to mention that the Sunday run was in shorts and tech T. Still nice weather. We even sat out on the patio a bit and had some berries and ice cream. It's not the same, though. Summer, I'm missing you already.

I've been watching the Congressional stupidity lately. Stupidity is the politest word I can use. The schools would fail kindergarten students that demonstrated that level of cooperation and lack of consideration for others. I fear this is the model Harper is working from.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

A day in the man-cave

Friday I didn't swim. I couldn't even leave work early since I'd done that Tuesday. I was in bed early. It wasn't even a tough week, but I was done like dinner.

Even though there was interesting stuff to do on Saturday, I didn't want to do any of it. I wanted a day in the man-cave. Not brooding, or drinking wine all day while watching trashy movies. Just a quiet day to myself.

I ended up having a very relaxing day. Winter is coming so I dug out my winter run tights and ran them through the wash, along with a bunch of other stuff. With any luck, that will put off actual winter another month or two. You guys can thank me later. The wine bottles had piled up so I scrubbed a bunch of them. Amazing what a little bleach will do. As I've said, washing bottles can be a soothing activity, and it was.

Between that I read and worked on my novel. Stretched a little, since my legs were still feeling a bit creaky from the last run. Talked to the cats and gave them a good combing. In bed early again. Slept like a rock.

We had a very easy Sunday morning, then wandered out to the markets. We were saddened to see the obit on Big D's. Derek was only 49.

Then we found Chorizo bison! Fresh! Very tasty in a burger! The chili made with it smells heavenly. I will be sure to take the long way from the microwave at work, to my office. With the lid off, of course.

My legs were finally feeling like a bit of a run, so I went out for just as long as they stayed light and happy. That turned out to be 5 K in 34 minutes. Stretched after, and surprised myself with a 90 second plank. Haven't done that in a while. Plank, I mean.


Lastly, in the wake of the hard drive failures, I've been getting my photos back in line. I think I've got some duplicates now, and some file numbers are messed up. Thats a better problem than missing thousands of them. Many of them are essentially just file names now. The albums I created are empty, for the most part. I suppose if I was really ambitious, I'd go through each and add tags so I could search them. Let's just say a minute per photo. There are 6405 photos. That's over 100 hours. HOURS! That's 2.85 of my current work week's. At my billable rate, that's, well, ahem.

Does anyone know if there is an app that compares the photo information and displays duplicates? I suspect I have at least some duplicated with different file numbers.

 Now I can start putting photos up here again. This is a sunrise from Saturday, slightly dressed up in Snapseed.

The flowers we picked out earlier this year are still going strong, several frosts and all.

And how can I not take a photo of the cats? Celina is trying to bask in the sun, and savage my foot at the same time.

Curtis was snoozing through it.



Thursday, September 26, 2013

Cat fur eats bluetooth

Once again I learn something new. There I was, thrashing around gently on my workout mat, doing what I am pleased to call my post run stretches. At one point, as I rolled a ball under my butt, I was forcibly cuddling Curtis. As his fur enveloped the bluetooth receiver that feeds my ear glasses the music  stopped. Not faded out as if I was getting too far from the source. Stopped. I did that a couple times more to confirm it. Who knew?

Then he escaped. Maybe being all sweaty from a hard run had something to do with it. Take a look.


That first long dip is almost certainly the longest I've sustained that pace, even including races. Then going back up out of Fish Creek I was pushing hard enough I was beginning to gasp, and could see the signs pointing to the re-taste zone. I backed off a little bit, then pushed hard to finish out that K. The last K was nice and easy to cool down. Good stretch after, especially around my knees. The muscles just above the knee caps sure got a workout.

I'm a bit surprised at how well I was running since my legs were various levels of creaky throughout the day, but decided it was time to push a bit harder. It's getting to be cooler weather in Calgary, but guessed right again, in shorts and two layers of tech shirts. I might have got away with one long sleeved tech shirt.

Soon it will be back into the tights again. I'm almost looking forward to it. I've had some great warm and even hot weather runs this year, but I really like running in the cold.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Mostly lovely swim, all lovely yoga

The Monday swim was ok, but nothing more. My legs were a bit tired from the weekend run, but nothing worse than I expected. Dance class was a disorganized mess, which disappoints me. I now appreciate how well organized the U of C dance club was about teaching.

No Tuesday run, instead there was a very good massage session. I was breathing to the right IT band, that's for sure. It hadn't felt tight, but was.

The Wed swim was the best it's been for a while. Up till now my stroke has fallen apart at about the 500 m mark. I couldn't see the clock very well, but it was feeling good and maintaining pace well past 500 m. The water feel and flip turns are coming back. I just hope the kid that surprise joined me near the end doesn't come back.

Then a wonderfully lovely yoga class tonight, full of all sorts of stretching goodness. I actually relaxed during the meditation and savasana. Pigeon pose!

The weird thing about today was that even though I felt a bit disjointed with the world, it wasn't me, it was the world. Everybody was walking really slowly. They somehow would get off the elevator, or out a door, and end up in front of me. Slowly. Sunterra was a gong show.

After work, as I was leaving the parking lot, a guy driving by, slowing down at just the right speed that if I'd known he was going to keep slowing down I could have gone. He eventually came to a halt in front of me to turn left into the parkade. No signal. Then he just about took out a pedestrian. Some days I wonder.

Turns out the external drive has died as well. I'd tried scrubbing it, writing zeros, partitioning, and everything I did kept taking longer and longer. Eventually the computer stopped noticing it entirely. I might be able to rescue it with more advanced tools, but I don't think I'll bother. I picked up two back up drives. I've already done a time machine backup on one, just to have it. That took half the time the old external drive did. Tomorrow I'll play with the other one a bit, and get some clone action going. Then one of the drives is going on a trip. I still haven't decided where.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Setting up the drool buckets

I learned my lesson last time. This time I've gone to the extent of plumbing in some blog drool drains. I think they'll be needed.

My buddy Sophia was doing her first multi-sport race today. I'd have gone anyway, since it was close to home, and it looked I might do a bit of baby sitting during the race, but it turned out not. She has a ton of pics to choose from to put on her blog, though it hasn't been updated as I write this.

I didn't know anyone else running, but did know several of the organizers and volunteers. Hello to Rose (watch out Steve King!), Madi, Richelle and Rowan, and the elusive Tessa. It looked like everyone had fun, and in spite of her fears of being undertrained, Sophia did awesome!

Once home I saddled up and headed up to the reservoir for the first time since late January or early February. Then my legs tightened up, then I ran on the beaches in Bermuda and made it worse, and came home with the cranky leg that troubled me for months.

Now they are behaving as expected. Did an easy run walk warmup, then tried to settle into an easy run pace. The graph looks weird.


Look at that pace line, the blue one. It's all over the place, yet the run times per K are perhaps the most consistent I've ever done. Nice and easy out, mostly down hill, and with the wind. Working a bit harder on the return, of course, but it all felt good. Stretched after. No, there will be no drooling about my times.

Some of you are vegetarians or the ilk (soy ilk in your case) so you might not get this. Those that eat meat, you know how a melt in your mouth steak feels? It's even better with Bison. Tenderloin of range fed bison, marinated in a wonderful sauce, and BBQ just perfectly. We almost didn't need a knife. Plus a nice salad with the awesome artisanal oil and vinegar on organic salad stuff. An amazing meal, topping off a beautiful day.

Now to nibble some hand made ice cream and the last of the summer berries, while sitting out on the patio. There, checking the drool drains. I knew they would be a good idea.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

iphoto backup rigamarole, RESOLVED!

Well, that is a huge relief. For those who have missed it, I had a hard drive crash a little while ago. The Time Machine recovery was pooched because it had corrupted some iPhoto files, which happened because iPhoto was open when the backup happened. Sigh.

Apple is usually pretty good about this sort of stuff. It is completely reasonable to assume that any random piece of software could be open, with any number of files open, when the backup happens. It isn't rocket science to realize that if the backup software can't cope with open files, they ought to warn the user that documents created by x software have not been backed up in some number of days, and please to close that piece of software and run the backup again.

So I've been struggling with the file that Time Machine created, and it is well and truly pooched. I had known there were many photos on the iPad, but assumed it was the last 1000 created by Photostream. Then I realized it was all of them. Yes, my friends, ALL of them. Lucky me. Now I just needed a way to get them off the iPad and back onto the Mac.

Apple does not make this easy. In fact, it's impossible with Apple software. Oh sure, getting what's in the camera roll is trivial. It's all the rest of the items in various folders in the photo app. Yet, I just finished coping about 4400 of those photos back to my iMac for backup.

The secret for me was an  iMac app called Wondershare MobileGo for iOS. It's $40, which is steep for an app, but it works out to less than a cent per photo. Cheap at twice the price. I've put them in folders to be opened with Preview, and dropped a copy back into iPhoto. It just finished churning away doing it's thing. The good thing is that it looks like they are back at the resolution they were, in spite of the warnings that they would be smaller because they couldn't convert back from the iPad optimized format.

The only downside is that it seems to be a bit arbitrary with file names, and wasn't good about keeping them in date order. I don't care. I suppose if I really wanted to, I could create a bunch of new folders and go through the whole library moving things and putting in tags so I can find things. At a minute a photo, that's about 100 hours. As if. The software does other stuff too, in moving things between the various Apple devices, better than Apple does itself.

Say it with me - the moral of the story is to turn off iPhoto and back up your data. Tomorrow's task is to scrub the external drive, check it, partition it, and get both a Time Machine and SuperDuper backup running on their own partitions. That's after I cheer on a buddy at a race, while baby sitting a small child who seems to like me. The mom has promised to search to search me and the car for duct tape. Good thing she doesn't know I have a buddy who lives in Turner Valley...

So where was I before I was so rudely interrupted? Working on my novel. I just got back into that. Turns out I lost a little bit of work there, the last saves never made it. That's ok. Trying to get more regular about runs and swims. Still working on that. I realized as I was going through things that I had started a plank a day, and fell off that wagon some time ago.

Friday, September 20, 2013

T-Rex and the tarpit, again

Some of you will remember me mentioning my inner dino. He's a T-Rex, but with an unfortunate predilection for tar pits, as in, trying to run in them. I'm not sure why. Here are some previous adventures:
here
here
and here.

The run Tuesday was kind of clunky, and I didn't run Thursday, so I headed out shortly after getting home today, after a good session warming up. It was slow. T-Rex in the tar pit slow. Again. It hasn't been like this for a while. I was hardly breathing at all, but my legs weren't moving.

It was a struggle to maintain a 7 min/K pace, and I didn't manage that for long. The whole 4 K took almost exactly 30 minutes, or 7:30 K pace on average.

Nothing was hurting, which is a good sign. But nothing wanted to move, either. Ran around and stopped at 30 minutes, with a good stretch session after. It actually feels better afterward than it did before. I almost wonder what it would be like to run again, but I'm not going to, not on top of butter chicken and lots of wine.

Finished Grace to Race by Sister Madonna Buder. I'm more impressed with her than ever. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that there is a lot about religion in it, which puts me off a bit. Still she is an amazing athlete by anybodies standard. She's had an interesting life. I'm not sure what my next read will be. I'm in a holding pattern at the moment, still working on trying to rescue the photos buried in the Time Machine backup. Though I'm beginning to give up hope. It looks like I've lost all of 2012. Still trying.




Tuesday, September 17, 2013

TIL about iPhoto backups

TIL stands for Today I Learned.

As you may have read I've recently gone through an iMac hard drive failure, and had great difficulty in restoring from a Time Machine backup. My user account is mostly restored (done old school thanks to advice from Steve), and applications, though I have to play with mouse settings. A few songs and an ebook got eaten.

And, wait for it, about 20 GB of photos. My big learning is that Time Machine can't back up photos properly if iPhoto is running. Since mine is always running because I periodically use them in my blogs, that means I have lost a bunch of photos. I don't know quite yet how many. Some have been restored, but there are a lot of blanks. The moral of the story is to periodically turn close iPhoto, and let the back up utility run.

There are a great many, 1000 to be exact, at least, on my iPad and iPhone. I need to think very carefully about turning Photostream on. What I think OUGHT to happen, is that it should see a file number on the iPad, and not on the iMac, and copy it over. That will probably leave a bit of a gap between the newest one that is backed up from Time Machine, and the oldest one recovered via Photostream. I have no real idea how big that gap is. The best of the photos of course, are here on my blog.

As I say, I'm going to think about this very carefully. The next steps are to see what else I might have lost. If I don't discover anything else, I'm going to consider myself quite lucky. Over the last few days I've heard some horror stories about hard drive failures.

A 2 TB drive like the one I have is $200, and there are a variety of choices around that price range. Carbon Copy Cloner is about $40, and there are other products. If you have a Windows computer there is probably an even larger variety of products to choose from.

The main activity is tidying up my desk. Storing away the various notes I made. Finding the various bills that need paying. Sorting out a big pile of email.

Ran this evening, a short one. Good warmup, a couple of longish strides, and cool down. Felt good.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Much happier now!

All the manual copying has mostly done the job. I've got a functional computer back again. In a few hours of looking, it seems I've lost a few songs and Open Office. The photos are a work in progress, however. They didn't come across as they should have, so I might have to play with that a bit. Still, the majority of them exist in other places, so I'm not too fussed about it. There is a bit more housecleaning to do before I declare it a total success.

Swam this morning, and water ran with Katie a bit.

Now that I can actually respond to blogs I'm going to make a pass through reading and commenting where appropriate.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The cannibal back up drive

This has been a very stressful week. I did not sweat the internal hard dive failure because I had a back up drive with Apples back up software running on it, even when it was annoying. I got my computer back last Wednesday evening, and I thought I was being clever in going back several days to avoid a back up made by a dying computer.

Imagine my surprise, shock, and horror after yoga when I discovered the recovery had failed. I went back a week, and woke up to a failed recovery. Then I found out the recovery attempts had eaten the OS on the internal drive, and I floundered around in the white screen of death till I got into the recovery disk. This is exceedingly clever of Apple. Holding down Command R while starting is your friend when things go bad.

After some poking around I discovered Time Machine had not made a back up in 12 days. I restored the OS, then went back 14 days. That took a long time, and failed. The phone calls to AppleCare started. This got bumped up to a senior advisor. Things get a bit hazy here.

I know a great deal of the data is there, possibly all of it. There is a file or something that is causing the restore to crash. The advisors strongly suspect that peeling back some of the corrupt backups, and trying a migration process would just take a lot of time and fail on the same file.

So we're doing it old school. Right now the computer is coping my user files, all 7721 and 104.35 GB of them. Needless to say this is going to take awhile. The latest advisor was pretty sure that if the prepare to copy could figure out how many files, and the size, the copy should go fine. Then we can look and see what else needs doing badly enough to manually do it.

The moral of the story is that your hard drive will fail. I've had 3 fail now. Something might happen to your back up copy. Check to see if it works. Learn how to test to see if a restore works. Some people keep crucial backups in the cloud, as they say now. That's where the latest text of my almost-novel is. I will be looking at some thing like carbon copy cloner, as an alternative way to make an additional backup. Big drives are cheap, I might even get a second one to keep off site somewhere.

Running is going well, even if I don't quite believe the one hour 14.3K run tonight. The one hour, light and happy feet, I believe, but it's more like 8 to 9 K. Several shorter runs during the week went quite well too.

And swims too! The water feel is coming back. My inner shark hasn't shown up though, so there is still lots of improvement needed.

Beakerhead was here in Calgary. Commander Hadfield is as awesome in person as in video. The rest of the gala opening was the most fun we've ever had at Jack Singer Hall. We wandered around the 3 sites for beakernight on Saturday, and had an excellent time. The weather was perfect. I am seriously impressed with Stickboy, the robotic drummer for Compressorhead.

So in short, I'm still reading blogs, but not commenting much on them, Facebook, or Twitter. Hopefully my computer will be back to its old self soon, and I can fully rejoin the social media world.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, September 9, 2013

The dead hard drive

The iMac has been getting pretty sluggish lately, and here I thought it was safari. Trying to clean it up, I noticed iTunes wasn't playing a particular song I like. That got me into a 'that song is not authorized' 'this computer is authorized' loop. Then I tried updating iTunes and that was it. Checked permissions and found a mess. Tried to fix that and got the fatal 'invalid node structure'.

I dropped it off at the apple store on the way home. As soon as I told him the story he said it was time to replace the hard drive. He did the same diagnostic, and got the same result. A new hard drive is almost twice the size of the dead one, and only a couple hundred dollars. Right now I'm all calm because there is a back up. It's worked before.

That means I'm blogging on the iPad, so I won't have as much to say, and there won't be comments. The iPad hates doing blog comments.

My legs still felt great all afternoon after yesterday's excellent run. It wasn't quite the mythical runners high you guys all talk about, but it was easily the nicest run this year, and that includes the Bermuda beach runs.

The swim today was happy-making too. My stroke is coming back, and my arms aren't protesting as much.

The brutal activity was ballroom dance again. Mambo, or Samba. One of them, and I can't tell them apart, and I can't hear the beat of the music even with my ear glasses. The foxtrot they do is quite different than the foxtrot I know. It's almost harder to do a different version of a known dance, than to learn a new dance. This is harder on my knees and legs than running is. Only 11 more classes. I can make it. I hope.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The great cat de-spooring

Although we do have great cats, as distinguished from big cats, though one of them is pretty big for a house cat, it's actually the de-spooring that was great. As in a huge effort. Hours worth. Here's me after a small part of de-spooring the actual cat, after Linda had spent some time on the furniture. You can't even see all the cat fur on my shorts. I should use that material like a chamois, it would probably work better than a comb.


Here he is, despondent after all the fur he placed so carefully in our house, has been vacuumed and sticky rollered up. Cat paw buffering quilts washed. Slip covers washed. All that hard cat work, washed away. It would be worthy of an entry in the sad cat diaries. He's probably sent the entry off already.

Here she is, sleeping off the rigours of socializing so much. She was a much admired cat today.

We had hoped to play some croquet today, but the rain washed away those plans. Maybe next year.

No fitness today, unless you count the diminishing weight bicep curl.
Maybe some writing tonight, I think I've figured out how to rewrite a scene for more action and suspense.


Friday, September 6, 2013

Naaco truck love

The swim is coming along. Up to 500 m, just over 10 minutes. Slow. At least my arms aren't falling off.  Oddly enough the pool is still mostly empty. That can't last much longer. There was another 20 minutes of kick and pull, and some pitiful intervals. My inner shark is in hiding for fear his shark buddies will make fun of him hanging out with me. Or something.

I've been meaning to try the Naaco truck ever since the Calgary food trucks burst onto the scene. Somehow it's never worked out till now. There was a Sundown Chowdown at Calgary Farmer's Market this evening. There was rain threatening so we decided to get there early, do some other shopping, and move it along.

Here's some of the trucks, including Fiasco Gelato with another awesome selection of gelato. Sometimes choosing between them is really hard, and I've had some excellent meals from the trucks. You can see the storm building in the background, but Calgarians love their food trucks, and won't let the possibility of rain get in the way of a good time.


Buried at the far end is the Naaco Truck.

And here it is!

I had the beef vindaloo, sort of a pile of beef, with lots of veggies and yummy sauce, on an open pita. Did I say it was yummy? Linda had the chipolte chickpeas, and really liked it. Both were very fresh, tasty and zingy, without being an assault on your taste buds. It was just the right amount of food.

Maybe next year I'll have to make it a goal to get something from each of the trucks during the summer. I'd thought of that earlier this year, but never did anything with it. Such a task would require a bit of planning and organization, to say nothing of food truck stalking. Trying to bag the elusive ones that don't show up so much could be hard. Maybe they're shy, though that's hard to believe.

Then some shopping for goodies. Yum Bakery. High Country Bison which is now being turned into chili. Lots of fruit. The hand made ice cream we love. The market was a bit quieter than normal.

The short work week zoomed by with hardly any time spent on the novel, other than things chugging over in my brain. Plus Beakerhead is coming up soon, and that will take time too. Expect to see a bunch of photos out of that.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The introduction to Borg life

So, a couple days with my new ear glasses. Feeling lost already? Read this to catch up.

Meetings at work are much better, even in the horrible room with the really loud ventilation. I can actually hear people now. It makes me wonder what I've missed.

Normally I don't have music on my phone; I keep the room for photos and stuff. I've been playing music into my ears at work for a while, but being wireless is awesome! I've yanked the earbuds out several times as I turn to scribble something on my whiteboard. Now I can do that no problem. I can even go to the small kitchen to top up on water and 4 times out of 5 the music carries on.

I can even carry on a conversation with the music going, because I tend to play it quite softly. Acoustic and classical sounds much better than through ear buds. Rock not so good. Yes, I'm hearing more stuff even in familiar music. Only two people have noticed, my office roomie and my buddy Lori I had lunch with the other day. If you know Lori D, send good thoughts to Regina on Sunday, she is doing the marathon.

For tonight's run I wanted to get the phone slaved to the ear glasses, and experiment a bit. It didn't work at first, but then I tried again and the bluetooth hooked up and started playing music. Nice. Then Linda called me. Without touching the phone the music dimmed, I answered the call, and chatted. She had no trouble hearing me, and I had none hearing her.

The acid test was taking it for  a run. There was a bit of breakup when I had it in my back pocket, but it was about the same carrying it. Not sure why. The music dimmed obediently for the Runmeter announcements every K. Hearing them up till now was totally dependent on ambient noise. Almost anything would drown it out. Now it goes into my ears and life is good. They don't move at all.

In order to make the bluetooth work there is a receiver to wear. It's the biggest thing of all, and is suggested to wear as a lanyard. I wear it under my shirt and it works fine. It didn't bounce around during the run at all. I wonder how it will deal with getting sweaty. I may have to find or make a little bag for it.

I'm still getting the volume controls sorted out, and getting used to having them in my ear canals. I'm glad I've warmed up with the ear buds. A couple times I've had to take them out, and scratch and tug at my ear. It tickles a little bit sometimes.

The most annoying thing so far is the muted sleigh bells I hear if something brushes against the top of the ear part. I'm not sure if that's normal, or if there is an adjustment that can take that out. Here's what one of them looks like.


Wed I swam in the morning, then water ran with Katie. I got a bit further swimming, but the water feel was very erratic. A couple laps felt good, but the last couple were slow and floppy. It will take a while to come around.

The run started clunky, very clunky, and gradually improved. Toward the end it was feeling pretty good. The main idea was to just get out and do it. 4K, 27 minutes. Hot and humid for Calgary, so I'm a sweaty unit once I got home.

Even the cats are hot. Here is Curtis being very languid.




Tuesday, September 3, 2013

First step to being Borg

Humans view prosthetics with varying degrees of alarm. At the moment, eye glasses are considered normal, though with the advancement of eye surgery they become an anachronism. Until very recently, prosthetics to replace a limb have been feeble replacements of of the functionality offered by our limbs, and there is still a long way to go.

For a long time hearing aids were almost worse than poor hearing. Linda's mom often complained that it didn't work very well. In fact, hearing aids have a bit of a bad rap in our society. For some reason people don't like the idea of wearing them. Maybe because there is the association with old age and senility.

I've known for some time that my hearing had degenerated. One day I woke up with tinnitus. It was after a work function at Shanks that was effing loud. At the time I didn't think much of the ringing in my ears. I'd had it before after rock concerts and other noisy experiences. Then it didn't go away. After a while I got it checked out and found out there is no cure. It didn't bother me much; I mainly thought of it as a bit of hiss on the soundtrack of my life.

Over the last couple of years I've noticed it has become much harder to pull voices out of background noise. So hard that often I don't bother. It would just get buried in the tinnitus. Then in a retirement book I read about people leaving hearing aids till it was too late, when even the best of them won't help. In some senses the brain can forget how to hear. I didn't want that to happen so I went for a hearing assessment.

Of course they want to sell hearing aids. (Why don't we call them ear glasses?) But I've taken these tests before, and I knew before it finished I wasn't hearing things I used to. The doctor showed me the graph. My hearing is normal in the low and into mid range. From there and higher frequencies it drops off big time. This is something ear glasses can help with, often quite dramatically.

I was fitted today, and holy crap! I never knew my car keys jingled against my leg when driving. I thought this keyboard was completely silent, but it's not, the space bar rattles a bit, and I've never heard it before. I'm looking forward to my first meeting at work. Lately I've found them a bit frustrating.

The bonus is that these ones come with a blue tooth receiver. I've already hooked my iphone and ipad to it. I can now play music at work directly into my ear glasses, no cord to get in my way. If the phone rings it will switch to that. I don't even need to take it out of my pocket, unless I want to see who's calling. As I read the manuals, I think I can persuade it to tell me who's calling, if the phone knows. I can put music on the phone, since I take that with me on runs, play the music into my ear glasses, and whenever Runmeter has an update it will dim the music for that, and switch back. I"m gathering it will cope with a phone call during a run as well. Not that anyone wants to hear me panting, some of them might get the wrong idea.

It's early days yet. The mechanism is tiny, and so far the ear piece for my eye glasses are jostling for space on top of my ear, and adding the sunglasses is a bit of a complication. When my hat rubs against the ear glasses there is a bit of a hollow rattling sound. But they didn't move even slightly during the run. The hearing doctor wears them during hot yoga. While they are water resistant, they are not water proof, so I can't wear them swimming.

So far, I'm impressed. My own voice sounds different. I might just have to go through my entire music collection and listen to it again. Just the bit I'm listening to now sounds quite different. It's not louder, it just seems more clear, and of course, there is more of the upper range sound. It's much more balanced.

I can easily see where the mechanisms will get smaller and smaller, to the point they are implanted permanently. Already there are contacts that can be worn for extended periods. People think nothing of having their phone remember things for them, look up things they don't know, or can't bring to mind at the moment. It's essentially a prosthetic for our brains. The phones are getting smaller too, to the point where the size limitation is the eyes and fingers that have to use it. Once they reliably figure out how to feed the visual output from the phone directly into our eye, implantation becomes an option.

There is lots of potential there. When people can phone each other just by asking their phone to, and nobody else hears the conversation, that's just the first step. Eventually things like group conference calls, and Webex seminars will happen entirely within our heads, and our implanted technology. How is that different than the Borg?

I mentioned going for a run. Just a short one, 4K, 27 minutes, with a bit of working fairly hard when I was warmed up.
I'm not sure what those big spikes are, I don't remember slowing down there. Overall it felt really good. My legs are a bit tired after, which is a huge change from feeling stressed or all pre-injury-achey.  Or maybe that's just the Borg inserting thoughts into my brain.

How about you? We're generally a healthy bunch, but what prosthetics do you use? Eye or ear glasses, dentures, artificial joints, pacemakers, artificial kidney or liver or heart, limbs, or what?



Monday, September 2, 2013

Floating, Yes. Actual swimming, somewhat

The Talisman pool is open, at last. It's a mood experience now. Normally it's brilliantly lighted, with additional sunshine coming in through the big windows of the training pool.

Now the lights are out on the competition pool. There are panels to herd you directly from the locker rooms to the training pool. It feels very unusual. They think the competition pool will open in another month, and in the mean time there won't be much solo lane swimming.

It was so nice to get back into the water. It's been more than two months for me. I was pleased to find that my stroke is rusty but serviceable, leading to lap times just a bit slower than what I'm used to. Just not very many laps. 250 m and my arms were ready to fall off. I switched to dolphin kick (with fins of course) and settled into 100 m kick, 100 m swim, alternating between front and back on the kick. That felt pretty good.

With her usual good timing my buddy Katie showed up for water running. I was happy to join her and give my arms a rest. We had a wonderful chat getting caught up. Overall I swam a bit less than 30 minutes, and water ran maybe an hour and 15 minutes or so. Once I got out on deck again I felt heavy.

Being in the water did a world of good for my legs, and for me in general. I've always liked being in the water. It's very soothing to feel it flow past your body, and it works your whole body in ways that running or biking don't. I'm looking forward to swimming lots over the fall as I try to get back into shape.

The rest of our day was a nice drive in the country to Dewinton and Black Diamond. I'm still cleaning up my blog from all the drool you guys left behind the description of the bison, so I won't discuss the chicken dinner tonight. It's been a wonderful long weekend here, 4 days of relaxing and puttering about. Hope yours was just as nice!

And yes, my blog roll has changed a bit. Thank you for noticing. My process as I discover blogs is to add them to an evaluation bookmark folder. After a while, if they stay current, and more importantly, continue to interest me, eventually they make the big time. Meaning my blog roll. There have been a few fitness blogs added, but there have also been some writing related blogs as well, and a couple of political blogs have probably snuck in. You can see the latest 25 shown, and more appear if you click the little show all button.

Some people break up their blog roll into different sections. One I follow has several sections. I've been musing about this for a while, and am interested in your feedback about this. Do you follow blogs by topic, and wish all the riffraff (as defined by you) would get sorted out of my blog? Do you like one longish list because it's easy to see when your favourite blog (after mine, of course) is updated? Feel free to comment.

A few have disappeared off the bottom. If someone hasn't updated for a long time, I assume they have moved on to other things that amuse them more. I wish them well, and hope they have fun. As the saying goes, so long and thanks for all the fish.

In a bit of foreshadowing, tomorrow my world changes. Look for an evocative blog title.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Bison. Tenderloin. Free Range Organic. BBQ

OK, you're drooling already, I get that, and I haven't even talked about the two different specialty marinades Linda made. Or her potato salad that I love, which is hard for me to say after a traumatic childhood incident. To say nothing of two kinds of specialty shop ice cream with fresh organic raspberries on top, eaten out on the patio in shady warmth.

Saturday we zoomed down Road to Nepal to get to the Millarville Farmer's Market to get a few things. There was a surprising number of bikes out, even though it was still early. I was missing the ride, but there is no way I'll be up for it this year, unless we get a really long Calgary summer. Like November long. My calves are still tender from the massage the other day. The rest of the day was quiet, with only mental struggles on the novel. I figured out how to resolve the temporal dispute between several of the bits, and am happily piecing more things together. The big question, which guy does Ceridwen pick? The bad boy/good boy that she can have, or the too good boy who she shouldn't fall for because of complicated circumstances?

Sunday is another beautiful perfect day out there. I got started on my run along with the heat of the day, and had a good solid run. 7 K, 47 minutes, one bottle of fluid with Nuun. Not quite as light and happy as the other day, but still good considering my (really really deep and firm) massage the other day. I was aiming for a fairly easy pace, and try to go a little longer. Lots of other people out running.

Long stretch after the run, then house chores. Then the BBQ, and good news!

Talisman pool is open!! Just the training pool, but still. Now to see if I still remember how to float. Tonight will be more novel struggles.

From here on it's photos for fun. I should make you guess what this is, but it's clouds from the other day.


Curtis, in a catnip haze. You can see some on his fur. Yes, we drug our cats. Don't judge us.

Leana posted a photo of her neat, tidy, well organized, efficient, beautiful bling wall. I am overcome with admiration. Oh, it's on Facebook, so no link. Sorry. Here is mine.

Yeah. With a side of this where I can see it on my bike trainer. More yeah. Some of hers are framed, even.

This is the potato salad before mixing. The cooking cognoscenti among you will recognize the ingredients.

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