Friday, December 31, 2010

I did the Butterfly!!

Surprise! I had to use fins.
That was during yesterday's swim, and I forgot to mention it. Can't imagine why. Maybe senility is setting in.
Surprise! You were expecting a year end wrap up.

What I really meant was for this to be a 2010 year end post.
Surprise! I'm not going to talk much about Ironman Canada.
Liar. Maybe. Let's see how this turns out.

I've known all along I didn't want to work full time till I'm old, then do geezery retirement stuff till I die. That's no fun. Part of the plan was to transition to working less than full time, and having more time for things I want to do. Some of you have heard me mention my buddy Alan who "aspires to schedule his work life the way most people schedule their vacations."

In the grand scheme of things it's gone pretty well, for the first year at it. I'd have liked to work a little more during the rest of the year, and a little less during the training peak for IMC, but I'm not at the stage where these things are under my control. In any case my two employers during the summer were everything I could ask for in terms of flexible working hours. Which, given the crappy weather that often moved in during the late afternoon allowed me to get in more rides.

I've no real idea how the work thing is going to go for 2011, but there were a number of inquiries early December, then I think everyone went into year end mode and put off whatever could be put off. Some of them are projects I'd really like to be involved with. If any of you happen to know of someone needing a business analyst please get in touch with me.

Keith's Odyssey to Planet Fitness reached a major milestone with the completion of of IMC in August. However, I gave the blog the title I did because fitness is no longer just a destination for me. One can't "do" fitness, check it off the list, and then forget about it like the naked tandem skydiving with the hottie instructor. Over the last three years my activity levels have gone up to levels I flat out wouldn't have believed 5 years ago. What's more, I want to keep those levels up by continuing to be active. Well, not active at training for IMC levels. That was a bit much.

But I do want to be active doing things I enjoy. I'm still hoping to get out and try snowshoeing this winter. I've been meaning to try for years. I'd also like to rent some cross country skis and see if I can still do that. On good days I'd like to take snowboarding lessons, but I'm under no illusions about that. My ballroom dance instructor took snowboarding lessons in her mid 40's and her teen aged daughter went along to laugh at her mom falling on her ass. It didn't happen. Not once. But then with her dance background one could have expected her to be balanced and coordinated. I'd expect to fall a lot.

About now lots of people set their race goals for the coming year. I haven't done that yet. Firstly I'm enjoying the unstructured activity too much. Second, I have trouble committing to a goal when I'm not healthy. My right knee is a bit wonky these days, though the ART/Chiro and Prolotherapy, to say nothing of regular leg exercises, have been doing good things. I'd like to get some solid bike workouts under my belt before making the assumption it's ready for regular, structured training building towards a goal race.

Speaking about training, I have not the slightest idea in the world how many K I ran or biked this year, or how many hours I swam. Nor have I any interest in doing any of the activities it would take to find an approximate answer. I'm kind of amazed that some bloggers can give their distances to the nearest 10th of a mile or K.

There are some thoughts about race goals, but that's all they are, thoughts. If I'm not ready in 2011 the race will still be there in 2012, or other races will be. I have to live with this knee the rest of what I hope will be a long and active life, so I don't want to bugger it up by trying to push it more than it's ready for. What are those goals, you ask? They revolve around half IM's where I think I have something to prove. It's funny, I'm quite reasonably convinced I could do IMC again, quite a bit faster, but I'm under no compulsion to actually go do it. On the other hand, there are several halfs I need to revisit. Grrrr.

Which reminds me, once upon a time I promised to take a photo of all the medals so far, because one of my readers wanted to enter a race that gave out finisher medallions. So here they are. It's surprisingly difficult to take a photo of shiny objects. What's more these are even in order, top to bottom, left to right, just like reading print.

Just for fun, since I'm posting photos, find the cat in this photo.

The really huge decision for me was to join Facebook. For a long time I thought about the privacy violations, and how much I enjoyed, in a curmudgeonly sort of way, being a technological Luddite. But then I noticed I was losing touch with blog buddies. Their posts became more infrequent. Fewer people were commenting. A couple of them hinted all the action was on Facebook, and they no longer had the time to blog. Too many words, or too slow a typing speed, or something. Later, when I got onto Facebook, all my suspicions were confirmed. Here is the proof. Unlike SOME people I understand that a link to a Facebook page might not be visible to all my readers, so I took a screen shot.

Which leads me to the saddest event of 2010, finding out that Route 40 in Turner Valley had closed their doors. It was quite simply one of the best places to eat within driving distance of home. It took about a half hour to drive there, but the mountain scenery was usually spectacular any time of day or year, and the food was awesome!

One of the things I get a kick out of reading blogs is the bleats of people much younger than me as they get older. I have a niece who was seriously spooked about turning 30. That seems impossibly young to me now, even though in my head I still think of myself somewhere in my early 30's. There are some things I wish I had done differently back then, but there's no crying about it. Those decisions helped make me the me that I am today.

Here I am 2011, happy, reasonably healthy, and good to go for another year. See you there!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Running Niggle-free

Started today with a swim. Short warm up, lots of kick and pull drill. 6 x 100 on 2 minutes, all under 100 seconds. Woohoo! Water feel was great. Chatted briefly with Jarrett. The pool was almost empty today, I almost wish I could have swum more and enjoyed it. 1.5 hrs swimming.

It's sunny out and nice, only -18 C (0F). Did my leg exercises to warm up, then ran 45 minutes. You know when you take your first steps you sometimes know it's going to be a good run? That was today. My legs felt strong, it was a great day to be outside, and I had a super run. Not one single niggly at all. Not fast, even by my standards, but the intent was remind myself of this whole running thing. Toward the end my calves were getting a bit tired so I called it at 45 minutes and walked 10 minutes home, stretched after. Most of the run was on cleared sidewalks, but probably half the run was on uncleared paths. I'm really pleased by this, given how little I've run in the last several months.

I just found our long awaited plans to visit S&K&E have to be put off a week. One of them isn't feeling well. Sigh.

Oh, and I put all my videos onto one blog page for easy reference, because I know you're all dying to see whichever ones you have missed. Look down below my blogroll for the pages. It's called My Videos. Here's a direct link for the lazy.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A lazy swim; it's also not too cold out either

Right now, mid-afternoon, it's not quite -17 C (2 F) so I'd call it just a bit brisk, especially since there's a light wind blowing and a bit of snow coming down. What with an ART/Chiro session and a strong 30 minute core session I'm not really up for a run today, but one is on the books for tomorrow. It should be about the same temperature, but maybe sunny, so it should be a good day for a run. Core included 13 pushups (a new record for me!) 50 squats and 100 crunches. Plus other stuff. Felt pretty good.

News from the ART/Chiro session is good. My doctor says the muscles and stuff around the knee feel stronger, and the whole joint feels more stable. It seems to be responding well to the treatments. Maybe this weekend I'll have another go at the bike and see what happens.

But this morning I was feeling lazy, and didn't want to swim too hard. So I relaxed and thought about my stroke trying for smooth and relaxed and easy. The feel of the water was there big time! Mz Elegant joined my lane so that was encouragement to not lollygag around in the lane or I'd get run over.
1K 18:30
2 K 37:12
I figured that was enough so I started some kick and pull drills, alternating with some faster swim sets to keep up with the two other guys that joined when she finished up. Yeah, I admit it, my inner shark came out to play. It was kind of fun lapping them, especially since one of them at least was trying to keep ahead. I really didn't want to push it too hard so I called it a swim at 1.5 hr mark. The only pauses were to take the fins off or on, so I'm guessing I swam somewhere between 4 and 4.5K.

Chatted after with a couple of the guys that had been in the pool. I'll be seeing one of them at the Mercury Rising Swim Camp, and told another about it, so I might be seeing him too.

I happened to be downtown a little while ago and went through some of the +15 space. They've been doing a bunch of renovations on it, along with still working on the Devonian Garden space. This was THE primo space in downtown Calgary to eat your lunch in winter, since it's a fully enclosed 3.5 acre multi level rooftop garden space. It's supposed to re open soon, and I can't wait. It was amazing before. Here's what the +45 space looks like. One entrance to the Devonian Gardens are just behind me in this shot. It's from the east end of the +45 looking west towards the food court.

Same spot, looking down a bit more.

Looking down even more.

Here's a partial view of a glass bridge that's not yet open. This is looking more east.
 Moving along a bit and looking almost straight down. Those glass panels look down onto a street. All this is a big pedestrian bridge between two buildings, part of the +15 system. This is one of the reasons that people working downtown don't mind winter so much. Once you're inside you can go almost anywhere, if you don't lose your sense of direction, and can get through some of the non-intuitive bits. It's an amazing space. There are at least 57 bridges connecting the buildings downtown, and about 16 K of space connecting them. It's a great place to stroll. I have had dreams of doing a running race through one of the bigger loops, once the Penny Lane section is rebuilt. Here's a map, which includes The Bow, but not the Penny Lane section, even though both are at essentially the same construction stage.

Just to round out the tour of downtown, here's the new tallest building in Western Canada, Encana's Bow building. 58 floors, 236 m (774 feet) high. Looking nice! Just because I love this sort of thing, here's a time lapse video of them working on the first 10 stories or so. I'd love to see the same thing for the whole building.

And now my hair is dry again, so it's time to go shovel snow. We've got it light compared to some, like the US NE area. But Vancouver Island has been getting dumped on as well. The Mount Washington ski resort got nearly 3 m over several days, then in the last 24 hours they got another 2 m of snow. I'm glad I'm not digging that out.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Lotsa swimming, no crunches.

I was a bit of a slacker over Christmas, but I'm getting back on the wagon again here. Monday I met up with Richard at Canyon Meadows. I ended up swimming 2 hours doing lots of different stuff, including a drill where you always have to finish the 50 at the top of the clock, and every time you start one second later. That was fun. Lots of kick drill and other arm drill. After we went for coffee and a great chat.

Tuesday was an hour of swimming. I tried that same 50 m drill but this time looking at my watch to do it on the second. Coming back on the 12th one I didn't make the time. Went into the dive tank for a half hour of water running that felt really good.

Supposedly I was to have an ART/chiro session, but the office was closed. Maybe it's for tomorrow. My knee is feeling pretty good, though it was a bit achey during my walk today.

The slacker period ends tomorrow for core as well. I've been doing the leg exercises, but not the core workout. So much for 300 crunches every day for a month.

The pools have been quiet this week. Too quiet, as they say in the old Western movies. I fully expect a swarm of resolutionistas in the pool next week. Getting in the way. Swimming in the wrong lane. Taking up all the good lockers. Sigh.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas run

We had a wonderful quiet day today. Opened some gifts. Drank coffee. Chatted. I took two wine kits to the next stage. The white clumped together beautifully. It's going to settle out in a nice layer that will make it easy to rack it for the bottling. This photo was taken less than a minute after I stopped stirring, and you can see the dead yeast clumping together and falling like snow. That's the way it should be.

I got in a solid 45 minute core workout, 3x100+1=301 crunches, 50 squats, but only 10 pushups. It's hard to keep the core under control when a huge belch comes out. Then out into a nice day for an easy 35 minute 5 K run. There were some twinges, but the sorest spots was the back of my calves just below my knees. It was about 0C so I only needed to wear tights and a long sleeve tech shirt over a short sleeved shirt. Stretched afterward and showered.

In the meantime Linda had been working on Christmas dinner. Roast goose with orange slices, carrots, potatoes, core, and stuffing. Blackberry gelato for dessert. mmmmmmm. This is what it looked like before we dived in.

Oh, and the chocolate moose box? All gone.

Sunday was some errands and family stuff. 3x100=300 crunches plus leg exercises, 30 minutes.

Normally I'd put a weekly summary here, but I'm not going to bother. There is only about 30 minutes of running cardio, and lots of core stuff.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas tree decorating

The time has arrived. We got our tree decorated. We can even prove it with 5 minutes of video. Pity we didn't figure out where the centre of the camera view was. Nor could I make iMovie do a true time lapse, but this is more fun this way, since you get a close look at some of our ornaments, some commentary, and most important, wine!

In other news, the chocolate box is almost gone. Here's the last little bit remaining. It was very good.

I've done nothing for workouts since yoga on Wednesday. NOTHING! I'm not training for anything, and I've enjoyed sleeping in the last few days, and doing what I like during the day. So I don't need to be working out at this time of year. Nor will I feel guilt for what I eat. Next week I'll be back on the fitness wagon again. That's soon enough.

A quickie question for you all

There is a reason I'm wearing hearing protection in this picture. A real reason, not just some frivolous thing. Now that you're all deeply into the Xmas cheer beverages, I'm curious as to what your imaginations will produce for a reason.

There will be another, more serious post later, perhaps with a video, if I can get it to work like I want. Yes, that's a small part of the wine racks in the background.

I suppose, since I have some Southern readers, that title should have ended with a y'all. If I spelled that right.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tagged by Nicole Haute Runner

What are you most proud of accomplishing in 2010?
Easy. IMC. That was my goal for a bunch of years, and I probably worked hard for that than I've done for anything else. Some days I think I'm still recovering 4 months later.

What are your running goals for 2011?
I haven't set any yet. I'd love to break 2 hours for a half marathon, doubly so if that half is part of a half IM.

What was your favorite race?
I think Wasa actually. It's the first race I ever did where I exceeded my goals, had fun, and felt great after. Plus, I got to watch a buddy get a prize. How cool is that? Now that I think of it, I'm amazed she doesn't pay my way into more races. Clearly, she's podiuming because I'm there, inspiring her or something.

What is your favorite holiday guilty pleasure?
I have no guilty pleasures. At least none that I've indulged in. If twin redheaded depraved hotties happen to come along, with some real whipped cream and a supply of chocolate, then there would be some pleasures I'd probably better feel guilty about if I want to stay married, assuming I lived through the experience. As for the pleasures I've indulged in, I feel no guilt about chocolate, date squares, nanimo bars, good wine, chocolate chip cookies, and, well, I could go on, but I'd blow up all your diets, and while I wouldn't feel guilty about your failings, I would feel bad that I had reduced the supply of those wonderful products.

What is your most embarrassing running moment?
On the scale of what my blog buddies admit to in writing and all, I have had no embarrassing moments. Well, there was the stationary crash at the mount line of Chinook 2009. That was pretty bad. But no transparent bathing suits. No bio incidents (though there have been some close calls.) No clothing ripped off with the wetsuit. No unfortunate zipper incidents. No really bad race photos. (I've always wondered if the guy caught doing the farmer blow planned it that way?)

Lets see, who should I tag? It should be someone I've never tagged before. Someone who will respond. Hmmmmm. All of you are busy guzzling Xmas cheer, snarfing cookies and other holiday goodies, and so busy trying to end up under the mistletoe with some hottie (yes you, you know who are) that you wouldn't be doing the tag thing. On the off chance that I have a reader that isn't doing any of those things, and wants to be tagged, well, consider yourself tagged, and leave a comment here so I know to go look at your blog, especially if you aren't listed on my blogroll.

Beer with my buddy SD after he escaped work today. Fun! Guinness, mmmmmmm. Got home and almost immediately pounded out my 2x150 crunches plus leg exercises, 30 minutes. Then to yoga, last class of the year.

I was thinking about swimming this morning, and if I'd been just a bit better organized I could have got it done. But I slept in instead. Sleep is good.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Feeling better

Monday was total blah. Or maybe it's bleh. I did not feel like doing anything. My nose was running like a tap. The high point of the day was a chicken wrap that Linda made up, with chicken (naturally) jalepeno peppers, refried beans, tomatoes, lettuce, gaucemole, and lots of other goodies. That and watching a bunch of season one SG1 waiting for the eclipse. Which was a disappointment since it clouded over during totality, but before and after was clear. No core, no swimming, no nothing. Just nose blowing. I think the people that were in the pool appreciated my not showing up.

Weekly Summary, which in the eagerness to get the Chocolate Box video up, I forgot to do on Sunday.
Swim 5.0 hrs
Bike .33 hrs (though I didn't even break a sweat, so the aerobic impact is marginal at best.)
Run 0.0 hrs
Walk .75 hrs (this was brisk enough to break a sweat, a little bit)
Water Run .5 hrs
Total Cardio 6.5 hrs
Core 5.0 hrs

Tuesday I'm feeling better, almost back to normal.
I know you all want to know how that chocolate box is working out. All the individual chocolates have been eaten, and now we're starting in on the box. It is surprisingly sturdy. The lid will be last, and the moose antlers the very very last. Though we have been informed that it is actually an elk. As if that makes any difference.

The big question I have for today, and it's still unresolved as I write this, is if I should do 600 crunches today to make up for the 300 I didn't do yesterday. So far today there is the 3x100=300 crunches. 12 pushups, which I think is a record for all at once, or getting close to it. 50 squats. 75 seconds of plank. And other stuff to fill out the 45 minutes. But the afternoon is still early, or sort of early. It is possible for me to go downstairs again later, and power out another 300 crunches. Decisions, decisions.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Only 20 minutes. And Chocolate!

I haven't been on the bike for a while now, letting my knee do it's thing. Hopefully that involves healing up. Today I decided to try an easy easy spin, just to see how it feels. I lasted 20 minutes before I started getting twinges and aching, so I stopped.

Did my core, 3 x 100 crunches and leg exercises, 30 minutes. Iced the knee. Now comes Stargate Univers and munchies.

Oh, and Linda found a great chocolate item at the Kingsland Farmers Market. Check it out.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Those ou Words

Never let it be said I'm not responsive to those few readers I have. I posted a video yesterday of the various clocks in our house. Turns out I missed one; the thermostat has a clock in it too, but we never use it.

Rebekah asked for more ou words. There's a bit of an in-joke there I explain in the vid. Turns out maybe those people looking at a camera and reading a script are earning their money after all. It's surprisingly hard to do.

This is pretty raw. No colour enhancements, no extra lighting beyond a desk lamp. The reflections from what's on the computer screen shows up on my glasses and there's no way I know around that that doesn't have me looking in some other direction entirely, which would look even more dorkish than this does. I've tried using the computer camera during the day, but the light from the window behind me lights up my hair and makes it look like a halo.

My only workout today is core. 3x100=300 crunches. 11 pushups. 50 squats. Plus a bunch of other stuff, including the dreaded plank. Which isn't as bad as it used to be. Even the crunches have improved, since I got through all of them without having to support my head. I guess my neck muscles have improved, even if nothing else has.

Friday, December 17, 2010

First iMovie: The Clock

The workout of the day was sleeping in, dealing with my sore throat, and playing with iMovie. I've never done anything like this. The iPhone makes a perfectly serviceable video camera for my purposes. I've done a few where I just took the whole clip and whatever the mic recorded and used that as a movie. But this time I wanted to put together a bunch of clips, and try some transitions, and titles, and a voiceover. The only main thing I didn't do was put a soundtrack on it. Instead, you get to listen to my husky voice. What do athletes care a lot about? The time on the clock. So I filmed all the clocks in our house, and because there were so few I also filmed stuff where other people have clocks.

Short core session. 3x 100 crunches. Leg exercises. 30 minutes.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

eau d'pool

Only an hour in the pool this morning. More of the same, warmup, lots of kick, pull, arm drill. 5 x 100 on 2 minutes in less than 100 seconds. Happy! Shared the lane with Mz. Backstroke, and we chatted a bit while stretching after. Water ran for 15 minutes, knee feeling pretty good, though tired.

Iced the knee anyways when I got home. It snowed most of the day, making me want to just snuggle in with Amelia the cat and read. And nap too, a little bit. I've got that tickle in my through that makes me wonder if something is coming on. Took a big hit of vitamins and stuff and decided not to go to spin class. I think my knee would have been ok, but lots of people hinder their recovery by starting in on workouts before the healing is complete. I'd rather take a few extra sessions off now, playing it safe, than to stretch out the recovery, or worse, re-injure it again forcing a much longer break.

Then 45 minutes of core in the evening, including 3x100 crunches, 50 squats, and 10 pretty good pushups. Plank as well, plus lots of leg exercises. As I was doing this, all I could smell was swimming pool. Not a bad smell, all things considered. It could be much worse. Even by my standards my hair is getting out of control. It's getting to be time for another chop job. If I didn't have to look presentable for work periodically, I'd probably just buzz the whole works off and be done with it.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Getting colder here as the Christmas miasma settles in

Today was a bit slower getting started. Even after the massage my neck and shoulders have been tight, so I put some Tiger Balm on them last night and that seems to have helped.

Slow and easy warm up ending up being 1.5 K in 28:30. Kick and pull and arm drill. Lots of all that. Cool down with back stroke and a really easy front kick with board. That took about 5 minutes to go 50 m, but it's a really good shoulder stretch. No water run, not enough time. No fireworks, no nothing. I had the lane to myself the whole time, 1.25 hrs.

As I was getting out, another couple were getting in. They swim with fins. I saw them one day earlier this week; I was sharing a lane with one of them. Suffice to say that I passed him even though I think he was going all out front crawl. (Is it still front crawl if you're wearing fins? Or is it a kick drill?) At least that's what his breathing at the end of every couple of hundred metres indicates to me.

From there to my ART/chiro. Let's just say there was some discomfort there, and I ended up icing my leg and knee for a while when I got home. Amelia the cat doesn't really know what to think about ice packs.

Later was 3x100 crunches, and 9 mostly pretty good pushups in addtion to my leg exercises. 30 minutes.

Yoga had a brutal pose. I think it's called Monkey pose, or something like that. Balance on one knee, put foot out in front on a sock or something on the smooth floor (not the mat). Then hands to the floor, and slowly straighten that leg out, toes up, pushing it forward. Then (if you aren't screaming) slide even further forward so your groin comes closer to the floor. Hips stay square so the legs are going out fore and aft. Splits is another way to put it. Ouch. Next week is our last class of the session, and we get to pick our pose. I chose feet up the wall or shoulder stand. Those are my happy place.

Richard, send me an email when you get back into town and you deal with whatever fires are on your desk.

GQH, I'd be delighted to talk about this semi-retired lifestyle. One of my co-worker's goal in life was this - "I want to schedule my work life the way most people schedule their vacations." That seems like a noble goal to me. I'm still working out the bugs.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The force of habit

Habits can be a good thing. Several times force of habit has got me going on a workout. But today my habits lead me astray. Either that or I wasn't awake yet.

In some pools they ask people to swim in circles so that people on each side of the lane rope are going the same way. In practical terms it means that one lane swims keep right, while the next one swims keep left. The idea is to reduce the number of chances of rapping knuckles with people swimming in the opposite direction.

It works great as long as you remember which way you're going, and this morning I didn't. I ended up sharing a lane with a sloppy swimmer. He let me pass on the first lap, swimming keep left. As I got back to the end I started from I flipped, and started swimming back keeping RIGHT. Oops. The guy coming and I saw each other in time to avoid bumping which is good. I'm still asleep, and it took me a few seconds to realize what was what, and by then he said he didn't want to talk about it, and wandered off to another lane. About then I figured it out, and I would have apologized but he was going and didn't want to talk to me. I felt kind of bad about that because he was right, and I was wrong. He had every reason to believe that we were all sorted on our swim direction and I goofed. He complained to a lifeguard about it, which puzzled her because by then I was back in the pattern. She talked to me later and I explained.

Even so it turned out to be a pretty good swim. 1.5 hrs with lots of kick drill, some with fins, some without. I really need to work on this. I kick from the hips like they say, nice and tight, but I don't really go anywhere. I see other people kicking and it's like they've got an outboard motor powering them along. After the swim about 15 minutes of water running.

Later in the evening 45 minutes of core. A blog buddy has started a crunch challenge, 300 per day till mid Jan. Another blog buddy recently completed the 200 squats challenge. I suck at push ups and plank, so I want to work on those. So here's tonight's numbers.
Crunches 3x100=300
Squats 50
Pushups 8 (we're talking slow with good form, not whambamthankyoumaam.
Plank 60 seconds. Plank right after crunches probably isn't the best possible order.

And since I've done a couple shout outs, here's one for Neil who's running a Gu contest on his blog.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Shoulder massage. Short rant.

I skipped KBRCC on Sunday, much as it pained me to do so. But when I have to think about my knee and take it easy going upstairs, it's not going to be a good day on the bike. Plus I managed to sleep in a bit, which is a rarity.

Monday was 1.25 hrs in the pool. A nice easy K to warm up, and I needed lots of warmup. Kick and pull. Stroke drills. Some 100 m intervals, though they were a bit on the slow side. Cool down. Then 15 minutes water running in the dive tank.

My massage therapist asked me to move Sunday's appointment to Monday, so after shuffling around some stuff I finally got my shoulders worked on. Last week was the biggest swim week ever for me and I was feeling it a bit.

I suppose I should count the walk in Chinook Mall today. No, not Christmas shopping. Bah! There was a catastrophic failure of swim shorts as I was putting them on. I'm just glad I noticed. I used a backup pair, and added that to my list. About 45 minutes from one end to the other and back.

The dangerous part was walking past the Apple store. It's easily the most crowded store in the mall, except for maybe the Chapters.

The scary part was the walking in general. People texting while they walk; I was tempted to hip check one person. People stopping to chat in the walking lanes, rather than moving over a few feet into the space between the chairs. One of these years I'm just going to push those people over and trample them. And I have zero patience for ditherers that don't know where they are going. It's like they just woke up and are trying to process the idea they are in a mall. And the other people that get my goat are the ones that don't signal their turns. There are all sorts of subtle ways to indicate where you're going so that those about to overtake you can make the appropriate plans. Till they do something unexpected. Grrr. Lastly, don't get me started on double wide strollers.

Weekly Summary
Swim 4.75 hrs
Bike de nada
Water run .5 hrs
Run .5 hrs
Total cardio 5.75 hrs
Core 2.0 hrs

Saturday, December 11, 2010


First, I must disappoint some of my readers, who are thinking I'm going to be talking about some position for having sex that I've discovered during long years of research and meditation during workouts. Sorry.

Nor have I made any breakthroughs in my own flexibility. My yoga teacher has been very kind not to describe me as a heap of animated semi-articulated bricks, but it would be the truth. Touching my toes happens more often now, but it still makes makes my day. I forget the name of a pose we were supposed to do on Wed at yoga, but I took one look and bailed. I even did a variation of pigeon, normally one of my fave poses, to take it easier on my knee.

I refer to my flexibility in adapting the workout plan depending on how I'm feeling at the moment. Except there isn't a plan these days, other than what comes to me as I get into the pool, or put my running shoes on. And really, it's not quite as loose as "how I'm feeling" which with many people is an excuse to blow off the workout and raid the stash of chocolate bars. So I suppose I should change the title to something but I'm not going to. It's all the way up there, and I'm working on down here now. So much for flexibility.

Normally Saturdays are my rest days. We like to get a slow start to the day with coffee and the papers. But it turns out some snow blew in late Thursday night and Friday morning. The roads were a mess. As well, I'd had a prolo shot on Thursday, and my knee wasn't very happy about it all day. So much for Thursday spin class. Even Friday it wasn't feeling up to coping with the world, so I took it easy and hung out at home. Some days there are real advantages to a semi-retired lifestyle.

I've been trying to work on my core strength and have been doing pretty good. Tuesday was the day on the agenda for that, but when a sweet young cutie invites you to come swimming and give her tips, it's hard to say no. And I didn't. But when I got home and ate, I didn't much feel like doing anything. Thursday after the shots I sure didn't feel like doing anything that involved making my knee work hard. Friday I was just lazy.

So, I can hear the chorus, what did you do on Saturday to banish the laziness? Lots of driving for one thing, dropping Linda off at yoga in the deep south east, then driving all the way to Crowfoot in the far north west to pick up something, then back to get Linda, then to the library to drop off and pick up stuff.

Shortly after that I held in my gut, clenched the butt, and started the core workout. Grrrrr. It went pretty well. Plank and push ups included. No side plank yet. Then running. It's only -5 C (23 F) and sunny, so pretty nice. Started easy, since I haven't run for about a week. The first K was a lot of bodily complaints. This is normal and the only ones I'm paying attention to is my knee. It took about a K to warm up and find a stride, and things went really well. For a while I had a knee issue, sort of on the inside, underneath the bottom of the knee cap. Not painful, but enough to notice. Yeah, I know, how accurate and scientific. A few steps walking and shaking it a bit, and a stretch seemed to help. I changed my stride a bit, and it was fine for the rest of the run. I suppose if someone had a gun to my head I could have gone longer, but I didn't really want to.

This was an easy 30 minutes, mainly so my legs don't forget what few running skills I already have. The pace was easy enough I could have breathed through my nose for the whole thing. The actual cardio is coming from swimming these days. After a bit of stretching afterward, I was snoreonerated by Amelia the cat. Naps are nice.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Abuse of authority

Long-time blog readers will have noted here several discourses about people seemingly unable to participate in activities using shared facilities. Lane swimming is an example that frequently comes to mind. Yesterday I was sharing a lane with Mz. Backstroke. She isn't the fastest swimmer in the pool by a long shot, but I love sharing a lane with her. Why? She keeps track of where the other swimmers are, and will let them by at the turn. She has never once been in my way, and I've shared a lane with her probably once a week at least for several years. In addition, she swims neatly and predictably. No flailing limbs, no zig zagging down the lane, no big splash.

Many of the other swimmers at FOMC, (more commonly known as Renfrew) are equally considerate about letting faster people swim through. While I'm often one of the fastest people in the pool, I'm acutely aware there are several people that make me look like I need remedial lessons. I recognize their swim suits and stroke, to say nothing of the steam rising from the water in their wake, and I stay out of their way. I also try to watch to see exactly what they're doing, which is a bit of a problem given how shortsighted I am. There is a firm line between the looking at each other we need to do to avoid running into each other, or to make conversation, or to watch someone's stroke to see what they're doing, and being a pervert about it.

So yesterday me and Mz. Backstroke are coming to the lane end. She knows I'm behind her and is neatly tucked over to her side. I'm swimming down the centre of the lane just coming up beside her feet knowing she will pause while I turn. As far as we know there is nobody else in our lane. Except for the jerk that climbed down the ladder as she was moving toward that space. She stopped abruptly. I see her feet touch bottom about 6 feet before I expected it, just as I'm breathing and getting set up for a flip turn. At about the last second I realized someone had gotten in Mz. Backstroke's way, and was now standing right at flip turn central.

You don't have much time to think. Anybody that rude is likely to push off just then. At the last second I converted to an open turn just to keep an eye on him. Told him "wrong place to be, pal", and pushed off. Mz. Backstroke pushed off right on my feet, and I was happy to see him swimming in the next lane over.

There's been a few incidents at the pool where there has been a confrontation between people. I remember one guy looking at the lane with two people swimming circles, keeping left, per the board right there so the two lanes are going the same way right along the lane rope. So he gets in and starts swimming keeping right (which often happens in violation of the sign), and deliberately ran over one of the nicest people swimming there, then got in her face and tried to bully her into admitting she was wrong and should have been watching for him. He even dragged in the pool supervisor, since a "mere deck lifeguard" (his words) clearly wasn't important enough to resolve the dispute. All involved told him he was being a jerk, though in nicer language than that. He didn't like that much and got huffy. In the change room after considerably stronger language was used.

Also yesterday, just as I was leaving the pool, the news was talking about an incident where an "11-year veteran was charged with one count each of assault and uttering threats". They made contact and there was a "verbal altercation". Here's the story as reported by CBC. The radio said the cop threatened and bullied the other patron. I know nothing more about it.

Every swimmer has rapped knuckles with another swimmer. We've all been touched by someone else who is swimming a bit wider, or has had a turn go wrong, or something. It's no big deal. We've all had to cope with having a slow swimmer in our lane that doesn't get out of the way, and doesn't seem to realize they are in the wrong place. It happens and we cope. I'll apologize even if I'm pretty sure it's the other guy's fault. We're all there to swim, and we all helped pay for the facility.

I freely admit there is a bit of a swim lane Nazi in me that would like to see people swimming together, like with like. Mainly that's sorted by speed. Or those doing intervals and are watching the clock to the second. All the breaststrokers should have their own little ghetto lane. Except for the ones who swam it competitively and can keep up, and keep it narrow. I'd rather swim in a lane with 4 other swimmers going my speed, than a lane with 2 swimmers going different speeds.

Earlier this year there was a G20 meeting in Toronto and a similar meeting at a resort north of Toronto. It was a massive exercise in denial of civil liberties. The cops over reacted in closing off public areas, and dealing with peaceful protesters. There is video of Mr. Nobody (that is really his name) being beaten by cops who have concealed their identities. They essentially behaved like a gang of organized thugs.

There are other cases. Perhaps the most famous one is where 4 cops tasered a man to death in the Vancouver airport, then lied about it. A video was released catching them in the lies. They changed their story slightly, and lied some more in court about it.

In some places cops charge people with obstruction of justice when they use cell phones to tape police activies. I don't know if that has happened here, but it's outrageous. Cops acting in the line of duty in public have no expectation of privacy. Filming them, providing restrictions about access to the scene are obeyed, doesn't restrict them from working. What it does is inhibit them from is abusing their powers. I fully recognize cops have to go into charged situations and deal with it. They don't get much time to think about it. The consequences of a mistake can be very serious. I'm inclined to cut the cops some slack on this.

Some slack. If there are x many complaints about excessive police force in a year, filed against x (or near x) many cops, and all are investigated, and all cops are cleared, then I'm not likely to be too fussed. But when the same cop, or cops are alleged to have engaged in excessive force again and again, then something is fishy. These are the cases where cops can't be investigating themselves, although it shouldn't happen at all. This is where civilian oversight is needed. Civilian oversight with huge sharp fangs. They need to be able to go in with enough authority to break up a cop clique.

Our society gives some people extra rights and responsibilities. We let firemen and ambulance drivers violate the rules of the road to deal with an emergency. (Though I still think a front facing camera should be mounted on each emergency vehicle, and every single time the lights and siren are on, someone ought to review the tape looking for drivers that didn't get out of the way. Those drivers should be spanked hard. I saw it today. I digress.) We give cops guns and tasers, with guidelines on how and when they should be used. We let judges make decisions about who goes to jail. They all know stuff about us we don't want our friends to know. They can look up stuff about us. Some of them can add things to our database files. That power is scary.

We expect all of these people to exercise good judgement in the execution of their duties. Quite frankly, we expect them to be better people in general than most of us. Our society is so complex that it simply isn't possible to write a rule for every circumstance. We rely on people having good judgement about what an appropriate response is. We rap knuckles in the pool, exchange sorries, and carry on without a further thought. Someone gets in the lane without consideration for what's already happening there, someone politely but firmly tunes them in. Most of the time it's ignorance as in not knowing, as opposed to ignorance as in being a jerk.

Then we get into that cop having an altercation in a swim lane. Again, I don't know what caused it. I don't know the circumstances. But it sure sounds like abuse of authority, since a threat from a cop carries considerably more weight than from a random member of the public. People say, he's off duty, cut him some slack. Well, if an off duty cop can arrest someone and write up the report as if he was on duty, then, in fact, he's never off duty. And what else has he been up to? Any other accusations of excessive force, or other un-cop-like behaviour? We need to look at these situations very carefully. Anyone can have a bad day and lose it, even a cop or a judge. But once we start to see a history of it, then that person has to go. End of story. They aren't the right kind of person to be a cop, to be trusted with that sort of power.

Many years ago I had a job interview that in terms of getting the job didn't go well for me. The guy was an old pro and quickly determined I was the wrong kind of person for that job. In hindsight he was totally correct. We ended up having a nice chat. It turned out he almost didn't care about the technical skills involved. He said he could teach the skills to almost anyone, but what he couldn't teach was attitude and the minute to minute social skills involved. (It was a sales job and I was a callow youth.) He said lots of people can fake it, for a while, but eventually their true stripes will show.

Same with cops. A cop can make a mistake, even a serious one, and it can be treated as a learning experience. But a cop that's a bully at heart, or holds the homeless in contempt, or thinks that drug addicts aren't human, or that legitimate protesters are terrorists, or has bought into the "if you aren't a cop you're the enemy" mindset, is going to show those stripes eventually, and the only solution is to remove them from the force before they infect other cops.

Even more importantly, they need to be removed to protect other cops. The RCMP has been badly wounded over the DziekaƄski incident at the Vancouver airport. By trying to cover up it and other cases they have lessened the respect in which the organization is held. People are more suspicious of them, more likely to be uncooperative in encounters with them, all of which makes it more difficult to solve crimes. People wonder if the cop they are talking to is going to go postal on them. We teach kids that cops are where to go when they are in trouble. Well, in at least some cases, especially if you're Native, or black, or can't speak English well, cops ARE the trouble. And that is a very sad thing for our society.

Swam an hour this morning, a mixed bag. Felt tired and slow beside several other faster swimmers. Water ran 15 minutes in the dive tank. My knee is feeling a bit cranky today.

Prolotherapy shots after the swim, and now it's feeling really cranky. It feels full, and stiff. The spin class tonight is looking like a definite maybe.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The old pool

Easy swim today, just an hour. Long warm up. Kick, pull, lots of backstroke, which seems to be getting better too. Worked hard on technique. Nearly flip turned into some jerk who got into the pool and was standing around with his thumb where the sun don't shine. I had really nowhere else to go, since my lane mate was there too. I surfaced, glared at him during my open turn and said "wrong place to be, pal" and pushed off again. Fortunately he was smart enough to swim in the next lane over. Don't these people look at at what's happening in a lane before getting in the water?

Then into the dive tank for 15 minutes water running. That felt pretty good on my knee.

Yoga. Took it easy on the knee. At least when the knee cap is moving around it doesn't feel like it's catching on something, like it was last week.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A new pool

Julie broke me out of my shell today. We were chatting on Facebook about swim stuff, and she suggested I meet her down in Pincher Creek and SHOW her some of the stuff I was talking about. It's only a 2 hour drive, and the weather is nice, so I didn't have to think about it too much.

The drive down was one of those clear and sharp Alberta days. I needed sunglasses. There is some weather coming in over the mountains, but it's still so clear. I took this shot on highway 3, just before 785 south. Obviously I'm facing west.

The pool is quite nice! Surprisingly nice. If it was closer I'd swim there more often. We did a bit of warmup, then started trying different stuff. We actually had a blast! Lots of one arm drill for me. Lots and lots. More than I've ever done. Julie would try something while I watched. I was trying to yell when she was doing it right, but that doesn't work so well, what with stroking along one armed to keep up, trying to watch what is going in, and working in the occasional breath. We did a bunch of different drill. At one point I was holding on to her good foot, while she was powering away with her arms, then I made her tow me the whole pool length.

We were in the water 1.5 hrs, and swimming most of it, but Julie was doing all the work, trying new things to fix habits she's trying to break. She has improved, even though she doesn't think so. I've no idea how far we went.

I even used the iPhone to take some video of her swim. She has the Youtube link so if you want to see it, you'll have to go to her blog. She said she didn't mind, but really, it's hers and should at least get first dibs for her blog. It's not the smoothest video since I had to dodge a bunch of crap on the pool deck. Last thing I wanted to do was fall into the pool while holding the iPhone.

Afterward we went out for coffee and snacks, and of course we chatted up a storm. Lots of people would be down about breaking a bone in their foot and DNS a big race, but she is so good about seeing the bright side. I love all that positive energy that just washes off her.

The drive back went by in the blink of an eye. I had good tunes on, singing along. The sky and landscape were going all pastel in an peculiarly Alberta way as the sun set. It's so nice to get up above 120 Kph (75mph) for a couple of hours with your brain turned off. There's two small towns where you have to slow down, but that's it. It's been a while since I've driven that far by myself. I've had lots of long drives on business (Hello Consort and Richmound), but the big daddy of trips was when I moved out west in July 1980. Everything I owned was stuffed into a 75 Pontiac Lemans for the drive from Toronto to Calgary. I loved it. The weather was beautiful, and it was nice to have time to think and look at the world. It was the first time I'd done the drive. Northern Ontario is massively brain numbingly boring and it goes on forever. It's nearly two whole days. There's one section between Hearst and Longlac where there is nothing but muskeg to look at and the road is essentially surveyor straight for a little over 200 Km. But quite a while later you escape and you get out onto the prairies and it's wonderful. I loved it. There is something liberating about the huge blue sky and the horizon that is forever away.

Today reminded me of that, and I spent a bit of time thinking about what's happened since that drive 30 years ago. 30 years!! Some of my readers hadn't even been born then. Somewhere along the line Calgary became home. Back then it was a small city of 640,000 and it's grown to well over a million. Some days I lose track of all the changes. But it goes along with the changes in my life. In 1980 I was just a confused kid with big dreams. I still don't know what I want to be when (if) I grow up, but I've come to accept that about me, and I'm more committed to enjoying the journey.

I've never been fussed about "a career" like some people are. A job is just a tool to earn money. It's something you do. It's not, or shouldn't be what you are. There are a million ways to earn a living, but only one way to earn a life, and it's between your ears. I've had a ton of jobs here - industrial truck tire repairman, power engineer, plant operator, maintenance man, data entry clerk, technical database support, software tester, data integrity analyst, technical writer, software admin, and these days I'm mostly a business analyst of various stripes.

My hobbies and leisure activities have changed too. For a while I was active in science fiction fandom, then sort of morphed into the Society for Creative Anachronism. There's actually an interesting story about that. I was living in apartment 807 at the time. At the second SF club meeting that I showed up to I was given a print out of the club's members along with their addresses and phone numbers. This was a computer print out, which was a big deal in 1980. The first thing I noticed was that they had my address wrong, since the apartment was given as 708. An easy mistake. Whoops, the name is wrong too. Found the guy and started chatting with him. We started carpooling. Then one day he's hauling this duffel bag and a bunch of odds and ends to the car and I'm helping him carry it. Armour. Real metal and leather armour. He explained it was something a bunch of the science fiction people were involved in. He had me with "we dress in leather and beat our friends with sticks."

I started doing that, and got pretty good. Later I injured my back and couldn't do that anymore, but jumped tracks into administration. Being organized and literate, a pair of qualities in short supply in the general membership, I was given more and more responsibility, and ended up at the very top of the admin pyramid. The big learning out of that was that I no longer wanted to become a professional politician, which had been something I'd considered as a career path.

For a bunch of years Linda and I took ballroom dance lessons. Waltz, cha-cha-cha, two step, ballroom tango, foxtrot, East coast swing, and rhumba. Later we added some west coast swing, and Argentine tango, both of which I love. I just can't do west coast swing very well, but love the music. Here's Etta James "I just want to make love to you". That's a fabulous West coast swing. Argentine tango is quite different than ballroom tango, and is electrifying to watch. Try this for technical brilliance, though it doesn't really capture the spirit. This one shows a bit more of the spirit of tango, though it's staged a bit. It takes a minute to get going, and makes more sense when you understand tango is best dance by a couple deeply in love that happen to be completely angry with one another at the moment.

Then there was triathlon, but you guys know the story from there. It's been a long, interesting trip, and there isn't much that I'd change.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Toenails, but no icky photos

I know that will disappoint some of you. With any luck this is the last bit of fall out, or fall off from IMC. While trimming my toenails yesterday, two of them essentially came right off. The one on the left foot was the one that went black. Not sure what the issue with the one on the right foot was.

Swam today 1.25 hrs, a general mix of stuff. The high point was 4 x 100 m on 2 minutes, each done under 100 seconds. I was pretty pleased with that. Otherwise there was lots of kick, lots of drill, which isn't the most exciting thing in the world, but needs to be done. As a reference, doing front kick with the board for 50 m is 82 seconds. The length of the pool seems to take FOREVER going that slow. I should ask to get my kick only video taped at the Mercury Rising swim camp in Jan, even though I'm sure I'll want to cover my eyes. But that's the best way to improve. Seeing what you're doing wrong is enormous incentive to stop doing it and learn something better.

Lots of puttering in the basement trying to bring some organization to the shop area. What a mess! No wonder I can't ever find anything. I admit to being a bit of a pack rat when it comes to bits of stuff that just might be useful for something, someday. I come by it honestly, both my dad and his dad were like that. On a farm you never know when something is going to come in handy. If you can find it. I'm trying to decide what I'm going to do with that area, and all the stuff. I'm taking photos as I go so I can show you before and after. Maybe.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Bailed on the KBRCC today

That's Katie's Bike Run Core Cupcakes. Something has really taken it out of my knee lately. Not sure if it's the extra emphasis on core, or trying to maintain bike time, or what. Up till very recently it's been more of an ache, but I've had a few spasms of actual almost pain. So, much as it crushed me to do so, I skipped out on todays session. After reading Elizabeth's blog about health and fitness, I feel no guilt.

It ended up being a very busy day anyways, out and about. I'd been thinking of running, but it didn't happen. The 45 minute core did happen, though I was feeling sluggish about it at first. It ended up being pretty good. The pushups are beginning to work again. Yay!

Weekly Summary
swim 3.25 hrs
bike 1.25 hrs (and a pretty feeble effort, if I do say so myself)
run .5 hr
Total cardio 5.0 (which is being a bit optimistic given the bike)
Core 3.75

Friday, December 3, 2010

A nice longish swim

Friday is often a day I can sleep in, sort of. Today I made it to about 7 am, which is late for me. I figured give the legs all the rest they will take.

Canyon Meadows sometimes has lane swim all afternoon and I got lucky today, with a lane all to myself. The sun shines in the end of the pool and brightens things up. I got into a groove pretty promptly, whooshing past a guy in the next lane taking a zillion strokes per length. Then he went away and I had nearly the whole pool to myself. Into the sunlight, flip, dark end of the pool, flip. My whole arm was sliding down from the catch, getting propulsion right away, feeling solid in the water.

I didn't have a plan, just went back and forth, relaxed and smooth. It was easier to keep going than to stop. 1K 18:50. Then 1.5 K 28:15. Moving easily in the water, not working hard. Just sliding back and forth. Then I started noticing a bit of a pull in my left ham during the turn. While the swim had been nice and easy, I'd been working the flip turns, trying to be tight and fast. Maybe went a bit too hard there. Stopped to stretch and massage it a tiny bit, once it actually cramped up. That was a first. I stopped with 2K ending up being 38:15, so I fell off the pace a bit. But I didn't mind particularly. This had been a very relaxing swim.

Then into some kick drill, and lots of pull. I think I'm getting the roll better coordinated with the catch and pull. Stopped swimming at 1.25 hrs. A couple people had joined the next lane. I got a chuckle out of the one guy trying to keep up with fins. That didn't last even one length. Stretched out the leg, the left especially. Not sure why it cramped up, but I suspect the extra core I'm doing has it working a bit harder, plus compensating for the right knee.

Then 45 minutes of core and leg exercise at home. Even did two sets of 4 pushups, really slow. Plus some plank.  I discovered an interesting thing a couple weeks ago, and have been checking on it. Lie on your back, hands at your sides, palm down. Nice and relaxed. Now lift up your hand over your head in a big vertical arc, just as if you're doing the back stroke. My right hand lands with a thump on the mat. My arm is straight out, close to my ear. Doing that with my left arm leave my knuckles some small amount off the mat. My arm just stops. I think there's a really tight pec muscle in there, or something in the back is all locked up. Been working on it, but it seems to be a one step forward two steps sideways sort of thing.

I'm still musing about what races to do next season. For me it's really hard to mentally commit to a race when I'm injured or not doing well at something (like the bike, lately). Lots of people worry about being unfit or not trained for a  race, but that's never bothered me. My currently level of fitness is so far beyond where I was a few years ago that I still haven't adjusted, so I don't know what normal is.

Part of recovery and resting is to do so until you don't need to anymore. My feelings are that as soon as you put a deadline in there, you make it much more difficult to rest. That race date starts getting bigger and bigger. You start wondering if you will be recovered in time to start training. You wonder if your nagging injury will heal. Which of course just makes things worse.

The Chinook IM is calling me. I ride at least part of the bike course almost every ride I do. The run course is a very short drive from here. It's a well run race, and I want to do it much faster than last time. Much faster. But I also don't want to do it injured. I want to be fully recovered, so I don't think I'm going to sign up for anything for a while.

Well, there's a swim camp in a few weeks that I'm looking forward to. Trying to keep up with Julie and Tisha will be a bit of a race.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A hurt'n knee

The knee has been a bit weird recently; I'm not sure how to describe it. Weak. Feeble. Hollow. Aching. Sore. Tired. Just walking around the house today it felt wonky, and I was careful how I was moving. I wasn't looking forward to spin class.

Lots of good stuff in class, but I couldn't do any of it. My left leg started to hurt and I realized it was doing all the work, what little work was being done. It's like I had no strength to put into the pedals. Max rpm before things started squeaking was 110 rpm. One leg drill got actively painful very quickly so I stopped. It hurt where the knee cap meets up with the quads. Needless to say, not a lot of fun tonight. I was on the bike for 1.25 hrs, but it barely counts as aerobic exercise.

I'm glad all this is happening now, on the off season. I've got to believe the various therapies will make a difference and things will start getting better.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Swimming with Mr. Cantdrafthim

The pool was a zoo for the first time since it's got really cold a couple weeks ago. Then again, I got there a bit earlier than recently, so that might be it. I made 5 joining a lane, but they all swam about my speed so it was good.

During my my first 1000 m people sorted themselves out and most left the lane. By the time
18:45 rolled around there was only a couple other people left. I did some kick drill and that drove everybody else out of the lane, except for one guy. I started some 100 m on 2 minute drills. By then I figured out who he was, since I hadn't seen him for a while. It was Mr. Cantdrafthim. Here I am, swimming my 100 m in a 1:45 pace or so. We come to the wall and do side by side flip turns. His is very nice. I'm working hard trying to stay with him, but by mid pool I'm falling out of his draft, and by the time he reaches the wall I'm well out of it. Holy crap. I've no idea what pace he's swimming at, but it's way faster than me. I ended up doing 10 x 100, then started to get sloppy. More kick drill and cool down.

Ended up swimming a little over an hour, and chatted with him a bit at the end. He's been out of it a while, and is trying to get back into his swim stroke again. I'd love it if my swim stroke ever got it together as much as his has "fallen apart". Sheesh. Then into the dive tank for another 15 minutes of core.

Yoga was good, though I was getting some odd clicks out of my knee. I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing. Soft, quiet clicks. They did something called three limbed pose. I tried very briefly then did something else, very quickly. Three different people snored in Savasana. None of them were me, but they kept me awake.

I'm well over 3000 comments now, and that's in base 10, GQH. Thanks again to my readers, and commenters! Keep those cards and letters coming, folks.

 So it looks like Darryl is the big winner! Couldn't happen to a nicer guy. I met him fairly shortly after getting started at this, pretty sure it was at spin class. He can run circles around me, literally. We were doing a brick after a ride down RtN, and he didn't want to get lost in my neighbourhood. So he'd run ahead, come back, run behind me, then catchup, go ahead, and do it all again. Most recently he's posted pics of him and his wife dancing in front of their Christmas tree. Hi Lisa, long time no chat! Linda says hi.

He also said that since he had done multiple entries I could count the next person as the "real" winner. Well, that turns out to be Neil Z, he of the barefoot running and kind offer of some Gu for the winner. So I said to have some Gu on me. He's got lots of neat stuff on his page, so it's worth visiting. Wait till he runs a contest to follow him though since that's how you enter. That should be, oh, any minute now.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Nearly 3000 comments and still counting

Monday swim was good. Solid hour, lots of different stuff to keep from being bored. Then another 15 minutes of core in the dive tank. Leg exercises later.

Tues was 45 minutes of core, including 90 seconds plank. Yay! Plus 4 slow good form pushups. There is improvement. My knee hasn't been bothering me at all, even during today's 36 minute run. Nice and easy 5K, some of which was on that sandy textured snow that slides back about as fast as you're trying to run forward. Most of the run felt quite strong, breathing easy. The last half K or so had a bit of a niggle in my left calf, up high under the knee. I'd been thinking about extending the run but decided not to.

I'm up to nearly 3000 comments. Thank you to one and all for doing so, all writers love to hear back from their readers. I'm mulling what to do about this momentous milestone. Shall I reward the commenter that ticks the odometer over, so to speak? Shall I just name them and do my humble bit to shamelessly promote their blog? Which in some cases would be like me giving triathlon advice to Chrissie Wellington. If I had stuff to give away, like SOME bloggers, I might do that. But I'm cheap, and not big on giveaways. So I don't know. Maybe I'll surprise you.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

200+ rpm. (not me!)

Volunteering at the spinathon was lots of fun! Here's a video from early on in the day. They raised a ton of money for Janelle.

It was great to see lots of people I know, but my knee actually got a bit cranky with me towards the end. I've often noted that just standing around or walking slowly is hard on me. I stretched it out a bit when I got home.

Sunday was our regular spin session, though I didn't run. The snow was melting yesterday and then it snowed last night and today; perfect for creating slippery conditions. My knee was still feeling cranky and I didn't want to stress it. It kind of sucked as far as a workout session goes. I was getting weird shooting pains in my calf, knee, and thigh. Not really painful, but sharp. No real strength in my leg today. It took FOREVER to warm up! The store was cold, and I was colder. For a long time I was wearing a hoody, then took that off. That left an extra T shirt on. I was almost an hour into the workout before I felt warm enough to take that off. 1.75 hr spin.

One of the cadence sets had an all out portion. Normally I like these and can get going pretty fast, but not now. Here's Todd going all out during spin class, because he wondered what he looked like. You can see all sorts of stuff happening.

Home to spaghetti with bison sauce for lunch, and Linda made more cookies! Shoveled the driveway again, maybe another cm of snow.

Weekly Summary
Swim 3.0 hrs
Bike 3.25 hrs
Run .5 hrs
Total Cardio 6.75 hrs
Core 4.0 hrs

Friday, November 26, 2010

The latest tax grab, courtesy of IMC

Thursday evening spin class I met Jen! Both of us are nursing knee issues so we managed to chat a bit in between Katie exhorting us to greater and greater efforts. We got a bit more exhortation than usual since Katie wasn't on her bike. Instead, we got a bit of a dance number to the various songs. Lots of fun.

I took it a bit easy, wondering what my knee would think of the whole thing. Mostly that meant keeping the rpm below 110, but I burped up to 120 by accident a few times, for a really short time period. Really backed off the power. The knee felt fine throughout. 1.5 hrs total.

The swim this morning was a bit of a zoo at Canyon Meadows. My buddy M was swimming backstroke, which is new. Turns out she has an owie in her shoulder that doesn't like front crawl. She can swim backstroke faster than front crawl. Odd. Swam an hour, with the regular mix of stuff. The high point was 93 seconds for 100 m, and not working hard. I had great water feel for that one, and the one following at 97 seconds (blew a flip turn). During the third that water feel abruptly went away and I was suddenly a feeble reed in the water. That one was much slower. Did one more and it was about the same, 104 seconds. These were all on 2 minutes. I loved that first one though; I could feel propulsion right from the first instant of the catch, and my arms felt strong and stable in the water. I took an extra minute to regroup and did one more, pushing hard, trying for good form. I didn't quite have the feel again, but it was still 93 seconds, so I'm pretty pleased with that.

Leg exercises, but wasn't in the mood for core. Instead I shoveled the hard packed snow from the bottom of the driveway. The top is sloppy, but the bottom is icy snow, especially where there are tire tracks.

One of my buddies just got a letter from Ironman Canada Triathlon with a nasty surprise. Here it is:

Dear Subaru Ironman Canada Entrant,

As many of you may be aware, effective July 1, 2010 British Columbia moved to a harmonized provincial and federal sales tax at a combined rate of 12%. This has been a controversial and confusing tax change but it is the law and therefore must be collected on all sale of goods and services. Unfortunately when your entry to the 2011 Subaru Ironman Canada was processed through Active, HST was not collected on the entry fee. This has recently been brought to our attention and we are obligated to collect that tax.

To that end, the credit card that you used to enter the race will be charged $69, the amount of the HST on the entry fee. We will begin processing the charges on Monday, November 29th and these will be complete by December 10th. Should you wish to have this charge applied to a different credit card or if the one you used to enter has expired, please contact our athlete services center at or 877-377-2373. We apologize for this error and any inconvenience it may cause.

Ironman Canada Triathlon

I have a huge problem with this, even though my copy hasn't come yet. I see the following issues. Am I out to lunch? Any input from anyone with accounting or tax expertise?

1- We paid in full in advance. Just because the service was delivered after July 2010 shouldn't matter.

2- We already paid GST. If they are charging us HST, they should have subtracted off the GST that we've already paid. Other wise we're paying the federal portion twice.

3- The exchange rate has changed. In Aug 2009 one Canadian dollar bought about .9028 US dollars, July 2010 it would buy about .98 US dollars. Should they not take the difference in exchange rate into account?

Followup a couple hours later. I just realized they are talking about people registered for 2011 IMC, not those who signed up for 2010. But still, arguments 1 and 2 still apply.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Prolotherapy and Polygamy

No, those two don't have anything to do with each other, besides both being at the top of my brain right now.
No, I'm not interested in getting a second wife. I can barely cope with one. If there was two they would gang up on me, I'm sure, and who knows where that would end up.

As many of you know I've been diagnosed with a slight tear in the medial meniscus of my right knee. There may be some issues with the patellafemoral area. Prolotherapy was recommended. Today was the day. I knew there were needles involved, though I don't particularly have an issue with them. I've often donated blood, and have had any number of injections over the years. But something about several (turned out to be 6) needles into my knee area was making me a bit nervous. I was worried about the pain.

Dr. Ahlan has a very deft touch, and carefully explained everything first. The first needle was a bit of a pinch, and we chatted during the others. To be honest I didn't even notice some of them. The last one was a bit of a poke. Turns out one of them was 1.5 inches into my knee to find the right spot. Afterward we chatted about followup. I'm to keep it mobile, going to spin class is ok, but no big power or fast rpm. I'm to continue with core exercises. I'll be back in two weeks for the next set of shots.

Bountiful, BC has been in the news periodically because there is a group of people in the FLDS church practicing polygamy, which happens to be against the Canadian Criminal code. BC has been under increasing pressure to prosecute, and there's been a bit of back and forth on the issue. Currently there is a hearing in BC's supreme court about the constitutionality of such laws.

This post is to help me understand where I am on this.

Firstly, I abhor the practice of Muslim and some Christian sects taking multiple wives. I figure it's just an excuse for randy old buggers to boink teenage nooky. Is that a clear enough statement for you? It's a tool of oppression and coercion aimed at subjugating women and children. The women have little or no choice in the matter, and that really makes my blood boil. As far as I'm concerned, a religious reason for doing something is almost certainly a bad reason.

Secondly, if there is a conflict, religious rights should be secondary to any and all other rights or societal concerns, if they should be allowed to exist at all. Believe what you like in your head, but beat your child with a stick and you should go to jail. If you don't like Sunday shopping stay home or go to church. If you think abortion is murder, you'd best be in favour of birth control and funding adoption services; in fact, you should have several adopted children yourself. There are lots of other examples.

Thirdly, there are any number of cases where adult people have chosen to live together communally. The hippie communes of the 60's are one example, and there didn't seem to be much enthusiasm to prosecute. There is a woman living with two men in BC that just discovered she could be prosecuted under the current polygamy laws. I listened to her on CBC and it seems that this is a consenting relationship that works for all involved. What's important to me is that they are all consenting adults, and the children are being taken care of properly. Neither I nor anybody else needs to know any further details of their relationship.

How do we resolve those examples? One speaker had mentioned that if 3 people are sharing a house as room mates, technically, they could be prosecuted. They'd have to argue their case in court, and how do we draw the line between room-mates, room mates with privileges (so to speak), and a long term polygamous relationship? I think that adults of sound mind ought to be able to set up whatever family units work for them and their children. But how can we be assured that the people involved ARE consenting, without prying into the intimate details of their relationship? How do we keep religious whacko's from abusing women and forcing them into marriage against their will? Or prevent the religious brainwashing that makes them feel they have to consent? What laws or practices govern what happens if the relationship breaks up?

I guess the essence of my dilemma is this: how can we write a law that allows adults to manage their own relationships, but bars those formed because of a coercive religious regime? And yes, I'm quite clear that I'm willing to discriminate against the religious. See above. Religion has been used as a cloak for centuries to cover up all sorts of abuses and provide the priesthood with an easy living. That needs to end.

One speaker very cogently noted that abuse to children is not limited to polygamous relationships, and that that in itself is not grounds to bar polygamy. She noted there were other legislative processes to deal with abused children and they should be applied no matter the relationship of the adults. Fair enough, providing the processes are in fact applied. Allowing religious reasons makes it easier to hide child abuse, since any investigations run into "freedom of religion."

What about spousal abuse? We've been coming to grips with that, but there is still a long way to go. People don't like to admit they've been physically beaten or mentally abused, and sometimes even make excuses for their abuser. If it's that hard to deal with in an accepted relationship like monogamy, imagine how much more difficult it would be in a relationship that is technically unlawful, or based on a dominant/subservient relationship?

Hmmm. What about a registry? Married people are registered as such. Would it work to register a polygamous group? Let's think about that. It would be a legal document, so all the people involved have to be of legal age. That ought to deal with the under age issue, especially if parents can no longer consent to an under age marriage. All current spouses would have to agree on any additional spouses. Given the divorce and separation rates I think it's entirely reasonable to ask if the people getting married have made provision for a separation, and that would work for both monogamous and polygamous weddings. In civilized countries gender is not an issue, but maybe a polygamous relationship needs to be required to be as gender balanced as possible. That makes it harder for the the old pervert to accumulate child brides. I can see where many traditional religions would not perform a polygamous service, but if the relationship was decriminalized, there no doubt would be Justices of the Peace or equivalent to perform the ceremony. Some religions perform pre-marriage counseling, and I don't think that's a bad idea. I don't think it would be unreasonable to have both traditional couples, and a polygamous unit going through a pre-marriage session of some kind. The polygamous unit might have more complex issues to cope with, but this all meets my criteria for informed consent. What's more, it's DEMONSTRATED informed consent. DNA testing can determine who the biological parents are, and that can be accounted for in their agreements. A monogamous marriage is no guarantee of who the child's parents are.

This registry, of course, would be a government one, not a church registry, and if the two get into an argument the government registry wins. In fact, the government registry should happen first. In Alberta I believe it would be done at the same place you renew your driver's license, deal with a variety of business permits and stuff, renew auto registration, and the like. It ought to be a straightforward procedure, with similar procedures for all. Hmmm, how public should these records be? Not sure.

There are many issues that need to have details nailed down. Just as an example, the Canadian tax laws allow a variety of financial transfers to happen between spouses. In theory, the same should be permitted of a polygamous group, but I can see there would have to be guidelines set up. I haven't a clue in the world what that should look like. Medical benefits are another issue, what does it do for premiums if a married person can claim for several spouses and potentially many more children than the norm? There are no end of forms that would have to be modified to allow people to list multiple spouses. It would take a while for people to get used to it. I hope it's clear that my idea of a polygamous marriage is one where all are married to all the others, not where one is married to each of the others are each only "sister-wives" to each other.

The more I think about it, the more I believe there is no real way to enforce the law as written, and un-enforced laws lower the respect for other laws. There are any number of circumstances where it makes sense for small groups of adults to band together in a close relationship. Right now they have to essentially lie about their relationships, just like many gay and lesbian couples did. This makes it easier to hide abuse. I think it makes sense to declare the relationship in public and register it in the appropriate places.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

ART/Chiro/Yoga nearly did me in today

The day started well enough. Hardly anyone in the pool today. Swam one hour in a lane all to myself. Warmup, solid pace swim. Kick. Drill. Some 100's pretty consistently in 105 seconds starting on 2 minutes, more drill, kick, cool down.

Going into ART I could feel my back was a bit tight, and dreaded the one move that clicks the very low back. Sure enough, I tightened up and it didn't work. So he flipped me over and really reefed on me. There was a click, but I walked out of there feeling a little out of sorts. He had also really used his scraper tool hard on my knee. Lots of discomfort.

Iced the knee and leg, then ended up napping a bit while listening to a podcast. Considering I've been sleeping well, this was a bit of a surprise.

Yoga was full of stuff I don't like. Child pose and a zillion stretches and variants from it. Side plank that I didn't even try. An Earth salutation that I find tough going at the best of times. At least there was a good shoulder stretch I liked; up to the ears on the inhale, then down and out and back on the exhale. And there was shoulder stand using a bolster. I had my feet up almost before the words were out of her mouth. That's my happy place.

Prolotherapy tomorrow. I am anxious.

Volunteering at the spinathon on the weekend. If you're looking for a good spin session and raising money in a good cause (what a horrible thing to have happened to Janelle) let me know and I'll send you the details.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A moderately cold run

When I woke up the weather page said this.

Then about 10:15 when I went out for my run, it said this. That isn't so bad. The humidity is a killer though. Gotta watch that.

Here's what I looked like after.

It's not cold enough or dry enough for the moisture to condense properly on the Mo to get proper tusks. Oh well, maybe next week.

Again, 5 K, nice and easy, in about 37 minutes. It's harder running in two pairs of tights, but my legs were pretty good about it. I could have run further, but why push it? I'd done 40 minutes of core work before the run to get warmed up.

Nailed the clothing.
Running shoes, with regular socks.
Two pair tights.
Short, and long sleeved tech shirt.
Heavy hoody
Wind shell.
Scarf to keep chin warm.
Visored cap, felt toque, hood up.
Gloves inside mittens.
Road ID. (forgot to mention that last time, but it's buried under about 5 layers.)

Monday, November 22, 2010

No watch swim

Not running during Sunday's spin class means my watch was still fastened to my bike when I was getting into the pool on Monday. Between my being very shortsighted and the really stupid placement of the pace clock, I went with a plan that didn't need me to look at times at all. I looked at the start, and at the end, and knew I'd swum for an hour. That included regular pace stuff, some kick, some drill, some pull. The massage yesterday and a really good night's sleep helped the swim feel smooth and strong.

Then out into -WTF weather. Shoveled in the afternoon. Brrr. Leg workout in the evening. Struggles with internet again. I think my wireless transmitter is going flakey.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A happy bike

Yesterday was a quiet day on the workout front. An easy driveway shovel and some leg exercises was about it. Most of the effort went into the rant on zero tolerance. You can find it either by scrolling down, or going into labels section on the left, down there below the blog roll, and clicking on Rant.

I wasn't sure how the bike would go today. My left leg is cranky from the shoveling, and both hams are tired. Plus the knee. It doesn't hurt most of the time, but I'm not going to forget about it on the bike.

So today I grooved to the tunes, stayed below 110 rpm and picked gearing and effort to keep my heart rate in the mid 120's. It all went very well, and I ended up feeling surprisingly strong. This has happened on some outdoor rides as well, starting with tired legs and ending up with a good ride.

No run. I don't mind running in these temperatures, but I'd really rather not go from being totally wet in a warm humid room into -25 C windchill, and likely colder since we run beside the river and it's always windy. I just didn't want the challenge today. Tomorrow and Tues are supposed to be just as cold, or colder, but I'll probably run then.

Except for the pushups and the side plank I did all the core stuff, even lots of front plank! I'm really pleased.

My massage therapist will be here soon. Life is good. Pleased at how the increased focus on core is going. My abs are talking to me.

Weekly Summary
Swim 2.75 hrs
Bike 2.25 hrs
Run .75 hrs
Total cardio 5.75 hrs
Core 4.75 hrs

Oh and I put up some ratings for you guys to click on down at the bottom of each post. Feel free!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Zero tolerance for zero tolerance rules

It will be no surprise to some of my readers that I'm disturbed by much of what passes for society these days. It used to be that people figured things out as they went along. They looked at a situation and tried to come up with the best solution. Maybe they consulted with those nearby, or acted on their own. Sometimes they might not have all the facts, or they might not understand that some facts are more important than others, but they muddled along.

Have you heard this phrase or a variant of it, "make sure this doesn't happen to anyone else"? My earliest context for that phrase is reading about plane crashes when I was a child. (My dad was an airline pilot and I was crazy about airplanes.) An investigator was talking about the process of understanding what had happened to cause the crash, and how to apply what they had learned to the airline industry. I was impressed by the enormous efforts the investigators would go to, including picking up every scrap of airplane and reconstructing it. This is one of the reasons why air travel is one of the safest ways to get to where you want to go, after you get past the absurd security theatre. Which takes zero tolerance to a whole new level.

There is an entire science to failure analysis and at least one of my readers can speak to it better than I can. Investigating airplane crashes helped create this science. They took the facts, then dug deeper and deeper to learn the why behind the why. And the why behind that. It wasn't enough to know that a bolt failed, causing the sequence of events leading to an airplane and people strewn over the landscape. They'd look at the bolt metallurgy, who supplied the bolt, who installed it, and a zillion other things. Then they'd chase the facts back to manufacturers, service corporations, airlines, or regulatory bodies. It's an enormously expensive process, but we all agree that keeping airplanes flying is a good thing.

I forget the most recent time I heard that phrase, but it seems to be happening a lot, and in response to quite minor situations in the grand scheme of things.  It annoys me. The people saying it are essentially saying they want life to stop happening. Perhaps the number one rule about being alive is that shit happens, deal with it. These people want to write a set of rules that are trying to prevent an outcome but they don't realize that following those rules creates more issues for more people than the potential outcome would for a small number of people. They seem to think that the way to stamp out a particular outcome is to write a rule that forbids anything that might lead to that outcome. Then they remove all judgement by saying there is zero tolerance for any of those actions. Only then will they be safe from that outcome.

What happens then? Absurdity. Stupid, trivial situations blown up to being a federal case. People in jobs like court judges, cops, school teachers or principals, social workers, politicians, and many others; those professions get their hands tied, and often they seem to be pandering to a vocal minority. We pay many of those people quite well, have invested in their training, and chosen them from many applicants for the job, yet now we tell them we don't trust their judgement. It turns them into a robot, only able do decide if some situation meets the rules, (which it will, because that's the way they're written and some busybody will force them to deal with it) and then having to issue the declared judgement, no matter how ridiculous it is. In many cases the punishment is overly punitive for the "crime". In some cases you end up with small children being the focus of airline security, or someone urinating in public being declared a lifetime sex offender. (I don't want to know anything more about a mind that can conflate peeing and a sex offense.)

Rather than dealing with an outcome, when and where it happens, now every one of those situations has to be dealt with. This takes up the time of people who ought to have better things to do. Even worse is when the inevitable followup happens, with someone protesting the rule, or the result the rule generated. Follow the rules for an ridiculous result and you get pilloried in the court of sensible opinion. Unfortunately this seems to be getting smaller every day. In some cases the ridiculous result turns out to be an inappropriate result on the light side, and then you get all sorts of people piling on and more rules. The worst of all is trying to apply common sense; that only gets everybody pissed off. It's like we've lost all sense of proportion, or any sense of tolerance for things that make us uncomfortable. Or any sense of what's risky or not. Even before 9/11 worrying about terrorists hijacking your plane was not a sensible risk, since it was less likely than getting struck by lightning.

When you force people to make petty little decisions with no regard for the situation, you will get only petty little people in those positions. People that revel in the little bit of power they have, and they will work to extend it. These people like to make things miserable for other people as a way of validating their own lives, or compensating for a small dick, I don't know.

Then we wonder why poor teachers stick around while good teachers move on or give up. We wonder why social workers can't deal with child abuse or solve homelessness. We wonder why mandatory sentencing and three strikes rules don't solve or prevent crime. We wonder why a glorified security guard takes the time to find and confiscate a tiny nail file from the person flying the airplane. The people involved are choked with rules that stamp out common sense and professional judgement.

What I like about some sports is that to determine a winner all one needs is a sufficiently accurate timing mechanism. I was startled to discover that judges for ballroom dancing competitions are themselves judged. Their results are posted on the wall to be reviewed by contestants and dance authorities. If your results are too far out of line with the other judges, your credentials to be a judge are reviewed. I like that concept. I also like the concept of Ebay feedback, and user reviews for various businesses on the internet. There is an issue with poison pen reviews, of course, but nothing is perfect. Generally feedback is good, as is good pre-decision advice.

I am a huge believer in better results when judgement activities take place out in public view. A secretive process is a breeding ground for abuse. Reviewing a judgement ought to be an open process as well. I'm not sure how to balance privacy concerns, but lean toward the direction that individual privacy is not as important as ensuring that people in positions of power over others act fairly and responsibly. Those who abuse the process, whether by corrupt decision making, or by misleading those in positions of authority, or by making false accusations need to be identified and punished. People making consistently good decisions need to be supported and rewarded. We need to build in safeguards that allow for the possibility of human error, for we can all make mistakes, and yet be able to review those mistakes in the light of other decisions to help people make better decisions, and accept it when decisions don't go their way.

That last is a big one. Most two year olds learn the world does not revolve around them, though they nearly drive everyone around them crazy while doing so. If they do so. Some nominal adults appear not to have learned that. They think nothing bad should happen to them. If it does, it's someone else's fault. When they piously say that don't want that same thing to happen to other people, what they're really saying is that it shouldn't have happened to them. Even if they got what they had coming.

The ancient Greeks believed that it was important for each citizen to take part in the various governance activities for their city. Admittedly the citizens were a small fraction of the total number of people in the city. I think it's important that people take part in the politics of their city, province, and country, and it should be much easier to do so. Politics has a bad rep these days, but I mean it in the sense of groups of people making collective decisions. The more people that are involved in a decision the harder it becomes for bullies and the stupid to dominate the decision.

The internet has huge potential for sharing information. We've barely begun to use it. Maybe every court case transcript ought to be published on the internet, and the public be allowed to comment on it. Comment on the decision, comment when counsel says ludicrous things, or when something said is false to fact. Maybe even comment on the day to day proceedings. One person holding an opinion is probably a crank, albeit one entitled to hold that cranky opinion. But if many commenters have that opinion there ought to be a way for that feedback to be acted upon. Same thing for Human Right's commission findings. School boards. Police or judicial misconduct. Any meeting of people paid to be politicians. The list goes on.

Sure it takes time, but the TV industry is proof that there is a great deal of time wasted. Give people access to court documents and I can just about guarantee that "reality" TV will go away. No writer could make up what happens in court. Oh, wait, this all presumes literacy, which is a problem.

What if we could figure out a way of rewarding people for providing reviews of public decisions, or participating in the discussions? Maybe such people should pay less tax. Maybe people that provide consistent wise commentary and good advice ought to be given a salary so they can do it full time. Would more open access to discussion lead to better decisions? Could we reduce the number of rules if there is a wider pool of advice about dealing with a situation? Are all opinions equal?

I want to see society grow up a little bit. Prostitution hasn't been stamped out by any laws in any society in recorded history. Let's deal with it as a fact of life and get on with regulating it. Zero tolerance drug laws have filled the jails with people caught with trivial amounts of pot, yet do nothing about the people trafficking billions of dollars of crack or meth or cocaine. Zero tolerance removes the chance for people to learn from their mistakes. Zero tolerance gives no leeway for ambiguous situations, no respect for people's judgement ability, and no room to confer with others to find a sensible response. Rules and laws become ever more complex, trying to deal with more complex situations and the shortcomings of previous rules to the point where nobody knows what the rules are anymore. Time for a change.