Friday, October 30, 2015

So, that NaNoWriMo thing, and

It's coming up fast. I started a new document in Scrivener, complete with initial notes. I have an opening scene, and a couple other scenes, all neatly plotted. My thinking was to plot it all out, and then write like mad during NaNoWriMo in November.

But even those opening scenes are not that neatly plotted. And you know? I don't have the faintest idea where the story goes from there. I've tried to have meetings with the lead character. She's busy. I've tried to bribe her with good coffee, and it's not working. Even the other characters aren't saying much. Not sure what that means.

So here I am, a day out from committing to 50K words. In the past I've just dived in, and had fun with it. Almost every day I woke up knowing where that day's writing was going. Which has led me to lots of words and a vague resemblance to a novel, in that there is a faint hint of a story. I was hoping to tighten things up and not make it worse by adding more words.

At this very moment I'm thinking of not doing it, and continuing to work on the words I already have.   Stay tuned and see how this turns out. Either the word counter on my blog will start showing words, or it will disappear.

Today was a pre-retirment day. Eventually I will need to produce documentation of my SIN for Linda to get her pension, and that plastic card disintegrated decades ago. Oddly enough my birth certificate is still going strong, though I ought to get it relaminated. So we wandered into a Service Canada centre, and what do you know? We got service. From walking in the front door, to walking out with our documents, was about a half hour, and we dealt with a polite and professional person. This is one of the things our taxes pay for.

We did a bit of shopping on the way home. Four wild boar steaks found their way into our shopping cart, and later onto the BBQ. They were delicious! And a Yum Bakery dessert.

Midafternoon I was on the bike for an hour of fairly hard workout. I'm still getting back into it, figuring out where my bike fitness is, but I think I'm pretty close to where I left off. Maybe Sunday I'll dig out the book and do a time trial. That is, if the morning swim doesn't knacker me trying to keep up to my buddy who is swimming stronger every time. Plus I need a new heart rate monitor. The bands are still good, if I put fresh batteries in them, but there's nothing to display the result. Hmmm, unless I can get an app on my phone to do that. Research time.

Almost forgot. Linda made these awesome scones that are fabulous with morning coffee, as we slept in till dawn. A Brazilian dark roast, with beans shiny with oil, and a wonderful rich smell. I poured just enough water into the French Press to turn the grounds into sludge, then took a big sniff. Wonderful!

This what we saw outside shortly after waking up.

 The lick-fest turned into a tussle pretty quickly.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Planning for 2K

It's going to be special, I tell you! Though I don't know that I'll do a birthday cake/fruit flan thingie like I did for 1000.

As a hint, this one is 1.995K.  I'm already planning for it. I could even be persuaded to do the AMA thing again, if I get good questions. You can even ask the cats something, but I don't guarantee a reply.

Wednesday was a complete zoom. The swim started with 6 of us in a 50 m lane, then 2 fast swimmers joined and a couple people left. As the fast swimmers passed me I tried to hang in their draft but that didn't last long. I passed a couple of the other swimmers when I could. All in all it turned out to be a pretty good swim. 1K 19 minutes. 4 x 100 HARD, 100 m backstroke cooldown.

Having coffee and breakfast after, still at the pool, I chuckled watching a guy in swim fins thrashing and flopping trying to keep up with one of the medium speed swimmers. Then the chick in the next lane started to pass him, just cruising along, and I nearly snorted out coffee as he redoubled his efforts. Lots more splash but he wasn't going any faster.

I had lunch bought for me! So nice and thoughtful. I don't get out as much at lunchtime as I should, and it was a beautiful day to walk to the restaurant. Real food even, not food court cheapie.

My buddy Murray is leaving Penn West to go to IHS. We worked together for a couple years on a particular project. It's a useful app, but it got cuff off in it's infancy, and they're going to decommission it soon. This is the life of a contractor. We do stuff. They pay us. It's their business what they do with what we built, but it's sad to see such effort evaporating. But I got paid, that's what's important out of this.

Yoga got cancelled. I collapsed in a heap. Today zoomed by just as fast, but I ran after work. It's odd. The other day was a near magical 7K run. Today was a 4K slog. It wasn't quite wanting to quit every step, but I felt slow and heavy. It turned out to be 4K, 28:15, so not that far off my pace the other day, but I was sure working a lot harder! Here it is Oct 30, and I was running in shorts! This can't go on much longer.

So, upcoming blog, you have about a week for AMA. Or if there's something you'd like to see, say so. Leave a comment. Tweet me @keithcartmell or leave a comment on Facebook if we're friends. That ought to be enough ways to contact me.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Now or MUCH later

You get a quicky.

I go nearly a month without comments, then four on Monday's Runner High post. Love it! Thanks for the comments. I know most of you read on mobile now, and Blogger is mobile unfriendly. If if you know of a trick or setting I should do, please tell me. I love comments.

Since then.
Swam Tuesday. Kind of crappy, slow, with my flukes waving ineffectually. The high point was as I was stretching on the side of the pool. Some swim club kids are coming in and beginning to warm up on deck. One girl comes in, total bed head, wearing what I would swear was pajamas. She got a bit of teasing.

Tuesday after work I was feeling a bit sluggish. After a light dinner, sitting there, held down by cats, I got a text, telling me that the registration price goes up this weekend for GWN half iron. That did it, I struggled to my feet, shedding cats, and plodded downstairs.

In fact the spin was pretty good. Nothing dramatic, 30 minutes of easy spin. Just enough to wake up my legs and get the blood going again, but not so much I'd be a puddle of worn out sweat, too awake and worked up to sleep.

Worked like a charm. Slept like a rock, and my legs feel great this morning. Busy day ahead. Gotta go.

Monday, October 26, 2015

That mythical runner's high?

I am an adult onset runner. There, I said it. It took a long time for me to get it, and I'm not sure I've completely got it yet. For example, yesterday I would have said I've never had runner's high. I've heard about it lots. I've had some crappy runs, some ok runs, some good runs, and even a few great runs. That's not necessarily times or pace, though that's part of it.

No, I'm talking about how it felt. But today I might have had that runner's high, for a little bit. Overall it was 7K, just under 49 minutes, running around the neighbourhood. I was trying to relax and run easy. Just along 24th St beside the soccer field, the sun came out, and I realized my body was running along without me having to push, my legs felt great with a nice smooth stride, and I was happy. At that moment it felt like I could go on forever, though of course that didn't last that long.

It's great, especially at my age, get out and go for a run. Yes, there's been some creaky bits lately, my low back especially, but none of that bothers me when I'm running. Till I get tired of course. Then its gone. Today the first 6 K were superawesomesauce. The last K was a bit of a slog uphill, and starting to feel tired, but it all ended well. Walked, then stretched after.

I EARNED that organic crunchy peanut butter with peanuts and Nutella on fresh bread!

So, is that runner's high? If it isn't, then how will I know when it happens? Has it happened to you?

Sunday, October 25, 2015

We bagged the barrels

Linda has gone through a bunch of those big landscaping bags from Burnco this year. Soil, mulch, compost, peat moss, cedar chips, pea gravel, maybe other stuff. I lost track. I just pack and carry.

I found out yesterday those big bags are NOT returnable, and NON refundable. I suppose the first implies the second, but that's what the sign says. They suggested the bags be put in the blue bin for recycling.

Kind of a pity, they are huge sturdy bags. We have one already storing something out on the front patio, and it looks happy just sitting there. I had the happy thought of reusing them to further protect the barbecue but they weren't quite big enough for that. However they fit very nicely over the water barrels.

It took a bit of doing to drain them. The siphon pump we got doesn't actually siphon all that well when it's cold out. I think just a little air seeps past the seals and that destroys the siphon effect. My arms were a bit tired during the swim, with the left especially reverting to Pastafarianism. No, that isn't an allegory on the Canadian election. If it was, only right wing Conservatives would get it. Pastafarianism, noodley appendage, left wing, Liberals. Come on, reach for it. Nope? Congrats, you are not a Harperite.

We finished getting the garden put to bed for winter. Taps are drained. Some of the plants are still hanging in there, but they will go fully dormant any day now. Not many plants are good for -5 C.

Back to the swim. Both of us were feeling a bit feeble, and wanted a nice relaxing swim. I actually warmed up, taking 200 m to start feeling normal. A brisk 500 m in 9:10 and my left shoulder and arm complaining a bit convinced me I was not going to push for a record today. Soon.

Over coffee we plotted our plans for race season next year. Once home I napped, which is very easy with a cat snoring. I also managed to capture the dentistry display afterward.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Keith and the cube ride again

Winter training season just began for me. Even though it's not quite winter yet. The water freezing a little overnight in the garden water barrels just means it's still fall. Winter means it freezes solid.

Even after the bike fit I wasn't out on my bike much this year. Somehow it didn't work out what with all the swimming, and trying to be regular on the run. But I've promised myself to get on the trainer so that next year can be a good bike year. At last.

Starting with cats and coffee. I was watching a lovely sunrise, held down by cats, so this was the best photo I could get. I suspect if you lived a bit further east it was pretty spectacular.

This is where Estela lives between rides. It's time to get her on the trainer.

The semi-famous heat gun trick. Trainer tires are notoriously hard to get on the rim. I had one bad episode a few years ago that involved much swearing. Now I take the time to warm it up thoroughly before trying to mount it. When it's warm I can roll it onto the rim with my hands without working too hard. Do you notice the supervisory cat?

The old cube computer has been off since the last trainer ride. I'm not even sure when that was, but it fired up like a champ. I've got some music going for the ride. Anyone remember the visualizer? I'm wondering what I want to watch during the many rides I've got planned. Maybe the last season of Leverage that I missed.

Here she is, all ready to go.

Curtis likes to snooze on the red blanket. Here he is concerned about the slight humming sound the cube makes. I think that was when the cd was spinning up.

Celina loves to cheer me on and lick my sweaty skin.

I wasn't sure what to expect for the ride, and decided to go with the flow. It took a few minutes to get the trainer calibrated. 15 minutes warm up, gradually spinning faster, in an easy gear at about 125 watts. Heart rate still under 100, breathing very easy, gradually starting to sweat. Then 10 minutes at about 160 watts. Last time I was serious about training this was about the top of my endurance range. My heart rate was about 120, and I could easily breathe through my nose without getting behind. Legs are feeling good.

Then a couple minutes at about 200 watts, still not breathing hard, and my heart rate about the same. Then a couple minutes at 225, starting to notice the work, but still feeling good, heart rate up to about 130. Then a couple minutes at 250, and I can really start to feel it here. My lungs are fine, heart rate just over 140, and my legs are wanting to dial it back. Another 10 minutes of easy spin to cool down for about 45 minutes after calibration. My butt was beginning to talk to me about being on the bike.

Lots of stretching and rolling with the gear roller. Minor clunks and clicks from my back and hips.

I'm pleased and surprised by this. I was working off my old training effort list and I don't think it's too far off for now. I'll carry on with this for a few more rides, getting into the groove again, then I'll do another test to see where my current training zones really are.

My thinking over the winter is going to try to swim 3x a week, working on stroke and speed. Run a couple times a week at least, depending on weather, with one long run in there. Try to get on the bike 3x a week, working on intensity and strength for most of the rides, and one long ride at the top of endurance pace, whatever that is. All this is depending on my work situation of course. I might have  much more time for workouts.

I'm still scoping out races for next year, but I'm at least thinking about doing some. I haven't forgotten my goal of running a marathon. There are several to choose from, and at the moment Banff is calling my name. There are lots of Oly distance triathlons out there, and I might pick a couple of them. There don't seem to be many half-iron distance races here with a 2016 date. Just GWN and YYC70.3 and I've done both of them. I was hoping Sylvan was going to run again, but I can't find any info about it. Lets see how this goes.

There's a lamb roast lurking in the bottom of the pot, ready for a wonderful meal.

As I sit with some wine, post-meal, trying to work on my blog, and capture some novel thoughts, this is my view.

Or this.
I'm coming up on a blog milestone soon. I'm also starting to draft a primer about electoral system reforms. Stay tuned.

Friday, October 23, 2015

quicky runny swimmy updaty

Wednesday, swam 1.5 K hard, keeping up with some fast swimmer in our 50 m lane. Over the last bunch of years I free-formed only a few of the poses that Fiona brought to class. I free-formed the whole class, doing something different for every pose, including the savasana at the end.

Friday I bailed out of the office a bit early to enjoy the sunshine. 4K reasonably easy, 26:40, trying to keep cadence up. I didn't miss work a bit, and if they missed me, oh well. This might well be the last run in shorts this year, but you never know.

We puttered around, draining hoses, getting ready for winter. It's supposed to snow soon.

I've been dragging my butt this week, going to bed early, and sleeping through till the alarm goes off. In my free time I'm thinking novel thoughts and not getting very far. That hasn't stopped me before.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A politics free zone today!

Sunday I was itching for a run, and went 7K, 49 minutes, feeling really good. We've been having beautiful weather lately, so it's nice to take advantage. I suppose I could have gone for a bike ride, but even though I'd run the day before, I was feeling the run love.

Opened the day with a swim on Monday. The intent was to start easy and try for 2 K. Then I noticed it going really well, and changed on the fly. I came THAT close to breaking 18 minutes. Only 4 seconds over. Next time for sure.

Then I got all messed up doing some intervals. They kept playing with the clock. The first 100 time was 75 seconds and there was no way at all that was true. I blew a turn really badly. Then they reset it during the next one. I'm not sure what they did the next time but I didn't believe the number. Then a good one, and then some backstroke. Meanwhile rest times were all higgledy piggledy.

Did you notice what happened on my blog the other day? Probably not. Look in the upper right corner, just above the labels. NaNoWriMo reset the word counter. This was a surprise to me. I wasn't sure if I was going to do it this year or not. If I don't, I suppose I have to go to the trouble of removing that thingie. It might be easier to write the 50K words.

Still, I started having some novel thoughts, wondering where the opening I'd thought of could go. There's some plot percolating going on, but not sure if it will go anywhere. Even though I should be working on improving what I've already got, I like the free-form process of writing I've used so far. They call it pantsing, as in, flying by the seat of your pants. This time, I'm actually trying to think about the story first, making some notes, and then I'll see if I can write about it. So far, not so good, but it's early days. Some of my readers have done this in the past, are any of them up for it again this year? Any newcomers? Let me know and I'll sign you up on the NaNo friends page.

About a month ago I blogged about institutional memory loss and other topics. Well. A swimmer buddy of mine from Renfrew days reads my blog, and mentioned it to a buddy of hers. She read it and was interested enough she actually called, and wanted to discuss further. She's in the middle of a Master's degree on the topic and we had a lovely discussion over coffee. It was certainly better than wrestling with an uncooperative xl.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Election day 2015 eve

Tomorrow is election day here in Canada. 3.6 MILLION Canadians have already voted in advance polls. That's out of about 26.4 eligible voters, so just over 13 % of Canadians have already voted.

The big question in my mind is not who is going to win.


(Wait for it.)

Are you going to join us? That's the question. I've voted already. A number of friends and colleagues have mentioned voting already.

Maybe you haven't voted because you're undecided, and want to wait till the last minute to see if anybody says anything even more spectacularly stupid than some of things said already. Maybe you're waiting to see if your candidate gets thrown off the ballot, like a bunch of others have. Maybe you were traveling over the long weekend. There's lots of reasons not to vote at the advance polls.

That's fine. Just get your ass out to vote on Monday.

But maybe you think you're busy. Bah! Nobody is that busy. If you're on a shift schedule for the time the polls are open, your employer is legally obligated to give you time off to vote. Maybe you're afraid you'll be in a line up. Bah! You probably have a phone to amuse yourself with. Or bring a book. Go with your neighbours and chat. And really, the line won't be that long. You've waited longer in line ups for a movie. Just do it.

You won't get any sympathy from me if you don't vote. I'll figure one of a couple things. You're such a weenie you can't cope with the minor inconvenience of a line up, or the complexities of producing valid ID. You're too lazy or stupid to spend a few minutes to find out who the candidates are in your riding, what they and their parties stand for, and which of them is the best choice for you. About the only way you'll get my sympathy is if you were taken to the hospital after a demonstration of driver incompetence. Unless it was you.

I've made no secret of wanting the Harper government gone. The odds of him personally losing his seat are trivial. That is unless a whole bunch of my neighbours have been lying to pollsters and overcome the habit of decades. I suppose it could happen, enough Albertans voted NDP they became the provincial government.

No, Tuesday morning Harper will still be my MP. That's the way I'd bet. The only way it won't happen is if the Conservative party takes another historic drubbing like in 1993. As you might remember, only 2 Conservatives were elected. The same thing happening again wouldn't hurt my feelings a bit. If it does happen, I wouldn't be surprised to see Harper pull a Prentice, and resign the seat. He couldn't live with only one other MP to dominate, as the leader of the 5th party.

There is one circumstance where I won't be grumpy about a Conservative majority government led by Harper. Just one. Enough Canadians voting for that result that the non-voting bloc wouldn't change the results no matter how they voted.

I'm a huge believer in democracy, even if it is the worst form of government, except for all the others. If a large majority of my fellow citizens want Harper and the Conservatives, I'll go along with that. What breaks my crayons is when a government gets a small fraction of the overall vote, 24% say, and gets 100% of the power, and worse, gloats about what voters want. They don't notice that a majority of voters voted against them.

But I don't think that would happen. Polling suggests we're going into a minority government. The more people voting, the more likely that is. Go vote young adults, go vote! I have two big hopes out of such a result:

  1. Set up some system of proportional representation federally and provincially. Same rules. One example, though there are many others, the Green Party got 7% of the vote, and one seat, instead of about 20.  Yes, splitting up the seats could lead to what is derisively called 'a pizza parliament', but I'd like to think it will express the will of the voters better. There could be a whole blog on this, stay tuned.
  2. Repeal C-51 in it's entirety. Start from scratch to determine what threats we really do face from terrorists, if any, and how they are, or are not, addressed by the powers currently possessed by various law enforcement agencies. In case you were wondering, I am much more worried about the afore mentioned demonstrations of driver incompetence than terrorists.
  3. A more minor hope is that the new government systematically undoes all the shit Harper did.
Call me a dreamer if you must, but there we are. The first makes it much more difficult for a paranoid monster like Harper from gaining such power again. The second restores the freedoms and liberties that Canadians enjoy, so that we are treated like citizens with rights, not potential terrorist suspects.

I'm going to be watching the results Monday evening, and paying close attention to the voter turnout numbers. Don't disappoint me!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Swim, run, bottle retrospective

We had a plan today. Well, sort of, mostly.

Michelle had some specific stroke questions. We worked on that, and she says she made significant progress. She is swimming faster, and looking more and more like a swimmer. Not a swinger. We were working on some of the subtleties of arm recovery, where the fingers point during the stroke, and where elbows point. When you're first learning it's all thrash and flail and trying not to drown. As you learn the stroke you start moving forward more, and can rely on your body doing some things without thinking about them. Then you can start tuning things up.

I've done the math elsewhere, but the time differences from the time your fingers enter the water, you reach out, catch the water, get your forearm vertical, move your body past your arm, then pull it out are all small fractions of a second. Until you can feel the difference between too soon or too late, and reliably see the difference in your swim time, it's going to be a struggle. Even though I swim a bit faster than Michelle, I'm going through the same thing, trying to tune my stroke to go faster yet. Otherwise she will catch up, keep up, and then pass me and I'll never hear the end of it!

I got my shoulders stretched out, carefully. There were some interesting clunks in them shortly after getting out of bed. I was sure to warm up carefully before working things. It was all good.

There was a swim meet happening as we got started. Zillions of kids. After our swim I timed some of the guys, maybe mid teens or so. They were swimming 100 m freestyle in under a minute, and not looking like they were trying too hard. Maybe it was qualifying heats. In comparison, I'm really pleased if I break 90 seconds.

It's odd to walk directly to the locker and dry off enough to get into run pants. Which are hard to put on if your legs are damp, in case you were wondering. Not shorts; it was about 4 C, just after dawn. We ran downstream along the Elbow path, curving around Stampede park and up to the new pedestrian bridge over the river beside 9th Ave. Then back along the same path, doing a fartlek game. Lots of fun, even if it took most of the run for my legs to feel light. 6K, 41 minutes.

I was thinking of all the runs I've done on various parts of the pathway over the years. Maybe I should get a paper version of it, and highlight where I've run, and a different colour for where I've biked. You might be surprised to know I've run on the Nose Creek path north of 64th Ave, which is a very long way from here. That might be a fun thing, to plan different runs to cover the entire network.

A couple photos along the way.

I've often looked out these windows, but never in. There we are, both of us taking a photo of us looking like we're standing in the pool.

I hadn't known Michelle took this shot, me peering in at the swimmers warming up.

Back home I decided it was time to clean bottles. One of the great pleasures in life is giving someone a case of wine and having them rave about it. In this case it was our wonderful financial advisor. The joke is that the wine is free, but the bottle deposit is $10. She nicely rinsed out the bottles.

All I had to do was deal with the labels. Some of the labels have been long gone from my cellar, so it was fun to see them again. Cleaning is a periodic thing. I typically let about a dozen bottles pile up and do them when I'm in the mood to be soothed. Cleaning bottles, and hand washing dishes can be a very soothing activity. With all the returns, and being a little behind there were 36 to do, but Curtis helped!

As some of you so astutely noted, I'm still at work. One of my long time buddies there, hired shortly after me, has resigned. One fewer person I know well enough to take to coffee. The tech loaned to us from a client company has gone back as well, though she might return. There are now 3 people there I know well enough to chat to over coffee.

Breaking up the ginormous 50K row xl is big enough that I actually drew a little map on my whiteboard to keep track. The last thing the world I need is to lose track of exactly what I'm manipulating while I'm in the middle of it. I've got about half the squares filled in with file names. Then covert them to CSV. Then manipulate more in notepad. Sigh. Maximo, how I love thee.

Who doesn't love a cat snoozing in the sun?

Friday, October 16, 2015

Still here

Tough week, not quite over yet.
Waiting for election and baseball insanity to be over.
Work insanity as well, but there's no realistic hope for that.
Wanting another long long weekend.

This is the best thing that happened all week, even though they are ignoring me. I had just asked to be let up, please and thank you.

Monday, October 12, 2015

We turned back at the bog

I celebrated this morning, in a quiet way. What's the occasion, you ask? I was in bed for 13.5 hours, and I was asleep for almost all of it. I haven't done that for many many years. The long swim yesterday and the hours of socializing must have really taken it out of me. The sleepless night yesterday didn't help.

After a quiet morning, my feet were feeling itchy for a run, but I didn't want to run on the bike path locally. Then I remembered the trails near the Glenmore reservoir that I ran with Sophia and Michelle a while ago. A brief text had Michelle all excited in a trail running way, and we met up near the sailing school. It was exactly what I was looking for.

We ducked off the bike path as soon as we could and ran along the water. It was perfect! Little ups and down over bits of hill, zig zags, tree roots to hop over, fallen tree branches to duck under, constantly varying pace. We weren't trying to run fast. We chatted happily about stuff, dodged a few other walkers, and enjoyed the beauty of the day. Sunny and warm, but not hot, running through different kinds of forest. Some of it is evergreen, some looks like aspen, birch, or larch.

It ended up being 7.5 K of fun and just over an hour. At one point we explored down a path heading north, and paused where it got boggy. We carried on a very little bit, then turned around when we saw this.

We didn't need to run through bog. We could of if we had to, I suppose, but it doesn't look like much fun. Well, I suppose it could be fun, for a while, till someone gets sucked under, or it comes time to get back into the car. Sometimes, life is like that. You have to run through the bog, and you try to get through it as best you can. Other times life is running along well marked trails, enjoying the scenery, waving or saying hi to the people you meet along the way.

After a long stretch session we settled in for the formal Thanksgiving dinner. Quail, spuds, veggies, with pumpkin spiced creme brulee ice cream. All so yummy! I'm sitting here with a cat purring on my lap, contemplating life. Yes, I know my typing posture on the laptop sucks, due to not wanting to disturb Curtis. How can I disturb this?

Life is good. Even if the long expected happens at work tomorrow, it's still good.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

I love long long weekends

4 days off! I decided early Thursday I was going to take Friday off. It's been a stressful 6 weeks at work.

This has been a great weekend for meeting up with people, instead of being locked away in an office. I haven't mentioned it yet, but I was out for a nice run Thursday, 3K in 21 minutes, in great weather. Then another run run on Saturday, 5 K, 34:30, in great weather. This run felt really good. I was actually aiming for a 7:30 pace, nice and easy, but my legs didn't want to run that slow. They felt pretty light and strong for the whole run. Stretched after, lots. Should I mention BBQ rack of lamb?

Have you noticed the great weather so far? It has been, with an awesome sunrise and sunset. Here's just a few shots. Gotta love Alberta clouds at dawn and dusk.

Sunday was a long planned mega-swim with buddies. A few years ago I tried to swim 10 K, and made it to 7. You can read about it here. I'm pretty sure the changes to my stroke are what is causing the shoulder issues, so I'm going to dial back the distance for a little while, but try to maintain pace.

The idea today was to go 2 hours. (My shoulders twinge just thinking about it, even now.) My first couple K were nice. Slow and trying to take it smooth and easy. For 3rd K I put on the fins, and did some kick and backstroke. In between each I took a sip of energy drink. Note to self, drinking anything, in a pool, with nose clips on, is very difficult. I took a break after 3 K, (1 hr almost exactly)then bravely headed off, aiming for 4. My arms fell off at 3.5. I did the last 500 m a combination of backstroke, and very slow front crawl. Then water ran to fill out the time till the swim club kicked us out of the lanes.

My one buddy swam 6 K, then water ran to get to 2 hours exactly. But she wasn't done. My other buddy exceeded her expectations, shattering her previous records for time and distance! What a champ.

We walked over to the Perk for a coffee and treats, along with a perfectly lovely chat. I love times like those. The bonus is to see a local, non-chain place doing really well. Every table was full, and there was a constant stream of people coming in. Eventually I'll try the chocolate cake the violates the  don't eat anything bigger than your head rule. It will probably provide dessert for several days.

Eventually we bailed out and got on with the rest of our day. My one buddy went back into Talisman to get onto the elliptical machine. I think she said something about 2 or 3 hours more but I wasn't sure.

Straight over to meet up other buddies for brunch. MORE lovely chat, catching up with them. Then over to see their new house. They just moved in and it's full of boxes. We were talking about it on the way home as I was trying to put my finger on what I didn't like about it. Then I realized the problem was it didn't look lived in yet. I've been friends with them since shortly after moving to Calgary, and their separate homes, then their various homes together have always had a strong sense of place, of identity. I've always liked visiting them.

In other news, Linda has gone through a huge big bag of soil, amending the garden beds. Her new plants are voracious, and the soil has dropped. It's been hard work for her, toting, digging, pulling, pushing. All good workout material, and the plants will be even more beautiful next year.

I really shouldn't read work emails at 4am, but I couldn't sleep. Some big wind gusts blew through with spatters of rain about 2:30 and I never really went back to sleep. That probably didn't help the swim.

Tomorrow is looking really nice. If it's not too windy I might head out for a bike ride, maybe even down Road to Nepal, if my legs are up for it.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Voted! Your turn. Time for a change.

Lots of good things happened today.

It started with cats purring in my lap, and coffee.

Then a wonderful chat with a buddy over more coffee.

More cats just now, as I'm writing.

I'm just back from voting. I couldn't wait to put an X beside someone else's name, other than Harper's. The pleasure was amazing. At least one of my readers gets the pleasure of reading Harper's name on the ballot, and voting for someone else. Maybe several readers, I'm not sure of the exact boundary for this riding.

But this is the key piece here, people. Vote. Get your ass out there and vote. A lady in a walker hobbled into a crowded polling station. Someone in a wheelchair was making their way into the parking lot. Lots of people there were leaning on canes. The grey brigade was out in force, and good for them. They got out and voted, and it might have taken a significant fraction of their resources today to do that. The volunteers said it was really busy at first, then steady all day. Good. We didn't have to wait long at all. The volunteers were wonderful.

What? You aren't voting? What's your excuse again? Say it louder. Uhuh. Yeah. You deserve a big kick in the ass. At the very least. Every vote is important. In the last provincial election one riding was tied. Exactly the same number of votes for two candidates. Don't tell me a vote doesn't matter.

You have 8 hours a day, for the next 3 days, plus several more hours today. Just go do it.

I firmly think it's time for a change. Harper has demeaned us. Demeaned Canada. This has been a disgusting election, with him trying every trick in the book to distract us from the real issues. They've cheated in the last 3 elections, with people going to jail over it. There's no reason to believe he won't do the same again. There's a reason the Organization for Security and Economic Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is sending election monitors.

The only solution is to vote against in such massive numbers that the cheating doesn't matter. We've done it before. Remember Mulroney? How we collectively gagged and voted them out of office in such droves there were only two Conservative MP's left? We can do it again.

Consider the thought processes of a man who thinks the long form census is an invasion of privacy, yet writes legislation that let's the police monitor all forms of communication between ordinary Canadians, without a warrant, and essentially without oversight.

Consider creating second class citizenship, reinstating the medieval punishment of banishment. When you realize that they can strip a person of citizenship for terrorism related activities, and the Harper government thinks that protesting a pipeline is a terrorist activity, and they've been complicit in sending Canadian citizens overseas for torture, you should wonder if you are next. If you are an immigrant, or the child of immigrants, this should concern you. Once the precedent has been set, it will be expanded. Terrorists this week, disagreeing with Harper next month. Lese Majeste as a crime has gone essentially dormant, but I can see Harper bringing it back.

There is no end of reasons to vote against the Conservatives. You can look them up yourself, but the easy, simple thing to remember; it's time for a change. Governments should change. A decade of anybody is enough, and a decade of Harper incompetence is more than enough. What makes it worse, is railing against the Liberals for various faults, omnibus bills being only one, and then doing the very same thing himself when in power.

Go vote. Many campaign teams will help you get to the polling booth. Make a party of it, get a bunch of buddies together, vote, then celebrate. It won't take very long, and you are not too busy. You aren't. Just do it. To paraphrase my buddy Beth, Shut Up And Vote.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

I was trapped, and...

I tweeted. Relied on social media. I said,
"help. I am being held prisoner by cats and coffee. Can't go to work. Oh, help me. Please. I can't take it. Or bring another cup p&ty."

Well, nobody came to help me up, or even get me more coffee. If I hadn't had to get up and pee, I'd still be there. It was an effort, let me tell you. The cats saw no reason to let me up. Good think I wasn't waiting for someone to rescue me.

Since I was up, I went to work. Now I want to go to bed.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Still blooming

Fooled you! Not me, the garden! Even after some good frosts, and actual snow, there are still some flowers blooming. Even some Dahlia's are still hanging in there. Scroll down for the photos.

Swim Sunday was an act of vindication, I was right (within 45 seconds) and she dramatically over-estimated. But that's her story to tell. I putzed around, not working my shoulder too hard. Forcible cat cuddling took place later.

Swam again Monday, mainly because I wasn't in any hurry to get to work. I can't talk about it just yet. Yes, I'm still there. Nice swim though, 1 K in 18:30 exactly, nice and easy and relaxed. Well, except for one lap that was total shite. I pushed off the wall, and it's like my whole body forgot what it was there for.

These were all taken just after getting home today. Oct 5, in case you missed it.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

She pushed the truck before breakfast

Not Linda, though she'd totally be up for it, if necessary, if I wasn't around to be put to work.

No, I have some tough friends. Some of them were out running a half marathon today. In the windy, rainy, snowy cold. It was just barely above zero. A crappy day for running, and I've been out in some crappy days, and know crappy when I see it. I had been considering signing up for this, and I'm glad I didn't.

But one buddy earned a PR! Yay! Several others buddies were out in their own inimitable way, running with friends, lighting up the course with a smile, and generally making the best of it. Michelle, Amy, and me stood, tinkled our cow bells, and waved. In the rainy snowy cold.

The idea was we would meet up, cheer, then go for breakfast. Amy forgot herself and ended up having to push her truck on the way to Michelle's. Not running out of gas, other issues. You know what they say about the shoe-maker's kids... The rest went according to plan. It's really nice to chat over a delicious breakfast, especially if you've "earned" it.

Here's the only race photo I got. Too many runners going by in a blur, figuring that the sooner they finished, the sooner they would be dry and warm again.

Calgary is lovely this time of year, when it isn't raining or snowing. Most of the trees go various shades of yellow and gold, which I quite like. But our tree is special, going reddish, though it looks orange. Reminds me a little of the brilliant colours of the maple trees in Ontario.

I got that photo just before a short ride up and around the reservoir. It might be the last day nice enough to get out for a bike ride this year, but you never know these things. The bike ride didn't need to be fast, so I was trying to spin out my legs, and work it going up hill. Which there are some good ones. The scenery was spectacular, so it's good I wasn't in a rush. I cruised along, dodging geezers, dogs, and admired the one mom working it up a hill, towing one of those kid carriers behind her. Just under 25 K, just under 1:10. It says average speed was 21.5 KPH, which is good, considering the speed limit is 20KPH, and only 10 in some places. By the time I got back it was starting to cloud over, and shortly later the wind was howling, bringing the afore mentioned rain and snow.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Bad, sad, and rad

Three photos.

You might have to zoom in, but look at the helmet. Michelle took this as we were driving home. He zoomed in and out of traffic, even did a wheelie at one point, but was really close to us most of the way home. That's why they say you don't beat the traffic, you aren't in the traffic, you ARE the traffic.

My old, sad office. I was in it about a year, and all but the last month was very good, but that last month tainted the whole thing. Lots of empty offices.

My new office. What's radical about it is that the last person in there set it up so they faced out to the corridor. I'm standing in the doorway. For most offices the desk would be facing the opposite way, with your back to the door. This means any corporate predator can sneak up on you unexpectedly, and leap on your unprotected back. It's larger than it looks; I used to split an office smaller than this one with another guy about my size. They even moved my whiteboard upstairs with me. All is well with the world, at least on the office front.

Swam on Thursday. Warmed up, then did some 100 m intervals, playing with my pace, seeing what my shoulders would think. I seem to be recovering from whatever it was, but they get tired quick. I think there's a couple specific muscles that are working harder now that I've tweaked my stroke, and they aren't used to it yet.