My First Century

In another 60 years, I can re-use that title. Heh.

Seriously though, a few weeks ago, I did my first Century bike ride. For those who don’t know, its 100 miles on a bike in one day. Yeap. That’s a long ride. On September 9, 2012 I rode 100.67 miles powered by my legs, gourmet sugar cubes, a banana and a few carbo-bars.

Andrew after his first century ride.

Minutes after 100.67 miles.

I wish I could embed it, but here is the ride.

A few other fun facts before I go into the story.

  • I meant to do 85 miles. First time ever I did more than planned.
  • Me, my bike and gear weighed 300 pounds when I left
  • It was mild out. I only drank 4-5 liters of water
  • Road kill: 2 field mice, a large turtle, and some fury non-squirrel thing
  • Average moving speed 12.3 mph
  • 5500 Calories burned
  • 8.25hrs moving, 10.5-11hours out

Completing this marks a fitness goal I have had for 3 or 4 years now. Every year has been met by a set back. I moved twice. I had a back injury early on last year, and got a late start. I did my first Metric(100k), but then decided to get new brakes and lost all momentum waiting until the jackasses got me my bike back. (keep readin’…)

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Back in the Saddle

5.5 miles or so in 35ish minutes.

I plan to cut myself later for the hair rock title reference.

I got on the bike today – first time this year. I didn’t ride much last year to my shame. The stress of my job, moving a couple times and general despair kept me away. As a result, I’ve become a lazy, out of shape bastard. But, “Oh,” you say. “Don’t be so hard on yourself, ” you say.

I’d like to take such warm advice and wishes from you, but its largely true. I rode 5.5 miles today, and it took some work. Though, as usual, it feels more a problem of getting my lungs caught up with my muscles. I went from our apartment to a Franklin Park, and around it. Franklin park is the largest in the Boston area. Its kind of shabby, and I really don’t think the fucking golf course should count towards the acreage. Its also pretty shabby and beat up. Any paths are in sore, sore shape. I went from street, to path and such trying to find my way around it. Not a bad ride in all, but the first time on a new route can be tougher. I did appreciate being able to legitimately stop when I was figuring it out.

Despite the burning lungs, it was a lot of fun, and there was almost no one on my route. I always forget how much I like it until I do it. And, better to do a simple fitness test as such, and know where I am rather than talk about my glory days as I get deeper into the non-fitness downward spiral. A chum and I talked about doing a century this year, but I am not hopeful. We’ll see once I get in shape, but there are also some logistical concerns. I lost a chunk of time off with the move, and have a couple obligation vacations this year.

The general goal right now is to see if I can get myself riding to and from work. Quite a different challenge than DC, as it appears to be a bit less than double the distance. If I can do it, it’ll mean 18-20 miles a day. That’d be damn sweet, and I’d be looking damn good by the end of the summer. And probably feeling good, which I typically do after just about any post-ride shower.

As a side note, I can hardly wait to get the the freaking doctor who rescheduled my appointment later so I can get to another doctor so I can get allergy shots. I have cause to worry, though I can’t show you, as it seems I’ve disabled the image-adding-gui in my blog. So, I’ll tell you. Pollen counts are rated on a scale of 0-12, with 9.7+ being the OMG range. Depending on the pollen, I can start having issues at half that. Often, if its in that OMG range for a few days, medications will only take the edge off. So Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed 9.9 | 9.3 | 10.9 | 11.6

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A few weeks ago my Wife , Dana (I can say that now!) went to Atlanta to work with the CDC. She’s had a blast, but her leaving always does about the same to me. I don’t sleep.

Similar to allergies, I seem to readily forget the impact she has on my life. In this case as a stabilizer, reminding me to take care of my self a bit. Its always a shock, 3 days in, to realize I’ve gotten 4 hours a sleep each night and getting fatigued. Its some primordial lack of discipline, to be sure. Throughout the absence, I oscillate back and forth between states of focus and doing, and states of surrealism and being damned tired.

It was in one of these fatigued states I had a mini-revelation, that I’ve not completely sorted out as yet. First, I must provide some context and a bit of history.

(keep readin’…)

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Packing and Moving to Boston

Dana and I were packed up and ready to go by August 8. Mostly, because Dana is awesome and did most of the packing. I was generally sketched about jobs and what not, and wasn’t much use.

Our plan was to pack on the 8th, drive up on the 9th, and unpack on the 10th. We got a 17 foot U-haul with a car trailer – making us very semi-ish. Friday night, we pretty much slept on the floor. It wasn’t so bad – the internet was one of the last things to be disconnected!

Much to our happiness, a number of people were set to help us load about 10 in the morning on Saturday. We got up, got straight, and got the truck, by 9ish. Egress was blocked in the living by boxes, so I started a pre-move and started hauling boxes out the curb.

(keep readin’…)

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Textmate’s to HTML

About 1.5 years ago, I switched to a Macbook Pro for my main computer, most of which is a story for another time.  The story this time is TextMate.  TextMate is a editor for ye ol’ OS X.

Actually, this story isn’t about TextMate as a whole, but of one of the many functions hidden within.  TextMate can be thought of a modern Emacs in a sense. Except its Mac only.  And its not free. Anyway…  I just discovered that Textmate will turn a page o’ code into an HTML page for you.  With numbers if you want, and the look based upon your theme. (Ah, how I love you syntax highlighting!)

defun something 
  puts something_else 

So, I can generate pages like that on whim. Why?  I don’t know. But its freaking tight.  Could make for a nice online repository of browsable code.  You could even bust out yer favorite language with the XSLT, and reconvert it to code. Or, offer a download link. Weehaw.

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This got cut from a speech I was helping with.  Its so damned sexy, I had to keep it somewhere:

Whether we arrived here as a result of persistent parenting, careful counseling, or madness, the desire to grow and educate ourselves has forced us all to surmount obstacles, learn new skills, and break from the ruddy ignorance of our youth.

Now thats hot. Inspiration orgasm.  Go ahead. Read it out loud.  Take a moment. Revel.

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Stuffed Portabellas


Since 2004, my partner-incredible and I have had the holiday tradition of a lot of sea food and movies. It started in Chicago when we were pretty broke, and it was an absolute indulgence to get salmon and shrimp on our budget. Each year, we try new types of fish, but this particular recipe was a whimsical thing we have done every year. Its absolutely tasty, and quite easy to make.

You’ll need

  • 2-4 Portabella mushroom
  • .25 – 1 pound of shrimp
  • possibly some assisting mushrooms, like crimini
  • cream cheese
  • garlic, of course
  • pine nuts, or nuts if’n you want

The basic idea is to make a mixture of mushroon, shrimp, cheese, and optional nuts and bake it piled on the portabellas. Below is general guideline assuming 2 mushrooms.

Saute the shrimp in oil/butter and (fresh) garlic. .25 pounds should be good for 2 mushrooms. Basically, you want to prepare the shrimp in a tasty way.

Finely chop the shrimp.

Remove stems from portabella mushrooms. Finely chop them, adding mushrooms to supplement. You are looking to get about twice the volume of shrimp.

If’n you want em, chop a small hand full of nuts.

Mix the shrimp, ‘shrooms, and nuts with about 1/5 – 1/4 package of cream cheese. If its hard, I’d suggest microwaving the bowl for about 30 seconds to soften the cheese.

Now might be a good time to pre-heat the oven to 475 or so.

Drizzle some olive oil on the portabellas. Pile the mixture on them. I tend to tamp it down with a fork. If you are feeling zippy, press a few coarsely chopped nuts on top.

Put them on a tray, and put them in the oven for 12-20 minutes. This part is kind of guesswork, really. The top will kind of crisp. Once the mushrooms start to cook, they will get a sorta wet look, and produce some liquid. Give it a bit more time, and then you are golden.

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Chicken Alfredo

Ala Chet: I got this recipe from Chet on his assurance that it is mighty tasty. I was going to cook it for my Dana’s birthday, but we ended up meeting some folks out for Italian. I look forward to having some time to make it.

Sauce: 1/2 cup sweet butter (regular margarine works too, but melts a bit faster) 2 garlic cloves shredded 2 cups cream (use the heavy stuff if you can find it) Salt & Pepper to taste 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese

  1. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium/low heat.
  2. Add the garlic and cream bring mixture to a simmer.
  3. Stir often
  4. Add the Parmesan cheese and simmer sauce for 8-10 minutes or until sauce has thickened and is smooth.
  5. When sauce has thickened add the mozzarella cheese and stir until smooth. STIR FREQUENTLY!

Chicken: 4 good sized breast (figure ~2 per person), cut into small strips (kind of like what you would do for fajitas). ~2tbs of extra virgin olive oil – oregano and parsley (as needed and a little bit of garlic if I have leftover from the above sauce).

  1. Heat frying pan + olive oil to medium heat
  2. Add chicken + oregano/parsley
  3. Pan fry chicken until nice light golden color

Noodles: I’m pretty lazy and just buy Alfredo noodles at the local market and boil them until they’re ready, drain, and let sit for a few minutes.

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Javascript isText

This snippet will test for a letter followed by any number of letters or ‘-‘ or ‘.’.

[js] function isText( text ) { var regex = /^[a-zA-Z][a-zA-Z-.]*$/; return regex.test( text ); } [/js]

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Now I’m Pissed

Just last night I was lamenting what I see as an largely unseen and undocumented assault on women in this country. Women, as a group, are being fucked by our legal system. A judge over this last year, for instance, ruled that it cant be rape if a woman changes her mind after (penetrative?) sex has begun. So, in theory, women are beholden to sex for however long the partner wants. Its all about what [he] wants.

That just sets the stage. You hear about the bullshit in Nebraska? Rape case. Judge said you can’t use these words: ape, sexual assault, victim, assailant, and sexual assault kit. The woman testified for 13, yes THIRTEEN hours without using any of them. As she remarked, and I agree, its a form of assault itself. Disgusting. Sick yet? The judge called a mistrial because he felt the media attention on the case had harmed the juror’s impartiality. He may not be guilty. He hasn’t been found guilty. The first go was a hung jury. But, where is the attempt at justice here? I can taste the misogyny. Putrid.

That all revolts me. Seriously. If I think about it, I start getting queasy and have to stop. What really pisses me off this the state of political commentary on such issues. Why this diatribe? Because I implore all ya all to consider more domestic issues in your work. Its like Iraq is being used as a diversion for the more sinister plan of undermining the rights of women in the country. Match this up our cultural trends toward a faux feminist body empowerment sold by the media, and hyper masculinity all around… Ugh.

But, in case you need something to help hook into the safer material of Iraq — In 2006, sexual assault of women in the military has gone up 26%. Think about that. 26%. And that’s what is known. Where is that in the speeches about supporting the troops? 3000+ women in the military. Who reported. Assaulted by fellow soldiers. There is now a clear line in the troops I can support. Anyone know the military size or the # of women in it? I wonder the percentage of whole on that.

Oh… Did I mention the fellow who assaulted 20 Latino women in MD? They think the # is higher, but immigration stuff is scaring women into not reporting. Personally, I’d like to see tighter immigration controls, but, then, I’d like for my countryMEN not to be able to rape with impunity a whole lot more.

It leads me to think about so many poems I have heard, where the same gender stereotypes are used again and again to plead for peace. Mamma earth. So warm, so comforting. The idealization of the idea of matriarchy. Somehow women are more naturally pure – why, its amazing we (men, of course) don’t seek to protect such… wait a minute…. I see these concepts of indicative of the way most folks think about gender, and it troubles me. I feel like its part of a feedback loop. Part of patriarchy, and matriarchy, is the opposed dichotomy of attributes and values. We pretend to decry the patriarchy, and the war patriarchy has created for us, and yet time and time again we feed it by honoring the same debilitating stereotypes it provides us.

That said, I suppose you could say Mother Earth is an apt metaphor, though damaging. Look at the way our world treats women, and its no shock we treat a feminine planet the same way. That further forces us to rely on gendered stereotypes as calls to action. This anthropomorphism also allows us to externalize the imminent. Its not suicide of the humans. Its hurting Earth. Like earth cares. By my estimation, if we hose it next week with nukes, the earth can try again at least once before the sun consumes it.

But I digress. My point is the accepting of such gender roles only contributes to the growing overt misogyny I see. How long before the media and political scape has completely reworked the language of that debate. We won’t get to hear about the growing violence among and upon women, we’ll get to hear about if certain words are acceptable. Its already started in ‘our’ own movement. I am supposed to support some culture through cultural relativism and some mind numbing version of togetherness even though their practices or beliefs are more misogynistic than our own. Our reckless desire to be open and desperation for allies has sold out women from other cultures. And yet, we claim to be about peace and love. And as our country teaches us, love turns a blind eye towards abuse.

This blind eye isolates people. It makes the problem worse.

That’s fucked up.

And frankly, it pisses me off.

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