Thursday, January 28, 2010
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Pancake have berries, and home-made yogurt. Caveman like!
Monday, January 25, 2010
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
1: Things That Go Bump in the Night
For those who ride the Burke regularly, you're already familiar with the nasty cracks that pepper the trail every fifteen meters or so. Some of these cracks are from tree roots lunging under the trail, some are from water damage, and other appear to be "installer error" -- glaring examples of piss-poor trail building if you ask me. When riding during the day these bumps are easily visible, and my legs tense-up moments before impact. My butt doesn't even need to lift off the saddle; what's important is that my body weight is transferred for a split-second from my oh-so-vulnerable nether region, to my strong (and shock-absorbing) legs. At night, sadly, this is not always the case. My headlight, while adequate for most major trail obstacles, is not bright enough to provide me the same sort of depth perception I enjoy during the day. On occasion, my eyes fail to assess the severity (or even presence) of an oncoming bump, and my crotch is the innocent victim. The result is highly unpleasant: remember in kung-fu movies, when Bruce Lee would throw a punch so lightning-fast that neither the camera nor the bad guy could see his fist move? Nothing....nothing....then--Ka-Pow!--and suddenly the bad guy is staggering around about to go unconscious? Well hitting a nasty unseen trail crack at full speed is just like that, except Bruce Lee's "fist" is shaped like your bicycle saddle, and the "bad guy" is the softest part of your body. Ka-Pow! Take that! Lights-out bad guy!
I'm convinced the Burke Gilman Trail is actually a secret training grounds for the League of Shadows -- what else could explain the number of ninjas creeping about in the dead of night? These ninjas are dressed from head to toe in black clothing on a trail that lacks any ambient light; they are extremely hard to spot. I've fended off attacks from these servants of evil countless times: I'm riding along at full speed on what appears to be a poorly lit, but unoccupied stretch of trail, only to have a ninja emerge from the gloom inches from my front wheel, and slash at me with his sword. I'm only alive thanks to my own cat-like reflexes, taking evasive maneuvers, swerving, barely dodging my attacker. After I regain my composure, I often look back and find that through some sort of powerful black magic, the ninja has shape-shifted into a jogger out for a late night run -- very clever ninjas, but you don't fool me. There's a part of the Burke that is covered with a canopy of trees; it is extremely dark there, and happens to be a favorite hiding spot for ninjas. Pedestrians/ninjas, if you want to use the bike path at night, I think you should have to wear a light too.
You'll know a UFO when you see one -- carrying more lights and batteries than bicycle, often wearing a full-blown reflector vest, and sometimes even sporting a small flagpole with a neon yellow flag, these interesting creatures of the Burke more closely resemble bio-luminescent jellyfish than they do cyclists. While they aren't inherently dangerous, but I've found myself mesmerized by their beautiful array of twinkling, glowing, strobing, and blinking. The best tactic is to use the "solar eclipse" approach to viewing these oddities: use only your peripheral vision when approaching a UFO -- whatever you do, don't stare directly at the light; it's.....so.....beautiful....just want to look....one...moment....more.
4: The Asteroid Field
Without a doubt, the most dangerous place and time to be on the Burke is the stretch that passes through the University of Washington, on a Friday or Saturday night. At dusk, like bats emptying their roost, college students pour onto the Burke en mass. None of them have lights, most of them are drunk, and very few of them travel in straight lines. They tend to travel in groups, and there are a lot of them. Navigating this stretch of the Burke on weekend nights is a test of the nerves as much as the reflexes -- the closest thing I can compare it to is the asteroid field chase scene in the The Empire Strikes Back ("You're not actually going into an asteroid field?" "They'd be crazy to follow us, wouldn't they?") Sometimes, the Force is with me, and I make it through unscathed. Other times:
(remember, you can't see the embedded videos in facebook -- you have to go to the blog.)
5: The Gandalfs
Gandalfs believe they are on a holy mission to bring light to the darkened parts of this world. Armed with (often two) 5,000,000 candle-power xenon headlights, Gandalfs take to the trail to rid the Burke of its demons. The path in front of a Gandalf is illuminated bright-as-day, but god have mercy on any oncoming traffic. The beam from a Gandalf's headlights can be so bright, I've taken to closing my eyes as he approaches, protecting my night vision for after they pass; sure, I'm still riding blind for a while, but after he passes (provided we don't collide) I don't see spots for nearly as long. On occasion, I'll meet a benevolent Gandalf, one who will shield his headlight with his hand as we near each other, sparing my night vision. To those benevolent Gandalfs of the world, I thank you.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
This fundamental unpredictability reminded me of something: the stock market. I've never noticed the connection, but the two systems seem quite similar: both sets of analysts are using a limited amount of data to make predictions about a system of staggering complexity. In both cases, little details can warp the whole model, horribly skewing the real outcome away from the predicted one. Here's my idea: why not let them swap jobs? Would anyone notice? I doubt it.
I also like the idea of making weather predictions based on things that have nothing to do with weather:
CHICAGO, Jan 15 - US wheat futures fell 3.4 percent on Friday, hitting their lowest level in more than two months, increasing the likelihood of a wet weekend for us here in Illinois, traders said.
Corn futures were down 2.5 percent, falling for the fifth straight day, indicating an almost certain cold front approaching from Canada. If the trend continues, we could see temperatures in the low teens as soon as late next week.
Meanwhile, turning to National weather, the Dow rallied unexpectedly yesterday, closing at 11,486 with a gain of 122 points, which implies a high pressure system is building over the Gulf of Mexico, reversing last week's predictions of a monsoon in Kentucky.
Monday, January 18, 2010
Krogg see Matrix multiple times in theater because holy shit, what if Matrix REAL man? Matrix totally blow Krogg's mind. Krogg also teenager, and it 1990's, so Krogg's mind easily blown wide open by all kinds of stuff. Weezer, Nerds Rope, and Half-Life all have same effect on Krogg. In retrospect, Matrix still good movie, Half-Life good video game, and Weezer good music. Nerds Rope on the other hand, slightly overrated. Three out of four ain't bad.
Star Wars Episode 1:
Krogg see Star Wars multiple times in theater -- four times in row ON OPENING DAY NO LESS!! Krogg and friends expect Star Wars Episode 1 to be really good, so Krogg and friends buy tickets to Thursday night (midnight) sneak peek, and ditch school next day to see Star Wars three times on opening day. Krogg wait in line for tickets for hours. Krogg dress in costume. Krogg mind boggled by how bad movie is. Krogg hated movie after first viewing, but still, Krogg paid good money for those tickets, so Krogg sat through all four cripplingly bad showings of movie. Krogg mind still boggled. Krogg eternally scarred from this trauma.
Krogg also grateful to this video for showing exactly why Episode 1 so bad.
If you HATE Phantom Menace like Krogg does, Krogg highly recommend watching all seven parts of this review. Cathartic. But first two are best. Here second one:
Krogg totally amazed by Avatar. Krogg really really want to go to Pandora. Krogg want to live with the Na'vi, hunt six legged antelopes with poison dipped arrows, climb glowing trees in the nighttime, and ride giant flying lizard. Avatar speaks to Krogg in ways Krogg not fully understand. Krogg started attending bi-weekly Avatar support group. Krogg and others like Krogg dress in blue paint, and stick our pony-tails into light sockets. It helping. A little.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
It rains here, right? For the most part, I'm pretty used to it, and manage to get on with my life, but there are still those days when it cracks me. Yesterday was one of those days. "I just don't have enough 'fight' in me to don all that clothing, and ride my bike in the rain," I thought to myself, "I should drive up into the mountains where it's snowing and go skiing instead!" And so, my tall Hungarian friend (who recently "defibrillated" his blog) picked me up in a car and drove me up into the mountains. However, try as we might, a full hour's drive up into the Cascade Mountains wasn't enough to escape the rain. It poured on us the entire way, intensifying at the top of Snoqualmie Pass. We drove through a solid six-inches of slush in the Snow-Park parking lot. The nordic trail, despite clearly having been groomed that morning, was total mush -- we could transfer our weight from one ski to the other, but the snow would break under our skis as soon as we tried to push-off. Most of our propulsion had to come from polling. I exchanged the same "what the fuck are we doing up here?" expression with every other skier I encountered on the trail. It was slightly frustrating and very tiresome, but still, somehow less mentally fatiguing (and less freezing cold) than riding road bikes in the rain. Hooray for cross training! Here's a view of Lake Keechelus, and some pretty sheets of melting snow creeping off a tin roof.
Is there any way to escape from this rain? No? Very well, I shall commence with the fun-having anyway! Here's me very wet:
Speaking of not having enough 'fight' in me, today is a rest day. An unplanned rest day. I overcooked it a bit last Tuesday, and I've felt behind the curve since then. I've got a busy next three days, so I'm taking today off. I've got big plans, however. Starting with these:
These are my new Specialized saddles, which I plan on mounting today. The left one is the new Avatar road saddle (such such such a good name), and on the right is the Tri-tip for my TT bike. I'm excited by how much these saddles will improve my life -- it's the little things (like the amount of foam between your crotch and the road) that make this life so special.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Ahhhh the Burke Gilman Trail. It is luxury indeed to live in a city that has such a wondrous pedestrian and bicycle trail network. I ride the "Burke" nearly every day, whether I'm using it to avoid traffic on my way to work, to quickly and safely get outside the city limits for a training ride, or simply to spin my legs out and enjoy its charming views and atmosphere. The Burke is a lot of things to a lot of different people; some of its users are there to commute, some are there to stroll, some to exercise, and still others are there to make life dangerous for the rest of us. While the chances of an automobile/cyclist collision is rather low on the Burke, I'd wager that a cyclist/cyclist collision is much more likely (or a cyclist/pedestrian, or a cyclist/rickety-tandem-recumbent-tent-like-contraption). For your reading pleasure, I've collected the top five (daytime) hazards of the Burke Gilman Trail. Here they are in no particular order:
1: The Brace of Ducklings
The Burke Gilman is a wonderful place for children to learn proper bicycle handling skills and etiquette, mainly thanks to the scarcity of automobiles. However, to the average rider like myself, a flock of bobble-headed children surrounding a single "mother duck" poses a serious potential threat. The attention of this lone parent can only be fully focused on a single child a time, often leaving the remainder of the "ducklings" on their own. Small children on bikes tend be highly erratic, loosely orbiting their parent like drunken bees circling a nest. They are prone to jerky, uncontrolled deviations in heading, and are easily startled by faster riders approaching from behind. When I see a flock of duckings, I've learned it's best to reduce my speed dramatically, and use lots of vocal commands to indicate my presence. The only thing worse than running over a small child on the Burke, is moments later getting beaten-up by an enraged mother (or father) duck. VARIATION: Make Way For Ducklings (all in a row). Sometimes the duck family decides to streamline their operation into a single-file. This is often no less dangerous than the alternative.
2: The Undecided Voter
I've observed the same phenomenon in many creatures: an animal (let's say a rabbit), is calmly minding its own business when a fast-moving object (let's say a car), approaches this animal from behind, startling it. The animal bolts instantaneously, lurching forward without putting any thought into which direction it is pointed (let's say directly into the path of the approaching car). Meanwhile the rapidly approaching object attempts to change its course to avoid a collision. However, moments later (once the decision-making region of the rabbit's brain has caught up) the animal decides to change its direction, often returning the animal to harms way, with sometimes unsavory consequences for at least one party (like roadkill). The same thing happens on the Burke: you're cruising along, and approach a pedestrian. "On your left," you say. The pedestrian, startled now, lurches to his or her left, shutting down your passing lane, before jutting back to the right. Sometimes I can smell this kind indecision from several hundred meters away, giving the pedestrian ample time to figure out exactly which "left" I am referring to. Other times, they're not so lucky:
3: The Three-Abreast Walkers/iPod Guys/Rollerbladers
Math Problem: you are riding along the Burke at twenty-one mph and overtake three walkers traveling the same direction at three mph. The walkers are three-abreast, taking up the whole trail, and they are clearly engaged in conversation. By how much should you reduce your speed, and how much warning should you provide the walkers to insure everyone's safety? (Note: you can substitute walkers with an oblivious iPod user, or a rollerblader for the this question.)
It doesn't matter, you're probably going to have to either ride off the trail or come to a near stop no matter what. Also, expect a nasty scowl for interrupting any conversations.
4: The Needle-Threader
Overtaking slower riders is a part of riding on the Burke. Normally, those doing the passing are safe and responsible when doing so, using a bell or voice to notify those about to be passed, and either passing on the left when it's safe, or slowing down until a better time to pass presents itself. However, there are some among us who feel they shouldn't have to apply any pressure to their brakes under any circumstances, ever. These people are the Needle-Threaders. As though playing some kind of crazy game of chicken, the needle threaders will move into the left side of the trail, directly towards incoming traffic, and moments before impact, swing back to the right -- or not. Sometimes, needle threaders simply stay in their imaginary "suicide lane," and run oncoming traffic further to the side of the trail. You can also just call Needle-Threaders "Assholes."
5: The Time-Trailist
Time-trailist: n. A cyclist (usually male) riding a time-trial bike, in their aerobars, going fast (often with his head down), on the Burke. For those of you who don't know, when a cyclist is in his aerobars, he can't brake. In order to slow down, he must first shift his hands to his cowhorns, which takes a second, thus drastically increasing his reaction time and braking distance. When you're riding in your aerobars, it's kind of like driving with cruise control: you can modulate your speed a little with the throttle, but that's it. Just as it's better to use the cruise control when you're on the highway instead of downtown, it's better to stay out of the aerobars until the road is a little more open. Not only that, time-trailists are often found going extremely fast, and have a tendency to be needle threaders. SIMILAR THREAT: Fixed-gear riders. These guys also don't have brakes, but they do tend to travel slightly slower than Time-trailists.
Special Danger: COMPOUNDED DANGERS
One of the amazing things about the Burke Gilman trail is the opportunity for multiple hazards to converge at one location. Indeed it is possible for all five of the above dangers to be in the exact same place at the exact time, especially if, god forbid, the weather is nice on a weekend. Imagine: you approach a some Three-Abreast Walkers who also happen to be Undecided Voters. Coming the other direction is a flock of duckings and a mother duck. You have time to pass the Walkers on the left and return safely to the right hand lane before you reach the Ducklings. However, just as you're about to do this, two Time-Trailists decide they're going to beat you to it, accelerating towards this already tangled traffic snarl, trying to Thread the Needle before you do. You are now at the nexus of nearly 1,500 lbs of moving man and machine, the impact point of some strange cosmic particle collider. Somehow, usually, all parties make it out of these situations unscathed. However, I'm pretty sure that some day, the correct trail-goers traveling at the correct speed will collide at the correct moment, and a small hole will be torn in the fabric of space time.
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
After a few minutes, I was much more comfortable, and able to stay more-or-less upright (often thanks to the remarkable strength of my poles). By the end my first session, I'd reduced my awkwardly-flailing-to-save-my-balance to roughly one-tenth of the time.
Well, seeing as how I've always been a fan of Kicking out the Ladder, I've decided to start preparing for a ski race. I've got some friends who plan on skiing one or twice per week, and I've got a pair of skis I can borrow (right Alan?), so I'm just going for it. Methow Valley Community Trail 30k Freestyle Race, here I come!
Monday, January 4, 2010
Next I'd like to send my congratulations to me for trying a new sport. Here I am demonstrating TEXTBOOK skate skiing technique. Don't believe me? YOU SHOULD!
Lastly, I'd like to send my congratulations to the movie Avatar for blowing my freeking mind last night. I saw it in 3D, and now all I want to do is go to Pandora! Nice work James Cameron -- you should write the TEXTBOOK on how to make a good blockbuster. Anyone who thinks the Na'vi aren't dead sexy is dead wrong.
Friday, January 1, 2010
This week, Krogg take question from Andrew Brisbane of Niwot, Colorado. Timothy ask:
Dear Krogg, I'm a 27 year old graduate student studying Waste Water Management at the University of Colorado. I'm trying to finish my degree on an accelerated schedule, so my course load is considerable. I'm also a single parent of a four old boy, Brian, who is wonderful, but quite a handfull -- my point is I'm a busy man. I'm writing because I made some pretty ambitious new year's resolutions and I need some help keeping them. This year, I resolved to do the following:
1. Write a 1,000+ page novel that outshines the works of Leo Tolstoy
2. Finish inside the top five (overall) at the Kona Ironman World Championships
3. Add a 15,000 sq. ft. addition to the house
4. Lose five pounds.
I know this sounds like a lot, and I know it's only the first day of 2010, but I'm off to a good start -- I went for a jog today, and I wrote an opening line to my novel ("So I'm not what you'd call a novelist. Yet.") Despite this good beginning, I'm slightly worried that once school starts again, I won't have the time to follow through with my goals. Here's my age old question is this: can I have my cake and eat it too? Can I achieve my new year's resolutions and fulfill my scholastic and parental responsibilities? Do you have any tips that might help?
Wow Andrew -- Krogg impressed. You ambitious man indeed, but you make good goals. You also pose good age-old question: can I have my cake and eat it too? (Although Krogg more familiar with caveman version: can caveman eat whole mastodon, tusks to tail?) Well Krogg answer is emphatic yes. Krogg see no reason why new year resolutions cannot be accomplish before 2011 -- you need focus and multitasking skills, but Krogg living proof that success can be yours! Yes, Krogg recently ask himself similar question: Krogg very serious mastodon hunter, but Krogg also enjoy blogging. Krogg wonder for a while if blogging interfere with hunting mastodons -- maybe professional mastodon hunting teams think Krogg not serious due to (at times whimsical) blog posts. Krogg ask himself "Krogg, is it possible for caveman to blog but still be serious about hunting mastodons? Well Krogg here to tell you yes! It is possible to eat whole mastodon tusks to tail. However, Krogg do have tip or two for you.
Looking like a winner is the same as winning.
Take this man for instance (man on right):
Him not look fast. Him not look like race winner -- EVEN THOUGH HIM MAYBE EVEN WIN RACE!
Now look at this bike racer:
See how much faster him look? Him not win race, but judging by picture him look like winner. No? Believe it or not those are SAME man. See Krogg point?
Make New Face to World
Krogg know a thing or two about success. Success come from attitude. Look at this man:
See him unshaved face? See him downcast, vacant stare? This broken man from 2009. No attitude of success in him.
Now look at this man:
See how him have look of winner? See how him have piercing gaze toward distant, ambitious, yet attainable goals? This the look of serious focused winner. This the look of 2010. Believe it or not, these two pictures actually SAME MAN on SAME DAY!!! Amazing difference between look of 2009 and look of 2010, no?
Timothy, good luck with you quest to have successful 2010. Krogg rooting for you.