August 2009 Archives

Beneath the Keys

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Bill and Jeff have issued a challenge to find something buried beneath my keyboard. Jeff's runner-thin body contains a hidden spring of limitless creative energy, while Bill's wit and insight completely fail to hide his appreciation for the finer things in life. I, on the other hand, have a writing style charitable referred to by an English teacher of old as "prosaic".

Alas, Bill and Jeff both wield the spirit of the moose over me, so I must accept the challenge.

The other weekend, we headed out camping with my sister's family. The weather forecast was decidedly mediocre, with intermittent rainfall throughout the weekend. While it rained on the drive down there, by dusk the skies were clear, for likely the only time that weekend. As the last rays of light faded from the sky, my brother in law, my eldest son and I, left the comfort of the fireside, and headed down to the beach.

When I was a child, growing up in a small city further north than most people ever go, I can remember the night sky. I loved seeing the glows of cities and towns when we would travel by night, peeking out my car window. I remember the Milky Way, faintly stretching across the northern sky.

In my early 30s, I finally got to look through a real telescope for the first time. Living in suburbia, the sky was lighter than the skies of my youth, and I would have to wait well into the night to coax the Milky Way out from behind the glow.

Earlier this year, finally living outside the city, I laid out in the back yard with my kids, watching the Perseid meteor shower. I tried to point out the Milky Way, and remarked that it was the clearest I'd ever seen it. It gave me a bit of a thrill when they would describe a meteor as "it went right through the Milky Way!" Clearly, they were really seeing it.

On the beach, that night, was another level. Of course, it doesn't hit you all at once. As your eyes adjust from the glow of the campfire, and the flashlight you needed to get there, the view just gets better and better.

It wasn't a question of whether you could see the Milky Way, but rather just how much detail you could extract from it. The Great Rift could be seen running through Cygnus. The glow seemed to thin out a bit as it passed through Cassiopeia, only to return in Perseus. The double cluster could clearly be seen, and turning a bit, the Andromeda Galaxy was also visible to the naked eye.

The longer we stood there, the more we saw. Binoculars were brought out. We went hunting for the brighter deep sky objects, and it was a joy to find that quite a few were actually visible. Jupiter showed 3 moons, even in the shaky binocular lenses. Even just passing the binocs over the Milky Way itself was a joy - there were just so many stars.

Eventually, necks got sore, and people got tired, and we reluctantly turned away from the spectacle, back to our campfires, and tents.

The Other Side Lives

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Some places you'd just rather not visit....

Back in early july I had one of those cold/flu things that were going around. The adage is that, if it's "below the neck", don't work out. Since this was definitely below the neck, I didn't.

Eventually, with the help of a puffer and a few weeks convalescence, my lungs cleared up.

My chest, however, didn't. Not entirely.

Every so often, something would make me cough. When I would cough, it was intense, even violent. Worse, when I was done coughing, my first attempt to breathe in would fail. Totally. Mouth open, ribs expanding, no air. This would be followed by some seconds of wheezing and gasping as my airway slowly relaxed.

Now, a full 6 or 7 weeks after I first got sick, I still have awful coughing fits that leave me bent over. My airways aren't closing, but sometimes I need a pretty good pull to get my lungs full again.

I love aerobic exercise, but I've pretty much been unable to work out all summer. Ok, so I was a bit on the lazy side before I got sick, but it's different when you CAN'T. I watched the tour de france and longed for my bike. I went on vacation and took some short bike rides, and suffered. I kept telling myself I'd be back in the pool "next week".

The doctor is calling it "temporary asthma". All I know is that it's got me down.

Vacation TT 2

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Windier today. Was something like 45 seconds behind at the far corner.

The upside was the wind was at my back coming home. I thought I'd be too tired for it to matter, but the wind gave me just enough impetus to fly up the last hill - generally at 32-34km/h. Nice.

It was still too much time to makeup, but I was under 25 minutes, which wasn't bad.

Vacation TT 1

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My lungs are better, but my cough can still be devastating. Still, I felt good enough to try a ride around the block.

A few weeks ago, I set a time to beat of 24:18. It's on a chalkboard at home.

I had my first coughing fit a couple of minutes in, but I was able to keep my breath and keep going. I felt ok all the way around, though I battled up the last hill. Was very surprised to see the time be 24:26 - only 8 seconds off my PB.

Of course, if I keep at this for any length of time, I should be able to destroy that PB.

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This page is an archive of entries from August 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

July 2009 is the previous archive.

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