Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Uncritical Trust Is My Nemesis

I like that title.

Not that it had anything to do with what I was planning about writing. I actually found it when looking up Nemesis in the dictionary. I didn't need the definition, I have a pretty good grasp of that. I needed to know the plural, as it is important that I keep several nemeses, in case one needs a sick day or vacation, or gets an anvil dropped on them, etc.


I was suspicious that it may be one of those words like cactus, where the plural is cacti.
Nemesis>>Nemesi. However that is not the case. Whew.


Stay with me. You'll feel a little pressure and it will all be over.

There is another blog I read by Somer Cooper.

The newsworthy part of this statement is that her blog has nothing to do with any of the subjects which are generally covered in the blogs I typically read. These subjects include:
  1. Bikes
  2. Guns
  3. Computer Games
  4. Cars
  5. Science Fiction
  6. Women in Lingerie
  7. Movies
Actually, as far as I can summarize ( Somerize?) her blog mainly deals with guilt and a dash of angst. Somer seems to be perpetually apologizing for something. Really not my cup of tea, as you may have guessed from some of my more sociopathic rants. But, as it turns out, I actually know and like Somer.

Somer is EXACTLY the kind of girl your mother would want you to marry: Caring, smart, friendly, pretty, mostly heterosexual. Maybe not technically wearing white to the wedding, but even my mom didn't really care about that.

This is exactly the kind of girl I did not date, back before Mrs. Evil would pull a Lorena Bobbitt on me for even looking. Not that I didn't make the effort. I made the effort with a fair number of very sane girls over the years. In general, we both sobered up and realized it was a mistake.


Through trial and error, I eventually found my niche. That niche did not include "sane". While sanity was specifically excluded, the niche did generally include several of the below risk factors:
  • Cute
  • Unbalanced
  • Drunk
  • Irish ( is that redundant?)
  • Drunk
  • Jewish
  • Smart
  • Obsessive
  • Kinky
  • Odd
  • Drunk
  • Sorority ( again, redundant?)
  • Angry

Yes, I mentioned drunk several times. It came up a lot.

I am running the risk of sounding like Charlie Brown's Teacher: "Wah wah woh wah wah", because you don't come to this blog to read about cool women who are trying to improve the world, unless you are assured of some ancillary defilement thereof. Thus your attention is drifting. Again, stick with me.

Well, there will be no defilement of Somer, at least in a physical sense. ( Unless I can talk her into one of several dares involving tequila. I'll post pics, I promise.)

However, she has foolishly invited me to guest blog on her site in the near future.

I could strive to be the perfect guest, minding my manners and waxing eloquently. I think not.

Picture, if you will, the worst house guest ever. I'm talking Alex, fresh back from the milk bar.

To extend the metaphor, her carpets and curtains, so meticulously matching in the past, will be in shambles. Her virtual fridge will be a desolate wasteland, and her binary bathroom a toxic cesspool. The digital liquor cabinet will be dry and her medicine chest will have been mercilessly rifled through. Her friends will call and beg her to throw me out, and linked blogs will see the value of their internet real estate plummet. Her blog, and by digital extension, her soul, will be damaged goods.


Of course, like so many women before her, she may sober up and reconsider.

Thats the kind of guest blogger I am, and the kind of faustian bargain she has made. So stay tuned.


-Evil C.






Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Ends, The Means, Who Cares.

I almost started writing a political diatribe today. Almost addressed the ends justifying the means. Almost jumped on a pro-military soapbox. Almost dove headfirst into the upcoming election.

But pulled back from the brink. Coitus Interruptus of the ranting train wreck that would follow.

Honestly, I hate to talk about politics. I have many good friends, people I respect, intelligent people, former teachers, ardent fans, all of whom I strongly disagree with when it comes to politics.

I just feel it would be wrong to ruin our relationship and let them know that, since they disagree with me, by definition, they are wrong.

We can talk bikes. Trek, Cannondale, Proteus, aluminum, titanium, Dura-Ace, Campagnolo, Carbon Monocoque Riding Poseurs.( If you leave the politics out)

We can talk guns. ( If you leave the politics out)

We can talk cars. ( If you leave the politics out)

We can talk about me. Alway popular.

We can talk about you. For a while at least. More so if you are particularly attractive, and send me the pictures to prove it.


We can talk about coffee. ( If you leave the politics out)

We can talk tech. Less so if you are an Apple fanboy.

We can talk Sci-Fi.

We can talk sports. Unless you are a Yankees fan.

Just leave me out of your politics.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Epic...Fail.

Not in the traditional sense.

I know you, my minions, have come to expect awesome Ayn Rand or Thomas Pynchon prose when you come to my blog. As well you should, and I have constantly delivered.

I'm changing course. Bobbing and weaving if you will, in an effort to stay current.

I am going to begin to put less thought into my posts, and thus hopefully generate most posts. The more astute of you may see this as substituting quantity for quality. The VERY astute will realize that it is unlike that quality could easilybe sacrificed. The truly cynical would point out it may actually be impossible to put less thought into my posts.

Another thing. My independent market studies show that more audio -visual content is a boon for my readers, so I may begin to insert random images into the post. Images that I either have taken myself, or have blatantly pilfered from elsewhere.

Legal notice: Copy-written images will be removed immediately on request. The Evil Cyclist Legal Department is woefully underfunded.

You can also send me pictures you would like anonymously posted. No porn. Although I appreciate it as an art form, there is already enough elsewhere. ( Enough being a relative term, but I'm not 15 years old anymore)

Biking content? I have that too. Its starting to get chilly here in the wee hour of Zero Dark-Thirty when I am now forced to ride. Mid forties this morning. Not bitter cold, but not as nice as the high 60's which have been spoiling me lately.

Let me be clear: I have ridden and will ride when it is much colder. Mid to upper teens is my limit. But I won't like it. I'm stubborn, not insane.

However, this is a bit of a hard time to pick your outfit. Too warm for the real cold weather gear, but cold enough that fingerless gloves leave your fingers aching after a ride. I need to find a nice pair of "mid-weather" gloves. Suggestions appreciated and honestly evaluated. I have great Kombi gloves for the really cold days.


From long past posts, I may have mentioned I have been using the NiteRider MiNewt lights. On the whole, I really like these lights. Well made and bright, with my only complaint till now being that the cable to battery pack connection is sub-par. Well, recently, they have begun to just quit after about 45 minutes. No warning ( they used to give a warning flicker long before dying). I suspect, but have not confirmed, that the battery pack is dying. As you may know, any rechargeable battery has a finite times it can be recharged, and the curve begins drop, battery life drops. I will experiment more and let you know. Until now, it has only left me without front lights for the last mile or two of the ride, so annoying, but not life threatening.

I may also switch to exotic dark matter for power, because I can do that.

-Evil Cyclist

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Napalm in the Morning.

There is something you should know. I'm a slacker. Like my father before me and his before him. (Actually my father was a workaholic. However, apparently, the mailman was a slacker.)

Deal with it.

When I have something to say, I'll get around to saying it. When I have nothing to say, I may make something up.

It's been dull lately. I can't commute to the new Evil Labs on my bike anymore, as I spend most of my day at client offices, not in the main office, which is woefully lacking in showers anyhow.

Although I think I smell like roses after a long ride, I am told, by reliable sources ( Mrs. Evil), that I smell like Napalm in the Morning, but from the point of view of the Viet Cong.


I love the smell of napalm in the morning. sound clip























This means there is now way to shower or change clothes before work, except at home.

The upshot is that I can't commute on my bike, meaning I need to find other time to ride.

I have to get up at 5:30AM to get some time in the saddle. Now read the first line of this post again. I'll give you a few minutes to make the connection.

>
>
>
>
>
I'm a slacker = I frikin' hate getting up early in the morning.
I hate it even more when that means I am riding in pitch dark.
Gets to the point of loathing it now that it is starting to get cold.


Cold+Dark+Early=Angry Evil Cyclist.

To quote Dr. Evil ( no relation ) "When I get angry, Mr. Bigglesworth gets upset. And when Mr. Bigglesworth gets upset, people die"

I don't have a better solution. I can't ride at lunch and I don't have time to ride after work, and I am NOT NOT NOT getting one of those trainers.

I could move closer to the equator. That would help with the dark and cold issue, but would make the commute difficult. Anyhow, rest assured I am putting my giant brain to work on it.

-Evil


Friday, August 27, 2010

The New Digs

Your Evil Cyclist has new Evil Labs.

Yes, after being at the old labs for over five years, I felt it was time to leave Professor Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker behind, and hang with a new crowd.

I was looking for a change and a bigger better deal, and I found it. I don't really have a nickname for the new crowd yet, but something will present itself, likely after a Friday Happy Hour, as these things often do.

It more of a consulting job, chasing the filthy lucre if you will, and so far I am digging it.

The down side is that it has negatively affected my riding. At the old labs, I could easily commute most days. They had locker rooms and showers on site, and the dress code was pretty lax.

The new labs has no locker room, the dress code is business casual and I am on the road working with clients most of the time.

This means I have to get up even earlier to get an hour ride in at dawn, and this is still nowhere near as many miles as I got in before.

The good news is I get to spend more time driving my Fine German Steel.

My carbon footprint is now huge. Big V-8 with fuel economy not on the features list. Muhhahaaa!

On the technical note, in the past I had been using a Garmin Edge 305 for tracking my rides. It worked okay, at least well enough that I did not get motivated enough to replace it. However, it finally died when on of the switches failed. I considered buying a new unit, maybe a Garmin 705. Eventually I realized I carry a GPS with me anyhow, in the form of a company issued Blackberry.

The Blackberry is the Toyota of phones ( no, not uncontrolled acceleration), meaning good basic functionality. I loathe it. I really want an Android or iPhone, which I will happily pay for, but they are verboten for company mail/data, and I won't carry two phones. Thus, stuck in Blackberry purgatory.

I tried a couple different biking applications for the phone. They had to meet these basic criteria:
  1. Had to allow mapping/navigation. The Edge 305 did this, but just barely. It was rudimentary at best.
  2. MPH
  3. Total distance
  4. Some way to store and record rides
  5. Average Speed
  6. Elapsed time

Here are the things that the Garmin had which I knew I would have to live without:
  1. Heart rate monitor. Fun, but not critical
  2. Cadence. Haven't used it in years
  3. Native water resistance. BlackBerry is not water resistant.

The two I tried were iMapMyRide and TrimbleAllSport.

iMapMyRide was the cheapest, at $2.99. Well, it was a fail right out of the box. Although for other platforms, like iPhone and Droid, it appears it has a nice moving map display, for the Blackberry, no moving map for navigation. I need to be able to create a route ( or download one) in advance and follow it once on the road without printing route sheets. I also want to be able to deviate from the route and find my way home again.

So I tried Trimble AllSPortGPS. It was more expensive, at $19.99, but they have a 7 day trial so I got it to test. Also much less than a new Garmin.

It had all the features I wanted, including a nice map, but it had two shortcomings:
1. The route line, i.e the line of the route you are following on the moving map, is a faint thin green line that is almost impossible to see while riding, more so when overlaid over a street map.
2. The back light won't natively stay lit on my Blackberry for more than two minutes. So, you have to keep hitting a button to keep the map lit.

Frustratingly close, but both those items made the product almost unusable. So, I posted questions in the support forums. Low and behold, regarding the thin line, one of the actual developers answered with this reply ( to me and the other who also joined in):
"Good feedback guys. I'm thinking we will have to increase the width of the line..."

Well, that was during my trial week, so I had not even bought the product yet. However, based on that answer, I put my money down. Until a fix is supplied ( writing code takes time), I have turned off all background maps, so the route is just a green line against a white background. Its still low contrast and not perfect, but it is as usable as the old Garmin 305 system.

The back light was a bit more complex. There is no way on the Blackberry itself to keep the back light on indefinitely, and the Trimble application had no way to set that feature either. However, other Blackberry applications did it, so I knew it was possible. The answer was a Franken-Hybrid work around.

One application that does keep the back light on is "Trapster", an application I used anyhow in my constant duel with the po-po. The trick is to start Trapster, then start Trimble. Trapster will stay running in the background, keeping the lights on. You cane then ignore it. Other applications, like Telenav will do this too, but Trapster is free, Telenav is expensive.

Only weirdness to this is that occasionally Trapster gives out audible warnings about speed traps and red light cameras, which can startle you on a bike.

I post update on the Trimble setup as they develop. If any of you, my minions, have other solutions, let me know. I'm interested. But just barely.

-Evil C.



Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Politics. Really?

I don't generally discuss politics on this blog, or in general.

Not that I don't follow politics or don't have politcal views. I do.

I don't discuss politics here because:

1. There are a gazilion other political blogs. Generally, they turn my stomach.

2. I hate most politicians. I know you think the guys in your party are great and the other guys are scum. You are half right. This opinon makes me unwelcome in any discussion, regardless of the group;

But, amusingly enough, a friend seemed genuinely surprised that I was a cyclist and a Republican. Like they were mutually exclusive. I mean, its well known that all conservatives sit inside all day, smoke cigars and try to think of way to rape the planet.

In truth, I'm more libertarian than conservative. Really, I just want to be left alone; by the left and the right. Go home.

-Evil C.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

You look like a girl...

...which is expected and encouraged if you actually are a girl. Not an insult at all.

And, if you want to be a drag queen riding your bike, go out and do it. I've seen some very clever adaptations of platform heels to clipless pedals, and the riders looked fabulous. But they weren't afraid to go all the way, and did it in what would be considered a tasteful drag queen way ( odd oxymoron, but you get my point).

However, if you are guy wearing a sleeveless jersey, especially with a little belly or back peeking out at the bottom like it is half shirt, regardless of you washboard abs, you look like a girl. This girl looks hot:



















You don't. You look like a dorky nightmare.

Note that I did not say you look gay. I've cycled with a fair number of gay guys. They generally know better than to dress like that. They may hint at being gay with their outfits in ways I could not hint at my heterosexuality, but generally that's because they are much better looking than me. That is one stereotype that seems to hold true: Virtually all gay guys are better looking than me.

That is no small accomplishment. I've been told ( mainly by streetwalkers in Bangkok, whose honesty is well known and unimpeachable) that I am great looking.

But that's not important, except to me. What is important is that next time you are lying in a bloody pile by the side of the road with my pump mysteriously tangled in your spokes, know that it wasn't just another random act of petulance on my part, but actually a bit of a karmic drive-by because you looked like a dorky nightmare in your sleeveless, too short jersey. And I want my pump back.

-Evil C.

Friday, June 25, 2010

AIDS Ride 2010

Technically the AIDS Walk & Ride, but the walking part is not my cup of tea.

Flashing back a little bit, I did the 2010 AIDS Ride on May 1st. I did the full 102+ miles (a little more that the scheduled 102, as I made wrong turn near the end.)

It sucked more than usual for me. Not because of the organization or management of the ride. They did a great job as usual with support etc.

Its not you, its me.

I was way under trained this year. I should have quit around mile 65, but I willed may way to the end. Ass hurt. Feet really hurt and knee was so bad that it still bothers me almost two months later. I was gulping Ibuprofen like a cheerleader gulps "the pill" before prom. It masked the pain, allowing me to limp to a finish, but I paid for it for weeks afterwords.

Also, from a mental standpoint, they did an "out and back" route this year versus a big loop.I have an easier time finishing a big loop. Just seems easier.

If I do the AIDS ride again, and if I am under trained, I won't kill myself. I've got nothing left to prove in the century department. I already know I'm tough. I'll quit at 65. However, the better answer is that I will train more and whine less..

-Evil C.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fatality Facts 2008. Oh happy day.

Stop.
Before you read this post, open this link on another page or tab:
Fatality Facts 2008: Bicycles
Its grim reading no doubt, which makes it irresistible to the Evil Cyclist (moth to a flame)

First of all, we know that people die on bikes. Old people, young people. Apparently many more men than women and, as a pleasant surprise, quite a few drunks. Even good people and careful cyclists like Bruce Rosar.

So, back to the Insurance Institute web page, and my impending mockery thereof.

First let me spoil any tension by providing a conclusion first: they omit data that would be critical to formulating real judgment. Shocking.

Example: Bicycle deaths by gender. According to their chart, men account for ~85% of all bike deaths.
Horrifying Conclusion: Men must be awful cyclists, or be the actual target of homicidal drivers ( I personally blame George Bush, don't you?).

In reality, this statistic means NOTHING unless we know the actual proportion of men to women cyclist AND the number of miles they ride AND we know where they ride, etc. It is a complete apples to oranges comparison. Might as well compare men's deaths by cycling to squirrels deaths from crossing the road. I suspect what it really means is that men ride a lot more than women, which jibes with what I see on the roads every day. Yes, I understand my anecdotal evidence is not scientific, but its better than what they provide.

Next: "Ninety-one percent of bicyclists killed in 2008 reportedly weren't wearing helmets."

Bicyclist deaths by helmet use, 1998-2008
Year No helmet use Helmet use Total*
Num % Num % Num
1998 741 98 16 2 757
1999 698 93 42 6 750
2000 622 90 50 7 689
2001 616 84 60 8 729
2002 589 89 54 8 663
2003 535 85 58 9 626
2004 602 83 87 12 722
2005 676 86 77 10 784
2006 730 95 37 5 769
2007 646 92 50 7 699
2008 653 91 58 8 714

Well, this is comforting. I MUST draw the conclusion that since I wear a helmet, I am about 9 times less likely to die in a crash. Whew!

WRONG.

Without knowing how many people ride without helmet and how many miles they ride, that number is again useless. For example, if only 10% of riders wear helmets, and everything else is equal ( like the number of miles ridden annually) it turns out that I am JUST AS LIKELY to die wearing a helmet as not. Now I don't think that is the actually case, and I do think helmets add significant protection ( from first hand/head experience) thus I wear one, but statistics in a vacuum are prone to gross mis-interpretation. Mainly by politicians and lawyers, by the way.

In a way that I am not really proud of, this brought a smile to my face:
"Twenty-six percent of bicyclists age 16 and older killed in 2008 had blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) at or above 0.08 percent."

Amusing for several reasons:
1. I have ridden drunk. Not a happy ending. End result; Scabs stuck to my pillow/sheets. Combined with hangover, a very bad way to wake up. In my defense I was younger, stupider and indestructible.
2. Realistically, only a small percentage of miles per year and riders can be drunk on a bike. Since the statistics only provide information on those actually killed, I don't know how many, but it has to be small. That means you are much, much, much more likely to be killed when drunk on a bike. No surprise. God may protect fools and drunks, but Darwin hates 'em.
3. Drunk cyclists are funny, and only do minor damage to large SUV's and German sports cars.

"Bicyclist deaths in 2008 occurred most often during the months of August-October."
Really? So more people die during the summer when more people are riding? Inconceivable. How about correlating that to the total number of miles ridden in each month?

This one is surprising and bothers me personally:

Bicyclist deaths per million people by age and gender, 2008

Bicyclist deaths per million people by age and gender, 2008

1. I'm right in the 40-45 year old sweet spot for the upswing in death. Whats killing all the middle age male cyclists? I suspect its mainly embarrassment about how they look in spandex.
2. Really surprised that the 16-25 year old rate is so low. Those are the reckless years, or they were for me. I suspect its because that's when all the guys get cars, and they are busy killing themselves in cars and don't have time to die on a bike...but since we don't now how may cyclists there are in those age ranges and how many miles they actually ride, we'll never know. What a sad, tragic mystery. Call Scooby-Doo.

The remaining statistics are less interesting to me, but just as useless. more people die in cities than in rural areas. Really? Which areas has considerably more bike riders?

For those of you that are worried about my mortality (which should be all of you), statistically speaking, it is unlikely that bicycling will kill me. Among the Grim Reaper's much more likely choices are:
-Angry Wife
-Angry Boss
-Angry Co-Worker
-Insanely fast German sports car
-Boredom
-Flatulence

"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,"
J.R.R. Tolkien
-Evil C.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Crock Pot Hot

Last post I was whining about the cold.

Now its 97 degrees and I'm bitching about the heat. Typical.

Reminds me of my younger days, working in a restaurant kitchen. Now that was hot. Damned hot, yet we got through it. and I'll get through this. Heat's not too bad when you are moving, but it does suck to get stuck in a line of cars at a traffic light, with hotter still exhaust fumes blowing up at you.

Its also raining now too, with big wind. The gods are challenging me.

-Evil C.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Shrinkage

It was 18F on the ride in today. That is -8C for my more civilized readers.
Cold. Very cold for North Carolina.
Those of you from Northern areas are probably getting out your "Quit Whining You Sissy" comments, and you would be somewhat justified. Well, not really.The fact you enjoy ice fishing just proves your are idiots, not real men.
However I did still ride in, knowing full well that it would suck. It did. And, last year I made a promise that I would not ride in if it was less that 20F, and yet I rode in anyhow.

Why?
Could be I like have the bike rack at the labs all to myself.
Could be I like to re-affirm my toughness.
Could be the 15 lbs I have put on since November.

In any case, it a new year and the ride continues...

-Evil C.