Friday, April 24, 2009

He Doesn't Care

A few weeks ago I received my new punching bag. A floor standing "heavybag" intended for boxing and kickboxing practice. I use it to train the skills I'm learning in karate. It makes for excellect cardio excercise and builds strength too. But, it's 100kG weight sits on the floor and transmits much of the force of a punch or kick through to the apartment below me; or so I feared.

When I first got the bag I took multiple steps to mitigate noise problems. One was to add thick foam padding to the underside. Another step was to send a note to the neighbours. I figured that by anticipating the problem I would reduce the severity of noise complaints.

I met the downstairs neighbour yesterday, in the elevator. I introduced myself and asked about the noise.

"Huh? What? Oh, we never hear anything. And we're moving any way."

And we're moving any way?

"Oh, ok," I said," So the new neighbour won't have a noise problem? Good to know."

"Huh? Uhm, sure."

There was a look in his eyes. It said," Do you see these children I'm with? You could launch a nuclear strike and I wouldn't hear it over the noise these little demons make." He didn't say this out loud, since the little demons where right there at his feet. But I'm sure that's what the look said.

I expect that some day soon I'll neet the new downstairs neighbour. Thanks to the look from the old neighbour, I suspect it may well be regarding a noise complaint.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

We Can't Kill the Planet

This is an idea that's bothered me a long long time. "Save the planet." It sounds great, but in truth we can't kill the planet. I don't mean, should not, I mean cannot. All our carbon, all our chainsaws, all our nukes, all together, could not wipe out life on Earth or kill the planet.

Let's be really clear in the future as to what we really mean. Kill the planet? Kill the euphemisms!

There are microbes in the Antarctic ice and bacertia feeding on volcanos at the bottom of the ocean.

We're not killing the planet; we're killing ourselves.

I first heard about the perils of climate change in the mid-eighties. It was included in a presentation which predicted wars for oil, rising sea levels, and doomsday-type chaos. Thus, like the early scientests who used computers to study weather, the message was easy to dismiss as extremist and unrealistic.

Today few of us doubt what nearly all scientists now agree on. And as computer models improve and more variables are added the results remain similar. Similar, except the predictions of chaos keep moving forward in time. Climate swings can apparently happen much faster than originally suspected.

A significant portion of children born today will live a full hundred years and more. But it's now known that ocean currents, local climates, and global patterns can shift in a decade. Thus I humbly submit that while worrying about the planet is noble, worrying for ourselves would be wiser.

Precisely when we'll hit the tipping point that endangers billions of us is still unknown. Until then, let's loose the vague speech. Stop saving the planet. Let's save ourselves!

(Oh, but Happy Earth Day none the less.)

Saturday, April 04, 2009

A week of workouts, a day of rest

I have to thank Betty. Not only have I enjoyed a number of trips with my new omafiets, but she's also inspired me to do some real riding. Indeed, the whole week has been fitness crazy.

My exercise log shows workouts (weight lifting) last Friday and again Wednesday. On Sunday I took my racing bike out for it's first ride of the season. It was a short 15km jaunt that got the blood flowing and the legs working. Tuesday it was a 30km ride. And yesterday I rode 50km in just a bit over 2 hours. Thursday was taken with karate. And I'm not including in the "exercise" the multiple times Betty and I have gone into town.

As well as the obvious increases in riding distances I've measured other improvements this week. Karate class always requires push-ups, which were done all at one go, for the first time. Wednesday I raised the weights by ~25% and still managed to knock out all the reps I intended. That's stunning!

And so with all that, I don't feel bad that my knees have decided to force a day off. Standing up from sitting on the couch requires both hands; only by taking the weight off my legs can I get my knees to bend with certainty. Once up, the feet ache and demand to move to relieve the pressure on them. This shuffling is supported by the back, which reminds me that I was bent over the bike yesterday afternoon and that I have not yet recovered. Stretching the back requires moving the arms which errupt in complaints from the shoulders to my fingers. If it moves, I've probably recently pulled, damaged, or over strained it.

It sounds bad, but every twitch is a mark of pride in a workout well done. No, I couldn't sit on my bike saddle today... not without a whimper or perhaps scream... but tomorrow I will. Or maybe I will exercise the (few) muscles which aren't currently hurting? Either way, I know that will be tomorrow.

Because today is my rest day. What ever it is that's getting done today, has probably already happened. Everything else, is for the future.