Tossing and Tortured 'Till Dawn

I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

A terrible admission: I have hotmail. Occasionally, I even succumb to reading the "relationship" and "fashion" advice columns that are constantly popping up -- mostly for the laughs.

There's a series of "10 things you don't know about women" that they enlist various female celebrities, and "celebrities," to write. But Alyssa Milano's is actually kind of funny. It includes:
  • 3. Women like porn, too. We just hate it when you hide the porn.

  • 5. An eyelash curler, while mean and ferocious looking, is not a weapon.

  • 8. "Hey, Melissa, who's the boss?" Not a good pickup line. "Hey, Phoebe, where'd you park your broomstick?" Not a good pickup line. "Hey, Alyssa, you look 250 pounds lighter than Brian Dennehy in that dress." Surprisingly good pickup line.
I remember the first time I saw a fancy makeup kit that included an eyelash curler. It felt like one of those film scenes where the torture kit is ceremoniously brought out and displayed to terrify the would-be victim into telling.

Also, help me out here. A woman proposed this to me, and I'm not sure what to make of it. So, l's and g's, true or false:

"When a woman exercises in public, the odds of her being dressed to impress approach 1:1."

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

I need to get out more.

Last night, I had a DREAM about cycling components. It even had a joke in it. It made me laugh when I woke up.

That's just not right.

In my dream, I was examining a fairly lightweight component of some kind, I believe a seatpost. It was carbon-fiber, slightly airfoil-shaped, and very short. Near where the saddle would attach, it read "Copright 1981" followed by the company's name, which I don't recall.

Confused, I checked a review on the component. They said that it was indeed very lightweight, but probably too fragile for everyday use. It was, according to this review, "prone to coming out of adjustment quickly, and getting lost in 1982."

In the dream, I thought it was funny, and concluded that the copyright date had nothing to do with the manufacturing date, but I still decided not to use the seatpost.

How weird is that?

Monday, July 24, 2006

Why is it called a "meteoric rise" when meteorites are, by definition, falling?

Sunday, July 23, 2006

I pity the fool!

My first name is Tyler. I often sign things T. Lastname. Companies occasionally abbreviate my name thus, also.

When the EMS delivery guy game today, though, I struggled not to laugh at "I have a delivery for Mister T!"

Somehow this hadn't occurred to me, despite occasionally getting that joke in high school.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Yesterday, I'm grinding up Sumner Heights, managing about 14 miles an hour on the twisty climb of about 6%.

For those of you with no frame of reference: that's hard.

There's a car behind me, and it apparently doesn't want to swing out into the other lane to safely pass me, nor buzz inches from my shoulder, which is a good thing.

At a driveway, I ride at the far right of the road and glance back, telling the driver to come on by, and as the Honda rolls alongside me. It carries two college-aged girls, and the one in the passenger seat waves and says "thank you!"

I smile and nod as they begin to accelerate away, but a few moments later the car's back beside me. "Wow, you're pretty cute!" the girl says. "Nice legs!"

She's pretty cute, too. I'd have turned a bright shade of red, except that I already had from the hill. The ladies speed off, giggling.

The climb is still hard, but I've got a smirk the rest of the way up.

---
Le Tour rolls on!

Spotted on the roads of the l'Alpe d'Huez in this year's Tour de France:

Wo ist Ullrich?

Basso?

Pantani!

And, from Phil & Paul: "Cyril Dessel has had a very hard chase back on after a mechanical incident at the start of the climb."

"Moreau, here, he seems to have had a leg incident."

--

Pronounciation: It's good that Floyd Landis of Phonak has taken the lead again. It was painful to try to listen to commentators stumble over Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears. Just painful.

Then there are riders whose names just get fouled up. Phil Liggett has uttered hundreds of Spanish-speakers' names. Why is Jose Rujano so hard? Rue-Hah-know. That's it. Somehow, he always adds an "I." From whence? Rue-hee-yawn-oh!

---

Monday, July 10, 2006

It's done.

One red paperclip = house.

Congratulations, Kyle

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Pet Peeves and Awards of the day:

Answering machines -- "Hey, Argent, you there? If you are, pick up." Ryan mentioned having an answering machine, instead of voice mail, on his land line. For the past five years I've been mobile-only, and so often I've lamented not having a way to go back to the beeping tape players of old. Now we get, what, four rings, and then wham, here's the voice mail. Also, since we've all got Caller ID, we have a pretty good idea of who's on the phone. So, you miss the call, you dial them back, only now their line is engaged because they are in the process of leaving you a message. Either you get to call back and forth five times to actually reach each other, or the other party picks up the call waiting and you end up with this voice mail that gets cut off halfway through as they click over.

And another thing. Can't we just have "Hi, it's Joe, leave a message. BEEP!" I'm tired of "To leave your callback number, press 5 now. To leave a voice mail, press 1, or just wait for the tone. When you are finished recording, hang up, or press pound for more options ... Hi, it's Joe, leave a message ... " I seriously don't leave messages for people sometimes because I don't want to sit through this shit.

Can't we come up with something better?

---

Dragonflies -- these guys win the award of the day. Why can't all bugs be like dragonflies? Despite many of them being fairly large, somehow they can fly backwards, sideways, diagonally, and into hyperspace. Riding around in the summer, I smack into all sorts of little flying things. A lot of them sting, bite, and most splatter. Somehow, I've never run into a dragonfly. Tbey just diagonally out of the way! Today I must have hit 47 bugs of considerable size, and don't even get me STARTED on clouds of gnats. Ugh! Another cool thing about dragonflies is that they are, apparently, absolutely harmless. I'm not exactly sure what it is that they do, but they have no interest in doing it to people. They don't bite, don't sting, and are otherwise just decorative. Forza dragonflies!

---

Apartment Nazis -- My apartment management company litters the entryways of the complex with a little monthly newsletter. They're mostly preachy, smarmy, and irrelevant. A basic sampling of this month's crap:
  • Vehicles parked in the complex with expired registration will be towed.
  • Bicycles may not be stored on patios
  • The front door to your apartment is self-closing. Don't let it slam!
  • NO FIREWORKS are permitted!
  • The pool closes promptly at 10:00 pm.
  • Rent paid on the 5th will be assessed a $75.00 late fee. NO EXCEPTIONS!
  • Oh, and have a happy fourth,you know.
Yeah, those bicycles on patios are such a BLIGHT on the community. A quick survey of the buildings I can see shows that about half of apartments have this seemingly normal accessory. It must be stopped!

If you build this apartment with stupid, piece-of-shit self-closing doors that are heavy, but lack the little pneumatic thing that slows them down (ever open most screen doors?), what do you expect people to do? When I come in the door with my bicycle in one hand, messenger bag on my back, and gear in the other hand, do NOT expect me to suddenly drop my shit to catch your stupid door. And I had better not take that BICYCLE to the patio, either.

Actually, I don't, because it's worth $3,000, and the "gate" to the complex has worked basically 4 days out of 4 months I've lived here.

And I recognize that rent is TECHNICALLY due on the 1st, but every company in existence does this whole "pay by the 5th" thing, to allow for differences in paychecks and stuff. My previous apartment was "by the 7th," even. "By the 4th" is one day earlier than every other apartment in the area. $75 is a lot of money for forgetting that 24 hours. No, I've never had to pay it.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Climbers are jerks. That's what I'm told, at least.

Riding a bicycle, you can be fast in three ways: You can be a sprinter, which means you can go extremely, explosively fast for 30 seconds or less. There are time trialists, pursuit riders, and roleurs, all slight variations on folks who can go very quickly in a straight, consistent line for a long time.

There's also Paolo Savoldelli, who can go exceedingly fast down hills, but we'll ignore that singularity for the moment.

Then there are Climbers. Climbers go up hills fast.

Climbers make everybody mad.

Every group ride I go on, somebody calls me a jerk. It's not my fault, I promise!

Caveat Lector: There are lots of faster climbers in the world than yours truly. If they would come on some group rides with me, it would make my life a lot easier. Doug?

99% of any ride, a sprinter is not sprinting. When they do, they blow by you like you're standing still for 30 seconds, and then it's over.

When a flat-course fast guy starts going fast, unless the differences in power are absolutely enormous or he's going completely flat out for a long time, the benefits of drafting means you can just stay on his wheel. When the very fit guy that shows up for the flat rides on his super-aero racing recumbent and pins it at 50-some kilometers and hour, I'm just hanging onto the wheel, as they say.

But going up hills is hard. It's hard for everyone, but for some people it's hard faster than others.

Hills (to speak nothing of mountains) are the great equalizer among riders. It takes exponentially more power to defy gravity, and the advantage of drafting becomes almost nothing at the speeds you're talking. While once you were just chatting along doing 30, 35 kilometers an hour, now you're eyeballs are exploding out of your toes and you're doing 20 or less.

If you're the fastest at going up a hill in your group, you have two choices when you get to a hill. You could blow everyone away, so by the time they get to the top you're already chilling out, recovered, eating some fig newtons or something. Then they call you a jerk. Or, you can hold back, ride the same speed as they do. That means their eyeballs are exploding, and yours aren't, and then they'll call you a jerk.

The only way to not be called a jerk is to fake something. Anything is fine -- maybe you think you have a tyre going down. Maybe you've dropped a bottle. Anything to make sure you're well down the hill from them, and then you have to catch them up. It's still a show of force, but at least it's from the back, and you're tired by the time you get up there. If you start acting like you're hurting when you're not, well,

That only works once.
So long, Alejandro!

Phil Liggett's job just got a little easier. Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears has crashed out of the Tour de France, breaking his collarbone on Stage 3 into Valkenburg. No, that's not in France.

You see, there's a lot of riders in the professional peloton named "Alexander." Interestingly, I can't find anyone actually named Alexander in the ProTour. But there's a lot of more different Alex's out there. Liggett has consistently had trouble figuring out which one is which, and frequently mixes up which pronounciation goes where.

But now, Alex^3 is out.

Alexadre Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana: Team withdrawn under doping scandal.
Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Milram: Did not start tour due to broken kneecap.
Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears: Crashed out.

There's also Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Rabobank, but I had never heard of him until doing a search, and he's not in the tour. There's Alexandre Botcharov (Rus) Crédit Agricole, and Alexandre Moos (Swi) Phonak, too, but they don't matter.

This is what we've got to entertain ourselves with now that the Tour de France is has been reduced to a shadow of its former self from the Operacion Puerto scandal, and the proliferation of useless sprint stages.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Tour de Spolier : The problems of mass media

Okay, so, despite the Operacion Puerto drama, there's still a Tour de France on, and I'm still interested in watching at least some of the stages.

Today's flat sprinter's stage might have been exciting. Oscar Freire beat Tom Boonen and all the other big sprinters to take the W.

It wasn't exciting, because I didn't find get to find out the winner by watching the stage!

Just by turning the computer on, wham, spoliered! It was even WORSE last year, when American Lance Armstrong was out for his seventh Tour victory. You basically had to avoid all media.

See, the Tour is in France. Domestic-time, that means stages start at 3 in the bloody morning. Since I'm not intending to watch it live, and OLN hasn't got anything better to do than show the Tour six times per day, I was planning to watch it later.

But now it's no use. Especially in a sprint stage, the forty-plus-mile-an-hour, shoulder-to-shoulder, lots-of-other-hyphens madness just isn't the same when you think, "oh, here I get to watch Friere win a stage."

Seriously, within five minutes of the end of any major event, athletic competition or otherwise, it's up on 34,294 websites, weblogs, message boards, and basically any form of online culture you like.

I'm not suggesting there be some kind of ... ban on reporting here, but, what am I supposed to do?

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Last night's car-car collision today was a complete non-incident, and wins both the award and the pet peeve of the day.

We were both making a late night convenience-store run, backing out of parking spaces that were at a 90-degree angle from one another. That's the first part of the pet peeve.

We zigged when we should've zagged, as you might say, and bang, the bumpers hit. We both win part of the award for being calm, rational guys who don't view our automobiles as extensions of our penises. Both slightly miffed, we looked at one another, glanced at the bumpers (barely a scratch visible in the admittedly dim streetlights) and shrugged.

"Shit, man, I didn't see which way you were coming from."
"Yeah, sorry, I don't know."
"Well, don't look like there's any harm. We cool?"
"Yeah, we're cool."

With that, we shook hands and drove off.

Here's my observations from the incident:
  • Both of us were driving compact passenger cars. This means that the bumpers were on a level, so they, well, bumped each other. This allowed the cars' suspension to take the full force of the impact, and not have any unfortunate meetings of hard metal onto soft decklids or brittle glass. It's sort of ridiculous that, although I'm pretty sure car manufacturers are all required to put their bumpers at a standard height, that either doesn't apply to trucks and SUVs, or there's no restriction on aftermarket lifting. Either way, I've seen the aftermath of truck vs car head on collisions in which the truck's lifted front end monster-trucks it up the hood of the passenger car and slams the cattle-guarded truck bumper into the car's windshield. That just shouldn't be allowed.

  • This parking lot is another pet peeve. It looks like this: Presume the store is "north." Along the NORTH and EAST side of the lot, there are parking spaces. The SOUTH side is an impassible curb-ditch, and the only exit involves heading WEST for a few metres, then turning SOUTH. The NORTH and EAST spaces are such that the east-most NORTH and the north-most EAST cars will be basically end to end, and both need to both reverse and turn SOUTHEAST either 90 or 180 degrees to exit the lot. What kind of idiocy is that? What they should've done is made the north wall slant-parking tilting slightly east.

And can we please stop having cars bumpers covered with plastic that seems designed to shatter on impact?