Behind, on the left

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I’m down 31 pounds now. LoseIt has lowered my food calorie intake from 1,906 to 1,884, but I’ve been eating less anyway. And I’m exercising five days a week. One of those is a three mile run, and I’m stuck at about 40 minutes. But patient. I’m still too heavy to be fast at running.

I’m swimming 2000 meters twice a week. It’s odd though. Summer members are gone, so I can always get a 50 meter lane now. One lap is 100 meters so it should be easy to keep track of distance. But in my last two swims, I’ve counted 20 laps but my Swimovate lap counter has told me I swam 2200 meters – at a pace I swam in my thirties. Both swims felt fast, but not that fast.

But I’m swimming 45 minutes of exercise in any case, and I have lost any sense of being short of breath in the bilateral stroke I adopted this year. I breathe twice to the right and twice to the left, for distances over 200m, and once to the right and once to the left for 200m and under. In addition, I’ve tried to eliminate a strong sculling action from my righ arm stroke. I think it was a steering action, and with bilateral breathing, it shouldn’t be necessary.

For the last several weeks I’ve been bicycling home — about 50 minutes — about twice a week. Though at first I needed a whole weekend to recover, nine miles has become a routine ride. This week I rode Monday and Wednesday, and plan to ride Friday.

The Swift has only eight speeds,and the gear inches are 36-42-48-56-63-72-84-92. By comparison, a touring bike with 48-36-26 teeth in front and 32 thru 11 in back might range from 21 to 113 gear inches. So it isn’t really a climbing bike. Also I ride upright, so it isn’t really a speed bike. But it gets me there.

Last Friday, I took off work early. It was windy, so I was only pedaling fifth gear (63 gi) on Clipper Mill Road when a fellow in white spandex and white helmet on a full size road bike suddenly shot past on my left and coasted for effect. Some cyclists like to rub it in, but I can’t imagine that passing a guy wearing business attire on a folding bike did that much for his ego.

On Monday, I was climbing the last hill in fourth gear (56 gear gi) when a fellow in red spandex on a mountain bike passed me on the left. As the hill got steeper he slowed down a lot, I dropped to third gear (48 gi) and passed him back. I’m guessing he worked pretty hard to catch me, then had nothing left for the hill. I’ve stopped trying to push big gears to fly through the flat sections because I know I’m going to need my legs for the hills. I suspect I’m faster overall if I can keep it in fifth gear uphill rather than huffing and puffing in third.

I can usually hear cars, but I can’t hear other cyclists. So I bought a tiny mirror, the CycleAware ViewPoint. It attaches to the inside of your left lens. There is no panoramic view, but with a quick glance I can see if anything is moving behind me.

On Wednesday, it was foggy, but the afternoon was supposed to be clear. I have lights, and I rode the brake downhill, but mist was collecting on my bike glasses. I rolled very carefully into the light rail lot. My train was already there. “Missed that one, I thought,” but it sat there, and one door was open, and light was pouring out. “You can make it,” the train said to me. I aimed for that door, and went ass over teakettle. I had forgotten about the precast concrete wheelstops between the parking area and the train platform, and with misted glasses, I couldn’t see them. Satisfied, the train pulled away.

I can see all so clearly — now — that I should have stopped and wiped my glasses. Or waited for a dry day. I had a sore shoulder, and some slightly sore rib cage muscles, but a colleague gave me some ibuprofen. I managed to ride home that day. I felt better on the bike than home watching the debates.

For the first hour I watched Democracy Now!’s coverage which inserted the Green Party’s Jill Stein and the Justice Party’s Rocky Anderson into the presidential debates. Their livestream started breaking up so I switched to the Young Turks coverage, but Expanding the Debate is still available to watch. And there’s a transcript, too.

Stein and Anderson provided an interesting counterpoint to the unreality of Obama and Romney basing economic and tax policy on a return to the American Dream growth economy.


We clearly are in a crisis now. People are losing their jobs, their homes, decent wages, affordable health care and higher education. Our civil liberties are under attack in the climate is in meltdown. Yet, the wealthy few are making out better than ever, making out like bandits. Richer than ever. While the political establishment that got us into this mess to start with actually is making it worse.

Both Democrats and Republicans are making it worse and posing austerity on the everyday people of this country while they continue to squander trillions on wars for oil, Wall Street bailouts and tax breaks for the wealthy.


This race is about our most fundamental values, about who the American people are and who we are becoming. It is about whether we will work together for equality of opportunity, equality under the law, liberty and justice — economic justice, social justice, environmental justice for all. Or whether we will, in the face of gross inequalities of opportunity, simply leave everybody to fend for themselves as in a bad Ayn Rand novel or Mitt Romney speech.

This race is also about whether our nation will continue down the road toward totalitarianism with an imperial presidency that has been made so much worse under both the Bush and the Obama administrations, which have shown utter contempt for the rule of law, due process, and the restrictions under the War Powers Clause of the United State Constitution.

There has been a lot written about how Romney won the debate. On Facebook, I posted “Obama seemed prepared for a serious policy debate. Romney however, shook the Etch-a-Sketch and told them what they wanted to hear.” Obama was stuck debating a chameleon that was trying to look like a compassionate moderate. Obama was stuck debating himself. And even without Stein and Anderson in the room, neither looked that good. Romney and Ryan of course, are not to be trusted, but while Obama is a damn sight preferable to their Randian platform, when you wipe the mist off your lenses, he has trouble differentiating himself from a moderate Republican.


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2 responses to “Behind, on the left”

  1. auntsams says :

    Hi Donal, good blog – stopped by again, but thought I’d say hi and kudos on site. Was wondering if you would have something up about the whole Romney/PBS debacle – knew if you did it would be worth reading.

    Do want to inject just a quick comment about the organic food post – to me it’s just common sense that not ingesting pesticides, etc. and cleansing the soil/ground from all the poisons is so much better than not. I agree with you about the organic produce – tastes better and lasts longer.

    Take care, back soon.


  2. trkingmomoe says :

    Good take on the debate. I had time this morning to you read you on my android. I didn’t think much of Romney ‘s presentation. He reminded me of Eddy Haskill on Leave It To Beaver. I certainly would not be buying a used car from him.


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