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October 5, returning from Serifos.

Rebecca gave me an adventure for my birthday. Just after midnight, she gave me an envelope with tickets to Serifos, a very small island. We went for a day trip on my birthday, and rented a scooter. It was also a great chance to use my other present, a pancake lens for the Pentax. All-manual, it was the only lens I brought. I needed noting else.
We saw the island's lovely chora, another hilltop town with house upon house and only narrow pedestrian walkways and stairs between them, high upon a hill, overlooking but quite far from the contemporary port. Typical pirate-resistant town planning.

A Gentleman's Race, or We are Beat by Girls

A local group who prefers to remain somewhat anonymous (let's just call them the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) decided to put on a very low-key Gentleman's Race, based onthe idea promulgated by Rapha.

I put together a team. The last member joined up, literally, the day before the race, but in the end I had a full team of 5:

Doug Brons
Aidan "Mocha" Mouellic
Cam "maillot pois"
Dan "Buttercup" Spry

We had our share of excuses (interrupted training, new to pacelines, fat, underfed...), but we were game.

Level Playing Fields and Beer Leagues: Sports are Unfair

I've been ranting online meditating about level and non-level playing fields in sports lately.

Item: Oscar Pistorius, the fastest man on no legs, is in the news again because he is on the verge of qualifying for the 2012 Olympics in the 400-metre event. I see this as being parallel to the previous stories of Caster Semenya and Michelle Dumaresq: in the latter two cases, the question was "who gets to compete in women's events?" (and implicitly, it was "what is the purpose of a separate women's category?") In the former case, it's "who gets to compete in men's events?"

Level Playing Fields

Wherein I make fun of TV News

Claude Adams, an excellent writer, tells the sad, funny story of the day he lost his job because the dog didn't die. (And let me just say up front that I feel sad for Claude, but his mistake totally sounds like a firing offense to me).

Regarding his larger points about the decline of TV news, I don't think the arrow of causality points the way Claude thinks it does.

TV news does a very good job at displaying visually compelling news. Not surprisingly, most TV News shows focus on the visually compelling.

An Essay In Favour of Implausible Events

Ever felt that there should be a greater embrace of the absurd in life? Ever found yourself thinking this was a decent plan, only to be repelled by the fact that the actual absurdist movements of the last 100 years (notably Surrealism, Dadaism, and even (to some extent) Absurdism itself are enrobed in political clothing?

These things normally start with a Manifesto. But if one is attempting to disavow political trappings, a manifesto is a bad place to start. Also, it does not suit the aesthetic of Wired Cola. Therefore, this thing will start with a Mission Statement:

We Enjoy Implausible Events, and Strive to Create Them

Canucks-Bruins Game 5 Tag Cloud

The Room explained. Again, a bit salty.

Tag cloud courtesy TagCrowd

Wait, Wordle may be a better tool...
Wordle: Vancouver-Boston Game 5

Vancouver-Boston Game 4 Room tagcloud

Vancouver-Boston Game four tag cloud, courtesy TagCrowd. Note that the language got...salty. This is only a partial transcript (the last two periods):

I really wish TagCrowd's export options worked properly.

Cycling 301: more commuting advice

I just wrote something for Douglas College [teaser here] about riding your bicycle to work. The article offers an introduction to cycling I'm fairly proud of, but there were a few odds and ends that didn't deserve mention in an introductory guide, but which make for a nice appendix, which you get here.

Electric-assist Bikes

Analyzing the EGOTs

I got interested in the subject of EGOTs lately, mostly out of the dual motivations of "That 30 Rock sure is a funny TV show!" and "Whoopi Goldberg? Seriously?"

"EGOT", as the link above will inform you, is an acronym for "Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony," and is typically used to refer to the 12 people who have won all four awards.

In theory, you think of such winners as multi-talented threats, but most EGOTs limped into at least one category, sometimes more. Let's examine them in chronological order of EGOT-acquisition.

[a note on research: cataloging performer awards is one place where IMDB is generally ahead of Wikipedia, but they don't always care about Grammys and Tonys, which makes this research somewhat interesting]

Richard Rodgers

A brief essay on the subject of Alternative Voting Systems

The results of the 41st Canadian election (to wit: a Conservative majority in Parliament with about 40% of the popular vote) have engendered a bit of consternation among my more left leaning friends (and as a right-wing kook, many, possibly even most, of my friends are to the left of me), and a bit of reflexive stumping for the merits of alternative voting schemes, notably instant-runoff systems or proportional representation systems.

The first question I have for proponents: "what problem are you trying to solve?" That's not rhetorical. The second question is: "how's your voting system working out where it's been tried?" Also not rhetorical.

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