Archive for March, 2010

Casualties of Seasonal Climate Change

March 16, 2010

During this past weekend (the Ides of March), the Mid-Atlantic states experienced a prolonged and violent rainstorm.  Fueled by ocean energy and warm air from the south, this storm provided a mix of heavy rain and strong winds that combined to cause severe flooding in many areas and felled thousands of trees throughout the region.   The good news  –such as it is–   is that this storm definitively ushered out the winter season and brought spring in its wake.  Temperatures are now peakingin the mid 60’s.

Here are some of the casualties of this abrupt transition in North American seasons:

Power lines bend but don't break in this rare case.

Amazingly, no windows were broken.

Property owners may have a lawsuit vs. the town: note the roots severed by the paving contractor when new curbs were put in a few years ago.

Music to My Ears

March 7, 2010

This blog was supposed to be (mostly) about rowing.  Things haven’t quite worked out that way, perhaps in part because there may not really be all that much to say about the sport.   Certainly, some collegiate coaches would maintain that rowing athletes need not devote significant cognitive resources to an activity that should only occupy their musculature.  “Don’t overthink it.”   “It’s all muscle memory.”  “Shut up and row.”   These are some of their (printable) catchphrases.   Mebbe so, mebbe no.  But I can’t help thinking about rowing, even while I’m rowing, because thinking is just what I do . . .  way too much of the time.

I had an entirely different post planned for last week, but recent events at the 37th parallel knocked that completely out of the box.  I didn’t even feel like posting at all for several days, but ultimately decided that three days of national mourning and a minute of silence during the seventh inning stretch ain’t quite enough to outweigh the cumulative tragedy of several millenia of human existence on this planet.   Life goes on, sorta.   Or not.

So, instead of a post about the near- and mid-term prospects of Korea’s nuclear power industry (relax, it’s coming eventually), I’ve chosen instead to waste my time and yours with a bit of drivel about my winter training program.   Just about the only value-added info you’ll find below will be a minor insight into some of Lunghu’s personal likes and dislikes (and even that might well be fictional or exaggerated).

Countdown

Only two weeks remaining of indoor training.   As usual, erging gives by far a better workout than low-quality boat-rowing.   This winter, I’ve also been lifting weights and doing rounds of core-strengthing calesthenics:  situps; squats, vee-ups; leg lifts; planks;  “air bicycles,”  hip flexor work, etc.   As a result, I’m in better shape than I have been in years.   I’ve burned off a lot of fat, and some of my clothes are hanging rather loosely on my frame.   To paraphrase Frank Zappa, “I’m diggin’ it while it’s happenin’.”

Not surprisingly, better fitness has translated into faster erging … up to a point.   The main limiting factor on my indoor rowing is psychological:  I’m powerfully DE-motivated by the crappy 70s & 80s rock music that my fellow rowers blast on the sound system while we’re training.   Here are some of the bands whose music may have been all-well-&-good back in the day, but which just doesn’t cut it in 21st century rowing:   Genesis; U2; LaBelle; Springsteen; Van Halen; Allman Bros.; Hendrix; the Police, etc., etc.   The rhythm is all wrong for rowing , the hooks are too predictable, the lyrics are trite, and so on.   When this stuff is playing, I just don’t see any reason to pull hard –to me, it’s an indication that my fellow (middle-aged) rowers are trapped in the past, in the golden years of lost youth they’re seeking to recapture or relive.

On the other hand, maybe it’s my reflexive aversion to just about any music that has lyrics I can understand.  Generally speaking, I prefer instrumental compositions, or songs in languages I’m not familiar with.  If I can’t understand what they’re singing, I can’t get annoyed at some low-rent musician for trying to tell me what to think or feel.   Two exceptions:  the blues and le chanson français.  The former because “if you don’t like the blues you gotta have a hole in your soul,” and the latter because the quality of lyrics is just so much higher than anything this side of Bjork.

One excellent aspect of rowing on the water rather than indoors –no music.   Soon.   Soon.