Ready for anything?

This time next week I will be riding across Washington. We will ride 7 days before our first rest, then 6 days/week thereafter. We will ride in any weather.

We will ride in any weather (though I hope not like yesterday, with 70 mph winds). We lost power briefly a few times during the afternoon. The neighbor’s cottonwood dropped a few branches, including one that is hanging from a power line as we await a crew to remove it. We got lucky. An apartment building a few miles away lost its roof and a lot of trees are down. A cottonwood crushed the roof of one house I rode past and an oak took out a car and the canoe on top.

After 48 hours of rigorous dog-sitting, it was time to get back on the bike.

Some storms clear the air and it cools down with the dewpoint dropping in the aftermath. This one was the opposite, ushering in heat and humidity. I know in the southwest this is no great shakes but, as you can see from my thermometer, it’s kinda hot. (For those of the Celsius persuasion, those numbers are ~34 and 43.) I figured I should get used to it, so headed out for a ride with the sun high in the sky. As the day goes on, the temperature is rising but the dewpoint is dropping, so the heat index is staying relatively constant.

I rode past a trailered boat belonging to the Mad City Ski Team. It sported three 300 horsepower outboard motors. In my skiing days, it was a big deal when we upgraded from 60 to 75 hp. The fast guys had 100 hp engines. Now, one 300 hp motor could pull me out of the water faster than you can say Jack Robinson. Three of ’em could dislocate my shoulders faster than you can say, OW! That hurts!

Land of breakfast?

Before I leave the Land of Milk and Honey, as well as maple syrup and sorghum, I rode through the land of breakfast this morning. Corn on one side and wheat on the other. Tortillas? Toast? Corn flakes? Wheaties?

Wheat – closer to harvest than the corn across the road.

Training

Back in my youth, the standard for early season training was LSD (long, slow distance). The idea was to get in some miles before any high intensity work. Lately, the fad has been HIIT (high-intensity interval training). While riding today, I wondered why training regimes sounded like thinly-veiled drug references.

Have another hiit

I decided to make up a couple of initialisms my own. I do not endorse any particular training method other than riding your bike. STP (Speed-Time-Power) is also the psychedelic drug 2,5-Dimethoxy-4-methylamphetamine. Amphetamine (AKA speed) has led to the death of cyclists including British cyclist Tom Simpson during the Tour de France (accompanied by excessive heat and dehydration). Time (as STP the drug is known for having a duration of effect up to 24 hours). Power, because serious cyclists nowadays ride with power meters and measure their output in watts. I prefer to hook up a couple of high-wattage incandescent lightbulbs and see how long I can keep them burning. Plus the heat output of an incandescent bulb helps mimic the tough conditions of a day like today. So STP involves riding hard for long periods of time.

DMT (N, N-dimethyltryptamine) was known as the “businessman’s high” as it is a psychedelic drug with a short duration of effects. The claim was you could get high over your lunch hour and go back to work without lingering effects. As a training regime, it stands for Distance/Minimal Time. It is a sprint training. You could do it over your lunch hour and them go back to work, where your co-workers would quickly invite you to go home early, since you’d be sweating like a pig and stinking up the workplace.

Lest you think I am endorsing these training methods, I will remind you that I am not a professional cyclist or trainer. I am a half-fast cyclist attempting humor after riding in extreme heat. Lest you think these references are the result of a misspent youth, I will inform you that I was once a drug crisis intervention counselor so I encountered these substances professionally. We took drugs very seriously.

School’s out! or Take This Job and Shove it.

Today is the last day. After 23 years I will drop my cell phone, key, computer, dictation microphone, and photo ID at my supervisor’s office (it being Saturday, she’s not here) and walk out of this hospital for the last time. I’ll try not to let the door hit me in the ass on the way out.

And I’ll pretend it’s hay fever as I walk out. 😉
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Call and response

is not new in the musical world. It has been around in many types of music for centuries. (Without call and response, jazz and gospel would not be what they are.) Typically it involves a call from a soloist and a response from the chorus. What I’m thinking of today is a call from one artist and another answering in a later recording. The first example I remember hearing was Hank Thompson and Kitty Wells. (Both songs are in the same YouTube video below.)

The great Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell did their call and response in the same song. They were mostly love songs. Otis Redding and Carla Thomas turned that on its ear in a way that I have to include even if it doesn’t exactly fit:

Merle Haggard put out his call to arms with “Okie from Muskogee” (though his smirk in this video makes you wonder if he still believed it) and The Youngbloods answered with “Hippie from Olema #5”, with a nod to Haggard in the last run of the chorus:

Neil Young challenged southern racism with “Southern Man”. Lynyrd Skynyrd seemed to take it personally and answered with “Sweet Home Alabama”, calling out Young by name:

Lynyrd Skynyrd appears to have used the Confederate flag in its marketing as recently as 2018, though more recent iconography appears to emphasize the US flag.

A different sort of example… Paul Desmond wrote “Take Five” (a way of saying “take a break”, but in this case also a reference to being written in 5/4 time) for the Dave Brubeck Quartet . Quicksilver Messenger Service took the motif (and some acid) and changed the time signature to create “Acapulco Gold and Silver” (changed to “Gold and Silver” by the record company).

Who else released pairs of songs like these? Post links in the comments.

News

Epic Systems announced that they would require staff to return to work on site despite a county emergency order indicating that workers should work remotely if possible. Epic stated that they were “facilitating remote work by requiring staff to work in the office, but allowing them to work alone in their office”. County Executive Joe Parisi had this to say about Epic’s definition of “remote”:

The forced return has been postponed.

I’m going for a bike ride after my day of working remotely. By “remote” I mean in patient’s hospital rooms instead of in the office that I share with a bunch of people.

When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.” (Lewis Carroll – “Alice in Wonderland”)