Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hydration Pack vs. Bottles

Interesting. Scott Jurek just tweeted about a study evaluating the energy drain of hand-held bottles versus a hydration pack. Here's some other info from one of the participants. There's no paper yet, the researcher is presenting a poster in June. In summary, packs are supposed to be better, but the sample size might be 5. [Actually, I don't see anywhere that directly indicates the sample size other than the first commenter on the blog. But if it is in fact only 5, well, I'd believe this study, but only if one of those five people were me.]

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

California Water Stuff

I picked up April's NatGeo in the airport a while back. Like usual, the photos are great, the graphics are interesting, and the articles are nothing to post on your blog about. Regardless, it's all about water, including this article on California's problems and the potential peripheral canal.

While I was reading it, this article about Cal research on the delta and the canal appeared in my inbox.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Check out this Radiolab podcast that's partially about the limits of physical endurance. It made for good listening yesterday.

After listening, here's the youtube clip of the Ironman triathlon discussed.

And the trailer of the movie Bicycle Dreams that's used for the part about the race across America.

Trippin' Balls n' Listening to Radiohead

A friend (not the friend with whom I went to the Thom Yorke concert, just to be clear) once described a fun weekend like that, and I was reminded of it yesterday while bombing down Bare Ridge Trail in the middle of my Mt. Diablo circumnavigation. The music was actually the Avett Brothers (Die Die Die in particular) and the only drugs were endorphins, but it was pretty spectacular.

The Mt. Diablo 50-miler was canceled this year thanks to California State Parks not having any money, but I couldn't let the 3rd weekend in April go by without running on the mountain. I started at Macedo Ranch in Alamo (can I just say how much I hate suburbs?) then circled counter-clockwise around the mountain on Wall Point Rd to Curry Point, Knobcone Point Road (out of the park onto private property?) to Curry Canyon Rd., Frog Pond Rd, Alder Creek Rd, Rhine Canyon Rd, Prospectors Gap Rd, and North Peak Rd to North Peak, then Bald Ridge Trail, Eagle Peak Trail, and Mitchell Rock Trail all the way down to Mitchell Canyon trailhead, Mitchell Canyon Rd, Median Ridge Rd, Bald Ridge Trail, and North Peak Trail up to the summit, then Juniper Trail, Deer Flat Rd, Burma Rd, Mothers Trail, Angel Kerley Rd, then Stage, Dusty, and Wall Point Rds back to Macedo Ranch.

According to the map, it was only a little over 35 miles, but there were 9500 feet or so of climbing, and it took me about 11:15. Kind of slow, but I'm out shape, so I shouldn't expect otherwise. Even though I got back after the parking lot was closed, thankfully I didn't get a parking ticket and the gate wasn't locked (that's happened to a friend so I was a little concerned), so I drove home and ate a bag of potato chips and drank a jar of spaghetti sauce as recovery fuel. Quit judging me.

All in all, a good run. Honestly, Diablo's cool, but I prefer the Marin Headlands, Tamalpais, and the Berkeley/Oakland hills--the single track to firetrails ratio is better, and being closer to the coast, it's usually a little cooler. For a few weeks in springs you can't beat the poppies, though. Here's some pictures.

just after starting, about noon

California poppies in bloom

passing below the summit on the southeast

view back to the summit from North Peak

On the way down to Mitchell Canyon Trailhead

summit view

some sort of ground owl?

I think my next running project will be in two weeks--I'll spend a day running all 136 of the paths/lanes in Berkeley. Should be a decent stair workout.

On a tangentially related note, you should totally check out The Avett Brothers, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, and The Carolina Chocolate Drops.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Atoms for Peace

My friend AL and I went to the Atoms for Peace show at the Fox Theater last night. It rocked.

They raced through the entire Eraser set. Harrowdown Hill is brilliant live with Flea on bass. This is a version from the night before last at the Fox:
This version has much better sound:

Then Thom Yorke came back out solo, played a couple new songs ("works in progress") on the piano:
and Airbag solo on the guitar.
Then the band came back out in the middle of The Daily Mail (this version's from last week's show in Boston):

They played several more new songs, and what I'm pretty sure was just an awesome jam session, and came back out one more time for a final encore of Joy Division's Love Will Tear Us Apart:
Or here's another version:

I usually love The Daily Cal's concert reviews. This is an exception.

This one is much better, and has video of a song they played Wednesday night with a trumpet that's brilliant.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Cormac McCarthy, I so love/hate your writing

I just finished Cormac McCarthy's The Crossing. It was beautiful at times. At other times it was long-winded, boring, and in Spanish. Now, I realize that I totally should have studied Spanish instead of German in high school and have had plenty of chances to learn Spanish by now, but even if I had studied it, would I know how to say "Fugitive. Inscrutable. Unpitied." in Spanish? (OK, 2 of those 3 are cognates, so maybe I would, but I digress. Even with a printout of most of the Spanish translations from, babelfish, and, the Spanish detracted from the novel for me. I understand it's the Southwest and both cultures and languages are essential, but if the main characters are fluent in both, wouldn't putting Spanish dialogue in English in brackets or italics set it apart but give ignorant readers like me the feel that the characters understand it easily?) That and the 20-page long unrelated stories from their past that minor characters feel it necessary to divulge while obnoxiously pontificating on the meaning of truth.

Ignoring that, it was still worth reading just for its moments of pure bad-assed brilliance. It makes me want to hop a freight train to New Mexico, tame a wild horse (after, you know, learning to ride a horse), and ride it around the desert while wearing cowboy boots and a Stetson and maybe getting shot at by some bandits.

Killer dialogue:

You think it's worse to be cold or be hungry?
I think it's worse to be both.

I'm a hungry son of a bitch.
When did you take to cussin so much?
When I quit eatin.

It would take one hell of a wife to beat no wife at all.

Friday, April 09, 2010

I Don't Put Much Stock In This Article

Read this article about Scott Jurek from the April Runner's World that just became available on-line. It is a huge downer. It is also by the same author as a very similar and ridiculous article about a friend of mine. I'm curious if you find the Jurek article inspiring. Not me. I think everybody has skeletons in their closet or has had crappy things happen to them, but I think it's highly unlikely that Scott Jurek is anywhere near as gloomy as he's made to appear in this article. Compare this article to Born to Run, which I loved, and I thought portrayed him in an accurate and positive light. Jurek probably does occasionally wonder if his running is a selfish pursuit or wonder if he's a hypocrite for flying so much while preaching a low-impact life, but that just makes him a thoughtful and caring person, and even if his running career were over (which it's not) there's something about the author's style and portrayal that I very much dislike.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Everything is coming up

roses. Well, not quite everything, but lots of things. I got into the Preparing Future Faculty teaching thing, and grad division gave me a $3000 grant to do my own research this summer.

Saturday, April 03, 2010


I'm home in Berkeley. It is cold. Photos are up on Picasa.

Public Service Ads

Let me just say that as a straight dude I bet one of these ads is way, way, way more effective than the others.

Friday, April 02, 2010

On the way Home

Wait, Denzel Washington is your favorite actor? Mine too!

That's not actually how the conversation went, but it was pretty similar, and it reminded me of pretty much the same Denzel Washington-themed conversation I had a couple times in Pakistan (one of which was awesome, one of which went south when I said pro wrestling was fake and KSM cut off Daniel Pearl's head, but I digress.)

The conversation was actually something along the lines of:
"Wait, are you talking about Training Day? I love that movie. 'This shit ain't checkers it's chess.' 'When I'm through with you you'll be playing ball in Pelican Bay!'"
After which the Rwandan dude I was talking to proceeded to quote the lines more accurately than I had. And then we did the same thing concerning The Hangover.

So yeah, the trip ended pretty well, if a little regretfully, in that I realized that if it didn't take me two weeks to warm up to people, maybe I would've started talking to people about environmental conservation programs earlier than the night before leaving and maybe could've gotten some data or a research idea out of it.

Oh well. Moral of the story: after I hike from Tierra del Fuego to the Bering Strait, I guess I have to bike from Cairo to Cape Town.