St. Brigid

I’ve picked up my knitting again.  St. Brigid is a bucket list knit, and I knew it was going to take forever . . . and it is living up to billing.  It’s not really particularly hard, but the pattern is sufficiently complex that I haven’t been able to memorize it, which means knitting it always requires a certain amount of concentration.  In any case, the back is done (one mistake, which I think is not noticeable to the layman), and I’m determined to finish the front sometime in the not too distant future.  Which means in the next month or two.  As always, I’m eager to take on something new and lazy about finishing the old.  I’ve been obsessed with running and the like lately, but I’m feeling my interests circle back to crafting, just a little bit.

In other news, like half of the world, I can’t stop thinking about the Thai soccer players.  Of course there are people dying right and left all over the world, but everyone is coming together to save these people, and it’s sort of a failure of humanity if they can’t manage it.  So, I’ve checked CNN more in the last couple days than in the previous couple months.  Hopefully there will be good news in the morning.

their hair is falling out

Love this quote from Obama:

“All these people are out here kvetching and wringing their hands and stressed and anxious and, you know, constantly watching cable TV and howling at the moon, ‘What are we going to do?’ Their hair is falling out,” said Obama, arguing for a reasoned response. “The good news is that if you act, if we act, then the majority of the American people prefer a story of hope.”

Yes, yes and yes.  The Dems have been overwhelmingly running on a message of anti-Trump.  Where is the positive message?  The belief that they can do something and a description of what that something is?

It’s amazing how much more I like Obama when he’s not standing between me and my dream of a woman president.  Where is the next Obama?


I’m feeling under the weather this weekend, and the H has the kids, so I’ve been watching a lot of Netflix.  What a waste, but I really do feel quite lousy.  In any case, I rewatched the movie Copenhagen.  It’s quite good.  The premise is that a 14-year-old Danish girl and a 28-year-old American male tourist form a connection which is not entirely innocent.  The thing is, the idea of a 28 year old and a 14 year old is disgusting, but when you watch the movie, it doesn’t seem unappealing.  Why?  Well, the “14-year-old” actress is played by a 20-year-old who more or less looks her real age.  The male actor is 30, but looks young.  The movie would have been a lot more challenging if they’d actually used a young actress, or at the very least an actress who looked young.  Nevertheless, it’s oddly good, and falls on the list of my favorite romances.

A few other romantic favorites?  When Harry Met Sally, Bridget Jones, Before Sunset, Amelie, Cairo Time, Atonement, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Lost in Translation, Monsoon Wedding, The Piano

more on bicycling

I tried Saddle #4 today.

Saddle #1 = Saddle that came with my bike, Riva Sport Plus, 155 mm

Saddle #2 = Selle Italia SLR Lady Flow, 131 mm

You can see this saddle looks visibly different from the one above.  I bought it because of the large gap, but what I didn’t realize was how much narrower it was.

Saddle #3 = Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow, 152 mm

I hoped this one would be a compromise between the hard, racing saddle with the large channel, and the more cushioned saddle that came with my bike.  However, it felt just like the one that came with my bike (not comfortable.)

Saddle #4 = Specialized Power saddle, 155 mm

There are a bunch of different versions of this saddle, and I bought the cheapest, the Power Comp.  The more expensive versions are lighter and in some cases less padded.  I’m definitely not in a situation where ounces matter, and less padding doesn’t seem ideal.  The version I got was not particularly well padded.  The version I got wasn’t very padded, so I can only imagine how hard the unpadded version is.

Anyway, I’ve now done about 40 mi on the Specialized Power, and it’s definitely the best option so far.  It’s a marked improvement over the saddle that came with my bike.  With my original saddle, I really started experiencing serious discomfort by around 30 mi, and felt I just couldn’t go much more than about 40 mi with it.  I’m cautiously optimistic that a better saddle for me will allow me to cycle longer distances.  I do have one more to try, and then I’ll make a decision and sell or return the rejects.

Today’s 30 mi ride featured more than 2000 feet of elevation gain.  It’s definitely the hilliest ride I’ve done this year, and it featured two particularly difficult hills.  I don’t mind a long, gradual hill, even if it climbs a substantial amount of elevation.  However, the very steep sections, just kill me, even if they’re relatively short.   The first hill was only about 130 ft, per Strava, but was about half 11% grade or more.  The second hill was 250 ft and also included a large section at 11% or more.  I did manage to get to the top, but only just.




saddle woes and the revelation that I have a big butt

My comfort while riding the bike has improved since I started thanks to Chamois Buttr and high-end bib shorts.  Still, at the end of a typical ride, my butt hurts more than my legs, and this just seems wrong to me.  Shouldn’t my legs be the limiting factor?  I decided to try upgrading my seat might help me, and without getting too explicit, I thought a seat with a channel down the middle could be the ticket.  I ended up getting this seat:

This is a Selle Italia SLR Lady Flow saddle.  I found it massively on discount from the list price of $200 from some sketchy internet site, 60% off or so, and ordered it.  (Coincidentally, or not, I had $6000 in charges on my credit card rung out a few days later and had to cancel it.)  It came in two sizes, small and large, and I decided to go for small.  I mean, I don’t have a bit butt, right?  I decided to test drive it on my planned 44 mile cycle this weekend.  What could possibly go wrong, I ask you?

About 10 miles in, I noticed the soft tissue discomfort I have been dealing with for the last year or so was completely absent.  No discomfort, pain, nothing.  Perfection!  Unfortunately, this had been replaced by increasing levels of discomfort on my sit bones.  At 18 miles, I texted H and told him he might have to come and pick me up.  At 28 miles, I told him I was still surviving but only just.  Basically, it was torture, and it was just got more and more painful.  After a certain point, I just couldn’t handle the pressure on my sit bones anymore, and was sliding forward and back on the saddle, bearing pressure on other places just not really meant to bear pressure, and I got some nasty chafing.  I’m still in a significant amount of discomfort today.  I guess I am stubborn, because I refused to stop, and finished out the whole ride, with only a small “short cut” that cut a couple miles off at the end.  Said shortcut is a route that I normally avoid like the plague because it features a massive hill.  I’d in fact never ridden up it before, but I was in so much pain, i said screw it, and 40 miles in, up I went: only 0.4 miles, but 8% average grade, peak grade 17%.  At one point, I was going back and forth like it was a ski slope, trying to reduce the effective grade.  It was BRUTAL.  But worth it.

Anyway, I’m not really sure where to go with the bike seat thing at this point.  I measured the location of my sit bones.  (I really could have lived my entire life without measuring this.)  Turns out, I have an above average size rear for a female (and women are wider-arsed than men.  Who knew?  I always thought I had a small butt, but I guess not.  In some ways it makes sense.  My labors probably wouldn’t have been as “easy” if I were truly narrow-hipped.  Anyway, I’ve re-ordered the saddle from the sketchy website in the large size, and I’m waiting to see if this new credit card will be ripped as well.   I also ordered a couple of other saddles.  I’ll sell or return all but one, and hopefully I can find one that will work for me.

This weekend’s ride:

42 miles, 2100 feet of elevation gain.  It’s definitely my hardest ride since last summer.  I went slower thanks to the saddle issue, but I still think I got a good workout.  Now let’s hope I can get this sorted and be back on the bike next weekend.   I had been hoping to do 45+ next weekend, but now I’m thinking I’ll repeat this ride.  I still have to spend a lot of time consulting directions on this route.


et tu, morgan?

Morgan Freeman, too, really?  Are there any men in Hollywood over the age of 35 who aren’t misogynists and/or harrassers?

What I find fascinating in all this is how all these men, or at least the ones you hear about in the news, have a pattern.  Consider this from WaPo:

In the report, published by CNN, several women — including production assistants, office workers and journalists — said that Mr. Freeman had engaged in inappropriate behavior, ranging from unwanted touching to suggestive comments that made them feel uncomfortable.

The thing is, unwanted touching and suggestive comments are bad, but if a man were to make on inappropriate suggestive comment in his career, is that forgivable?  I would say almost certainly yes.  People are allowed a mistake.  But in terms of the men you hear about, it’s never an isolated incident.  It just goes on and on and typically impacts MANY women they work with.  It’s like they’re either unable or unwilling to control themselves.  I’m sure they justify it in their heads, somehow.

Of course, unpleasant as it must have been for the women impacted by Freeman’s actions, it sounds like what he’s done is very mild in comparison to men who routinely engaged in sexual assault.  But the pattern is the same.  Some men feel entitled to behave in a certain way towards women, and oblivious to societal standards and rules, they just happily continue.  Freeman is 80, so it’s possible he grew up in a time when society not only permitted him to behave in this way, but also didn’t even consider it wrong.  But messed up as our society may be, sexual assault and rape have never been considered “OK” by the vast majority of men and women, so I’m not sure how to explain the Harvey Weinsteins of the world.

Freeman said:

“I admit that I am someone who feels a need to try to make women — and men — feel appreciated and at ease around me,” he said. “As a part of that, I would often try to joke with and compliment women, in what I thought was a light-hearted and humorous way. Clearly I was not always coming across the way I intended.”

The thing is that I kind of believe him.  There are men who do try to make women feel at ease by flirting with them.  I think there are men who flirt with women they’re not attracted to in order make those women feel good and accepted.  I can see how a film set would be different from an office environment and lead to more of that type of behavior.  However, men need to understand that this type of thing is just not acceptable at work.  There is almost no reason to ever touch your co-worker except a handshake.  (People hug at work after launches, so there are exceptions.)  There is no reason to ever call your co-worker a pet name.  It’s possible to be friends with women without flirting with them.  It really is.

My only negative experience of THIS nature at work was with a particular co-worker who called me “hon.”  I asked him, in writing, to stop, and he persisted on rare occasion.  I actually doubt it was intentional.  I suspect he called ALL women, or all younger women, hon, and found it hard to remember to specifically avoid that with me.  The guy in question held a lot of power in the company, and so while I could have escalated it to one or two of the people with more power still, it seemed absurd to pursue something so trivial.

I’m glad to see Harvey get his comeuppance, and I’m glad to see that Freeman’s milder but still inappropriate behavior is being called out as unacceptable.  (But is that because, at 80, his marketability and financial value to the industry has declined to the point that he’s no longer protected?)