The Pain Cave

I’ve been following a program of indoor cycling, 21 rides in 21 days to celebrate the Tour de France. Two thirds done, I t’s averaged about an hour and 20 minutes per day. Not a ton in the world of going out for a bike ride, but still a lot of effort since there’s no stopping, no coasting, no downhills. Just pedaling away trying to generate as many watts as possible. I can sustain a little more than two watts per kg of body weight. By contrast, the pros are doing 4.5, and in the big mountains they’ll get over six for a few minutes.

I don’t have a fancy smart trainer, but the app shows me video of the French countryside while I spin along. That river of sweat is what it took to get up Mt Ventoux last night, the longest stage of my Tour. I don’t have the algorithm set up just right, so it took me quit a bit longer than when I did it four years ago in real life.

Who was that masked man?

The mayor went on TV yesterday to ask people to stop chucking their masks on the ground. It was a delicately balanced message… yes always wear a mask, but dispose of them carefully.

Postcards from the edge

Went for a lunchtime hike up Maungawhau/Mt Eden the other day. Construction of a new walkway around the crater rim is well underway.

It looks nice (for a walkway), and I’m sure it will improve the safety and accessibility of this popular spot while also reducing the degradation that comes from lots of people tromping around on a narrow and often muddy trail. But at the same time there’s a small piece of me that wonders about smoothing too many of the rough edges.

A tale of two villages

It will be the best of times or more likely the worst of times…

‘Retirement Village’ is the common term here in NZ for places where old people go to live out their days with various levels of care provided.

This village above is appealing to a certain lifestyle image… I may be old but I’m still fun and in control of my life.

But directly across the street is an entirely different pitch…

Interestingly, I looked at both web sites and couldn’t see much difference…

Study Buddy

Misty helping me get through today’s Zoom session of my Enterprise Networking class. In theory we’ll be back on campus as of next week. That will mark the beginning of the new normal here, although it’s what the rest of the world already lives with: there’s some disease floating around, but we have to get back to work, so try not to get sick.

Like a Bridge

I went out for a lockdown bike ride yesterday along my favorite road by the beach. One section is closed to cars for a few days while they replace and widen a section of bridge. It will be a real boon for cyclists because the old bridge put us right in the lane with the cars and buses and it was a bit scary.

Smug no more

I took this picture last weekend at school. I’ve just started my second semester, it was a lovely day on campus, and I was glad to be in NZ where even the city is bucolic. That’s not social distancing, that’s just wide open spaces.

But now it’s back to COVID-19 lockdown.

Ugh.

All not-so-good (but cheap and readily available) things

The Warehouse is NZ’s answer to Wal-Mart. Arriving here with few possessions, we spent a lot of time at the Warehouse as we set up housekeeping.

Most of the cheap crap they sell is just that, although we’ve also found plenty of things that we’re perfectly happy with. They’re open all the time, the staff are generally friendly, and the stuff is cheap.

Since we’ve been here they’ve been threatening to close down the store near us. Our new house in Birkenhead is…was… in walking distance to a Warehouse, so we thought we were safe.

But no. General retail trends, an aging building, and finally COVID-19, have conspired and our Birkenhead branch closed even before we got the chance to move.

This closure is part of a bigger move they made, closing stores around the country. The company overall made healthy profits over the past years, and so now some people are angry they’re closing stores. But what are they to do… lose money now because they made some before? It’s sad for people who now have to drive to a Warehouse (in our case about 3 miles), and of course for the people who lose their jobs. I don’t know that there is any answer that makes everybody happy.

All good things

The Spiritualist Society has provided me with a chuckle since I moved here. Now, as we get ready to change neighborhoods, so do the Spiritualists. Most of the block they’re in (for the last 55 years!!) was demolished a few months ago to make way for something bigger and grander.

And so, like all good things (except consciousness, if you’re an adherent of the Spiritualists), their tenancy comes to an end and they’re moving to Onehunga.

We’ll still get to see them, however, because their new place is on one of our favorite thrift store and Saturday lunch streets.

Independence Day, NZ style

We celebrated the 4th of July with a weekend at Tom’s Tutukaka house. It provided all the beautiful scenery we could hope for.

We hiked up to the Tutukaka lighthouse in a howling wind. No actual light anymore of course, it’s all radio beacons and GPS these days.

It had been raining, which made for slippery footing, which combined with artfully draped tree branches to make a very “impactful” impression.

As we were sitting around playing Bananagrams later, all of a sudden the setting sun popped out from the clouds and lit up the trees on the headland… spectacular!

We had a little drama with the solar system, which needed a reboot that none of us knew how to do. A few phone calls later, and all was well.

Tom our host had a nasty cold, which I got, so the memories of the weekend lingered for a couple of weeks… almost entirely better now.

Unstuck

I’ve had an emerging idea to do a complex series of posts here, and it’s been blocking me from posting anything at all. So I created a separate site (not visible yet) where I can unload all that. Hopefully that mental shift lets me get back to the random little thoughts and updates I like to post here.

Art!

My former colleague Sandy exhibited her paintings at the Mairangi Bay Art Centre and we went to the reception.

The Art Centre itself is pretty cool…

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