Saturday, April 16, 2011

Feeling tired

These past few weeks - for some reason - have been rather fatiguing for me. There is the now-normal fatigue of cycling every day (well, "sprinting on my bike" would be a better description of how I like to ride), however, there is more to it than that: there is a mental fatigue that I am starting to have; a sort of malaise that is settling on me.

I've felt this way before, of course, and I know what it is. (Or at least I would like to think that I know what it is.) It's a feeling of settling, of being sedentary. Some people seem to revel in the point of staying in one place. However, the feeling of being settled is itself unsettling to me. Perhaps it is that I grew up moving all over the place. Perhaps I would have felt this way regardless of my upbringing.

A part of me yearns to take a trip to Chicago for the remainder of the weekend. Or maybe to Seville, Spain. I don't know. Just somewhere that isn't "here." Somewhere that isn't anywhere related to "here." A place, you know, that is just far enough away that I am not thinking that I need to return to "here"; to settle "here"; to just be "here".

Sometimes, I can trick myself by meeting new people; hanging out with them; absorbing myself in their lives. You know, traveling away from "here" in another way. I've been doing this my whole life, and meeting new people isn't such a chore for me most of the time (especially when it is done in English - Spanish is more difficult for me).

The rain doesn't help. The threat of rain helps even less. Today it was the latter together with the fulfillment of the former. Staying cooped up in the forest on such a day - when I am feeling more "stuck" than usual - isn't mentally healthy. And I think that this mental malaise is one of the reasons why I have been more fatigued than normal these days.

(Okay, so there are other things that I have thrown myself into - including another committee - but I doubt that any of these things are actually the source of my problems. Indeed, they may be a symptom of them; a desire to "branch out" to "get away" from my regular, slowly settling life.)

Grey days are, perhaps, good days to think about these things a little more deeply than one would normally contemplate. Still, Toronto also sounds like a lovely place to escape to/visit for a while.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Long ride

In total, the ride was roughly 48 miles long.

Heading out from the campus

Yummy prune-filled cookie

"Fried cinnamon" pastry

Custard creme

Heading along Whitmore Lake Road

Buzzard tree

The trip -- which I'm counting as starting and finishing at my house -- went to the central campus, headed to Dexter along Huron River Drive (stopped at the Dexter Bakery for a little bit), headed north along Mast Road, turned right along Strawberry Lake Road until reaching Whitmore Lake, and then took Main Street/Whitmore Lake Road back to Ann Arbor, cut through Bandermer Park back to the central campus, and then back home.

Spring morning

Waking up today,
I catch the first morning song.
Birds sing in the spring.

Strange fauna in the forest

Sometimes, I have stumbled across some strange animals in the forest. "Strange" not in that the animal itself is strange, but rather "strange" in that they are not expected to be found in the forest (or at least a forest in Southeastern Michigan).

Last summer, there were feral cats, preceded in the winter by a Russian duck. Today, it was a peacock.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Going for a bike trip...

Up until now, the longest bike trip that I've made was 34 miles. Today, I'm going for 40 miles...

Monday, April 04, 2011

Wooden xylophone in the forest, operated by gravity

Only in Japan?

From Copyranter:
(via the New York Times) “We did not add any artificial music at all,” said Morihiro Harano, creative director at Japanese ad agency Drill, Inc. I find that nearly impossible to believe. The video is for the Touch Wood SH-08C, a phone with an encasement made from discarded wood (Was the xylophone also made from discarded wood?) It will be released by NTT Docomo in Japan later this year. The commercial was filmed in Kama City in Kyushu, Japan.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Yep: slower on studded tires

I just spent a whole lot of time working out whether I actually did ride my bike slower with my studded tires during the winter than on my road tires during the rest of the year. (Note: I ride only one bike, but I change the tires for the winter.)

Short answer: yes.

Longer answer: Examining the GPS-gathered data from mid-January 2011 until the end of March 2011, I was able to make two datasets. From January 2011 until mid-February 2011, I was riding on studded tires, and since mid-March, I was riding on road tires.

The total distance traveled from mid-January until mid-February was almost identical to the total distance traveled from mid-March until the end of March. (Yes, I didn't ride as often whilst snow and ice covered the ground; best to be safe than sorry.) The average speed during Jan/Feb was 8.9 mph. However, the average speed during mid-to-end-March was 10.1 mph; 1.2 mph difference.