Couldn’t resist

Posted by bernicky - March 30th, 2005

Not being called in again today spun the morning out in a different direction. I grabbed my resume and dropped it off with three new schools (one of which is looking for a long term replacement for a teacher out on disability). Then I set up a computer for a friend. By noon I had nothing to do.

It was a gorgeous day – a great, warm, sunny spring day. So I went for a bike ride. It was fun and it didn’t hurt a bit. 32K in one hour and 2 minutes which is a good time for me. Then I went for a 14K run – I kept a slow pace it took 1:21 to do the distance but the result is that I feel great! It was only when I started fixing supper that I realized just how good I feel now after having exercised. If it hadn’t been for the forced layoff I don’t think I would have ever realized just how much my mental condition depends on working on my physical condition. WOW!

To top it all off I called the school I regularly sub at and they booked me for tomorrow. All in all a very good day.

PSP

Posted by bernicky - March 29th, 2005

I have been lusting after a PSP and a Nintendo DS. But caution seems to be the word of the day for the PSP which puts Nintendo back in front for more immediate purchase. PSP is experiencing problems and mishandling them grossly – namely dead pixels on the screen.

If you are not a gamer you probably don’t know or care about a dead pixel but on a small screen a single dead pixel can be very distracting let along an entire column, row or cluster of dead pixels.

Nintendo’s policy is simple: Dead pixels = exchange of unit by transhippment. That is to say you keep your DS while Nintendo sends you a new one. When you get the new one you send them back the old one. Period. DS users are being treated like the 6 billion dollar a year market they are.

Sony’s policy is simple too: If the dead pixels do not interefere with game play then you are stuck with the system you bought. Some stores will take the units back and exchange them, but that is not a guarantee. This is probably the one time when those rip off store extended warranties are actually worth purchasing.

I find all of this vaguely amusing. I still play my Sega Game Gear even adding games to my collection when I find ones I have never played. The system is about 12 years old, colour, backlit, has a TV tuner (which can also be h0oked up to a cable or vcr in a pinch – yes I have done this) and still no dead pixels. Sega was a great game console manufacturer that never got the respect it deserved. The PS1 was nothing compated to the Sega Dreamcast – which still stands up today as a rock solid gaming platform. Sega stood behind their products and developed great games for them.

The console environment was different. Nintendo was more conservative in developing their hardware taking a slower approach and eschewing backwards compatibility which is why they got slammed on the GameCube which is a great platform but like all previous Nintendo systems will not play games from previous Nintendo systems. The place they dominated the marketplace was in the handheld where they always had backward compatibility. When Sega bowed out Sony jumped in with PS1 then PS2 making certain their games could port from one system to the next absolutely killing Nintendo as it moved from the 64 to the GameCube. Now X-box is in the mix and you can be certain the monster of Redmond will not make the mistake Nintendo made vis-a-vis backwards compatibility. It is bizarre that a company like Nintendo can screw their floor console clients so completely from one generation to the next while destroying the hand held competition (Atari Lynx, Sega GameGear, NeoGeo, NEC TurboExpress, Supervision) with great policy and support. Now we see Sony doing the reverse: Taking great care of their floor console base and screwing over newcommers to their handheld platform. It is clear that Sony has a winning idea – the UMD disk which allows for playing music and movies as well as games over the Nintendo DS cartridge format (they could have gone with both cartride and GameCube disk format) but their out of the gate washing their hands of the myriad of screen problems is not a good sign for anyone who is not an early adopter of new systems.

Time will tell, but at the moment DS looks like a better way to spend my gaming money.

Easter pics

Posted by bernicky - March 29th, 2005

Nothing about running today – just some pics from Easter. The kids at the mall at the petting zoo. James posing with a character from Halo – we have both been drooling over the new Sony PSP and some pics from Sunday including some street art that our daughter and I worked on. Also a pic of Lynn with some dragon drummers and the bow of their dragon boat.

Recoup Day 4 – ING still out there

Posted by bernicky - March 28th, 2005

I am feeling pretty good today. The hamstring is twinging a bit, but the swelling has gone down and I can walk with ease. By Friday I should be able to run again – fingers crossed.

Patience: Running and recovery are all about patience. That is what must be remembered when running long – Patience. Marathons are long races. They cannot be run quickly by most people and finishing one is the first achievement improving times is for marathons after the first one.

The marathon is a distance which commands respect but it is not nearly the longest distances run in footraces. There are some really brutal races out there which put marathons to shame in terms of distance and demands on the runners. There are about two hundred 100K races every year but the grand daddy of ultra distance is the Sri Chinmoy 2100K race held in New York every year. Maybe the most brutal is the Badwater Ultra Marathon 200K through Death Valley and then up a mountain at the end. Not a run I am likely to do, still it is nice to think about it as a possibility.

Recoup day 2 – 63 days to ING

Posted by bernicky - March 26th, 2005

The hardest thing for anyone who gets into the groove of working out is not working out.

It may sound funny but one of the reasons that over use injuries happen isn’t because we deliberately over train but rather because we feel wrong when we are not training. Even today with the 100% certainty that I cannot ride, run or walk with any reasonable safety I have to talk myself out of going for a run or getting onto a bike. Basically for the next seven to ten days cardio is off my list – actually any activity involving my legs is off the workout menu. That’s ok. I have heard that taking a 1 week break can actually drastically improve your running times so this is an opportunity to try out that theory.

So what to do for the next week. I guess some upper body weights are in order. There isn’t much in the way of aerobic workouts for the arms and shoulders :(.

Rolling it up into one.

Posted by bernicky - March 25th, 2005

So much to write about today.

Let’s start with the bad news – I pulled a hamstring this morning in my right leg and my left hamstring is feeling a little gimpy too. No question about the pull. I was flat out running – doing speed work – and it felt like a bullet hit my leg. I was able to pull up immediately, limped home, ice and aspirin. No exercise for at least 5 days regardless of whether or not it feels recovered and then I will start back with some stretching and slow runs.

Sharon and Paula were in visiting from the Ottawa valley. I went to CEGEP with them and we have been friends ever since. They have been friends since elementary school. Anyway it was a good day except for the fact that we spent 7 hours walking around downtown Montreal which probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do. The codeine took the edge off the injury for most of the walk about and it was great fun to see them and spend the day shooting the breeze. Paula has invited the families (Sharon’s and mine) to her place for a bar-b-q on May 29th after the marathon. Paula’s entire family does the 10K fun run as part of the same race weekend. That should be a good way to spend time post race.

I was watching NBC news this evening and they said that 54% of American’s believe the book of Genesis account of how life came to exist on the planet. 33% believe in evolution. I suppose that leaves 13% undecided.

Does this mean that all but 13% of American’s have read Origin of Species and The Descent of Man? That they are conversant with the work of Stephen Jay Gould? They understand the theories of Niles Eldredge? Having read Darwin, Eldredge and Gould what did they find wanting in the theories? Are these theories by default less likely that “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”

I guess there are many signs that the public school system is not only failing to teach science but also failing to teach reason.

Day 3 no calls

Posted by bernicky - March 24th, 2005

See – I may be paranoid but that doesn’t mean I’m not right. 3 days no call to sub. Will just have to make the most of doing computer work. 🙂

Day 2 no calls

Posted by bernicky - March 23rd, 2005

It is kind of funny, but when I saw the little piece in the paper I thought to myself “This is great!”. Then I thought “This can’t be good.”

After working 8 of the last 9 possible work days leading to this week I have now not been called in two days in a row. I know other subs are working because I was in school yesterday to monitor a lunch time detention I had given out on Monday. Is there a relationship between the mention in the paper and not being called in? A less suspicious mind wouldn’t think so.

I remember a history teacher in college once telling me about an ancient custom by which the slaves elected a king once a year. The election was followed by a great feast and rip roaring party attended by all the slaves in the city. The king was rewarded with gold and his freedom taken to the city limits and let go with the sole proviso that they could never return to the city. Once the slave was far enough outside the city he would be summarily executed and the gold returned to his masters coffers. The moral of the story – it doesn’t pay to be thought well of.

Inaugural Bernicky 3/4 Marathon

Posted by bernicky - March 22nd, 2005

School didn’t call me in today – a coincidence with me being written up in the paper as a favourite sub? I think not.

Anyway I had some free time this afternoon and decided to go on my long run which was skipped on Sunday in favour of a 10K race. I actually started out to do 20K then started thinking about adding a 5K loop at the end. Then I thought about maybe a 10K loop at then end. Then it jumped to mind that I was already on the path to my regular 32K loop for my bike ride. What the hell I thought – let’s go for it.

Fortunately I brought 2 gels with me and a bottle of sport drink – which was one gel short and about 500 ml short of what I need for a 32K run but throwing caution to the wind I went and did it anyway.

It was a learning experience. The first thing I learned is that running out of liquid is really a pain. The second thing I learned was that at the 27K mark my legs start to protest mercilessly – but just the legs. At the 29K mark the buttocks and hamstrings start to tighten up in ways I did not think possible and then just when you think there is nothing more in the tank the pain reaches a whole transcendent level and fades to the back of the mind. There is no way I could have gone another 10K today but in 67 days from now I think it is a very real possibility.

When I finally slowed to a walk at the 32K mark my legs were trembling and in complete agony. It took almost an hour before I could really walk around without any pain again. There is an upside to this – I know I can do 32K. Might not seem like much but it will have to do for now.

Talk Back

Posted by bernicky - March 22nd, 2005

My wife’s best friend Sue called up this morning to tell me I had been mentioned in the newspaper which was a complete surprise. Apparently a section of the local paper (The Montreal Gazette) asked students who their best substitute teacher was and some students thought fit to mention me. How cool is that? Of course it is going to go completely to my head! 🙂

Seriously though it is nice to hear from the students at least that they have some respect for what you are trying to do when you go into the classroom as a substitute.

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