Saturday, July 19, 2008

Another line for the resume...

Kayaking class today; brought the (waterproof) camera along. Here are some really dark and stormy looking pictures of my class:

Two Jews walk into a bar

(Alternative title was: "Christ, that's good beer")

If you're into large quantities of wine, the LA Wine Fest is the place to be. I can't remember much about the wine, other than that there was a lot of it. There were a couple decent wineries from the Ventura area, and we met some interesting Jeremy here...from the Wine Fest to sell some of his country's liquid wares. (Please take note of my purple teeth.)

Both titles (above) were stolen from the Schmaltz Brewing Company. I would feel bad about stealing their slogans, except they stole the name of their beer (He'Brew) from a Joan River's joke (which goes something like: "You're so goy you think Hebrew is a macho beer"). But I digress, here's me with a bottle of He'Brew. Hey, my teeth are still purple.

I would write something about the tequila and vodka tasting, but things are hazy by then. I have a couple of brochures for what I think are my new favorite tequilas: Dos Manos Añejo and Don Camilo Reposado.

Dinner at comme Ça after the Wine Fest. We took the bus down Melrose, as driving immediately after sampling 60 wines is probably a bad idea. The tarte flambe compared poorly to the several we had in France...Here's Nico at the bus stop, looking way too happy. Why are her teeth so white?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

And you guys think I make this stuff up.

Objective To determine from a societal perspective the risk of sudden cardiac death associated with running in an organised marathon compared with the risk of dying from a motor vehicle crash that might otherwise have taken place if the roads had not been closed.
Design Population based retrospective analysis with linked ecological comparisons of sudden death.

Setting Marathons with at least 1000 participants that had two decades of history and were on public roads in the United States, 1975-2004.

Main outcome measures Sudden death attributed to cardiac causes or to motor vehicle trauma.

Results The marathons provided results for 3 292 268 runners on 750 separate days encompassing about 14 million hours of exercise. There were 26 sudden cardiac deaths observed, equivalent to a rate of 0.8 per 100 000 participants (95% confidence interval 0.5 to 1.1). Because of road closure, an estimated 46 motor vehicle fatalities were prevented, equivalent to a relative risk reduction of 35% (95% confidence interval 17% to 49%). The net reduction in sudden death during marathons amounted to a ratio of about 1.8 crash deaths saved for each case of sudden cardiac death observed (95% confidence interval: 0.7 to 3.8). The net reduction in total deaths could not be explained by re-routing traffic to other regions or days and was consistent across different parts of the country, decades of the century, seasons of the year, days of the week, degree of competition, and course difficulty.

Conclusion Organised marathons are not associated with an increase in sudden deaths from a societal perspective, contrary to anecdotal impressions fostered by news media.

Monday, July 07, 2008

More American than apple pie...

(Sorry my posts are a little out of order)

To escape Newport Beach's enhanced security zone, Nico and I spent the 4th of July with the Pacific Symphony. Although the Pacific Symphony plays at the Verizon Amphitheater in the Summer, they allow picnicing (and did not seem to mind/notice the two bottles of wine I brought) at their events. We started our picnic (prepared by Nico) up on the lawn (also known as the cheap seats), but moved down to our slightly better seats before the concert started.

The symphony played alone for about an hour, took a break, then reappeared with special guest Don Mclean. Don Mclean played all your old favorites like "Crying", "Vincent", and the extended version of "American Pie".

The fireworks were fair...better than what you would see at the Hollywood Bowl.
You can take the crosstown bus, if it's raining or it's cold...

An impromptu tandem ride to San Diego yesterday seemed like a good idea on Saturday night. We left Newport at 6:20 AM (20 minutes behind schedule). I do not remember seeing any traffic until we hit Oceanside. As we were on a tight schedule, we skipped our usual breakfast at the Longboarder Cafe [they have a big sign that says: "We do not serve fast food"...they are not lying], and instead stopped at A Little Moore Coffee Shop in Leucadia.

A few beach towns further, we stopped at the bottom of the hill leading up to Torrey Pines as I attempted 1) to eliminate some irritating noises, and 2) stop the rear derailleur from shifting on its own. To my surprise, both chains were bone dry, leaving me to wonder if I had run them through a chain cleaner and neglected to re-oil. After a little lubrication, things were a little quieter, though the shifting never improved much. While we were stopped, the sun decided to appear, making the rest of the ride considerably warmer.

Up Torrey Pines, down Torrey Pines, through La Jolla, Pacific Beach, Mission Beach with a 2:00 PM arrival at the San Diego Zoo. (92 miles, total time pedaling 6:37). We were too tired to do much of anything, accept watch the big giant tortoises...they were too tired to do anything accept turn their heads to look at us.

3 more miles (downhill mostly) to the train station, where I was told that I could not take a tandem on the train. They got nicer when I explained the bike comes apart, and I could make it as small as they wanted. I ended up removing the timing chain and uncoupling the front "third" of the bike. Bicycle storage on an Amtrak train (at least out in these parts) consists of two hooks (one for each wheel)...your bike is supposed to be secured vertically to the wall [hope you can picture that]. I ended up hooking the front third of the bike over one (top) hook, and the back third over another (top hook). Nico and I did a little extra securing (and made some padding) with our gloves and helmets.

The train was only a half hour late to Santa Ana. (Your tax dollars at work). We had the bike back together a little before 8 PM. To make things interesting, I decided to run the cranks out of phase (captain 90 degrees ahead). With the sun going down, we began the last 10 miles of our trip with a tail light and no head light. My first thoughts on out of phase cranks: 1) a little faster on the flats/downhills, 2) wobbly going up hill. The stoker thought starting was much more difficult...

Home at 8:40 PM, for a daily total of 105 miles. Too tired to work today.