October 24, 2016

Surprisingly Little Blood Was Involved

Genetics testing is amazing.
It takes just a few milliliters drawn from the mother to isolate enough fetal DNA to screen for chromosomal abnormalities and other problems.
Really, we're living in the future.
Let's make sure it gets even better from here on.

Posted by: Boviate at 02:40 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 48 words, total size 1 kb.

October 11, 2016


It is with great pride and some apprehension that I announce my wife and I are expecting our first child, due at the beginning of May.

Posted by: Boviate at 11:01 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 27 words, total size 1 kb.

October 05, 2016

Time and Place

Turns out there's a time and a place to exercise one's First Amendment rights.

The place isn't a library, and the time isn't during a question-and-answer session with a government official.  At least according to Kansas City.

For bonus points, when the librarian objected to the off-duty cop arresting the patron, the off-duty cop also arrested the librarian. The librarian, naturally, was the one that had hired the off-duty cop to be there was security anyway. I hope he paid the invoice, or heaven knows what'll happen next.

Posted by: Boviate at 12:14 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 91 words, total size 1 kb.

September 26, 2016


I haven't watched the presidential election debates for the last few cycles. Anything actually substantive will be covered by tomorrow's news. The rest of a TV debate is deceptive– I care about positions and decisions, not about body language and eye contact.

Posted by: Boviate at 10:26 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 43 words, total size 1 kb.

September 13, 2016

Cool Helicopter External

Here's a fun video filmed in Buffalo earlier this year. There's some good helicopter piloting.

Also a car, if that's what you're into.

For those who haven't seen the previous videos, this guy is a professional rally driver and that's his actual rally car. There are no visual special effects– everything you see the car doing, it actually did.

Posted by: Boviate at 12:28 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 62 words, total size 1 kb.

September 08, 2016

Apparently I Need Extrinsic Motivation

I've been slacking off on running and riding recently. There are a bunch of reasons, but one of them might be that I don't have a goal to be working towards, other than the ill-defined desire to be in better health.

But a little trash-talking has popped up on Facebook, so next year I'll be doing a rematch half marathon, and perhaps another triathlon. It's time to lace up the shoes and brave the summer heat.

Posted by: Boviate at 02:55 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 81 words, total size 1 kb.

August 15, 2016

Race Report: BBC vs BTC Time Trial 2016

Last week I was proud to bring my team victory in the 2016 BBC vs BTC Time Trial.

Let me explain. The BBC, in this case, is the Buffalo Bicycling Club. The BTC is the Buffalo Triathlon Club. Every year they have a club-vs-club time trial, with the proceeds going to charity. The trophy goes to the winning club to hold until the next year.

I should probably explain what a time trial is, too. It's one of the disciplines of cycling. Most road races are "mass start" with the cyclists forming into a bunch ("peleton") for aerodynamic reasons. The less common road race is a "time trial" where racers start one at a time, with a standard time gap between each one. (Perhaps 30 seconds, perhaps 5 minutes, it depends on the race.) In a time trial, riders are forbidden from cooperating– you can't ride along in the slipstream of another rider. If you catch up to someone that started before you, you pass them and keep going.

Anyway, as noted, this time trial is between a bicycling club and a triathlon club. The former have the advantage, because they are specialists, while triathletes split their training time three ways. But the BTC has more members. So this race has an interesting scoring system. First, we're divided into six categories:

  1. Masters Men (age 50+)
  2. Masters Women (age 50+)
  3. Open Men
  4. Open Women
  5. Cannibal Men
  6. Cannibal Women.
For each class, the fastest finisher gets 25 points for his club. The next gets 24, then 23, etc. Everyone gets one point, for finishers below 25th place. That means there's an incentive for each club to bring as many riders as they can; the slowest guy there doesn't hurt his team, rather he gives it at least one point.

I was in the male cannibal class. Because I like to eat long pork.

I kid! Yes, I am an evil person, but it actually refers to the bike you are riding. Open class is for people with time-trial specific bikes. Such bikes have disc wheels, wind-tunnel-tested aerodynamic frames made from carbon fiber, and the handlebars have forearm rests so the rider can get down into a low-profile tuck. The cannibal class is for people not using such bikes. It's a fairness thing, because aero bikes are very expensive and not everyone has one. Such bikes aren't allowed at all in mass-start races, because the aero tuck position reduces maneuverability and that leads to crashes in races where riders are bunched up.

(Why "cannibal class" you may be wondering? Is it because those of us that can't afford to drop $5k on a bike are savages? No, it's a reference to the greatest cyclist of all time, Eddie "The Cannibal" Merckx. He retired from cycling just as aerodynamic bikes were being developed, so the previous kind are nicknamed in his honor.)

Enough backstory, this is a race! I didn't get to the event site until registration had been going on for a while, so I was racer number 57. The organizers were starting people at 60 seconds gaps, so even once the race started, I had lots of time to chitchat. Eventually I got to the front of the line, the marshal counted me down, and off I went! The course was a simple out and back, starting into the wind and uphill. Which sucked, of course. By the time I left the sun was already setting, but the course is largely north-south so it was never in my eyes.

I'm not a time trial kind of guy. I've done a triathlon, but then I was already exhausted when I got to the bike segment. Here it was just me and the road. The key is to dig deep but not overdo it, of course. So I kept an eye on my heart rate monitor. I tried to keep my HR between Zone 4.4 and Zone 4.8.  Heart rate zones are themselves a whole rabbit hole of research, so suffice it to say that Zone 4 is 80%-90% of your calculated max heart rate and is "hard aerobic", while Zone 5 is 90%-100% of max heart rate and is "anaerobic". In short, I was trying to keep it to the point where I felt like I was going to die, without actually dying. Looking at my race data, my HR peaked at 178 bpm and averaged (once I was warmed up) about 164.

It hurt. Boy did it hurt. I covered about 13 miles in about 45 minutes. Both in terms of time and distance, that's a short ride for me. But at the end I could barely walk, my butt was so sore, because I never stopped peddling to stand up and stretch.

I'm proud to say I beat the oldest person there, a 84-year old. You might not be very impressed by my beating an octogenarian, but that dude went to the Olympics for cycling. He also was a repeat US national champion. He may be twice my age, but I fear the old lion more than the young.

How did I do? Well, I won the event for the BTC! That is, I finished dead last in my category. But I earned one point for the BTC. And the final team scores were BBC 503, BTC 503. A tie! I'm dead serious. The tiebreaker was the number of riders for each club, so BTC has claimed the trophy for the first time in several years. And it is no exaggeration to say that if I hadn't raced, my team would have lost.

Hooray! Now I just want to be significantly faster next year. I'm creeping towards the Master's category myself, so I'd like to prove something to myself before I get there.

Posted by: Boviate at 11:32 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 970 words, total size 6 kb.

August 12, 2016

Badminton Is a Serious Sport, People

I quite enjoyed taking two university PE classes in badminton. Americans know it from messing about in backyards, but there's a reason it's a serious Olympic sport.

Anyway, here's a video from my favorite TV show. I especially liked the QA testing at the end.

Posted by: Boviate at 08:40 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 51 words, total size 1 kb.

July 26, 2016

Ah Yeah, That's the Stuff

Today was my first day back at work after two weeks of vacation. At 3 PM my boss called me and said "Welcome back. Audit is all over us about [a program I run]. I'll send you all the emails. There's a conference call to get us back on track tomorrow at 2 PM. Expect to do most of the talking."

OK, I exaggerated slightly… my boss didn't say the first two words of the quote.

That said, for the last year of my Marine career I was the guy giving the audits, so I know how these things work. I expect I've got this. At least I expect I've got it well enough that I don't need to polish up the ole' resume quite yet.

Posted by: Boviate at 10:54 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 128 words, total size 1 kb.

July 14, 2016

Ride for Roswell 2016

The Roswell Park Cancer Institute has an annual charity bike ride to raise funds. This year 7000+ people participated, raising $4.5 million.

All the riders aren't in a single pack- you sign up for your choice of routes, from a 3-mile family easy ride, to a 100-mile 'century' for the hard-core. This year my wife and I chose the 30 mile route, which is the most popular. It's so popular that there are two start times. We picked the early start so my wife could head off to her favorite strawberry festival, which is scheduled for the same day every year.

Sadly, one of us hit the snooze button the morning of the ride. I'm not going to say who, just that it's the guy that was up late prepping the bikes. We're not here to cast blame. I'm sure that the sleepy gentleman had a series of other excuses reasons too.

We did arrive in time to start with the 45-mile pack. I just made a point of standing next to my bike in such a way as to conceal the sticker identifying which route we were going on. Really though, no one cared. We took off with the 45-milers, and then when the two paths diverged after five or so miles, my wife and I took a left while the hundreds of other bikers around us took a right.

Being late turned out to be a genius decision. Instead of being stuck in the middle of a horde, we were free to gambol along at my wife's preferred pace. (About 1 mph faster than last time, despite us not getting in much bike time in spring.) The route was clearly marked, and the aid stations were still open because the second wave of the 30 mile route (the "late start") was going to come along in another hour and a half.

A few of their fastest riders managed to catch us just before the end, because it was hot. It wasn't so bad when we started at 7:30 AM, but by 9 it was in the mid-80s and humid. We were the last people to complete the 30 mile route, because in light of the rising heat index, the later wave of people doing the 30 mile course were all diverted to a shorter route.

So to summarize, we had a hot morning of riding along with a few thousand random strangers, and also raised some money to support our local cancer treatment and research center.

Posted by: Boviate at 10:48 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 418 words, total size 2 kb.

<< Page 1 of 89 >>
32kb generated in CPU 0.02, elapsed 0.0868 seconds.
37 queries taking 0.0713 seconds, 195 records returned.
Powered by Minx 1.1.6c-pink.