Monday, 22 December 2008

Comparing inaugurations, and the cultural benefits of cycling

Via Balloon Juice, I came across this article:

[Poet Elizabeth Alexander], who has published four collections of poetry, including 2005’s Pulitzer-nominated “American Sublime,” will take the stage along with a host of other celebs, including Aretha Franklin, Itzhak Perlman, and Yo-Yo Ma. She says she’s thrilled at being picked for the inaugural gig.

To clarify, we're talking about these people - Elizabeth Alexander, Arenta Franklin, Itzhak Perlman, and Yo-Yo Ma.

Compare and contrast to 2001:

The eclectic list of artists already announced for the show include country stalwarts Brooks & Dunn and Clint Black, Andrew Lloyd Webber (Margaret Thatcher's favorite contemporary composer) and "two fifths of the 5th Dimension" (no word on the other three fifths) — all topped off with a performance by Latin hunk Ricky Martin.
High on Dubya's list of favorites is Vegas fixture Wayne Newton, who will serenade the President with his rendition of "Danke Schoen."

Incidentally, in all the history of the last eight years, it is worth remembering public reaction right at the start of the Bush Presidency:

According to organizers and police alike, this year's counter-inaugural protests will be the largest since Richard Nixon took the oath of office in 1973, during the heyday of anti-Vietman war outrage.

This was, of course, before the lazy AWOL bastard got officially turned into "the bestest bravest Presidenting EVAH" for starting a war of aggression over a lie.

The Hague, bitches!.

Personally, I've been on holiday for a week, and hitting the cycling a lot. It's interesting; I've lost enough weight to mitigate the "fat guy on a bike" humiliation factor, and I've been able to notice the various changes even a week of pretty substantial exercise has bought on. My aerobic fitness has been pretty high due to a large amount of walking; the limiting problem was fatigue and pain in the different muscles used in biking as opposed to general exhaustion due to unfitness.

So after only a week with about 5 substantial expeditions (from town to J'ville, Days Bay to Petone, around the Mirimar peninsula, out to Owhira Bay and walking to the seal colony and back, and circling Mt Vic around Oriental Bay), I've actually been able to pay attention to a steady increase in muscle capability which I didn't notice with getting into the walking, where the limiting factor was my crappy aerobic fitness. And I lost one and a half kilos last week.

This bodes well for the suggestion of getting into gym work next year with the help of a co-worker. And, God help me, they're right about having to change exercise patterns to deal with plateaus in weight loss. I hate hurting and sweating, but I do feel better as I continue to look more like a human being again.

But the interesting thing about hitting the road more often was rediscovering the Aro St Video store, hands down the best and most eclectic store in Wellington. There are series and seasons I have yet to see in any of the other stores here - Eureka! House! Battlestar Galactica! I can see what I'm going to be up to in the evenings over Xmas.

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