Wednesday, 25 July 2012

lessons from a convalescent

I'm glad to report that my body is living up to it's side of the deal with regards to rest, healing and calcium consumption. I have been following my end of the deal as well, chiefly in the cafe where i am now, watching the trophy wives eat brunch, the finches eat most of the trophy brunch which the wives "couldn't possibly" finish and drinking cappuccinos (only until 11am though, otherwise it's frightfully gauche) . 

I visited my doctor again yesterday (Dr Richburg at SDSM, who continues to be the best ports medicine Dr in the world). He's recently become a big fan of displaying my x rays in the office before having me come out of my cubicle and do some hopping on my broken side. Apparently this is a positive sign, in just two weeks i have progressed from "hobbling miracle" to "hopping miracle". I got the go ahead to ride, inside for half an hour three times a week - about 2 weeks ahead of schedule, good news. I'm under strict instructions to keep using the crutch in bars, bike shops and at the track lest anyone "jump up on" me or get a little overzealous with the friendly arm punch. 

In the meantime, to occupy myself i have been swimming. Now, i have written about swimming before so i won't bore you with the initial details other than to update you on a specific niche of swimming which i had not yet discovered, that of open water swimming  I'm pretty sure this is like the cyclocross of the underwater world, it's pretty niche and pretty gnarly, you get really cold, you inevitably end up getting changed in the back of your car and it is not compatible with an undue amount of concern for aesthetics. Much like cyclocross people seem pretty excited about sharing their passion and teaching you and there isn't an undue amount of number free racer attitude. Unfortunately i have yet to encounter a sub aqua beer hand up, im pretty sure the seals could get involved in that but nobody has asked them.  

In the interest of not letting any knowledge go unshared, here's my list of open water tips for the bike racer pretending to be a swimmer: 

1) it's cold, even when the air is hot the water is bloody freezing. So buy a wetsuit, but get one on craiglsist or you'll look the overweight, overpaid dentist getting dropped on zipps. Don't worry about the wetsuit being all black, nobody will accuse you of being an undercover doper
2) there's really nowhere to put your sugar in a wetsuit, but i find the arms work best, just under your wrist. Alternatively you could go spinal tap and shove it in the swimshorts, but people you meet will likely get the wrong impression. dex 4 bottles are awkwardly shaped. 
3) the first time you see some sea life you WILL scream like a 13 year old girl at a justin beiber concert. Try to make sure this doesn't happen around anyone who you are trying to convince that you're a real grown up. 
4) kelp doesn't actually chase after you, wrap you up and suck you under. That's just in cartoons 
5) sharks are real but apparently mermaids aren't. Not fair eh?
6) there is nowhere to put your car keys in that wetsuit eather. make friends on the beach. 

there's probably some safety stuff you should think about but i'm not really one to lecture anyone on self preservation am I......

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

A guide to speaking cockney: for all those w*nkers on the Internet

Ladies, gents and wankers who hide behind a pseudonym on twitter (I can swear without stars in the main body of the blog but the title gets screened by aggregating websites. Don't ask how I know this). I feel that it is my duty to present to you something of a guide to the correct use of the British form of the English language as spoken in London. Henceforth this shall be referred to as proper English.

We shall start with adjectives. On the mild end of the derisory spectrum (and let's face it the only words you need in another language are abusive ones) we have: "pants" - when used as an adjective this denotes something which is a little bit rubbish, quite annoying but not life changingly awful. We use it a lot to talk about the weather "cor it's been a pants summer again eh?"

Next up are nouns, first  comes the old classic "wanker" this one gets royally butchered by the wannabes out there. It's not a term of endearment. That's what "tosser" is for. It's a term of relatively grave insult. You wouldn't use it in front of someone over twice your age(unless you're 15 or younger). Common uses include "oi wanker let's take this outside" when initiating a traditional bar room brawl or the infamous football chant "the referee's a wanker".

Finally we have "Cunt", the piece de resistance of cockney swearing. This one seems to have been somewhat fetishized and retains its status as one of the few really offensive words (and yet cock isn't? i'd love to talk gender and power dynamics on this one, no really i would, hit me up on twitter.) everywhere outside working class England, and the parts of the world where working class England exported its most undesirable criminals (Hello Australia) where it is a term of mild endearment . once again this word has worked its way into the lexicon of football.

We then have "mate" which, although seemingly a term indicating friendship can often be used to index just the opposite. this ironic use of the word mate can often be heard in those same London bars where one customarily "steps outside": "if i were you mate i'd shut up"

All joking aside, the preoccupation with wiggins' language (and this is something i have also had laid on me) is a bourgeois liberal mid Atlantic middle class hoo haah. Growing up on terraces, in pubs and in fields and building sites around England this is simply the way people speak. To suggest that this comes from a limited vocabulary or linguistic capacity is asinine ( should you need proof, look at this bbc collection of football chants illustrates a linguistic capacity which most poets would envy) this is about the difference between what is implied and what is inferred. the intention of the authour can be distinct from the reception of the audience. We understand different things from the same word and this is where confusion arises.

Text is illegible without context and whilst reception is undoubtedly important, especially in high profile press interviews if we deem what he said inappropriate we're eliminating vocabulary through our claims to the right not to be offended. You're also playing into the hands of constraining debate and not making people accountable for what they say. Words themselves do not hold offense but the way that they are used does. Case in point, i'm wearing a T shirt which says fuck cancer - and a lady of not incosiderable age just hobbled over to tell me she thought it was great. Had i walked up and ordered a fucking cafe con leche, she likely would not have applauded my strength of conviction. context.  Obviously there are exceptions to this, at 19 I got beaten black and blue by BNP thugs because i  do not believe that pseudo-fascists have the right to hide behind free speech and pedal holocaust denial and hate speech. But this isn't hate speech it's just a different language than the one many people are used to, but they're upset, because it sounds the same.

 Ultimatley Bradley is a fantastic rider, a solid bloke and a product of his upbringing. If you don't understand that, you can't understand him. so before you jump to label speech as offensive think about intention. whilst Bradley clearly meant to condemn the people who bitch at him on the internet, his language was entirely appropriate to who he is an what he is saying, and you need to understand that before you jump on a middle class witch hunt bandwagon.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Asking the big questions, and giving the small answers

In my convalesence, i have been chatting to lots of my sponsors and people whom i rely upon for support which my crutch can't provide. I have also been growing plants from seeds (i'd forgotten how much fun that is), playing my harmonica with one arm, narrowly avoiding drowning and calling it aqua running, drinking more wine than i should and not as much water as i ought to, reading more novels than i should and writing fewer papers than i ought to. I've been skyping left right and center and lamenting the lack of an oven in my new place. I have discovered good tequila, rediscovered bad beer, and for a brief time allowed myself to forget about drink mix and gels.

I've also been musing on just how wonderful the himan body is. When i crashed 15 days ago I pretty much destroyed a $15,000 dollar bicycle. it's scrap now (or at best a very garish decoration). But my body, which is equally broken, just needs a few weeks of rest, lots of sleep and the right nutrition and it will fix itself, by itself. no glue, no soldering nothing. That's pretty amazing, we harp on about how wonderful our iphone 17 is and how the latest laptop turns on the heating before you get home and has a boiled kettle waiting for you in the morning. but it can't make itself better when you use that kettle to make tea which you spill on said laptop (yes Gabbi i'm looking at you). The best thing of all about bodies is that we all get one and they are free, we just have to look after them.

 We've come up with a few ideas to help push the diabetes education side of things while i'm off the bike. I feel that if i have all this time i should use it to help people as best i can. To that end, one of our projects was a Q and A session on diabetes and exercise nutrition in general (even for people with fully functioning pancreases [pancrei?]). I seem to get lots of the same questions from people (lots of these pertain to being diabetic and an athlete, and aren't always from diabetic people, so if you have questions like that, please feel free to ask). It doens't matter if you're diabetic and know nothign about bike racing, a bike racer and know nothing about diabetes or if youre neither and you're just curious. increasing net knowledge is the goal here.

My friends over at extreme endurance have offered to help. With our phenomenal social butterfly powers we can reach out to experts in the world of sports nutrition, diabetes healthcare and endurance sports.

What we need from you, loyal blog reading people, is a bit of interaction. You can post your questions here as a comment or email them to jamesstout@teamtraveller.com. and while you're spending time on the internet, please make your way over here and check out the other diabetes education efforts that I am working on with AYUDA. This is a cause really close to my heart and one that i hope people will consider supporting with their time, their money or just bu spreading the word.

Stop sitting there and get in touch!