Friday, 31 May 2013

Make a Stand

People make a stand in different ways.  I don't think it matters how it's done, as long as you do it.  In light of Adam Goodes' stand against racism I thought about one of my favourite photos of all time, which is actually on show at Victoria Park at the moment to celebrate 20 years since it was taken.

Photo: Wayne Ludbey for Herald Sun

Decide what you believe in and make a stand.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Hip Flexors

I just learned that hip flexors are made up of two muscles (the psoas and iliacus) contains both slow twitch and fast twitch muscles fibres, and 50% of humans have a 3rd muscle in the hip flexor named psoas minor.

Now you've learned that, too.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Monday, 13 May 2013


I like standard procedure.  I like systems.  I even like rules.  But I hate the way they're followed.  I hate the way they're written, their intentions, and their condescending disregard for the end user.  In the sections of my life where I sell out, procedure is a huge part of the problem but it's a necessary evil and has created its own solution.  The use of good procedure has allowed for the recruitment of lesser intellect.

Let me explain.  If procedure is a set of rules that, if followed correctly, will result in a desired outcome, then a free-thinking, intelligent human is no longer required.  There are benefits and disadvantages to that. The system will benefit because risk is limited.  However, if the system fails and the human running it does not have the capacity to perform the task manually then there is no hope.  In a corporate world procedure is used well for conveyerbelt roles (like mine!)- and as a result idiots are recruited and process is never improved.

For my personal projects, however, I like to use procedures and systems because to me they are dynamic.  The process is always being tweaked.  I guess you could argue that it's not a procedure if it isn't static but in my black and white mind the result is easier to evaluate when the journey was documented.  It is very rare for me to tweak a procedure before I can evaluate a result of some kind so in a way the process isn't dynamic until the end result is complete; whether that be a success or failure.

In its simplest form a procedure is an estimation of the steps required to reach a particular goal.  I want to fry an egg- I have to heat up a pan, crack and egg into the pan, and let it cook.  The best analysis can come at the end of the process.  The egg stuck to the pan?  I'll tweak the procedure next time by putting oil in before the egg.  The egg was too runny?  I'll cook it for longer.

For my projects the fun (and hard work) comes well before I start performing the steps.  I feel much more comfortable and confident in a pressure situation when I've set in place the system that I think will get me the greatest result.  I think this is borne of my athletic and financial markets past.  Want to run faster?  Train in a particular fashion over a particular period of time.  It has been tried and tested.  Want to buy low, sell high?  Use these statistics/ econometrics/ chart patterns that have worked in the past.  Knowing that these steps will give the highest chance of success takes away a lot of the unknown and that comforts me in the heat of battle.

Analysis of the efficacy of the system used is essential for improvement.  So many variables have the ability to influence end results so these need to be taken into account but by testing, performing and re-testing, systems and procedures will become robust and risks are able to be minimised.  Intuition still has a part but this will be built from experience of tweaking. Failure builds experience and procedure allows you to document that in a controlled environment.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Race Descriptions Can Be Great

This is the best description for a bike race I've ever heard; and makes me want to be back in the UK again...

Join us on the  22nd of June for the Rapha Gentlemen's* Race, an unmarshalled and unsanctioned point-to-point team challenge taking place around the Summer Solstice.

Each group of six riders will set off from the ancient walled city of York, leaving behind its winding medieval passageways and embarking on self-determined routes through the glorious scenery of the North Yorkshire Moors. Changeable June weather will no doubt present a challenge over the open landscape and coastline. In sun, rouleurs will take in summer blooms and vivid greenery covering abbey ruins, silent for centuries after the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII. Inclement weather, however, could shift the mood to one more reminiscent of the shipwreck near Whitby which brought Dracula to England disguised as a black dog. Teams are required to pass through a halfway checkpoint in this sleepy port town. Battling potential offshore winds on the way back to York will need the strength of the stone walls of Whitby Abbey, where, nearly a thousand years ago, monks labored away at producing intricate gold-glossed manuscripts during the height of early medieval religious art in England. These great ruins, perched atop the cliffs and standing watch over the town below, also mark the spot where the modern Christian calendar was negotiated by a synod of bishops in the seventh century. No doubt a similar form of teamwork will be required from riders as they work their way back across the moors towards York and the finish, with the spires of the Minster, visible from miles away, beckoning each group homewards.

Written by Jack Flannagan for the Rapha Cycling blog

If you're interested you can enter here.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Product Reviews

I have never written a product review.  I'm not going to start today so don't run away yet.  I've written book reviews but they were mostly based on the movie because I didn't want to read the book.  I very occasionally read product reviews when I can't make my own mind up about something but I find most of them are written by people who are paid to do so or in doing the review are rewarded with free shit.  I want to be the latter.

There's this running jacket...  Well, 'not a jacket'- the guy in the store told me- 'more of a running over-piece'.  It's not cool enough to have a running jacket in your catalogue anymore.  You break new ground if you manufacture running over-pieces.  At the risk of upsetting the manufacturer I'll call it what it is.

This running jacket first caught my eye on the internet.  It's made by The North Face, whose products I quite like, and I thought I'd find out more.  When face to face with it in the shop I liked the cut of it and the feel of the fabric.  Some space-age material that keeps you warm but cool, among a host of other oxymoron.  All in all I thought this was a brilliant jacket, the likes of which I have never worn before.  Until I read the price tag...  One hundred and ninety dollars.  For an over-piece.

TBA is French for 'Rip Off'

So now I want to review it.

Send your signatures to:
The North Face
14450 Doolittle Drive
San Leandro, CA, 94577 USA

...or your local MP.