What I learned this week, July 16, 2017

Dallas Museum of Art acquires the only ‘Infinity Mirror Room’ of its kind in a North American collection


This Is the Water and This Is the Well: Notes on Twin Peaks: The Return at the Halfway Mark


The conscious emulation of life’s genius is a survival strategy for the human race


Six Reasons For Indoor Training

Don’t skip past this article if your motivation for riding is purely for fun. If you’re fitter, hills are less arduous, and you have a wider range of options of who you ride with and how far. Riding for fitness requires focus and at least some intensity, and that’s best done away from traffic hazards. Along with the rise of connected training apps like TrainerRoad and Zwift, that’s why retailers report they’re selling indoor trainers year-round and not just in the traditional run up to winter.

If you’re riding for fitness or training for racing or a summer sportive, then indoor training offers numerous benefits.

1. It’s time efficient

Indoor training can be more time efficient if you don’t have the luxury of 25 hours a week to ride your bike. If you only have an hour, say, you can get more out of that time on an indoor trainer as you don’t waste any time umming and ahhing about what to wear. You can simply jump straight on the trainer and spend more time actually pedalling, minimising the wasted time either side of a bike ride, ideal if you’re a time-crunched cyclist. Even a quick ride after work at this time of year requires a careful planning to ensure you maximise time on the bike. Indoor cycling is also a realistic option for people that have children, and you can’t just leave them and cycling 20 miles down the road – you can set up the indoor trainer in the next room and still keep an eye on the kids.

2. It’s safer

There’s a certain grim satisfaction to riding when it’s cold, dark and wet; some of our most enjoyable rides have finished in the dark with a face covered with mud. Sometimes though, it can be the safe and sensible choice to hit the indoor trainer rather than brave the elements, especially if there’s a storm outside or the roads are covered in snow and ice when the risk factor increases massively – and I write this as someone who has crashed on ice on several occasions, I know much it can hurt. If you don’t fancy riding along unlit dark country lanes then riding on an indoor cycle trainer can certainly feel the safer option.

3. It’s better quality

Controlled and targeted training is one of the big benefits of indoor training. There are no junk miles. An indoor trainer makes it easier to be very specific about your training compared to riding outside, allowing you to spend more time in key heart rate or power zones, with no time lost to stopping at junctions or freewheeling down the hills. It’s also possible to replicate any sort of road, flat or steep, on an indoor trainer, including roads that you might not have the luxury of living near to. There are all sorts of turbo trainer training sessions you can follow to work on specific areas of your fitness, whether you’re training for a season of crit races or ultra distance events.

4. It’s faster

Do you feel slower cycling in the winter? You’re not alone. The colder it gets, the more effort it takes. Cold air is denser and it takes more effort to push yourself through it. Cold muscles won’t help, either. Lower temperatures, rain and windchill can mean your leg muscles aren’t operating at ideal temperatures. That’s why winter rides can be tough, especially if you try and ride familiar roads and climbs at speeds you know you’re capable off during the winter. You’re also likely to be wearing more or thicker layers and that restriction and increase in your frontal surface area can play a part in your decreased speed compared to riding in lightweight jerseys and shorts in the summer.

5. Get smart

The latest smart trainers with integrated power meters can take your training to the next level, with detailed and targeted workouts that can be incorporated into a structured training plan. They can be controlled from a smartphone, tablet or computer and allow you to easily change the training zones, helping you to get the most out of your training time.

You can get the most out of a smart trainer with an app like Zwift or TrainerRoad. The hugely popular Zwift has gone a long way to transforming indoor training for many cyclists by providing a realistic environment and other real-world cyclists to ride and race against. It provides an experience that is as close to riding outdoors as it’s possible to get without leaving the comfort of your living room. New courses and features are being added all the time; the workouts is a good addition that provides all the structured training you could wish for. Another popular option is TrainerRoad, which offers a larger suite of workouts and live performance data.

6. It’s fun

Yes, really. Indoor training can be a lot of fun, and more appealing than grinding out miserable miles by yourself in the freezing cold, dark and rain. You can chant rule five to yourself all you want, but if there’s no-one to hear you, does it really work? On an indoor trainer, you can do all sorts of interesting things like cadence drills, one legged drills, hill reps, speed intervals and other workouts that can really enhance your cycling fitness, and critically help time fly by. You can inject more engagement with something like Sufferfest, which overlays ride prompts over actual race footage, you’ll be acting out your wannabe pro dreams in no time.


25 Things You Should Know About New Orleans

What I learned this week, July 9, 2017

The imposing facade of the St. Vincent’s Guest House, facing Magazine Street in New Orleans. I had to move around a bunch of film crews and trucks to get this – they were shooting scenes for Treme. The St. Vincent must be a popular location – they did scenes for Red (the Bruce Willis film) there – now I’ll have to watch the damn thing.

Lower Garden District landmark St. Vincent’s Guest House to be renovated, converted into luxury hotel

This is very sad to me – St. Vincent’s is one of my favorite places – I wrote about it here.

Now I won’t be able to afford to stay there. But at least it will survive (and thrive). Time marches on.

Here’s a closeup of the sculpture on the clock on the carriage house. Pretty cool, huh. You’re not going to see stuff like this hanging off the Hilton.

I hope they keep the gargoyle.


Napflix

Napflix is a video platform where you can find the most silent and sleepy content selection to relax your brain and easily fall asleep.

Taking siesta to the next level.

While viewing Napflix I discovered a game of Pétanque.  It wasn’t very exciting, but I found it interesting. Now, I find there is a Dallas Pétanque Club. Now I feel an urge to visit them someday and see a game.

These rabbit holes are so easy to fall into.


And now that we have Napflix – in Spain there is a bar dedicated to the art of the nap.

Spain’s First ‘Nap Bar’ Just Opened in Madrid


Send a Text to SFMOMA and They’ll Text You Back an Artwork


50 (Big and Little) Things It’s Finally Time to Get Rid of

Your new decluttering motto: #ruthless.


Texas liquor agency rebuked after investigation of Spec’s

The special evil of a regulatory bureaucracy.


The Universe Itself May Be Unnatural


KAFKA’S JOKE BOOK

Why did the chicken cross the road?

It had been crossing so long it could not remember. As it stopped in the middle to look back, a car sped by, spinning it around. Disoriented, the chicken realized it could no longer tell which way it was going. It stands there still.


Oh the irony of driving cars to ride bikes


10 Bike Lanes So Depressingly Crappy They’re Almost Funny

I’ve seen some that could make this list.

This photo, however, is a pretty nice pair of lanes, though they tend to get covered with broken glass.

Bicycle Lanes on the Jefferson Viaduct from Oak Cliff into downtown, Dallas.

The city I live in has done a good job of putting in useful, dedicated lanes.

Bike Lanes on Custer Road

Bike lane on Yale, near my house.

What I learned this week, July 2, 2017

Magazine Street, New Orleans

 

A Cyclist Writes His Own Obituary

 

Bike rider in front of the Winspear Opera House. If you are wondering, the photo is cropped and upside down.

Let’s get this straight: If something horrible happens to me on a ride, don’t ever say I died doing what I love. I feel no affection about the idea of getting pulverized by a 4,000-pound SUV, especially if the driver was flipping through Instagram. Still, I recognize that something might happen. And rather than leave it up to other people to commemorate my life and death on the bike, I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands—with facts based on a terrifying encounter with a speeding Porsche that actually happened—just in case the next run-in turns out differently.

Read the whole thing.


What I learned this week, July 01, 2017

What’s the Deal With Anchovy Pizza?

I like anchovies on pizza. Next question.


Have we been taught poetry all wrong?

Yes, next question.


The Kingdom by Emmanuel Carrère

Book of the Month for May 2017


Hayao Miyazaki’s Legacy Is Far Greater Than His Films

Seeing “Spirited Away” in the theater was a life-changing experience.


EP. 44 PEGASUS CITY BREWERY


Brilliant Beef on the Cheap: The 10 Best Dallas Burgers Under 10 Bucks


This is the water, and this is the well. Drink full, and descend. The horse is the white of the eyes, and dark within.


What I learned this week, June 25, 2017

The Best Bookstores in Every State

Texas: The Wild Detectives

Dallas’s hip gathering place specializes in fiction, poetry and Spanish-language lit, plus top-notch food and coffee. And how could you not love a place with a “buy a book, get a drink” policy?

One thing I love about The Wild Detectives is that they turn the wifi off on the weekends… so the people, their customers, will actually talk to each other, like real human beings.

The Wild Detectives’ name is a loose translation of Roberto Bolaño’s Los Detectives Salvajes (The Savage Detectives, 1998), from which the business takes a lot more than just the name. Our mission at The Wild Detectives is to curate all those things that matter, those serious pleasures which turn life into experience.


Why didn’t great painters of the past reach the level of realism achieved today by many artists?



New Seafloor Map Reveals How Strange the Gulf of Mexico Is

The floor of the Gulf of Mexico is one of the most geologically interesting stretches of the Earth’s surface. The gulf’s peculiar history gave rise to a landscape riddled with domes, pockmarks, canyons, faults, and channels — all revealed in more detail than ever before by a new 1.4 billion-pixel map.


The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed


The Best New Dallas Restaurants of 2017 (So Far)


Do Giraffes Get Struck by Lightning More Than Other Animals?

What I learned this week, June 18, 2017

David Mitchell on How to Write: “Neglect Everything Else”

When I asked David Mitchell, author of Cloud Atlas, to discuss a favorite passage for this series, I was initially surprised by his choice: a plain-stated, rustic poem by James Wright. “Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota” bears no overt similarity to Mitchell’s maximalist, genre-busting epics. But, he explained, the poem’s pure sensory engagement inspires him to strive to be more present, attentive, and alert—an ongoing struggle with implications for his work habits, his craft, and the art of writing about the future.


The short history of global living conditions and why it matters that we know it

A recent survey asked “All things considered, do you think the world is getting better or worse, or neither getting better nor worse?”. In Sweden 10% thought things are getting better, in the US they were only 6%, and in Germany only 4%. Very few people think that the world is getting better.

What is the evidence that we need to consider when answering this question? The question is about how the world has changed and so we must take a historical perspective. And the question is about the world as a whole and the answer must therefore consider everybody. The answer must consider the history of global living conditions – a history of everyone.

This is truly the best of all possible worlds in the best of all possible times. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.


Two of Texas’ Best Vietnamese Sandwich Shops Share a Garland Parking Lot

Two of the best tennis players to pick up rackets are sisters who learned the game together on a public court in Compton. For decades, America’s confused letter-writers got help from two advice columnists, Dear Abby and Ann Landers, who were, in fact, identical twin sisters named Pauline Esther Friedman and Esther Pauline Friedman. And 85 percent of Hollywood blockbusters from the past seven years star at least one blond Australian named Hemsworth.

The Dallas culinary scene has its own version of the Williams sisters, and our outstanding coincidence involves Vietnamese bakeries. Two of the best banh mi shops in the region — arguably two of the best banh mi shops in the United States — make their homes in Garland, where they stare each other down across a shared parking lot. Just one suburban stretch of asphalt apart, Quoc Bao Bakery and Saigon Deli compete for the title of best banh mi in metro Dallas.

For banh mi – I go to Lee’s Sandwiches near my house (it’s also, technically, in Garland) or the Nammi Food Truck. These two are very close, however, maybe two miles… perfect bicycling distance. Sounds like a plan.

Banh Mi from the Nammi Food Truck. Giant sandwich with rooster sauce and cucumber sauce.


Welcome to the Korean Ramen Noodles Antitrust Litigation Website

This is the official website In re Korean Noodles Antitrust Litigation, Case No. 3:13-CV-4115-WHO-DMR (N.D. Cal.). This is a class action lawsuit involving the price of Korean Noodles purchased directly or indirectly from the Defendants Nong Shim Co., Ltd., Nongshim America, Inc., Ottogi Co., Ltd., and Ottogi America, Inc. (“Defendants”) that is pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. The lawsuit alleges that Defendants engaged in illegal price fixing with respect to the sale of Korean Noodles and that as a result, any person or entity that purchased Korean Noodles directly or indirectly from any Defendant, during the Direct Purchaser Class Period or Indirect Purchaser Class Period paid a higher price than they would have otherwise paid in a competitive market. Defendants deny Plaintiffs’ allegations and the Court has not ruled on the merits of the claims or defenses.

Ok, let me get this straight…. A class-action lawsuit claiming some companies illegally conspired to fix the prices of RAMEN NOODLES???? I have no idea if I have ever consumed Korean Ramen noodles (I doubt it, though). How much money would I get if I did? Maybe a nickel?


How to Read James Joyce’s Ulysses (and Why You Should Avoid “How-to” Guides Like This One)

Ulysses deserves its reputation as one the best books in the English language. It generously overflows with insight into the human experience, and it’s very, very funny. And, most importantly, anyone can read it.

I have actually wanted to read Ulysses.

Maybe I should write a guide on how to read Gravity’s Rainbow. I have read it, really… I have. It only took me twenty five years to get through.


The Nine Best Coffee Shops in the Dallas Suburbs

also (some overlap)

Five New DFW Coffee Shops to Check Out Next Time You Need a Caffeine Fix

Es café macerado en ron, posee todas las propiedades organolépticas del ron, pero tiene grado de alcohol


Mass-Produced or Artisan Bread? Results May Surprise

“The really shocking result was that on everything that we looked at, we didn’t find any difference between the effects of the two breads,” a co-author says, per the Guardian.

I was into home-made bread for awhile – basing a lot of what I did on the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. The bread was delicious and the house always smelled wonderful… but I realized that I was pretty much eating a loaf of bread every day. I bought a fifty pound bag of bread flour and ate the whole damn thing in a little over a month (I kept it in a freezer).

That was not good – I had to give the whole thing up.

Chipotle Sourdough

Finished loaf of Chipotle Sourdough Bread. A little too much Chipotle, it made the dough a bit wet and it came out very spicy. Still Delicious. There are kids over and it was gone in five minutes.

What I learned this week, June 11, 2017

Big D Live Lively: Episode 3 – Pedal Power


The Iron Law of Bureaucracy

As stated by Robert Michels, Jonathan Schwartz, Jerry Pournelle and many others in several related forms,  The Iron Law of Institutions states that in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people:

 First, there will be those who are devoted to the goals of the organization. Examples are dedicated classroom teachers in an educational bureaucracy, many of the engineers and launch technicians and scientists at NASA, even some agricultural scientists and advisors in the former Soviet Union collective farming administration.

Secondly, there will be those dedicated to the organization itself. Examples are many of the administrators in the education system, many professors of education, many teachers union officials, much of the NASA headquarters staff, etc.

The Iron Law states that in every case the second group will gain and keep control of the organization. It will write the rules, and control promotions within the organization.

Stated another way:

The Iron Law of Institutions is: the people who control institutions care first and foremost about their power within the institution rather than the power of the institution itself. Thus, they would rather the institution “fail” while they remain in power within the institution than for the institution to “succeed” if that requires them to lose power within the institution.

This is true for all human institutions, from elementary schools up to the United States of America. If history shows anything, it’s that this cannot be changed. What can be done, sometimes, is to force the people running institutions to align their own interests with those of the institution itself and its members.


Meal prep hacks to make your life easier

Like everybody, I read way too many listicles on the internet. This one was surprisingly useful – even if most of it’s recommendations are common sense. Maybe that’s why it was so userful.

Pizza Crust

When the weather is so awful hot, I like to cook pizza on a stone on our grill outside. Here’s the crust on a pizza peel and the stone, warming up.

The pizza and stone, grilling away.

Yeah, I think I’ll have to make one of these bad boys this weekend.


8 of the World’s Best Culinary Cycling Trips

Bicycle ‘Second Line
New Orleans, Louisiana


How Freud’s Only Visit to America Made Him Hate the U.S. for the Rest of His Life

Perhaps worst of all was his insomnia: American women were giving him erotic dreams and affecting his ability to get a good night’s sleep. While in Worcester, he confided in Carl Jung, who had also been invited to speak, that he hadn’t “been able to sleep since [he] came to America” and that he “continue[d] to dream of prostitutes.” When Jung pointed out a rather obvious solution to this problem, Freud indignantly reminded him that he was married.


12 Possible Reasons We Haven’t Found Aliens

In 1950, a learned lunchtime conversation set the stage for decades of astronomical exploration. Physicist Enrico Fermi submitted to his colleagues around the table a couple contentions, summarized as 1) The galaxy is very old and very large, with hundreds of billions of stars and likely even more habitable planets. 2) That means there should be more than enough time for advanced civilizations to develop and flourish across the galaxy.

So where the heck are they?

 


Scenes From Deep Ellum Lit Hop 2017

Billed as a “well-read bar crawl,” Deep Ellum Lit Hop 2017 encouraged people to wander through bookstores, art galleries, and bars in one of the city’s most vibrant areas. Literary nonprofit WordSpace sponsored the June 2 event.