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.


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Forget What You Want To Remember

“Just remember that the things you put into your head are there forever, he said. You might want to think about that.
You forget some things, dont you?
Yes. You forget what you want to remember and you remember what you want to forget.”
― Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Tom Wesselmann  Mouth # 11, 1967 Dallas Museum of Art

Tom Wesselmann
Mouth # 11, 1967
Dallas Museum of Art

I have always loved this piece of modern art in the DMA. I remember it from when I first moved here thirty four years ago. I worked downtown and would walk over to the museum at lunch and look at this (and other, of course) work of art to help make the day bearable.

Those were the olden days, ancient history, when you could take a lunch and get a needed break – unlike today where lunch is something you gobble at your desk while answering emails.

There was this cool little gift shop across the street from my office – in the old building that has since been converted into the Joule hotel. They had a postcard of this painting. I bought it, no reason, I simply wanted to own the image so I could look at it whenever I wanted. The young redhaired shopgirl asked me as she slid the card into a thin paper bag, “Do you know where this is?”

“Of course,” I said. “I go over at lunch and stare at it.”

I have no idea what she thought of that. She didn’t say anything.

Thought Myself Out Of Happiness

“I think and think and think, I‘ve thought myself out of happiness one million times, but never once into it.”
― Jonathan Safran Foer

I wonder what this guy is thinking. He’s been in that glass box a long time.

Dallas Museum of Art Dallas, Texas

Dallas Museum of Art
Dallas, Texas

Be Content With Silence

“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”
― Ansel Adams

Silence Antoine-Augustin Préault Dallas Museum of Art

Silence
Antoine-Augustin Préault
Dallas Museum of Art

Dallas Museum of Art
Dallas, Texas

(label text)

Antoine-Augustin Préault
French, 1809-1879

Silence
c. 1842
Patinated plaster
Anonymous gift and General Acquisition Fund, 2014.10

French sculptor Antoine-Augustin Préault created eerie contrasts of shadow and light in this composition featuring merely a face and a hand. Linear drapery enshrouds the androgynous figure’s face, drawing attention to its gaunt features, half-closed eyes, and skeletal hand. A finger lifted to the lips is a gesture commonly found in ancient funerary sculptures that glorified the dead. Portraiture or reliefs bearing images of the deceased performing this gesture were intended to conjure pleasant memories, but Silence, with its brutal evocation of frailty and death, breaks from the well-established canon.

Préault designed Silence for Jacob Roblès’ tomb at Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, which is the city’s largest and most famous burial ground. The medallion’s compositional elements combine to convey a somber nature perfect for the purpose of a tomb. Its superb round, dark hardwood frame with a deep ogee, or S-shaped molding, enhances the sculpture’s dimensionality and melancholy theme.

“Does not everything depend on our interpretation of the silence around us?”
― Lawrence Durrell, Justine