5k Orchard Run

After two years, Rob has returned to the blogosphere!  Lots has happened – found lurv, moved states, and changed sports.  It’s been a long time trying to get going on running, but signing up for a local 5k was a good catalyst for getting out there more often.

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My Review of Scott Lynch’s ‘The Republic of Thieves’

The Republic of Thieves (Gentleman Bastard, #3)The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Is there any more reassuring story to read during this US presidential election cycle than one of opposing con artists manipulating both sides of an election for the amusement of all-knowing magi?

I’m of two minds on The Republic of Thieves – on one hand the story was equally entertaining compared to the first two ‘Gentleman Bastard’ novels, but at the same time I am slightly concerned over the direction of the series. It’s no secret that Scott Lynch had trouble writing this third installment, but thankfully he has avoided a A Song of Ice and Fire-esque deviation into dead-end plot threads at the expense of page count and forward motion. However, the course correction was slightly abrupt, and that’s where I wonder how this will keep up for the planned 7 books. Avoiding spoilers and ranting, the final twist/endgame of the story was rushed and crammed what was becoming an interesting larger narrative about the ‘Gentleman Bastards’ into the same ending condition as the previous two books. Setting aside Red Seas Under Red Skies as not advancing the parallel story of Locke & Co. growing up in Camorr, The Republic of Thieves is arguably the thematic continuation of The Lies of Locke Lamora and viewed as such it falls short. Not that it’s a huge commitment to make internet pledges for/against continuing to consume a series, but despite the prospect of more consistent content from Scott Lynch in The Thorn of Emberlain I’ve gone off the ‘Gentleman Bastard Sequence’ slightly.

Constrained to a whole star system Republic is a 4/5 for me, on par with the first two books. Apparent goal of stretching the plot to cover seven volumes aside, Lynch delivered content-wise.

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Formula One, Pro Cycling, and Acceptable Risk

Safety is one of the core tenets of our modern civilization. In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, safety ranks 2nd only to physiological needs of the human body. Psychologically then, any threat against our protected modern lives – however statistically unlikely – stand out from more silent killers. Terrorism, airplane crashes, and other calamities are examples of prime fodder for heavy news coverage.
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Head of the Charles Regatta 2015

Fall in Boston – colorful foliage, apple picking, seasonal beer, and the Head of the Charles Regatta.

Rowing runs deep in our family – living close to the Charles River and being vaguely athletically inclined makes a combination of the two logical. Obviously I’m more into road cycling but my weight is at the upper end of the ‘lightweight’ category so it would be a good idea to try rowing at some point. In the absence of personal involvement, my inclination towards photography leads me to document some races my family are in. Typically photo duties fall to my dad, as I do not attend many of my sisters’ regattas. However, this is THE regatta to spectate and record for posterity.

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My Cycling Goal for 2015

On a recent ride me and some friends lamented the dearth of ride choices caused by our being located in a major city on the water.  From Boston there are essentially two options most take – southwest to the Dover area or northwest to Concord.  The unfortunate presence of the Massachusetts Bay to the east precludes any rides in that direction, speaking on the most basic geographic terms.  It’s not that there isn’t quality riding or many variations of those routes, but in my perception there is little room for a landmark ride in the Metro Boston area.

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My Film Processing Setup

Paterson Universal Tank, Samigon reel, thermometer, nitrile gloves
Paterson Universal Tank, Samigon reel, thermometer, nitrile gloves

When I started shooting film again my developing was done right where we all left off almost ten years ago – the local drug store.  That lasted about three weeks until me and my dad grew tired of the inconvenience of heading into town and back, even if the results were acceptable.  As we moved on to professional film emulsions and medium format, it became more of a necessity to home develop our rolls.  Fortunately the Dalgarno abode is blessed with a disused soapstone sink in the basement, presumably for doing laundry before the proliferation of automatic washing machines.  After a quick trip to the Home Depot for a laundry mixer tap fitting and some surreptitious acquisitions of unneeded lab equipment we were all set for our first adventure in color film.

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“Darkroom Day” at LaPete Labs

Yesterday I threatened to make a post about the meetup at LaPete Labs, so here we are.

Analog photography is entirely possible without a darkroom – a fact that enables my continued efforts at film processing– but other tasks simply cannot be done within a light-tight changing bag.  Enlarging and printing photographs is one of them.  The paper used is sensitive to light and it remains so through the entire process up until chemical fixing.  However, one still needs to see what they are doing so unlike film loading some light is required.  Cleverer people than I solved this paradox by designing paper sensitive to the yellow-blue range of light and providing illumination with a red safelight.  I spent hours in the safelit gloom last Sunday, along with several fellow dedicated meetup members.

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Analog Photography in Boston

Olympus XA, CineStill 50D
Olympus XA, CineStill 50D

Looking at the post dates it’s been a while since I last gave an update on what I’m up to.  In Boston the weather just reached a state of full conductivity to riding, meaning no extra cold weather clothing on top of/below your kit is necessary.  My first ride outdoors was in the second week of March and I’ve built up my form pretty well, which can be observed if one regularly checks the Strava widget on the sidebar.  One needs to create a free Strava account to view all of my history easily, though individual rides can be googled.  But that’s not the point of this post – what I’m going to write about is my analog photography.

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On the Buildup to My Cycling Season

Leave the snow riding to the pros, I say.  Photo by Graham Watson via VeloNews
Leave the snow riding to the pros, I say. Photo by Graham Watson via VeloNews

To say that this winter weather in the Northeast hasn’t been conducive to outdoor sports training is a bit of an understatement.  Invites have landed in my inbox from people that were riding well into January and in hindsight calling it quits on riding back in November might have been a mistake.  It remains to be seen how long it will be until the road shoulder is visible, let alone clean enough to ride on, and hence the potential magnitude of this mistake has not been established.  This past weekend marks the one-year anniversary of the first time I ventured forth after an eleven-month break from riding (not training, riding) and I went on to have my best-ever season in terms of conditioning and mileage.  My hopes are still high for this year and delaying my start outdoors by a few weeks won’t affect the ultimate outcome.  Meanwhile, I am rediscovering the joys of indoor training.

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Why I love F1 (and you can too)

Grand Prix of the Automobile Club of France (1912), Jacques-Henri Lartigue http://www.nyklewicz.com/273/time/
Grand Prix of the Automobile Club of France (1912), Jacques-Henri Lartigue
http://www.nyklewicz.com/273/time/

Formula One racing (F1) is the pinnacle of motorsports.  Various Grands Prix (GP) took place beginning in 1906, before in 1950 a few of those annual events were organized by the Fédération Internationale de l‘Automobile (FIA) into the first World Driver’s Championship (WDC) season.  A World Constructor’s Championship (WCC) for the teams that race the cars was inaugurated in 1958.  At first the rulebook was rather short – build your engine under a certain displacement, depending on whether or not it is naturally aspirated.  Since then the FIA regulations have expanded to cover everything from the weight of the car to how many engines can be used over the course of a season and the calendar has grown to include roughly 20 races.  There is still the financial reward of winning a Grand Prix but the money is assigned on the basis of WCC ranking, which itself is derived from the sum of WDC points scored by a team’s drivers.

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