Sunday, 24 August 1997:

Dragging Up The Hill

Well, I did it. I make the bike ride into work, and made it back safely.

One thing I realized - which should have been obvious - is that the ride to work is steadily uphill. I live in downtown Madison, and am surrounded by three lakes, so naturally I live on at local minimum altitude. I work four miles away, and Madison is naturally quite hilly. Although I chose a fairly good route for the trip, I was still heading steadily uphill, and I just couldn't avoid every major hill.

I stopped for about 5 minutes after the first big hill, about a third of the way. The next third involves a long, gradual hill about a mile in length, punctuated by a short, steep climb at the end. I stopped for about 10 minutes there, and didn't feel too well for a few minutes. Some nice folks actually stopped their car and asked if I was okay! After I rested and had some water, I felt better and set out again. Fortunately, the final third is mostly level and was a pretty easy ride.

Except: I wimped out, and didn't go all the way in to my workplace. The reason is that my workplace is at the top of a steep hill which it itself in the middle of a valley! This should be reasonable when I bike in for real, but biking all the way in, dealing with that last huge hill, and then turning around immediately and confronting another huge hill was just too much.

Overall, the altitude I travel to get to work by bike looks like this:

Altitude Map of my Bike Ride to Work
Crude drawing courtesy of your humble journalist.
Not necessarily to scale, though it felt that way!

At the point marked "Stop" I stopped in and spent an hour with a friend from work and his wife. It turns out I had good timing: They were doing some yard and house work and a friend was coming over later in the afternoon, but they weren't especially busy. My friend (Mark) had suggested the back-road route I took to avoid the busy-ness of Mineral Point Road, but he was surprised to see me even though I'd said I planned this test ride for Sunday.

I got to see their two cats, Bug (for Bugaroo [sic] Banzai) and Millie, whom I hadn't seen in a while, and I checked out their garden and tried eating some rhubarb, which I'd never had before. Bitter stuff; they say it works better in a pie, where it's mixed with lots of sugar.

I took a different route home, one in which I lost 80% of my altitude in the first mile-and-a-half, and stopped at Michael's Frozen Custard for some chili dogs and a sundae. I also discovered a back route to avoid one more nasty hill, and got back only slightly exhausted. This was the first time I'd ever really used a bike helmet, but it felt comfortable.

I plan to give it a real go on Tuesday morning.

"Watching Alien was like being swallowed by a giant, acid-drooling cephalopod from outer space. Event Horizon is the resulting burp."
- Kent Williams, in his review in Isthmus, 22 August 1997

I haven't seen Event Horizon. Seeing as I have yet to hear even a single opinion of the movie was could be considered lukewarm, rather than outright hostile, I certainly don't plan to see it.

When I first heard of the film, a few months back, it sounded like it could be a cool science fiction mystery: Ship heads to the stars, comes back, the crew is gone, what happened out there? A serious piece of SF, this has promise, if not a lot of originality. But yet another science fiction/horror gore-fest? Who cares? Once you've seen both Alien and Aliens, which cover the range from gothic to gung-ho, what need is there to ever see another SF/horror film? Especially if it's basically an excuse to decapitate people and paint the walls red?

I don't care much for gore anyway; give me intellectualism any day.

"Don't see this movie for $6.00. Don't see it for $3.00. Don't see it for $1.50. Don't see it for free. Don't even see it if the producer shows up at your door and offers to pay you $100.00."
- My friend Gene Zadzilka, on Event Horizon

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