Replicating The Setting, Virtual New Balance 5th Avenue Mile 2021

Fit To Ride

Awareness of the outside world. Library of Congress: National Book Festival. Starts today, runs through September 26.

Virtual New Balance 5th Avenue Mile
Official – September 4 to 12, 2021
Me – September 6, 2021
Location – Jemison Park
Tracking App – Strava. Testing the join-up for a future walk

No medal but the entry was free, so why not. Gorgeous day, so I walked up and back. Second mile counted toward Mississippi project, [Biking and Walking Virtually]


Virtual Walk

My walk was a virtual companion to the IRL walk on Sept 12. “The race will take a straight line down 5th Avenue, starting near East 80th Street and finishing near East 60th Street.” New Balance 5th Avenue Mile.

That part of 5th Avenue runs along Central Park. Fancy houses on one side; civic greenery on the other.

Therefore, I chose …

IRL Walk

… Jemison Park.

Jemison Park is a linear park that runs alongside Shades Creek and Mountain Book Parkway, through the Birmingham suburb of Mountain Brook. “Mountain Brook is a particularly affluent suburb of Birmingham, and has ranked as one of the wealthiest cities in the United States.” Bham Wiki: Mountain Brook.

Fancy houses on one side; civic greenery on the other. Even the roar of traffic for increased verisimilitude.

Virtual and IRL

Once I saved the walk within the app, it immediately signaled my completion of the official walk. How did it know? Back in the dark ages, when 1984 was still in the future, we were all concerned about the arrival of Big Brother. No one predicted that we would spend hundreds of dollars for devices we would carry with us at all times and then ASK Big Sibling to keep track of where we are and who we know.

Last Year

[Strolling Along The Avenue In My Mind’s Eye, Virtual New Balance 5th Avenue Mile, September 2020]

Stay safe. Stay sane.

Clever UPCs


Awareness of the outside world. Today is World Ozone Day. This year’s theme, UN: Montreal Protocol – Keeping us, our food, and vaccines cool.

The original subject for today’s post is still under discussion. Well, not really, but I’m giving it one more day. Meanwhile, here is a cute trend I just noticed.


Nestle Toll House Chips

Down The Rabbit Hole

UPC. “Beep! On 26 June 1974, a packet of chewing gum became the first barcoded product to be scanned in store.” GS1: How We Got Here.

“SKU, in full stock keeping unit, a code number, typically used as a machine-readable bar code, assigned to a single item of inventory.” (Enyclopaedia) Britannica: SKU

“‘ISBN’ stands for ‘International Standard Book Number’. An ISBN is a number, not a bar code. One agency per country is designated to assign ISBNs for the publishers and self-publishers located in that country.” About the ISBN Standard

Stay safe. Stay sane.

Bunny Hops On The Bunny Slope, XC Schooling


Awareness of the outside world. BBC: Upside-down rhino research wins Ig Nobel Prize, Amos, 10 Sept 2021. Improbable Research: Ig® Nobel Prize Winners, For achievements that first make people LAUGH then make them THINK.

While Rodney worked …

… Milton supervised.

Back to Full Circle Horse Park for more cross-country kindergarten.

Round 1. Walked next to jumps. I got on right away, see photo yesterday. No in-hand walking to settle either of us down. Progress. Rodney was fine. Looked at everything but in a curious, ‘Oh, look at that’ way rather than the-sky-is-falling. Color me dubious. I want to believe.

I settled once we got into the field. A nice walk interrupted by one of us getting a wild hair to visit the cougar’s lair, excuse me, side field.

Round 1.5. Over to show jumping ring. Walked and trotted in and out of standards on course sans poles. Trotted a few tight jumper turns that might have had the rider smiling. Milton also walked and trotted and occasionally enjoyed himself.

Round 2. Jumps! Trotted the warm-up crossrail. Trotted the warm-up log. I could feel his enthusiasm building, especially over the log. Great! However, his brain is writing checks his body can’t cash. Not yet anyway. One of us has to reel it in.

To me, his enthusiasm has an element of over-confidence. Not so much the jump height as where to put his feet and how to handle his body over jumps. I don’t think he can do what he thinks he can. Excitement would lead to taking on too much which would lead to being over-faced which would lead to being over overwhelmed and back-sliding. I don’t know if this is something horses do. I could imagine Rodney saying, ‘I got this. I got this. I got this. Nope! Nope! I don’t got this!’

Off to jump one. I was trotting the lowest-of-the-low poles on a pre-beginner, neon-green course. Unfortunately, Rodney landed between ropes of a Preliminary Championship course. It took several proto-gallop strides to wrestle him back down.

In hindsight, I should have let him keep going. He would have cantered three strides, pulled up to trot, and said, ‘That’s enough of that.’ Rodney’s convictions are deep but changeable. In the moment, he was very convincing about having turned into a fire-breathing dragon.

Walked over two more. Trotted in the field, like a gentleman.

Milton did an excellent job on escort duty. Horses can have strong opinions about being left behind by their trail mates. If Milton is trotting, he worries about catching up. If he’s walking, he’s chill. ‘I’ll get there when I get there.’ This is weird, but I’ll take it.

Headed back to trailer. Switched to …

Round 3. In-hand. I asked the barn’s driving expert to lunge Rodney over the XC jumps. Let Rodney frolic, if that’s what he wanted. He didn’t run off after, so need to examine a possible rider contribution to the excess of enthusiasm.

Rodney did take some truly awful, awkward jumps. Then he’d come around again and get better. By the third pass he was jumping sweet. Lunging gave him the chance to sort himself out, without being burdened by a rider trying to do the same.

Riding portion. Jumping ring in lower right.

Lunging portion. GPS from Map My Walk.

Rodney’s XC Links
[The Flag Question, XC Schooling]
[Achievement Unlocked, Cross-Country Schooling]

Stay safe. Stay sane.

Milton Leads Into The Home Stretch, Virtual Tevis, 95 and 81 Miles, 52 Days


Awareness of the outside world. Whatever: An Actual Party of Death, Now, Sept 10, 2021. Whatever: How Bad Should We Feel When the Willfully Unvaccinated Die?, August 9 2021. Tomorrow, I promise to recognize some other current crisis.

Getting ready to ride at Full Circle Horse Park.

Milton is almost done with his 100 miles. It’s not really going to do him any good. He will still accompany Rodney’s miles, as Rodney did last year while Milton finished.

We could have “waited” with Milton, counting only the miles we do together. I figured that with life one never knows. With horses, one never knows squared.

Turtle power!

Where are we virtually?

Milestones. Milton.

Milestones. Rodney.

Map. 81& 95 miles in. Graphic from Tevis Cup: About the Trail, shading mine.

Tevis Cup: Trail Sections & Historic Notes

Data Dump

Tuesday, September 7 – Milton 2 miles, 50 minutes, Rodney 0 miles. Milton solo mileage estimated from ride time & work. [How Not To Start A Three-Day Weekend]
Wednesday, September 8 – 1.76 miles, 44 minutes. Getting out of the 50-whatever minute rut.
Thursday, September 9 – 1.96 miles, 53 minutes
Friday, September 10 – 2.21 miles, 1 hour
Saturday, September 11 – 2.27 miles, 1 hour 10 minutes. FCHP
Sunday, September 12 – 1.54 miles, 45 minutes. Had thought to go longer. Everyone so relaxed and mellow we ended early.
Monday, September 13 – 1.27 miles, 39 minutes

Distance this week – Milton 13 miles, Rodney 11 miles
Time this week – Milton 6 hours, Rodney 5 hours
Rides this week – Milton 7 days, Rodney 6 days

Total distance – Milton 95 miles, Rodney 81 miles
Total time – Milton 42 hours, Rodney 37 hours.
Total rides – Milton 45 days, Rodney 40 days
Total calendar – 52 days

Pace, time to go one mile – Milton 26:32 m/m, Rodney 27:09 m/m, per VT results page

Numbers rounded off for ease of reporting. May not add up as given.

My Links
Last week [At Dawn We Ride, Virtual Tevis, 82 & 70 Miles, 45 Days]
[VT Archives]

Official Links
Tevis Cup: Virtual Tevis 2021
RunSignUp: 2021 Tevis Cup – Virtual Western States Trail – 100 Miles in 100 Days
RunSignUp: VT results

Stay safe. Stay sane.

Shoeing Schedule


Awareness of the outside world. Remarks by President Biden on Fighting the COVID-⁠19 Pandemic. 9 September 2021.

The shoeing schedule around here has entered the realm of the absurd.

Rodney pulled a shoe. Got reshod. [Shoeing Dilemma]

Since it was only three weeks in, Milton was nowhere near ready to be reshod. Blacksmith would have to come back to do one horse. Annoying but unavoidable.

Milton has always been shod on Rodney’s schedule, since Rodney comes due earlier. Now we could wait and do Milton when he was ready.

Scheduled for five weeks. Done.

Now the two schedules are completely out of sync. Different starting dates for the current shoes. Different durations until the next set. Rodney is getting done every four weeks; Milton, every five weeks.

Then, there was the surprise visit to tack on the sprung shoe. [How Not To Start A Three-Day Weekend, Horse Shoe Edition]

In September/October the blacksmith is scheduled to come out here three times in five weeks. Sprung shoe, above. Return in two weeks for Rodney’s regular appointment. Return in two weeks to shoe Milton.

I have unilaterally added a hassle fee to my farrier bill.

Stay safe. Stay sane.

Email from the Moon, VorpalCon, Fiction

Awareness of the outside world. In light of Covid and the the 20th anniversary of 9/11, I had originally planned to say something profound about how news effects us. Nevermind. Enough people will be/are pontificating today. Have a cupcake. [Speaking Out]

Dear Laura:

VorpalCon is coming up.

Remember the year we cosplayed fallen angels and had to spend the weekend taking the stairs because our wings didn’t fit in the elevators? Note to self, make costumes transport friendly.

Back to this year. I bought a virtual pass. Obviously, I can’t be there IRL. I doubt I will have any time for VR participation either. We have pretty nice immersion suites up here but they tend to be used for professional obligations or important family functions. We don’t spend a lot of time with VR movies.

We don’t spend a lot of time with leisure activities in general. There’s just no time. Well, obviously, there’s time. In the non-relativistic sections of the universe, we all have the same number of minutes in a day. It’s just that we all want to maximize what we can accomplish while we are up here.

Come to think of it, even at relativist speeds, your personal experience does not change. It’s the rest of the universe that goes haywire. But I digress.

Doing non-lunar activities would be like sitting in a hotel room while on vacation. Not that this is a vacation. You know what I mean. Why read a book now that will be there when I get home? Why take the time to watch VorpalCon panels that will be in the streaming library?

Free time? Schedule another experiment. There’s is always another one you want to do. Or if your equipment is full up and you are waiting for it to go ping, go help the person in the next lab who’s in a crunch. Wash their beakers while they are measuring, or weighing, or whatever they need to do. In return, someone comes to help you when you are crunched.

Or stop by the observatory section. They always have more astronomical measurements that need to be taken.

Yes, we have art and music and dance. Even there the artists and musicians and dancers want to do and write and move as much as they can while they are here. Inspiration is different. Music sounds different in different spaces. Movement is definitely different in 1/6th G.

Basically, everyone is trying to get as much Moon as possible before they have to leave.

Speaking of leaving, daily exercise takes up a chunk of time. I know everyone everywhere should be exercising. However, it’s easy to miss a day when the penalty may be 5 or 10 or 20 years down the road. It’s a lot easier to stay on the treadmill when the alternative is returning home and spending 6 weeks flat out in a hospital bed. Exercise or die. It’s quite motivating. Of course, the people who are not leaving aren’t as worried about their bodies adapting.

For all of us, there are life support chores. Do I want to watch a costume contest, or do I want to check the PH on the water reclaimer? Or rinse out the tubes on the air filter system. There’s always something to do.

Yes, there are big systems that the techs oversee. In addition, each space has smaller subsystems that need to be monitored. You are only as safe as the nearest doorseal.

Yes, again, people do come by to check. But you can have a blow out, or bad air, or some other crisis between visits. Besides, this is your life support system under discussion. It’s hard not to take an interest.

Maybe some day there will be enough people living here that life support duties will be farmed out. Today is not that day. I think it will take a while for people to become blase about pressure checks. It’s one thing to trust someone else to wash your plate. It’s quite a different thing to trust a stranger with the air you breathe.


Speaking of enough people, that’s something I miss. Crowds. Or, I should say, crowds of strangers. We are plenty crowded up here. When every cubic inch costs money, you tend to be stingy with space. I have been know to yell at the screen when astronauts in a movie are floating through huge corridors that do nothing but lead from point A to point B. Really? Really?!? All that oxygen with no plants? No storage? No people living or working? I don’t think so.

So, while we are crowded, there are few strangers. Sit down next to someone for a meal? They work in a different branch of your company, or oversee your company, or live in your section, or sleep with someone in your section. Or slept with you on a previous occasion. I gets a bit Peyton Place up here from time to time.

Seven degrees of separation? If I am more that two degrees removed from anyone up here, I’d be surprised.

In a crowd of strangers, particularly a crowd of like-minded strangers such as a con, there is the chance of meeting someone new and interesting. For example, the person next to you in line is an actress and explains what the previous panelist was warbling on about. Or you can over hear something new & interesting. For example, when one half of a couple is explaining to a third party that the other half of the couple only sleeps with people approved by the party of the first part.

Gotta love con-goers.

One thing I will definitely check in on is the Moon Rat drawing session. Have you ever done one of those? As you know, the Moon Rats comic is famously collaborative. They never give personal credit. The workshops are an extension of that philosophy. They are advertised as an exercise in collective comic-making. Several panels are put online in various stages of completion. You can watch for free, or, for a fee, you can contribute. Look who I’m telling. You’re an artist. You are probably all up in that. Anyway, I will be watching, let me know if any of the parts are yours.

Having spent way too much time telling you that I don’t have any time, I must get back to work.

With love from a fan whose fan cred is slipping,

~~~ curtain~~~