Weight Loss Monday (Back to Monday!), Part 6

Well, I’m getting back to a Monday schedule for this!

I rode 78.94 miles. I know! Under a hundred! But this is just Thursday to Sunday, not a full week, right? Right. Also, with the Cruzbike, I’ve decided to “ease” myself into the rides a little, let myself get more used to the bicycle, so I’m not jumping back to sixty-mile rides immediately. Anyway, that amount of riding used 7804 calories theoretically.

Continue reading Weight Loss Monday (Back to Monday!), Part 6

Dracula vs. Cthulhu: Vampires in Spaceships

When discussing Dracula vs. Cthulhu, people seem surprised when I say it’s science-fiction and then talk about spaceships and time travel. So I’ll say it, again! Dracula vs. Cthulhu is science-fiction horror! So, yeah, don’t be too surprised if it has spaceships and time travel.

This is part of the reason to do such a story, right? If I was going to write a story where Dracula was just another Gothic monster, who would care? But the je ne sais quoi is the “vs. Cthulhu.” And Cthulhu? He’s on the sci-fi end of Lovecraft’s works. Further, I process both Cthulhu and Dracula through the lens of my interpretations and preferences. I think Lovecraft was at his best when he was at his most science-fiction-y.

Continue reading Dracula vs. Cthulhu: Vampires in Spaceships

Weight Lost Monday (uh, Thursday?), Part 5

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I was initially going to start this post with comments about my new used bike, the Cruzbike Sofrider whose name is Rhino, and then some thoughts about the perils of calorie calculations BEFORE giving my weight data. But it turned into a rant, so I’m going to do weight numbers, first!

Over the past eight days, I’ve ridden 211.91 miles (not a typo), which used 23,362 calories according to MapMyRide. I’ve lost 2.6 pounds, which is a pound lost for every 8,985 calories. Which is HORRIBLE accuracy.  It’s off by more than 100% for this week! Overall, I’ve lost 13.4 pounds since May 25th, which (overall) is a pound lost for every 5,771 calories. Which, overall, is also awful accuracy, being off by 61%.

Continue reading Weight Lost Monday (uh, Thursday?), Part 5

New Project: Dracula vs. Cthulhu

I’m putting aside the Atlas Shrugged parody for the time being. Having gone to some shows, I find that con-goers aren’t likely to be swayed by someone saying, “What you like sucks.” Which is what would happen. People would see the Atlas pictures, think Ayn Rand, and come over to hear my say that what they love sucks. Until I’m more established, that’s a losing strategy.

Which brings me to my new project. I noticed that the booths that did best were those in which preawareness played a significant role. Since I’m not rich, I need to keep to the public domain. Thinking about it, I got an idea that builds off of the spy-horror-sci-fi stuff I wrote a couple of years back, and the working name is. . . well, it’s probably why you’re reading this: Dracula vs. Cthulhu.

Initially, I imagined that the name would be a mere working title. But every time I mention it, people go, “That’s interesting!” Which means there’s a good chance that I’m writing a book named Dracula vs. Cthulhu.

The genre will be sci-fi horror, and it’ll be awesome. The good news is that I’ve already done most of the research! And the research won’t be totally about things I hate! Yay!

Weight Loss Monday (well, Tuesday, but who’s checking?), Part 4

A day late because I was traveling this weekend.

For the next couple of weeks, probably, the numbers might be a little wonky. My new bike is more challenging to ride, but I’ll be doing the 20-mile rides on it with my wife! I won’t be having the same intensity as before, not until I get comfortable on the Cruzbike Sofrider.

Continue reading Weight Loss Monday (well, Tuesday, but who’s checking?), Part 4

Out with the old bike, in with the new bike

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I’ve got a new, weird bike! Pictures provided, duh. Go to the bottom if you want to see the rest of them and ignore all these words!

The bicycle is a Cruzbike Sofrider. It has a dynamic boom front wheel drive and is an all around strange little ride, I must admit. The reason I got it? Well, sometimes, when you’re a cyclist, you just want a new bike. And I got it used, which mostly means that if I don’t like it, I can sell it for more-or-less what I bought it for – which is, I think, the secret to all of this. You put aside some money for buying a bike and then recycle the money until you find the ride you want! So this is an experiment to decide if I like the dynamic boom FWD bikes, and if I do, I’ll likely end up getting a Cruzbike Vendetta for my coming birthday as my fast bike. Since it does seem to be, and I say this with no exaggeration, the fastest unfaired bicycle made.

Continue reading Out with the old bike, in with the new bike

Weight Loss Monday, Part 3

My weekly post about losing weight, exercise, etc.!

Before I get to the numbers, I’m gonna say that this whole experience has confirmed in my head that being overweight is, primarily, a disease. Since part of what creates the disease is bad upbringing, and due to society saying that being overweight is a matter of character and not physiology and psychiatry, for most of my life, I have believed that the flaw was in my heart and soul. That if I had “willpower,” I would be able to overcome my urge to overeat or, at least, exercise a lot more than I had.

Continue reading Weight Loss Monday, Part 3

How to get people riding recumbent bicycles

This Cruzbike blog post talks about the new Union Cycliste Internationale’s manifesto, Cycling for All. Cruzbike’s Jim Parker says, and I paraphrase, that without recumbents in the conversation, the UCI’s manifesto is so much hot air because upright bicycles are structurally unhealthy for people – causing serious pain if used regularly, particularly in middle-aged and older cyclists. If the UCI is serious about “bicycling for all,” we must talk about place of recumbents in the cycling world.

Of course, I agree that recumbents should be in the conversation – indeed, I think that most riders would prefer recumbents due to comfort. In the car biz, top speed and hill climbing ability is not the only criteria for excellence – comfort, style, affordability, etc., play serious roles. The constant criticism of upright bicyclists about the perceived lack of hill climbing ability of recumbents is simply irrelevant to the “the all” in the bicycling for all. Most riders will never seek out ten thousand feet of climbing for a day’s ride, after all, and will go to great lengths to avoid that kind of climbing.

Continue reading How to get people riding recumbent bicycles

How to market recumbents to teens and their parents

This article is a companion piece to my article on how to get people onto recumbents.  This article will focus on how to get recumbents into teenagers hands, which I think will create loyalty that endures generations.

So, Kit, how WOULD you sell recumbent bicycles to kids, given their costs?

Time for a numbered list of points!

First, I’d sell them to rich people.  While most parents aren’t able to spend a thousand (much less two or three thousand) on a bicycle, there is a distinct group who don’t think that $1200 or $1800 is too much for a bike.  The wealthy.  Sell bikes to them.  Since rich kids tend to set trends, their recumbent bikes will put pressure on bike companies to make less expensive offerings for middle- and working-class children.

Second, and with a lot less “ick” factor, is marketing them to overweight kids and their parents.

Of course, some of this is based on my experience, but with children in the United States getting heavier and heavier due to a toxic combination where sweet and fatty foods are aggressively marketed to kids AND a sedentary lifestyle abetted by the Internet and video games, a lot of them might want to ride upright bicycles but find them uncomfortable.  If you’re fourteen and your parents get you an upright street bike in the hopes that you’ll get out more often, only to find it propping up a garage wall because it is too uncomfortable. . . well, that does no one any good, right?

On the other hand, bents are comfy bikes.  They can be marketed at parents as essential and useful exercise equipment – rationalizing the higher price for a bent than upright bike.  Saying to a parent, “Spend $1200 on a bicycle that won’t hurt your kid’s back, neck, and groin, dramatically increasing the odds of them using it and lose weight” is a pretty good pitch.

And, then, a certain number of those overweight kids will get into it.  And, then, because recumbent bikes tend to be faster downhill and on the flats than just about any upright bike, some of those overweight kids will start to pass their peers on mountain and street bikes as they go to school and other errands.

That’s how I’d market to kids, though.  I’d advertise higher-end recumbents to rich people as “cool.”  Then I’d focus on parents of overweight children as an exercise tool that has a higher chance of being used than an upright bicycle.  Once they’re hooked, I bet they’ll stay hooked.

Publishers have always made a killing on the backs of writers

Tara Sparling posted There’s An Indie Publishing Gold Rush, And Guess Who’s Making A Killing?

While the article is, itself, worth reading, I’d like to point out that publishing as we currently know it is the primary form of writer exploitation.

In traditional publication, writers give up much of their rights over their work for a period – often years, sometimes indefinitely. Most writers get damn little support, too. And for giving up the right to price their book, sell it where and how they please, and a bunch of editorial control, the writer gets ten percent of cover price (or about 20% of what the publishing house makes).

Defenders of traditional publication will say that the publisher assumes all the financial risk. Which is untrue. The writer has spent untold hours of their life writing and editing before they get to the point of publication – that’s financial risk, too. But no one talks about the financial risk of a writer because it happens beforehand. But it’s there and its real. The writer has spent their precious hours writing the book with the hopes of financial reward for their labor, after all.  That’s the definition of financial risk.  Writers are taking a chance writing at all.

Absent an argument of financial risk – which is shared equally by the writer and publisher – the rationale for the publisher getting eighty percent is. . . what, exactly?

Let’s flip the script a bit. You’re an engineer. You’ve spent a lot of time, money, and effort to become an engineer. And you spent another year of your life making a cool invention. So you take it to EngineerCo and pitch your invention. What they say is, “It’s a great invention, we like it, but we’re not going to pay you anything for it – or we’ll pay you a pittance, like, five grand for your years of work – and if we sell any, we’ll take eighty percent, and you won’t get paid anything until we recoup the money we forwarded to you.” If you’re an engineer, you’d be insulted and seek elsewhere – or go into business for yourself.  Society would praise you for your entrepreneurial spirit.

But that’s what publishers tell authors. Even when they like their work, they don’t pay a living wage for it (unless you’re one of the lucky few), and they take a shamelessly high percentage of book sales. So if your book sells a few hundred copies, they make their money back, and if it sells a million. . . well, they make about four times as much as the author.

It’s a good scam, really.  And the most significant one, too.  Traditional publishers are robbers.

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