I’m watching “House of Wax”, and as usual I’m rooting for the killers. It must be my age, but the kids in these films annoy the hell out of me. They’re rich, sexy, sex-focused, moronic, insensitive, stereotyped, serial-killer-fodder. I’m just glad the secretive nutters that prey on them keep coming up with new and interesting ways of killing them. It doesn’t help that the psycho in this film looks like a short Ozzy Osbourne, making the chase scenes a little Benny Hill, and I keep expecting to see Scooby Doo sitting in amongst the waxworks hiding from the killer.
Should I be worried about this (not the Benny Hill thing, the rooting for the killers thing)? I think I just see through the Hollywood tricks (direction, camera work, special effects, etc) too easily unless the film draws me in properly. The George Romero nods at the beginning didn’t help with that. Truly original horror films still freak me out.
I’m working from home for a few days this week (I’m supposed to be taking holiday, so this is maybe a compromise) to spend more time with Kim and Jack. This is what they do on rainy days – they make plasticine BMW’s.
Some of you may remember this frameset. It just got rebuilt with a new Campag Mirage groupset and Campag Khamsin wheels for a cheap revamp to become a training bike. It’s a steel 853 frame, and it’s heavy, but so am I. This is about as clean as it will ever be, as I’m about to take it out for a wet 30km intervals set.
Kim pointed out that the bottom of the forks are rusted and bubbling the paint around the brazing holes, so I had better be careful over the cattle grids. Sounds like I need a new pair of carbon forks and a new headset too. Ouch.
Today we went to Bristol Zoo. It was rather good. The lions even woke up and roared for us as we were about to leave.
Ace. Read this article about a guy in a microlight chasing a stolen caravan after he watched it getting nicked from above.
I’ve been picking up the triathlon training over the last 5 or 6 weeks. You may remember that I was getting very bored, so starting running again seemed like a good idea. My various injuries seem to be staying down so far, and running is good. Swimming and cycling have been picking up too, and it feels really good to be able to do what I used to do.
Anyhoo, my daily calorie burn has increased by 400-500 calories a day on average, and my eating habits have changed so I’m taking in fewer calories. Naturally this meant that I dropped 4kg in a few weeks, but now my weight has leveled off, and I even put 0.5kg back on this week. Of course I’m still burning fat, and this weight increase is caused by an increase in muscle mass (muscle weighs more than fat for volume), but it’s still weird.
I’m a little slow to catch up, because I’ve been involved in a number of things recently, but I’ve been reading up on Floyd Landis’ failed drug test. If you haven’t heard, the winner of this year’s Tour de France failed a test for testosterone levels after his stage win that put him back within reach of the yellow jersey.
I understand some of the science behind the test, in that an athlete’s ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone is measured and calculated. Normally epitestosterone production levels shadow testosterone levels, so the ratio is around 1:1. Exogenous testosterone added by injection or patch does not affect the levels of epitestosterone, so the ratio shifts in favour of testosterone. The UCI’s limits for bike racing are at 4:1. Landis’ ratio was at 11:1.
There are a number of things that really don’t add up for me here.
– Firstly, other than methods of quantifying it for drug testing, I don’t think epitestosterone is that well understood. Its functions, sites of synthesis or biosynthetic pathways have not been conclusively determined (as far as I am aware) and natural variations in quantity do occur (J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2003 Oct;87(1):27-34). Those facts would make it a little worrying to me to use within a doping test.
– It is well known that doping tests compare testosterone levels with epitestosterone levels, so why do athletes get caught if testosterone doping is masked by epitestosterone injections? Are professional athletes stupid, or is it just a small mistake at the wrong time?
– Testosterone would not give an overnight improvement in ability. As an anabolic steroid, it is difficult to see how testosterone would account for the difference between Landis’ bad day on stage 16 and his great day on stage 17 (although they way the journalists write they certainly suggest that it would). For testosterone to have any useful affects it would need to be taken for a long period of time, so what do all of Landis’ other testosterone tests show? He has been racing successfully for a number of years, and will have been regularly tested.
– Landis is recorded as having drunk whiskey after his stage 16 disaster. It has been documented that ethanol ingestion affects the testosterone:epitestosterone ratio (J Chromatogr B Biomed Appl. 1996 Dec 6;687(1):109-16; Clin Chem. 1988 Jul;34(7):1462-4.) Evidence for the defense or a safety-line?
I’ll assume him innocent until proven guilty, but whichever way it falls international cycling has disappointed me again.