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Thoughts on Breaking Bad (a ramble)

Breaking-Bad-HD-Download[1][Don’t read if you haven’t gotten all the way through the series yet; definite spoilers ahead!]It’s all about Walter White. Or is it? I finally finished the series last night, and the thought came to me later on, when discussing it with my wife… what if this was actually all about Jesse? It was Jesse that finally broke free in the end, Jesse who discovered free will, vs Walter’s ability to enforce his will upon others. Up until the very end things were not looking so good for Jesse. How strange that a failing character like Jesse should become the only ray of hope in the finale. But ultimately, it was Walter White’s transformation to and perfection of Heisenberg that steals the show.

Walt’s progression from nice guy school teacher to Heisenberg was steady & unrelenting; fascinating for its ability to grip us tightly on a ride that we know is a one-way trip to hell without detour. Without detour. You kept watching because you think maybe something will happen, Heisenberg will put down his hat for a moment and Walter White will come back. We want to believe that can happen, but we’re never given any real hope that it could. The only thing we hang onto is Walt constantly saying he’s doing this for his family, and it’s got to be intentional that nobody ever seriously questions that. That’s a key point. This ability to get away with such a huge lie, because if he doesn’t take the audience along for that same ride, it’s just another “Leaving Las Vegas” type of story. We have to believe in the possibility of a sincere motive causing someone to do very bad things, because if there isn’t something like that behind those eyes, all you’re left with is a devil without secrets.

The closure in the final episode comes when Walt finally admits to his wife that he did it all for himself, not the family. But it’s not complete; there’s no reconciliation between Walt and his son. Loose ends are not nicely tied up. Just like real life, not everything is nice & tidy.

If you haven’t caught Breaking Bad, it’s available on Netflix, all but the last half-season. It also shows on AMC as reruns. It’s seriously addictive, so don’t be surprised if you end up ” binge-watching” 3 to 5 episodes at a time.

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I love my bike

There’s no way around it; my bike is special. If I’m feeling even halfway healthy, it’s an amazing, transformative machine. I can get up earlier in the morning than I want to, when it’s much colder than I wish, bundled up more than I want, and within a few pedal strokes I am where I want to be. Not just physically, but mentally as well. I had feared that spending so much time off the bike, while I was in Thailand, would make getting back onto my bike painful, something I’d want to avoid because I wasn’t in shape, and that until I got back into shape, it wouldn’t be much fun.

That was so wrong. My first ride, last Thursday, was pretty slow and I don’t think “fun” would have been the adjective used to describe that ride, but it felt good to feel bad, to have muscles remind me they were still there. And Sunday’s ride to the coast? Nothing short of awesome. I was a slightly-slower version of my normal self. The ride just got better and better by the mile. The power meter told a reassuring story; I hadn’t melted down, just cooled off a bit.

And this morning, climbing Kings, I almost felt normal. I’m still a bit new to this power meter thing, but I’ve found it helpful both in pacing myself and assessing my overall strength. I was climbing quite a bit better than Kevin (my son), who missed Sunday’s ride due to a hacking cough. True that I wasn’t going to be able to ride off with Karl & the other Kevin & Keith & Marcus & George (or catch up with Marcus, who’d started up the hill a few minutes earlier). But my pace was steady and I had no issue adapting to Kevin’s somewhat-erratic speed as he struggled a bit on the climb.

Cold? Not so bad. 45 at the start, lowest I saw was 36, up on Skyline. You can easily dress for that. A little bit damp in places from some overcast that had no chance of drying out, but didn’t make a mess of our bikes. A slight breeze at times, but nothing unpleasant.

My bike and I are, or should be, inseparable. That 60cm Trek Madone 6.9 is by far the best bike I’ve ever owned. But what about when I’m in France and need to use my folding BikeFriday? Or when it’s raining so I’m on my old Trek 5900? Guess it’s like the old Stephen Stills song. If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.

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