Thursday, January 21, 2021

Aesthetics vs. Function, plus the evil machine

I have a 2015 Chevy Volt. Well, my wife does, anyway. Regardless, we love it; it's a great car, and great for us. It's a plug in hybrid, which we charge overnight in our garage (just 110v). Usually we can go weeks without using any gas, but when we have a long trip, we can just gas it up and go like a "regular" car (and it gets good gas mileage when running that way, too). It's relatively comfortable, reasonably sporty and fun to drive, and both economically and practically (it's a hatchback) nice to boot. There aren't a lot of things I dislike about the car, but here is one of them:

Yep, the steering wheel. It looks really nice, but those looks have a drawback: the bottom "spoke." You see, Chevrolet didn't make a true three spoke wheel here; the bottom spoke is too wide to split one hand's fingers around. They also didn't do a four spoke wheel; there isn't enough room between the two pieces of the bottom spoke to fit your hand (you can sort of cram your two middle fingers in there). And, yes, I get that 10 and 2 (my preference) or 9 and 3, two hands on the wheel, is the best driving dynamic, and this wheel feels great when doing that, but come on: we all drive one handed from time to time. Usually I go for the top center, which is fine, but on longer trips, especially on the interstate, I often like to go for bottom center.

Not possible with this steering wheel design. Aesthetics beat out functionality here; why, oh Chevy, couldn't you have given us a proper three- or four-spoke steering wheel, one that would be functionally better than the one you gave us? Yeah, it looks nice, but I'd have preferred one that I can use the way I want to use my steering wheel. There are places where form over function is fine, even preferred, but the steering wheel of a vehicle is one place where I think function should trump form, as it's an essential control device for the one thing a car is really designed to do.

So, as I sit here eating my low sodium chili (my wife is an AWESOME cook, by the way- perhaps too good in times past, contributing to my larger than ideal size owing to my own lack of self control regarding the food she makes), I must share with you the evil machine. This machine, the SciFit Pro1000 Seated Upper Body workout machine:

If ever a workout machine was going to take over the world, this would be the one. This thing is just EVIL. Oh, it starts out innocently enough, as you go forward on the arm cycling, adding resistance to get your expenditure up. But then you switch to reverse mode. You've already been working out those arms (you know, the things that normally just hang limply at your side or hold a phone while you scroll through Facebook, play Pokemon, or  type out a blog post), but then there's a revolution (and I'm not talking about the circular cycling you're doing with those arms that are  begging to go back to hanging limply at your side), and you find that your arms are not made for this. Typing at a desk is more your style. (Or maybe it's just more my style.) This thing really puts the work in workout! Treadmill? Piece of cake. Seated stepper? Please, it's more work to slice an apple. This guy? Can I just go back to the hospital bed instead?

So goes my cardiac rehab. There's also some warm-up using hand weights (I'm starting easy this week with the 5 pound weights... Did I mention that I never really  exercised my arms much?), then a sequence of treadmill, evil arm killing machine, and seated stepper (although today I swapped that for an exercise bike as one of the two good steppers was down for maintenance and the other was occupied), followed by two or more walking laps around the cardiac rehab facility for cool down.

Short version: if you like your arms, don't have a heart attack. They'll make you work them afterward!

No comments: