Friday, August 22, 2008

A Quick Post

Morning weigh-in: 167#, 7.5% BF
Allamuchy Here I Come! I prepped the bike last night, and also loaded my camping & bike repair gear in the car; tonight is food shopping and clothes packing, with a trip to the Velodrome in between -- last race of the season, I'm meeting Anne & some friends to check out the action.

Anyway, that's my story until Monday. See ya...

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Morning weigh-in (Wednesday): 166.5#, 8.5% BF (little bit o' suppression)
Morning weigh-in (Thursday): 167#, 10.5% BF (I worked out, ate right & this is the thanks I get)
The ride in to work Tuesday was a bit slow and congested, not too bad but you could tell there were a lot of idiots on the road. On the way home it was worse -- I kept thinking "Hmmm, full moon? Nope. Weather? Not that either..." as I dealt with all sorts of slowpokes in the left lane, aggressive yahoos in heavy traffic etc, but it all calmed down after crossing the river. Until...
I got through Cemetery Curve no problem, but then traffic came to a dead stop about 200 yards from my exit: there was an accident in the left lane, multiple cars right at the exit, and everyone had to get over. I got through eventually, took back roads to the supermarket, and as I passed US22 again I saw that it was closed, this time in the Westbound direction. I though "wow, crazy day" but thought no more about it.
This is what that accident was all about, and in a way I suppose it was probably the cause of the accident at the 13th Street Exit as well. Two people dead, one in the hospital, all for a vacuum cleaner... (I'm guessing I came through that area about 5 minutes after he did, a few different choices and it could have been me that met him head on.) Classic psychopath, some people are questioning how the appropriateness of the police response, but it doesn't really sound like an irresponsible (on the part of the police) high speed chase: this guy fled the cop who pulled him over, hopped on the highway going the wrong way, and ruined a whole bunch of lives, all in a matter of moments.
Anyway, did a quick towpath lap, then went out to Sette Luna for dinner with Anne. We're meeting again tonight for dinner at Christian's Spring Hotel, but she brought me some string beans and tomatoes from her garden Tuesday, and I had them with a baked ham last night (I have leftover ham). No lie, probably the best tomatoes, and best string beans, I ever ate.
Summer's in deceleration, there's only a month left. The weather has been very nice the past few days, very 911 you might say, hope it stays that way through the weekend since I'll be camping/racing at Allamuchy.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

New Camera: First Photo!

New Camera: First Photo!
Originally uploaded by donXfive.
Surprisingly enough, this is a Linux post: cameras put extra data into the photo file, things like what type of camera took the picture, when (and, if your camera has GPS, where) the photo was taken, etc. Exif metadata is an example of this kind of thing.

My original photos are big files, with a lot more detail than is necessary for web viewing -- and the new camera produces even larger, more detailed photos -- so what I do is shrink them down before trying to upload them over my slow dialup connection. I would do this with a small program I wrote, that used standard file conversion utilities to decompress the JPEG-format file, re-scale the decompressed version and then re-compress it. Voila, a smaller file, but this method basically throws out any metadata; none of it ends up in the new file.

I really didn't worry about the metadata before, but now I want to keep the "photo taken on this date" information (as well as camera info) with the photo, since I will no longer be putting a visible date stamp on my photos. (Flickr shows this info to the right of the photo on the individual photo's display page.)

My solution is to do pretty much what flickr does when it process a photo: I used a small utility program called mogrify, part of the ImageMagick suite, which can do all these conversions while preserving the metadata. I tried it with this shot, and you can click on the photo to follow the link back flickr and see the metadata off to the right. Mission accomplished! My next task is to automate the process with a script and install it in Nautilus.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I Got A New Toy

Morning weigh-in: 167#, 9.5% BF (not great, but less scary than yesterday)
OK, so I'm back on the "better eat better" kick, since I've been on a downward nutritional spiral lately. Clean up my act, cook/eat at home, etc. Luckily, Porters is closed for renovations... Nothing scary, they're not pulling a Which Brew or anything, just a little downtime -- and they'll be smoke-free when they reopen Friday. Bonus!
Eating: Dinner last night was beans; breakfast was scrambled eggs plus two small apples.
Listening: I was jamming to Neko Case this morning, "Deep Red Bells" to be specific, though "jamming" may not be the right term to use here. Forget haunting, that song is just plain spooky.
Gadget Watch: I was listening to music on the computer this morning, since I still don't have an iPod or portable mp3 player. But, I do have a new camera now: I picked up an Olympus Stylus 850 SW last night at Dan's Camera City. Waterproof down to 10 feet, shock resistant (within reason), better and faster and more megapixels than my old camera, thought the one feature I really wanted -- instant image processing, so the picture you get is what you see the instant you press the shutter -- is only available with the DSLR cameras. Meantime, DSLR is only available on those cameras with the separate detachable lenses, like professional cameras and such, and that's definitely not what I wanted. Oh well, my new one does have a "burst mode," which is a good second choice, and I can now make underwater videos if uh, I ever want to...
If the weather holds I'll probably do a ride tonight, then some shopping and bike prep. Tomorrow will be yoga.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Sun Down, Moon Down, Earth Down Too

Morning weigh-in: 170.5#, 11.5% BF (oh noes!)
No real significance to the post's title, I was just reminded somehow of some Transcendentalist phrase from somewhere, and it came out like that. Let's see:
Friday, my first Friday off under the new schedule, was a chore day, though I did manage to meet Anne for lunch downtown -- she was in Easton for a brunch date with a friend. It poured in the afternoon, so I bailed on the towpath ride; dinner was a cheesesteak at Porters.
Saturday was my first true "selfish day" since before the Wilderness 101: I went to early morning yoga, then did an errand or two and got breakfast at the Coffee Exchange, and hit the gym for the first workout with Dawn in like a month. Home, housework, laundry and drycleaning, and then I went to Bethlehem for a haircut. (It was so nice I via via the towpath.)
Saturday night was a party at Michele's place -- she's one of the old Which Brew crew and lives a few blocks from me, just past the halfway point between my place and Porters. Really cool space, and a nice pleasant evening with the crew: me, Kirk, Michele, her friend Cathy & her boyfriend (don't know his name but he sings for the Plucking Grassholes), Fred & Lara, Jim & Alison, Ed, Pete, Art, Scott, the usual suspects... I stopped at Porters to buy some beer -- my contribution to the party since I wouldn't be cooking anything -- and got myself enmeshed in several conversations before I could even get to the party, but I finally arrived about an hour late. Like I said, very pleasant evening of food, drink & conversation but I had to leave early, I had big plans for Sunday.
I got up early yesterday, met Anne in Bethlehem around 8:30 and we carpooled up to Jim Thorpe to go whitewater rafting. What a trip! I'd never done anything like it (maybe some canoeing but that's very different), and it was a total blast. Me, Anne, her friend Bridget and another friend Allison (a different Allison) in one raft, and her friends Meredith and Dave, brother-and-sister owners (with Bridget) of a Bethlehem cafe/bookstore, and their significant others in another, plus maybe 20 other rafts full of people. The whitewater parts were crazy fun if scary -- Bridget got knocked out of the raft once, Anne twice, and we rescued one girl and put her back in the proper boat -- and in between, in the calm water we had splash fights with our baling buckets. Total fun, I'm doing that again, soon. By the way, I slept like a log last night.

Anyway, today I'm blowing off everything to go buy a camera. Tomorrow will probably be the gym, Wednesday a ride, Thursday packing and Friday (or Saturday morning) I'll be off to Allamuchy.

"Your sun's riding low, your moon's riding too,
Good night. little Arlo, good night."