Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Back In The Saddle, Again

Just got back from a ride at Sals. The wind had died down from yesterday and the temperature had gone up, and conditions were awesome: the ground was dry (or more likely frozen), and the trails seemed effortlessly fast, which was good because I was still hurting from all that sinus/chest stuff. A few trees were down though, probably from yesterday's wind. I moved a few of the smaller ones, and most of the rest were rideable and already "in play" -- you could see chainring marks where people had gone over -- but one tree took down a huge tangle of vines and sticker bushes with it, forcing me on a hike-a-bike detour. Still, even that was kind of fun, like exploring or something.

Reading: David Byrne's Bicycle Diaries, a gift from Anne. I got a bunch of books from my Mom & Dad too, by the way.

Mapping: I got a map of all the roads (and major trails, and elevation data, and rivers, and...) in North America from my Uncle Pat, on a chip that goes into my Garmin. I think it'll be more useful on road rides, but I was having fun with it today -- the level of detail is much greater than what the GPS unit comes with "out of the box." I also got, from my sister-in-law, a wireless pedal cadence sensor that works with the Garmin, but even though it's already on the bike, it's on the road bike and I think I'll wait until better weather to play with it. Thanks Pat and Tara!

Listening: "The Doldrums," by Ariel Pink. Shuffle, whatever...

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Gift Season Wrap-Up

No idea what my weight is, but I have been doing nothing but eating and lying around since I got back from Florida -- hey I'm sick, leave me alone!

Most of my time has been taken up with that GRASS stuff, and I now have a pretty good database of the trails at Sals, as well as aerial photography and topographic maps, and satellite elevation data, from "the government" aka Penn State's repository for all that kind of stuff. Some serious learning curves as I try to make sense of a lot of disparate data -- and also try to dope out the Official Worst Interface Ever -- but I think I have made a fairly good start. (Accuracy can come later as I refine the database.)

A Recap: Christmas Eve Eve was and awesome night at Brew Works. a great time with friends Debbie and Donna, and Debbie's friend Rosemary, and some guys Debbie knew, and a few more peeps at the bar... Needless to say, Christmas Eve morning was a bit rough, but we went out for breakfast at Blue Sky with Doug & Lori, then visited my parents, plus my brother and his family, down in Jackson.

Christmas morning was quiet, as was the day itself. Anne brought her mom down from Jim Thorpe, and she stayed overnight, and we all spent most of the day just hanging out and reading. The next morning we met Donna and her daughter for another Blue Sky breakfast, but I was feeling kind of crappy: sneezing, stuffy nose, and an ominously sore throat... I took it easy for the rest of the day, only going out to see the new Sherlock Holmes movie. (Verdict: Pretty Good.)

Today is another mellow/rest day, and tomorrow I may run and also go for a hike at Sals, and Tuesday we' very likely go for a ride at Jacobsburg. Maybe tomorrow I'll talk loot, but in the meantime, Merry Christmas Some More!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Looking Up, Looking Back And Looking Ahead

We got back from visiting my brother last night, long day of travel, from Cape Coral to Bethlehem via Charlotte NC, but we made it -- Emmi picked us up, and we went directly to Brew Works from the airport, in fact. Awesome visit: I'm still not a big Florida fan, but it was really fun to see my brother and his wife and kids, and it's obvious that they've got roots and are thriving there, despite some tough economic times.

Speaking of which... that area is pretty much Ground Zero for the whole mortgage meltdown scene, foreclosure signs everywhere, many houses empty and even gutted -- my brother showed me the house next door where the people even took the doors and fixtures when they abandoned it.

(Listening: Matthew Sweet's "Divine Intervention")

Anyway, my brother and his wife look good, he's construction and she's real estate, so this is an especially tough hit for them but they are muddling through, and the kids are adorable. I took a ton of pictures, and posted them during our Charlotte layover. You know what to do...

(Reading: Thomas Pynchon's Against the Day)

We are now past the bottom of the year, and moving forward, toward more light every day.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

You Down With BDC?

Morning weigh-in: 180#, 12.5% BF
Ran yesterday morning and hit the gym after work, but... well... Two Brews and Tacos are a tough combination to beat. Today will be yoga, followed by Porters, we shall see who wins...
It's the last day of the work year for me, and close enough to the Solstice for me to start calling it Bottom Dead Center. I just got a good -- a glowing -- year-end review, and my office is packed up for the big move, which is now rescheduled for Monday (but of course I won't be here). Loose ends, some busywork, then I am out of here for the year! On the agenda: a few days in Florida to visit my brother, maybe some skiing when we get back, some last-minute Christmas shopping of course, and (also of course) plenty of cold cold biking.
Democracy In Action: I checked in to FB last night just a bit too late to see this go down, but it looks like some city councilman decided to do some grandstanding (at what he must have thought was little expense to himself), and it backfired in a gratifyingly big way. Ha! Smooth move, Councilman -- some really good backpedaling-weasel quotes in the article too.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Midweek, Year's End

Morning weigh-in: 178#, 12.5% BF
No ride last night: I got home and just felt too tired/drained -- not so much physical as just ....bleh... Spent the evening playing with GRASS, putting a few more trails into my Sals database. I read about some people who use their Garmin's "Saved Rides" feature, without actually following the saved ride, to show trails etc on the map display, so I created a GPX file of the trail system so far, but my Edge doesn't seem to be able to understand multiple-track GPX files. Oh well, that would have been pretty useful... that's on my to-do list though, generate a Garmin-compatible trail map of Sals.
Early bedtime last night, reading in bed by 9:30, and probably lights out within a half hour. Slept like a log, which was good because we got up early and ran this morning: 3.2 miles, 35 minutes, nothing special but I'm happy to note that the leg/ankle pain is a thing of the past. We'll be doing the First Night 5k, and, even if I don't break any speed records I know I can at least get that far.
The Weekend: Friday night was Porters; I caught up with Anne & Judy and a bunch of others. Haven't been there in a while, pretty nice to be back even if we were at the "cold table" by the door. We hit brew Works on the way home, saw Doug & Lori.
Saturday I did a long-ish ride. It was supposed to be 60 miles, but a late start & an early sunset made me cut it down to 45: I went over Blue Mountain at Little Gap, then came back over Smith's Gap, which was a lot harder than my original plan but probably cut off 15 miles, and maybe an hour, from the ride. Steep, icy in the turns, and unpaved on the south side of the mountain, Smiths Gap was actually pretty scary, especially with all the hunter's cars parked along the roadside (and the gunfire in the woods). The scariest part of the ride though, was back in civilization on Grouse Rd, when a few deer ran into the road and almost took me out on a downhill. I was pretty awake after that...
Anne and I joined Debbie and Donna for some window shopping and a Christmas Luminaria walk after dark, then we all crossed over to Southside and had dinner at La Lupita -- once again, we couldn't even get in to General Zapata, and once again our second choice was probably better -- and then crossed back over the river for drinks at Brew Works, where we ran into a whole bunch of other people. All of Main Street was a Christmas Madhouse, by the way: tourists, shoppers and other pedestrians, buses and cars and even horse-and-buggy traffic, and every store was a mob scene. (I posted photos of the luminaria walk.)
Sunday I was supposed to go help map a new park, but blew it off, which was good because the ride was canceled due to freezing rain. We walked over to Blue Sky for breakfast (met Donna, her son and his girlfriend, plus of course the usual crew). The rest of the day was reading, cooking (Anne), playing with the computer (me) and movies: we watched Bad Santa (OK), The Virgin Suicides (really good but disturbing), and finally You Can't Take It With You, a madcap romantic comedy (with social overtones) from back in the day.
Tonight is the gym, followed by Two Brew Taco Night, and tomorrow is the last work day of the year for me.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Red Queen's Race

Morning weigh-in: 178.5#, 11.5% BF
Checking in, recording the weight, staying on top of my daily spew, etc...
I set up some goals at the Garmin website, and I've been under the gun to try to keep up with them: I'm currently on target for my December running goal, but my cycling goals are weekly and, thought they're not overly ambitious (100 miles this week and next, for example), it's a little hard to stay on top of them with the recent weather (and all my other distractions) -- and each week the grind starts over.
Meantime, I went to yoga last night -- I am falling behind there too, and I'm getting really tight again. That abandoned missive I was writing touched on this: a lot of things got me where I am right now (ie with Anne), some of which -- like Which Brew or Christian Springs -- are gone, but that's OK because they were like booster stages or something, they fulfilled their tasks. I think I could even lose bicycling (another thing that brought us together) and keep moving forward, and that's saying something... Yoga is different: it helped me be emotionally capable of being in a relationship, and maybe the changes were permanent, but if my body can return to graceless stiffness, maybe my soul can too. This is something I have to stay on top of.
Yoga last night, and this morning was another run (3.25 miles, 36 minutes), and tonight is the gym, a place I haven't seen in more than two weeks -- spot a pattern?
In other news: My skin has been very dry and itchy lately, which is my excuse to post this.
Winter Project: I think it selected itself, I've been playing with GRASS quite a bit lately, mostly with my maps of Walking Purchase Park.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Vapor Lock

Morning weigh-in: 179.5#, 11.5% BF
Little bit of suppression weight loss in there -- evening bike and morning run yesterday, dehydration issues etc -- but I'll take the win, especially since last night was tacos and Two Brew Tuesday. Those numbers could have been better, but they also could have been worse. Getting there, sort of...
(By the way, one reason for the recent logo-constipation was that I was working on a post, which grew to become an essay, and it kept morphing and growing until it was no longer timely or interesting, and I abandoned it -- suffice to say I have much to be thankful for, and I am.)
Garmin tells me I burned 3900 calories on last night's ride, but that seems way excessive, even considering that I was on the Iguana (aka "Old Paint," but also affectionately known as "the 50-Pounder") and I was riding the hilly roads out by Williams Township -- 25 miles, two hours, average heart rate of 125 bpm, no way I had to crank that kind of wattage. Beautiful night for a ride though, chilly enough on the downhills to slow me down, which is just as well: Old Paint has developed a weird, slow precession or oscillation of the front wheel at higher speeds, pulling left then right then left etc, which undermines its claim to better stability on winter roads, and which makes downhills more "interesting" than fun at speed. (At lower speeds it was fine, even on the occasional icy stretches near streams.) You could see the sky getting ready to snow, and passing the power plant, with its cooling towers going full blast, was a total trip. I used to dream quite a bit about power plants, especially some of the bigger ones out in the Tennessee Valley, all sepia colors and strange, skewed perspectives, like my Easton dreams.
Anyway, I met Anne at Brew Works afterward, and the ladies seemed pretty jazzed up. Tacos, two brews, and I personally was mellow (read: sleepy), and so we went home around 10:30 or so. I slept like the dead last night, and I think tonight's post-yoga activity will be "quiet evening at home."
BTW2: Yesterday was the 29th anniversary of John Lennon's death, but today, the next day, being in school and hearing the announcement over the loudspeaker, was the day I remember. Strange, I know people, adults pushing 30, who were never alive when he was.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Knock Knock

Morning weigh-in: 181#, 11.5% BF
Hi it's me. I've been here all along, but I have just been too super-busy to write. What's up (besides weight)?
Thanksgiving was awesome, and it lasted for the full four days: cooking/eating Thursday (ribs), Friday (the actual Thanksgiving turkey), and Saturday (the turducken); riding Thursday (Lehigh) and Sunday (Allamuchy). Emmi was home, and her college friend visited, and the whole scene was really fun. I posted pictures you-know-where...
I managed to hurt my thumb a few weeks back, so I've been avoiding the gym -- you need your hands to do just about anything there -- as well as any really hard riding, so I've been doing a little more running than usual lately. I had a bit of a breakthrough this past Friday, on a morning run with Anne: I wanted to get in four miles, and she suggested the towpath to protect my ankle. (My problems are not wind/fatigue/fitness, but leg pain.) We ran down to the towpath, out approximately to her usual turnaround, and ran back to pavement before dropping to a walk -- 4.79 miles, no pain, and this morning's 3-miler felt fine too.
The rest of this past weekendwas also really nice, mostly spent with friends Debbie and Donna, and a cameo appearance by Anne's sister too. We started with Friday afternoon at the library (internet was down at the coffee shop), then bounced around southside for First Friday (saw WB'ers Andrea and Kateryna at Tulum), before hitting Brew Works (Doug, Lori, Greg, and Arnie). Saturday, needless to say, was fairly mellow, though I did manage to dope out some useful things in GRASS while watching the snow fall. Sunday was a breakfast walk to Blue Sky, then home for knitting (Anne and the ladies -- I played on the laptop), and a nice late-afternoon snow ride at Sals, doing a little more GPS exploring.
I was going to ride the towpath last night, but the Turner was such a disaster (and so was my laundry pile) that I took the night off to play catch-up, and while I was in maintenance mode, I also got the Iguana cleaned up and functional. Nothing major -- clean/lube, loosen a few stiff links, pump up the tires and it was all good. I'll probably bust it out for a road ride tonight if the rains hold off. Meantime, I tried shifting the Turner with my bad thumb, and we're almost back to normal.
See you in a week?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Morning weigh-in: 177.5#, 12% BF
Not Quite Flahute: Rode the towpath last night, pretty nice even with a bit of drizzle coming down. It was supposed to be a group ride, but the majority chickened out: I met Eastoner Mark at Sand Island; he came from home and was at his turnaround. Since he lives over by 25th Street somewhere, we did a bit of the Palmer bike path as part of my turnaround, a part I probably haven't been on since they built the Route 33 bridge. Total for the night was probably 17 miles. I wracked up my hand at Sals on Friday night, some stupid crash early in the ride and I sprained my thumb; right now I have trouble shifting in front, so last night was ideal -- just put it in the big ring and toodle along.
(We visited my folks on Saturday, and got in a ride at Allaire. Ibuprofen and middle-ring toodling, easy trails, just a bit of exploration -- I was there probably twice in the last two years, and hadn't been there at all in the previous decade; the place has returned to Terra Incognita.)
Stumbling Towards Bethlehem: Anne and I got up early and ran this morning, 3.2 miles in about 35 minutes: no great but not too too bad. Unfortunately that was about a mile longer than my ankle really wanted to go, and it got cranky towards the end. Anne must have noticed:
ANNE: You OK? How's your leg?
ME: Not so great.
ANNE: You want to cut the pace?
ME: No, I have... other issues...
Yep, there was more of my body awake and functioning besides lungs and legs, and I was happy to get home to a bathroom. (This made for a great TMI Facebook post, and now I know the perfect FB troll.) I'm trying to get ready for the New Year's Eve "First Friday" run in Bethlehem, and we'll also be doing the Turkey Trot together this Friday morning. Much holiday running through the Christmas City...
Tonight I get my broken tooth fixed, then if I feel up for it I may join the post-knitting ladies at Brew Works. Taco Night, you know.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Every Move We Make Is The New Tradition

Morning weigh-in: 178.5#, 12.5% BF
So it looks like weekly blogging, or at least very very sporadic "daily" blogging, and blogtime spent playing catch-up, has become the norm around here...
Pretty good weekend: saw my folks Sunday afternoon when they came to visit -- we walked around Monocacy Park, and went to Allentown Brew Works for dinner. Sunday morning was a beautiful road ride with Anne Julie: out via River and Buttermilk Roads, back via Raubsville and Applebutter roads, maybe 20 miles in all. Saturday morning is a blur, so I'm guessing I spent most of it in front of the computer while Anne volunteered to help Donna's running group... Hmmm, what else? Well there's food:
Friday: the new (to us) General Zapata in South Bethlehem. (Very good, a lot like the old Zapata's).
Saturday: Brunch at Blue Sky, burger at Ripper's (reminded me of why we usually don't go there -- got smoke?), music and Founders Breakfast Stout at Starfish.
Sunday you already know.
Meantime, Anne and I went out for ride last night, but first stopped at Cutters to catch their Monday Night Movie showing, "Days of Dirt" or such like. Total bike porn, ramps and jumps and downhilling, and an adrenaline-fueled soundtrack... really fun actually, and neat to see it with Anne. We got amped up, then hit the towpath to continue at a more sedate pace -- I have to say, the towpath was nasty last night, maybe the canal, maybe the sewage plant but it really stank in some places -- and finally we stopped in to see some friends at Brew Works. Tonight is the gym, and probably tacos at Brew Works.
Hooked: Judy recommended some Netflix picks for Anne, so she's been watching the first season of Hamish Macbeth. She watches occasionally while knitting, and I'm sitting there at the laptop, catching the action now and then, and all of a sudden I too have become totally engrossed. Good show actually, even if I can't always understand what they're saying.

Friday, November 13, 2009


Morning weigh-in (Tuesday): 180#, 12% BF
Morning weigh-in (Wednesday): 180.5#, 13% BF
Morning weigh-in: (Friday): 179.5#, 13% BF

Welcome to Friday! It's been a pretty exciting week: Anne's birthday was Wednesday, and Anne's niece Lori had her baby yesterday. (A boy, Jonah Gray [last name redacted]. I can probably get the baby-stats, but don't remember them now -- maybe 7 pounds 2 oz?)Mother and son are said to be doing fine, though husband Chris must keep his distance until his flu passes.
Meantime, Emmi took her "comps" on Wednesday, and passed with flying colors (natch). I'm not totally sure where this fits in her PhD program, but my understanding is that it was an oral exam, and that it's a serious milestone, a make-or-break test of the candidate's fitness to continue in the program. In other words, this was a big deal, and she owned it. Congrats Emmi!
Ran with Anne Tuesday morning before work, then hit the gym between work and Taco Night. Wednesday we went to the pub at The Farmhouse -- never been there, verdict: meh -- for Anne's birthday, then met Deb & Donna at The Bookstore. Saw some other peeps there as well, in fact I'd say that I had at least a passing acquaintance with almost everyone in the place... It's a bit pricey (and a bit lacking in pub fare) to be a substitute for Porters or Which Brew, but seeing all those people there was a neat experience. Strangely enough, we knew a few people in the Farmhouse pub too, and both places are basement bars. All my friends have gone underground...
Yesterday was a bit rough, so after the gym I just went home and we both crashed early. Not sure what's happening tonight, but if the weather holds -- it's not expected to -- I'll be hitting the towpath.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Monday Morning

Morning weigh-in: 180.5#, 14% BF (uh-oh)
Reading: I picked up Anne's copy of James Howard Kunstler's The Geography of Nowhere the other day, and I'm now about a third of the way through. Pretty good so far, but -- already knowing Kunstler's views, and sharing at least some of them -- I haven't found too many surprises, or information I didn't already know. The best part so far was the introduction, where he gives a bit of his own history as background for where his views came from. His experiences growing up with city, suburb and small town resonated with me, and probably do so with many people of a certain age, whose lives and living spaces followed similar paths, but there was also a mysterious and Pynchonesque element, a childhood playing in the abandoned estates at the edge of suburbia... I wonder if he ever read "The Secret Integration?"
Moving: Hit the gym Thursday night, major leg workout. Ran Friday morning with Anne on the towpath, maybe 2.6 miles: I only ran part way out, then walked a bit while she went to her turnaround point, and joined her for the return leg -- the ankle still gets cranky after about 2 miles of running. Saturday night was the Cutters ride at Sals, and Sunday we took a road ride to the Emmaus Bakery, got donuts and ate them at South Mountain Cycles. My legs are whooped today. Tonight is "active rest" with yoga.
Drinking: There's a new bar in Bethlehem called "The Bookstore." It's sort of a theme bar, set up as a speakeasy: it's in a basement, with a side alley entrance that opens into a book store; a "secret door" leads into the bar itself. It's been the buzz place since it opened a few weeks ago, and we couldn't even get in on Friday night. Anne and I tried again on Saturday, and the place was awesome: 1920's decor and atmosphere, live period music, interesting mixed drinks and a huge selection of Belgian beers. Recommendo...
Viewing: After our Sunday ride we hooked up with Larry & Kelly-Jo, plus a few others from the old Which Brew crowd, and saw The Men Who Stare at Goats. Enjoyable afternoon, very funny movie.
Computing: I joined/downloaded Skype on Saturday, but have no one else to call except Anne in the other room. I'm at loose ends: now that the MTO thing is finished I need a new "toy project." Maybe I'll look at R again, or maybe some more map/GIS stuff.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Corvus Redux

Morning weigh-in: 178#, 13% BF

Listening: Thelonius Monk, "Locomotive"

I think it was something I ate yesterday, like nut-contaminated food or something, but I really started hurting yesterday afternoon, like all tired & feverish. I felt OK enough to hit the gym, then got dinner at Brew Works as planned, but I felt totally wiped when we got home... I woke up this morning feeling like I never got any rest, still feverish and headachey so I stayed home.

Spent most of the day lounging about, did some laundry after I finally got up, finalized the error checking on the MTO program, and, late in the afternoon, I was finally feeling better so I went down to Eskandalo for a haircut.

I stopped in at Tulum on the way back, got a burrito & talked with old friends Andrea and Kateryna, who apparently keep up with the Which Brew crowd a little better than I do -- I got an earful of gossip, nothing too juicy but a lot of who's where and doing what. Kind of nice, then it was time to move along and now I'm home.

Anne's out at a meeting, and she sometimes goes out to BW for a social hour afterward; I may try to catch up but I can feel I'm fading again.

Now Playing: Pere Ubu, "Wheelhouse"

An Experiment: I just wanted to see what this might look like, you'll have to bear with me...

Taking a look at a sample input file:

don@dell-desktop:~/programs/MTO/examples$ cat
p1 470 415
p2 1598 457
p3 94 390
p4 94 398
p5 94 398
p6 94 471
p7 94 462
p8 94 432
p9 94 440
p10 94 440
p11 94 55
p12 94 45

Running the MTO program, in a fairly simple way, on the sample data:

don@dell-desktop:~/programs/MTO/examples$ mto -osc fe.matl
T-1 188 5 39 5 0 2.250 0.180 SA-210-A1
T-2 1786 18 38 6 0 2.250 0.180 SA-210-A1
T-3 282 5 36 9 0 2.250 0.180 SA-210-A1
T-4 282 5 34 9 0 2.250 0.180 SA-210-A1
T-5 282 5 33 3 0 2.250 0.180 SA-210-A1
TUBE: T-1 ( 94 REQD) CUT AS: 1 @ 39'-3" (FOR MK-p6)
TUBE: T-1 ( 94 REQD) CUT AS: 1 @ 34'-7" (FOR MK-p1), 1 @ 4'-7" (FOR MK-p11)
TUBE: T-2 ( 94 REQD) CUT AS: 1 @ 38'-6" (FOR MK-p7)
TUBE: T-2 ( 94 REQD) CUT AS: 1 @ 34'-7" (FOR MK-p1), 1 @ 3'-9" (FOR MK-p12)
TUBE: T-2 (1598 REQD) CUT AS: 1 @ 38'-1" (FOR MK-p2)
TUBE: T-3 ( 94 REQD) CUT AS: 1 @ 36'-8" (FOR MK-p9)
TUBE: T-3 ( 94 REQD) CUT AS: 1 @ 36'-8" (FOR MK-p10)
TUBE: T-3 ( 94 REQD) CUT AS: 1 @ 36'-0" (FOR MK-p8)
TUBE: T-4 ( 282 REQD) CUT AS: 1 @ 34'-7" (FOR MK-p1)
TUBE: T-5 ( 94 REQD) CUT AS: 1 @ 33'-2" (FOR MK-p4)
TUBE: T-5 ( 94 REQD) CUT AS: 1 @ 33'-2" (FOR MK-p5)
TUBE: T-5 ( 94 REQD) CUT AS: 1 @ 32'-6" (FOR MK-p3)

What the program tells you if you ask for help:

don@dell-desktop:~/programs/MTO/examples$ mto -h
MTO 1.0

This program reads cut tube lengths, returns tube order required.

Usage: MTO [OPTIONS]... [FILES]...

-h, --help Print help and exit
-V, --version Print version and exit
-v, --verbose Prints a bunch of extra stuff to standard output.
-o, --order Tube order will be sent to standard output
-s, --sequence Tube cutting sequence will be sent to standard output
-f, --outfile=STRING if an output file is specified, tube order and
sequence will be writen there
-t, --tubelength=FLOAT maximum shipping length for tubes (default=`473')
-n, --startnum=INT starting number for tube mark numbers (default=`1')
-d, --od=FLOAT tube outer diameter (default=`2.5')
-w, --minwall=FLOAT tube min wall thickness (default=`0.200')
-m, --matl=STRING tube material spec (default=`SA-210-A1')
-c, --config=STRING optional config file, it overrides defaults but
command line trumps

It's a start...

Anyway, the crow thing: I noticed it already starting the other day, but walking home tonight across the Hill-to-Hill Bridge, I saw that the crows were back again with a vengeance, thousands of them all along the river, in the trees on either bank. Pretty cool.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Cowboy Sky

Morning weigh-in: 177#, 15% BF
Went out last night for a towpath ride, but first I went over to Southside, and stopped in at Cutters Bike Shop for their Monday night movie: they just got New World Disorder 10 in the shop, and they had a special after-hours showing. BYOB, and they had pizza and some other goodies (owner Lisa whipped up some baked goods & coffee) and there was a good crowd in the place enjoying the show. The movie itself was classic NWD: cool riding in awesome locales, and the jumps/stunts were neat though they did get repetitive after an hour of watching...  I didn't stay to the end, but skipped out and went back across the river to continue my ride.
(I've been meaning to check out the new Greenway Project over in Southside, and last night I used it to get over to Cutters from New Street, basically getting on the trail in front of the Wildflower Cafe. It's just an old RR right-of-way that they plan to "improve" with pavement, park benches etc -- this improvement has already happened in front of the new casino --  but I rode the unimproved portion last night, and for mountain bikes at least it's a fully functional bike path.)
Meanwhile, back on the towpath... another beautiful night. The sky cleared up by the time I reached my turnaround point (the old Glendon Bridge), but earlier it was a dramatic mix of broken clouds and moonlight, almost like the night backdrop as the cowpokes drink coffee around the fire in some old movie... Plenty of deer out again last night, and another blue heron, and a bunch of glowing eyes skulking in the woods that I took to be feral cats hanging near the old garbage dump. I got home around 9:30, and was in bed within an hour...
We got up extra early this morning and went for a run, 2.36 miles in maybe 25 minutes, not too bad but nothing crazy, and then I went inside to start the coffee and start my day, and Anne went on to finish her run. Tonight is the gym (for me) then I'm meeting Anne and "the gals" at Brew Works.

Monday, November 02, 2009

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

Whew, that was quite the weekend! I think Halloween is an even bigger deal for me than Christmas -- and then, when it does land on a weekend...
Our Halloween party -- and Bethlehem's "Trick Or Treat" night -- was Friday night, and Saturday night was the CAT Halloween Costume Bike Ride, which ended at the Wildflower Cafe for a benefit concert (and which was in turn followed by a visit to Brew Works) -- both nights were total blow-outs: Saturday/Sunday mornings were not early-to-rise events. I took lots of pictures, and managed to get all of them posted; I am now fully up-to-date on my photos so go click and enjoy!
Yesterday afternoon we visited my friend Vito, my first visit since his wife passed away last March. Needless to say he's still devastated, but he was looking hale and healthy at least, and he said he's been keeping busy which is good (and which is what I expected to hear). He made a pizza and we did some catching up, work-related gossip and such, and we took off about 6:00.
When we got home we did a moonlight ride down the towpath, down to the Chain Dam and back. A bit chilly but very pleasant and, with the full moon reflecting on the water, we even rode for a bit with our lights out. (Lotsa critters out too: deer, and some small predators, and a blue heron flying low across the water -- we turned our lights back on so we wouldn't bump into any other trail users.) It was still fairly early when we got home, but we totally crashed, and slept like the dead.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Morning weigh-in: 179#, 12.5% BF
No yoga last night, and no going out either: we spent most of the evening cleaning (not so bad really, mostly just organizing), and had leftover pot roast, with potatoes and biscuits, for dinner.
Idiot vs Simple Task #1: The Turner's brake pads have needed changing for about a month, but I just haven't been able to find the time or inclination to do it. Until... Last night, toward the end of the evening, I decided to put some laundry on, and while that was cooking I tackled the rear brakes -- what a battle! The old ones -- and they were basically down to the bare metal -- came out easily enough, but before the new ones went in I had to bleed the hydraulic lines a little (I guess brake fluid expands over time), and that meant I had to clean out the bleeder valve, which is essentially a hollow screw, that had become filled with dirt. So with the job about 95% complete, I went off on a wild goose chase, spending about an hour poring over this one tiny screw like a jeweler, picking out grit with my smallest Allen wrench and some brush bristles until it finally came clean. Ten minutes later the job was done -- and it wasn't even midnight yet!
Idiot vs Simple Task #2: I thought that my toy program was done, except maybe for some minor tweaking, and last night I asked Anne if she would be my test subject and try it out, to see if it made sense. I was about to surrender my laptop over to her when I tried "just one more" test case... It (the recent error-checking stuff I added) didn't work, the program just swallowed the bad data I put in, and kept right on going -- D'oh! I Googled [my error-checking method] and found a bunch of things saying "never ever do this! instead do [some other, more complicated thing]." Oh well, that gives me something to do, next rainy weekend.
I heard a train whistle in the distance last night as I was drifting off to sleep, and it got me thinking about Coca Cola Mountain, that time Joe G and I walked up and onto the RR bridge. (It was a winter night maybe 12 years ago, and we were out on foot in a snowstorm, probably on our way to see some band downtown.) We walked out about halfway across the bridge and took in the scene: peaceful and beautiful, almost Victorian with the snowy hills and rivers, and the towns looking like Yuletide model RR sets, and the haunting train whistle blowing across the valley...
Well, train. It was nowhere in sight, probably miles away but we could hear the whistle, so we went back across, climbed up onto the mountain, and were out of the way just in time to throw snowballs at the passing train.
Idiot vs Simple Task #3: We use homemade laundry soap, and we ran out while Anne was out of town last weekend, so I tried making a new batch myself. Looking at the ingredients (lye soap, borax, etc), I kept getting the phrase "sturdy pioneer stock" stuck in my head, but the stuff was actually very easy to make. I put the new batch down in the laundry area of the basement, and forgot about it. I just got a "My Hero!" email from Anne after she went to do laundry and found it -- I win!
Tonight is the gym, then more cleaning-type program activities.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Bachelor Weekend

Morning Weigh-in: 177.5#, 14% BF
OCD Alert: I have to figure out a new morning routine. Normally I get up and make coffee, then I weigh myself just before showering, but lately I've been eating breakfast while the water boils and the coffee brews, so there's no chance for an "official" (ie pre-breakfast) morning weigh-in on the bathroom scale, unless I hit the scale before heading downstairs. I guess that'll work, it worked this morning anyway.
On My Own: Anne was out of town at the knitting convention, so I was basically on my own for a rainy weekend. Ran a few errands, did a few chores, hung at Wired, and generally managed to occupy myself while avoiding injury, illness or burning the house down... Some highlights: the Haunted Walking Tour of Easton on Friday, Mike & Tracy's going-away party (plus a few events in South Bethlehem) on Saturday, and trailwork at Trexler Game Preserve on Sunday. I have pictures for all of these, so stay tuned.
Fiat Lux: I picked up my bike lights on Saturday, and gave them a try last night on the towpath. Just a milk run, maybe six miles out & then back -- I was running late after doing some other bike repairs, plus laundry and yadda yadda, supposed to meet Anne at 9:00 or so -- whoops! Better to cut it short, especially since the batteries might need a few charge-discharge cycles before they're back up to spec. In terms of performance, they worked beautifully; it was a real pleasure riding with that kind of candlepower again.
Tonight is the gym, then most likely "Two Brews And Tacos Night" at Brew Works. Anne was in Connecticut at the convention, and Debbie was vacationing in Puerto Rico, and two bartenders got engaged over the weekend --  the team has a lot of catching up to do. (I made a pot roast on Sunday, but we've been eating it for two days now with no end in sight; it's time for a short break.)

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Morning weigh-in: 178#, 12.5% BF
One week later and I'm still messing with that program... I added those command-line options, and have been tweaking/adding functionality ever since. Two more additions (an optional output file in addition to standard output, and an optional configuration file), and I think it'll be a finished product. No biggie, just gotta find the time...
As it happens, Anne will be out of town this weekend, so I'll be sort of at loose ends anyway. I do have a few things on the agenda -- chores/errands, rides, and one going-away party for some friends moving to Vermont -- but the weather might be a bit unfriendly, and my plans for a parental visit are on hold, and so there might be no better way to spend at least one rainy day than with my feet propped up (or my butt planted at some coffee shop), messing with the laptop.
Speaking of coffee shops... I was in downtown Easton last Saturday morning; my plan was to hit the Coffee Exchange for breakfast and laptoppery, between an early-morning yoga class and the gym. After an awesome yoga class (so awesome I decided to blow off the gym) I walked over, in the rain, to the Coffee Exchange, only to find the place out of business. D'oh! I guess you really can't go home again, so instead I went around the block to the Quadrant. Nice brunch sitting by the open fireplace, and I bumped into Judy there as well, and chatted rather than browsed through lunch.
Anyway, Tuesday night was a short ride on the towpath with Deb and Donna, maybe 12 miles and finishing just after dark, then we met up with Anne, and Doug & Lori, for dinner afterwards at Brew Works; last night was a slightly longer towpath ride, followed by chili at home. Tonight is the gym, then Porters.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blessed Are The Lazy

Well that was a lot easier than I would have thought -- I used gengetopt to do all the real work, and now I have options added to the MTO program. I should have realized, programmers pretty much hate tedious grunt work (like, say, MTO's), so whenever there's a tedious programming task, you can be sure there's some tool to automate or simplify it...
That was early in the evening, and also later in the evening; in between was dinner with Anne's friend Mike and his new GF. We were going to eat at Mama Nina's on Main Street, but it was so crowded we decided to go around the block to the Apollo instead -- a very wise decision. Dinner was awesome (me: sashimi appetizer, brisket sandwich, and a martini), and Mike's friend was really nice. She had a lot in common with Anne, and even knew some of her old friends.
Home by 10:00 or so, a little more computer fiddling, and an early bedtime. Tonight is the gym, to be followed by an evening at Porter's. It's been a while.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Whatever Happened To The Armored Changeling?

Morning weigh-in: 178#, 13% BF
Où sont les enfants de fée blindés d'antan? No ride last night. I was going to meet a friend before the VMB meeting and get in a quick Sals ride, but he couldn't make it and I just blew it off. Once upon a time I would have gone riding and blown off the meeting, or maybe rode to the meeting (I walked), and I would have rode Monday night and not been tired, and not cared about rain or cold...
Oh well, good meeting, over at Cutters, the new bike shop in south Bethlehem. Lotsa good stuff starting to happen, in terms of trails and access, lots of events -- rides, parties, trailwork days -- coming up too. I picked up Anne's new brakes from Bob afterward, then met Anne and the Naughty Knitting team for tacos at Brew Works. Tonight we're going out to dinner -- I'm not sure where, but I can guess -- with Mike and his new GF.
Linux Voyager, A C Change: I decided to straighten up and fly right, at least with respect to that MTO program I wrote... My program as written is basically a filter, gobbling up the standard keyboard input (which had better be in the correct format, since there's absolutely no error checking), doing its thing, and then spitting out the results (in their own, different, arcane format) onto the standard output. No options, no error checking, something meant to be used by me and no one else. I took care of a lot of that stuff with shell wrappers, plus redirection, xclip and spreadsheets for my I/O.
What I think I'll do is rewrite the input to at least be able to handle bad data more gracefully (and also accept input files on the command line), then add command-line options to make some of the (currently) more hard-wired parameters more flexible, and finally figure out what the useful output should look like. With any luck, by the time I get around to finishing this I'll think of some more stuff to add, and I'll never finish...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Three Days

Morning weigh-in: 178#, 12.5% BF
One of the nicest weekends (not counting those vacations) in quite a while:
On Friday we did some reorganizing and consolidated bookcases -- a big deal in a bookish house like ours -- then we went out for a ride at Jordan: Anne and me, with Donna (first time on real trails), and Greg & his daughter Julie.
Anne and I went out for dinner later, and met up with Donna and Greg again, as well as E-Rock's roving birthday party (Doug & Lori, Eric, and Mike & Pam) -- which was good, because before that it was just the two of us, alone at a giant table in a very busy restaurant. Debby and Joe came in a little later from some concert, and had to sit at a nearby "overflow table;" we moved over there when the birthday party absconded to the Steelgaarden, but that's about the time I ran out of steam and we called it a night.
Saturday I woke up on time to do the things I wanted (basically, early morning yoga followed by a visit to the gym), but I felt so worn out that when I found I'd washed all my gym shorts at the same time, and they were all still wet, I heaved a sigh of relief and went back to bed... It was a fairly nice day, but after breakfast I spent most of it parked in front of the computer, doing pretty much nothing unless you count Facebook and coffee. (Anne spent the afternoon making hot sauce from her bumper crop of habaneros.) We went for a really nice walk along the canal later in the afternoon. the colors were just starting to change down there, and the afternoon light was beautiful. Dinner was at home: ribeye steaks, spelt with caramelized onions, and carrots cooked with honey and ginger.
We decided to break from our usual Saturday night routine, so we walked down to the Old Brewery Tavern (where, strangely enough, we both got proofed) to check out the scene there: cigarette smoke, and lots of TVs playing college football  -- I can't even be in a room with a TV or I'll end up staring at it -- but the music was nice and they had a few decent beers. We hung out for a while then went to the Starfish (packed), and met up with Doug & Lori and a whole bunch of other VMB members. No smoke, even better beers and (live) music, and only one TV (showing Goldmember) that I eventually just faced away from. An awesome night and another late one, but I felt a lot better than the evening before. (On the way home some angry-looking woman passed us walking the opposite direction, then later seemed to be following us. We were able to laugh about it in the morning, but at the time it was kind of creepy: we took evasive action once we noticed, and took a less direct route home.)
Sunday was beautiful, so after another awesome breakfast we did a road ride north of town. Two of them: Anne had volunteered to lead a road ride later in the day, as part of the CAT Open House, and so we did that too, and were joined by a bunch of other people, including Donna and Debby. Both rides were about 25 miles long; the group ride was at a mellower pace and took longer, but our total "outdoor time" was about five hours. After that we met Debby and Donna for dinner at Brew Works.
Tonight and tomorrow are MTB nights: towpath tonight, Sals tomorrow before the VMB meeting.


Thursday, October 08, 2009


Morning weigh-in: 177.5#, 12.5% BF
Not much to say, same old same old, I just dropped in to post the weigh-in. I have a few new pictures up though, so you can go check them out if you want. Yoga last night, gym tonight, rain tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Blessed Are The Tiresome, Etc

Morning weigh-in: 177.5#, 13.5% BF
Well, I guess the good news is that I'm back to blogging on a fairly regular basis, it's just too bad I've already run out of things to say...
Hit the gym last night, then went to the apartment and removed the last of the books and bookcases (the ones in the spare room, my nemesis); dinner was at Brew Works: three tacos for $3 and two brews for Tuesday. Tonight I'm stopping by the apartment before yoga, just to spend a few minutes organizing. My next task is the kitchen, so I'll probably just throw out old food, and maybe toss a few "big-ticket" items, like the crock pot or the microwave, into the car -- the main goal tonight will be just to keep moving, maybe it's busy work but I need to spend time in that space while the plan for the rest of my stuff gestates.
Linux Voyager Needs A Destination: I'm starting to wind down my MTO project, which was fun and interesting, and even useful in a way... but now I am on the lookout for my next project, maybe more GRASS, or matrix population models again, maybe just another simple program ( a toy one this time), or learning R and statistics, or any one of a dozen things I never got around to... Winter's coming, but I'm not sure how much "indoor time" I'll have, since I also plan to get in quite a bit of skiiing: this winter is expected to be a snowy one, and I hardly went at all last year.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Moving In The Right Direction

Morning weigh-in: 176.5#, 14% BF
More careful eating, a little yoga, the weight moves on its way...
I've been moving my books and bookcases over to Anne's the past few days; tonight I should get the last of the ones in the bookcases (as well as the last bookcases themselves) done, at which point I have to start on the kitchen. I have a lot of kitchen things that are pretty nice but they're duplicates of what Anne already has, so we're going to have to consolidate. My dishes are especially a tough choice: I have a full set, like "dinner for twenty," and they used to belong to my Great Aunt so I'm loathe to just sell or give them away... but maybe some young family member could use a set of dishes and silverware -- not fancy, daily use type stuff.
Anyway, tonight I do a few errands, then hit the gym before going to the apartment. Dinner will probably be tacos with the post-knitting ladies at Brew Works -- we're back in the hometown groove, and it is Two Brew Tuesday.
Tomorrow is more yoga and more apartment, Thursday is gym/apartment, and I have off Friday. The flow: it goes, and I go with it.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Some Loose Ends

Morning weigh-in: 179.5#, 12% BF
I guess that figure tells more about our vacation than any photo or 1000 words could... But, I took a bunch of pictures, from both of our rides at Tsali, the drive through Great Smoky Mountains National Park (and also Pigeon Forge), and of our "urban exploration day" in Knoxville, which included coffee shops, a lunchtime concert, and a visit to the University of Tennessee to see Emmi's research. I'll post them Stay tuned!
I took no photos, but we (Anne and I, Scott, Joe & Sally, and Donna) took Debby out to the Aladdin for her birthday. Lotsa great Middle Eastern food, plus a belly dancer, who was a big hit with the birthday party of 10-year-old girls -- watching them watch her was at least as entertaining as the dancer herself. She took out veils and got the kids to try dancing, and eventually Debby -- who actually knows how to belly dance -- and Scott joined the fun, and finally two drunk guys with napkins and bread baskets on their heads. (Actual Middle Eastern customers looked less than fully amused at these last two. If looks could kill...)
Yesterday -- after the traditional Sunday Blue Sky Cafe Breakfast --  was the Brian Hahl Take A Kid Mountain Biking Day over at Jordan, and I think it was a smashing success: there were probably 40 kids, ranging in age from 5 through their early teens, taking the skills test (a kind of obstacle course), participating in various goofy contests, and of course hitting the trails for group rides. Anne and I rode with my friend Ken and his 8 y.o. son Jake; we rode for about an hour ride, going maybe four miles or so -- it was so cool to watch him gain confidence and have fun as the ride progressed.
We stopped in at Lois and Cliff's later, but their dog was giving me some allergy problems so we took off a bit early. Home, bed, wake up, and now I am back at work. Sigh...

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Knoxville Gothic

Boy, this place is weird... We are staying at the Maplehurst Inn, which is probably the roughest place I've ever stayed without actually using a tent. They look like they might have been struggling, then recently changed hands and are now in the middle of renovations -- our room is great, but we peeked into other rooms that look completely derelict, and there seem to be several handyman types hanging about, mostly smoking and BS'ing out back. The girl who acted as receptionist (there's no lobby, natch, just a sort of hallway where she was sitting in a chair), was young and pretty, and dressed in an upscale young-and-pretty-girl way, but when she asked us what we wanted for breakfast, you could tell she did not know what "rye toast" was.

The main front door was unlocked, and we were waiting for Emmi to stop by so it was no surprise when we heard a knock on our room's door, but it was a street person, attempting to impersonate a college student, giving a spiel and asking questions from some sort of script, like a cross between a panhandler and a telemarketer. Mind you, this is in the hallway of the B&B...

Emmi came by just then and rescued us, and we hit a place called Tomato Head for dinner, very nice. Some brews and hanging out, then we went back to our base camp, where there were all sorts of weird noises, music etc like there may have been a party on the roof or something (I even heard a puppy barking), but eventually the noise died down and we fell asleep -- to be awakened this morning by the most disgusting, hacking smoker's cough, probably the cook making breakfast.

By the way, we are not alone in our views of this place, check out these reviews -- and the strangest part is that the Maplehurst is rated second best B&B in Knoxville! In terms of location, the place can't be beat, and it looks like the renovations (which seem to have started this year) are creating a really nice space -- and their wi-fi is the fastest connection, and the only encrypted one, we've seen in our travels; the infrastructure is beautiful if currently decrepit, it's just that the place really needs a lot of work.

"The infrastructure is beautiful if currently decrepit." That seems to sum up the crunchier parts of town, which is what we've explored so far. (We only got as far as the first coffee shop -- Old City Java -- but still.) Lots of ancient space reconfigured but not fully renovated, ancient brickwork in need of re-pointing, facades in need of repainting, woodwork on the verge of decay, iron railing on balconies over the street...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Southern Tour So Far

Whelp, here we are at the Folkstone Inn, just outside Bryson City NC. In a few minutes we're goin in for breakfast, and then we're off to ride the Tsali trail system.

The ride here was long spectacularly beautiful -- we were thinking of taking the uber-scenic Blue Ridge Parkway from Afton, our first stop, but that would have been too long, and the views from I-81 (and I-40) were good enough... Once we got off the interstates, things got way more interesting: windy roads, tacky roadside attractions -- we were on the southern side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and it looked like the road was a poor man's Gaitlinburg, with a Cherokee Reservation casino smack in the middle of it all. Finally, following the Google Maps directions, we ended up some tiny dirt road -- literally no room for two cars to pass, and cliffs on the side -- through the park and out the back of Bryson City. Our B&B is about a half mile, on good roads, from the center of town, but well, Google Maps... Bit we're here.

Upt until yesterday's travel day, we were literally in Waltons country, maybe 20 miles from where the real writer (the fictional John-Boy Walton grew up). The most amazing scenery, beautiful farmland, and our place (the Afton Mountain Bed and Breakfast) was amazing.

We got there late in the afternoon/evening, in the fog, and all we had time for was dinner (at one of the two brewpubs within a few miles of the place); Sunday we did our road ride, Afton Mountain Road past the Cookie Lady's house -- not home? hiding from us? -- and then down the Blue Ridge Parkway and back on regular roads. We were going to add some more to the ride, but the roads I wanted, when we got far enough away from the main roads, turned to dirt so we turned around. Still, we got in a good 40 miles. Dinner that night was at the other brewpub. (Wine people would have even more luck: there are maybe four vinyards within two miles of the Afton Mtn B&B.)

Anyway, next order of business is to find my camera. It's in the car but I have taken no pictures yet, but today's the day...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ladies' Night

I hit the gym last night (which I positively breezed through), then I went home and worked on the computer for a while, more of that MTO stuff. Since I'd lost my phone -- it was in the laundry, right uh, where I left it -- I had no idea of the timing or finer details, but the overall plan was to hit Brew Works to meet the gang after knitting.
So... I head over to Brew Works, and walk in to find Anne, Emmi, Deb, Donna and Lori all sitting together at a table -- talk about being the onion in the petunia patch! They'd only arrived a few minutes before, and were there long enough to get a drink order but they still hadn't ordered food, so I guess I wasn't too late. Lotsa BS and catching up, and much merriment and gossip, a really fun night. (I'm not even going to attempt to repeat any of the conversation, but it was shoot-beer-out-your-nose-laughing funny.) Dinner was tacos...
Tonight is yoga, and it'll probably be a night in for me after that; tomorrow is the gym again, and we're thinking of maybe visiting Porter's afterward.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Humpyard Dreams

The railroad slang for it is a "hump yard" (huh huh, huh huh), the place where they couple and decouple trains: there's a hill (aka "the hump") that one track goes over, and the RR rolls the cars up one side, then down the other side to the waiting trains. There's a hump yard along the Lehigh just west of town, and you can hear the booming from the woods at Sals, as the boxcars crash into each other.
Some nights when it's really quiet and still, you can hear trains moving across the valley, the train whistles etc, and it's a lonesome but reassuring sound, part of falling asleep -- like rain and faraway thunder when you're cozy in bed. Last night I woke up in the middle of the night, and it was a night like that, really quiet out except for the crickets, but then in the distance, just at the limit of hearing, I heard the crash of boxcars in the hump yard. Coming at sporadic intervals like a dripping faucet, it brought me fully awake, and then drove me nuts as I kept waiting for each next shoe to drop.
Got up this morning, and I'm still not sure I didn't just dream it...
In other news, I just got a flu shot. Five bucks in the cafeteria, and hopefully it won't give me the flu. Tonight is the gym, followed by Two-Brew Tuesday, aka $3.00 Taco Night, at the Brew Works. (Anne was out there yesterday, but I stayed in, and got another major chunk of that MTO thing done before an early bedtime.)

Monday, September 21, 2009


No morning weigh-in, scale's broken -- how convenient!
Awesome, and very productive, weekend. We (me, Anne, Deb, her friend Liz, Heidi, Greg's daughter Julie, and her friend Juan) got in a Friday night towpath ride, before Anne and I met Deb went to the Greek Food Festival, hit brew Works, and ran out of steam. Saturday was a classic "selfish day" -- laundry and other chores, oil change and other errands, then a visit to the gym. I met Anne and Emmi in Tamaqua later in the day, at the picnic-cum-baby shower for Lori and Chris, and then we hit the Greek Food Festival again, and ran out of steam again -- something in that cucumber sauce?
Sunday I did the VMB/IMBA Trail Care group ride, about 24 people in all including all the usual suspects. I felt pretty good, and was climbing well, and I was glad to see my heart rate top 180 BPM at one point -- I haven't seen it above 170 probably this whole year. My fitness is finally coming around, just in time for the last weekend of summer.
More stuff later in the day (haircut, WV photos to Flickr), while Anne and Emmi were at a wedding, then the whole crew met for dinner at the Brew Works.
Why Do Good Girls Like Bad Boys? I always knew Ayn Rand was a crazy asshole, but -- wow!
Ta-Ta-Ta-Ta-Ta-Touch Me: Some "Values Voters" work their way through what appear to be some personal problems.
(With a tip of the hat to Pandagon.)
Today is a rest day, lawn and laundry at home, then I have to start getting things ready for our next trip: we're hitting Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee next week, bringing both road and mountain bikes as well as our hiking shoes. Blue Ridge Parkway, Tsali, the Smokies...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Still Tired...

Morning weigh-in: 176.5#, 11% BF
...but what a difference a day makes, yadda yadda. I think I got the rest I needed, or at least some of it.
Short work day yesterday because of Raj's funeral. (I had a very surreal moment driving on the interstate in mid-afternoon, heading to Allentown for the funeral and listening to Tracy Ullman's "They Don't Know," it felt like I was in some kind of Mob movie or something.) This was the first Indian funeral/wake I've ever been to, and I had no idea what to expect, but with few exceptions -- the crowd was huge, and we sprinkled flower petals on Raj's feet -- it was standard fare, just a room full of people hanging out and grieving together. It was actually a combined viewing and funeral; I was there mainly for the viewing and left just before the start of the service proper.
I had a little free time afterward, so on my way to the gym I stopped at home and changed, and I also took a little time to move that MTO program a little further down the line. I got a chance to use it the other day in its incomplete form, and I think doing the final parts by hand told me what my next steps would have to be in the program. I should be done by the time I retire.
After that I hit the gym, where I did OK and felt fine, then went back home where Judy, Erika and Sally were visiting with Anne and Emmi. They'd been out to dinner at a local Middle Eastern restaurant and had some Turkish coffee, so the conversation was unusually vivacious...
A little socializing with the ladies, a little more programming after they left, and an early bedtime; tonight is the towpath and a visit to the Greek Food Festival, but I'm going to shoot for another early night.
You Down With OCD? I've been trying to floss regularly as a part of the new dental leaf I've turned over, and found the perfect way to get it done: I bought a pack of those flossing picks and brought them to work, where instead of idly chewing on pencils, I now idly floss as I do my thing.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Morning weigh-in (Wednesday): 175.5#, 11.5% BF
Morning weigh-in (Thursday): 176#, 11.5% BF
I guess it could be because I've been going nonstop since last Thursday, but I've been feeling really tired the last few days. I suspect that I'm coming down with something though, or maybe suffering from some seasonal allergy thing, because I've been stuffed up this past week and I've been noticing a little of the positional vertigo lately -- yoga last night was a doozy...
Rode Sals Tuesday, felt (and rode) terrible, Brew Works for dinner. Yoga yesterday, felt tired, Brew Works for dinner again. Tonight is the gym (after yet another funeral service), and I know some people are planning to go out, there was talk of a Porters visit but I think I need a night off. Tomorrow I'll be riding the towpath and keeping it pretty close to home again afterward, and Saturday I'd like to get up early enough to hit the gym, and maybe ride there.
All The People Who Died, Died: Another rough week. RIP Jim Carroll, and Patrick Swayze, and Mary Travers... also rest in peace Raj Bhalodia, a friend and colleague for the past 17 years. Fifty nine years old, he was helping someone move and had a heart attack Saturday; his service is where I'm going this afternoon. Lotta guys in suits here today, looks like the old days.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Bash

Well, we're back from the RCST "Bash," four days of camping, biking, partying, and just plain sitting in the rain in the woods...
Basic Timeline: Anne and I arrived Thursday afternoon, and spent the evening at the group campfire with the other VMB early birds. Friday was a total washout, a rainy failure of a day, until we turned it around with a surprisingly pleasant ride; the evening chili contest -- I didn't win, again, though the winner was named Don --  segwayed into the now-traditional, and frighteningly successful, Friday Night VMB party, a luau this year. Saturday was still rainy but we did our "big ride" of the weekend, and got back just in time for the BBQ chicken dinner (this was also the night we -- the VMB campsite -- got into a confrontation with our neighbors over our late-night noise); and on Sunday the sun came back out, just in time for the end of the party, though we did get in a nice scenic ride up to the hang glider launch before we left. Back to camp for the last of the packing, and we were out of there by about 2:00. An awesome weekend, despite the rain.
(By the way, my big plan of pacing myself, and staying mellow through the luau so I could enjoy -- or at least be alive for -- the Saturday ride, paid off in a big way.)
I have pictures which I'll post pretty soon I'm sure; I'm still working my way through the West Virginia stuff so enjoy the recent additions and stay tuned for more...

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


Almost afraid to get on the scale, I've been eating so much (and exercising so little) lately...
Well, it's 9/09/09, whatever that might mean to you. Labor Day has come and gone, kids everywhere are back in school, and we leave for the RCST "Bash" tomorrow. It's been a week since my last post, and it'll probably be another (eventful) week until my next one, so here are some of last week's highlights before they fade away:
I got my teeth fixed  last Thursday (except for the one crown I still need: stay tuned). I am now officially on the road to better dental health, and celebrated with a burrito from Tulum -- my new dentist is in Coopersburg, so I stopped for take-out and had lunch with Anne at home. A really nice break in the daily routine, except for the Novocaine part...
We Don't Need No Bodhisattva Part 1: Thursday's moonlight ride was a blast. Me and Anne, Doug and Lori, Eric and Kris, and new cyclist Donna -- a group night ride with more women than men, probably the first time I've ever seen it. We cruised down to the Chain Dam, turned our lights off and checked out the light on the waterfall, and then cruised on home, chasing the trains that rolled along the other side of the river. Though we weren't pushing the pace too hard, we were also not slacking; the pace was brisk and I was a little worried for Donna, but her general runner's fitness kept her right up in the mix. What was I worried about?
Afterward we went over to Brew Works for a quick bite. I thought it was "late, wow maybe as late as midnight" when we left, but the kitchen clock said 1:00 AM when we got home -- ouch!
Friday night was First Friday in Southside Bethlehem. I was hanging with Anne and Donna, and we met up with Lori and checked out the shops. We stopped in at Clothesline Organics, then went to the Cutters grand opening, over to Home & Planet (nerve center for First Friday), and I escaped back to Clothesline Organics to share a beer with Josh while the ladies visited a shoe store  -- I was pretty estrogen'ed out, and would have paid someone to talk baseball or NASCAR at that point...
We also stopped in at Danielle's birthday party at the secret art space. That was very cool, but the space is non-alcoholic so we adjourned to the Tally Ho for a quick one and came back. Billy, Danielle, Fred & Lara, and Joanna, and Pete, and Pete -- a big dance party, lots of transplants from the Easton scene. (Strangely enough I saw Andrea on Thursday, and Kateryna outside Home & Planet on Friday, but they're not transplants: back in the day they were Bethlehemites visiting Easton, and Southside was and is their home turf.)
That was another late night, and Saturday is sort of a blur now -- we had a funeral, just a simple graveside ceremony for Sally's mom in the morning, then visited Anne's mom for a barbecue in the afternoon. The funeral was one of the strangest I've ever been to, lots of laughing and stories, and Sally's mom had lived a long and full life, but it was still a funeral and still rough, and emotionally draining, and by the end of the evening at Anne's mom's I was fighting to keep my eyes open. We were probably in bed by 9:00.
We Don't Need No Bodhisattva Part 2: I hooked up with another old friend on Sunday morning -- Nick got a mountain bike about a year ago, and after many false starts we finally made solid plans to go ride together at Sals. I had no idea what was going to happen, but we met for coffee at Wired, where he told me he mostly uses his bike for commuting and used to ride BMX when he was younger, so I figured he'd be OK in terms of both stamina and bike-handling.
Once again, I was worried about nothing: we basically rode everything there except Boulderama and the stuff near Dodson, and I kept up a fairly good pace but he was right there. (I think maybe it's time for me to get one of those T-shirts: "The older I get the faster I was.") We had a good two hours of fun, but then both our phones started ringing, and texts started coming in; the world had caught up with us and we had to bail. It was a pretty convenient situation for Nick -- his sister just had a baby and was in St Luke's, and he rode right over to visit. I called Anne, out on her own (road) ride, and we met at a very crowded Blue Sky for lunch.
That afternoon was a visit to my parents, and I got to see my Uncle Frank & Aunt Pat, for the first time in probably years, since they were visiting too -- they were up for cousin Claire's wedding.
Monday was back to Sals with a bunch of JORBA and VMB people, followed by a late lunch at the Brew Works. That was fun, but probably a mistake: we had Donna and Debbie over for dinner, and that was a total food-fest (pasta & ciabatta with nasturtium butter, plus a bunch of Puerto Rican fruits & delicacies that Debbie brought back from vacation -- we never even got to the peach crumble...), followed by another visit to BW, where we mostly just sat and groaned over our over-stuffed bellies.
So that was the summer's swan song; yesterday we checked out a "Pints and Policies" symposium at Brew Works ("Get your tail on the trail," basically about the local greenways), and tonight I make chili.
(These missives would probably be shorter if I did them more often.)
TEACHER: Johnny, can you spell "banana?"
JOHNNY: Yes, but I don't know when to stop: B-A-N-A-N-A-N-A-N-A-N-A...

Wednesday, September 02, 2009


Yep, "summer is in deceleration" as the saying goes, but yesterday I had half a cantaloupe (from the garden) for breakfast, with blueberries (from the mountain), yogurt, and Anne's homemade granola. Got home from work, and we bicycled over to Coca Cola Park to watch the Iron Pigs game with some friends, and then had dinner at Brew Works. What an awesome day! Except for a lunchtime trip to the dentist it really was close to perfect.
Tonight I think is more a chore fest, playing catch-up with stuff that didn't get done over the weekend, lawn and laundry and so on. I think I'll be stopping at the local bike shop, getting a new riding light and dropping the others off for repair; tomorrow we're hitting the towpath for a moonlight ride.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Time Stands Still Here

Well, not really, there's been a few changes even since the last time I was here, but here we are, sitting on the back porch at Elk River Touring Center, the old grassy field to my left and the forest (Gauley Mountain) rising like a wall in front of me...

Today we went hiking, which was something I never did down here. We went out to the Cranberry Wilderness Area, which is sort of behind, ie southwest of, most of the local biking I know. The wilderness area encompasses a whole bunch of the local tundra-style valleys and peat bogs, high-altitude wetlands that, because of the colder mountain climate, retained arctic flora that came south and established itself with the ice ages, but retreated with the retreating ice everywhere else. Lots of sphagnum, rhododendron (OK, not that exotic), oswego, strange little orchids and cranberries and herbs... I have pictures, stay tuned...

The bogs are protected, so needless to say there's no biking in the Wilderness Area -- until now I've only spied the place from afar, scenic overlooks and the like. Our hike, which was about 5 miles long, took us along some upper meadows, an old abandoned road, and finally out into the bogs on a wooden walkway -- this time I finally saw it all, up close and personal.

Today was hiking, yesterday was the bike ride. We rode up Gauley Mountain on Old Mine Road, through intermittent rain and bright sunshine (sky and weather was very dramatic all day), and then did a short loop on Tea Creek and Gauley Mountain Trails before continuing on the Forest Service roads, out to the Prop's Run trailhead. Eight miles of wet downhill singletrack later, and we were back at Elk River. Shower, some drinks at the bar, and and an awesome dinner -- it's scary how good the food is here -- and we were in bed by 9:30.

We were dawdling this morning, got up late etc and our hike was nothing like yesterday's epic, but I think the mountain air is going to make tonight work out the same as last night. I can't believe tomorrow we have to head home.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Got It About A Week Back

Morning weigh-in: 171#, 11% BF
Looks like I've been slacking a bit on the postings, it's been a week since my last one. What's been going on?
24 Hours of Allamuchy: This was the one we were doing as a memorial to Brian, and we raced as "Hahl's Disco Roller Dogs." Disco balls and inflatable aliens all over our campsite (plus a few aliens in the woods), disco-era costumes and music, and Karen got a giant vat of hot dogs cooking -- free hot dogs to anyone who would bust a dance move. Anne and I got there Friday night, and the hanging out was pretty cool, including a big group dinner back at Mama's in Hackettstown, but the weather became uncooperative -- huge thunderstorms overnight -- and except for a short, very hot and humid morning, Saturday was a washout. The race started auspiciously enough with Bob racing in a giant hot dog costume, and Cindy took the second lap; I went out with Joe, Karen, Doug and Rich to keep her company, and I was glad because that was the only riding I did -- we put out three more racers, and I was nerving myself up for a rainy night lap, when (at about 10:00) the race directors called the race because of all the rain, and my decision was made for me. Ironically enough, the rain stopped not long after... I was tired and went to bed a bit early, but you could tell there was a lot of unused energy in the woods: lots of hooting and hollering, and the last thing I heard was a crew of racers from other teams coming up to get their free hot dogs...
Bodhisattva: Friends Debbie and Donna have both recently taken to bicycling, and while we were camping and feeding the mosquitoes at Allamuchy they were taking advantage of the nice weather back home -- they had a real Adventure Bike ride, Bethlehem to Porters in Easton (and back in the dark) with several of the crustier customers from the local bike scene -- good friends of mine, of course! When we got home Sunday I was still jonesing for a ride, and Debbie was still enthused, so we hit the towpath again. Two days in a row, Deb was a hurting puppy by the time we got back, but I think we had fun.
Anne and I also rode with Donna yesterday, a mellow road ride north of Bethlehem. I used to joke that "Bodhisattva is French for sucker," but it's really fun to be able to share in their discovery and enjoyment.
Oh My Aching Back: I'm not sure what I did, but I've had a nasty backache since Allamuchy. At first I though it was from camping on a hard surface -- the pain happens only when I'm lying down -- but I'm back to sleeping in a nice comfy bed and it's as bad as ever, maybe worse. I suspect a broken rib, or maybe a muscle sprain, but unless I pulled something last Thursday at the gym I have no  idea how this might have happened. I'm getting a massage tonight, and I'm seeing the doctor tomorrow; hopefully I'll have some answers and a little relief soon.
Tonight we're hitting Porter's after my massage, and then Anne and I are heading down to Elk River for the weekend tomorrow (after the doctor visit).

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Short Week, Long Weekend

Here I am on the porch, digesting dinner (steamed stringbeans from the garden, bread, cheese, and a huge, blood-red heirloom tomato, also from the garden -- yum!), just watching the day end... Anne's up visiting Ben until tomorrow night, last chance to see him before he goes to study abroad for a year, so I'm living the bachelor life for a day or so.

Today was the gym, and beside that mostly chores, some stuff around the house and some bike work. I prepped the Turner for tomorrow's ride at Fell, and I also gave some love to the road bike, putting on some new tires -- the old ones were so worn they were almost see-through, and I've had a few flats recently, not a normal occurrence. Not a lot of activity really, even with the puttering-around-the-house stuff, but I'm totally whooped right now. I think it's going to be an early night, because tomorrow's an early morning.

Thursday was a fairly somber day at work, but I managed to keep busy and the day moved along. We hit Porters, a sort of Friday night on Thursday thing, saw the band and met a bunch of people. Yesterday was a full day: medium-longish ride with Anne, then we bottled the beer we brewed a few weeks ago; we finished the evening at Brew Works. Looking back, I think I'm entitled to a night in...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What's Up

Morning weigh-in (Monday): 172.5#, 10.5% BF
Morning weigh-in (Wednesday): 170.5#, 10.5% BF

So I'm home for the second day, off as in "laid off," at least until tomorrow when I go back to work, exercise my seniority rights, and start at my old position. Kind of a demotion, but hey it's still a job...

Meantime, what else has been happening? Well, I started going back to the gym, and I also started going back to yoga -- both of them were on hiatus for about a month while I prepped for the W101. I've been pretty careful with my eating too recently (except last night: Two Brew Tuesday and Tuesday Tacos at Brew Works), and I think it shows.

Tonight I may gain back a few; we're going to see that "Julie and Julia" movie and drink martinis. That's after a towpath ride with Anne.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Annie Get Your Gun!

Morning weigh-in (Thursday): 171.5#, 10% BF
Morning weigh-in (Friday): 173#, 10% BF
I'm doomed. Anne has been looking for a new road bike all summer, something fast but not too pimped-out, and tonight we're going over to Bike Line to pick up her new Trek. (I will post more details, model and size and color etc, as I find them out myself). She's keeping her Cannondale as a commuter/utility/touring bike, which is how it's currently set up, with fenders, panniers, lights and a generator -- in other words, heavy -- but will now have a "fast recreational bicycle" for the speedy fun rides. Since she's already pretty strong and quick on the commuter, she's only going to be faster on the new one...
Stayed in on Wednesday night, but last night I hit the gym -- first time in a month -- before heading over to Musikfest, to meet Anne, Donna and another friend. Fish Tacos and Rockwell Red at Brew Works, then we checked out Start Making Sense, the Talking Heads tribute -- again! I can't get enough! -- at the Starfish Lounge.
Tonight is probably the maiden voyage for Anne's new bike, and then I may go to the Funhouse to catch The Insidious Rays, yet another band I used to love before they disbanded/disappeared. I'm not sure I'm up for a late night in a smoky bar (we still have a few in PA), and Anne's sister is visiting with her grade school kids, so we'll see.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Wall Of Contusion

Morning weigh-in: 173#, 8% BF
There was a little slipping and sliding going on here and there, but the only time I actually fell in Saturday's race was when I was walking: I was crossing some bridge with missing decking, and my foot slipped on the wet wooden surface and I went down hard. I almost fell through the hole in the bridge, but luckily my shin broke the fall... I had a ridiculous lump at first, like something you'd see grow on a cartoon character's head (like, after Bugs Bunny hit him with the hammer), and there must have been some serious hematoma because my foot and ankle are now all purple.
My shin's been fairly achey ever since, but I've been doing a lot of walking and standing on it, hitting Musikfest the past three nights. Sunday was best, even though I was at my most tired and sore, because we got to see most of what was there before the vibe turned sour; Monday and last night we were out a little later, when things become not-so-nice, and the mood, especially in areas where the teens (and cops) congregate, turns aggressive, like everyone's just waiting for the spark that starts the big fight. Still, I've seen some good bands -- Sunday was Brazilian music, Monday was Large Flower Heads and Dr Dog, and last night I caught the last part of Start Making Sense -- and we've been having a lot of fun with our home-decorated Dollar Store mugs, which we (me, Anne, Deb and Donna) have been casually mentioning we made at "MugPlatz, over by the old stone buildings" everywhere we go...

Sunday, August 02, 2009


Back from the Wilderness 101, where fatigue and slow times forced me to bail out at mile 89 (the final checkpoint, only a dozen miles from the finish). Oh well, that was my first DNF ever, and a worthy one it was... Better luck next year, eh?

I went up with a guy named Dave, an acquaintance from Big Bear and local riding, and he rode a smart & fast race, and finished in 11:30 or thereabouts. Other than that, I saw no one else I knew, but it was still a fun party afterward, even if the faster riders drank most of the beer before I could do much damage...

Here's a view of my race.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Isn't That Always The Way?

Morning weigh-in (Monday): 173.5#, 10.5% BF
Morning weigh-in (Tuesday): 173.5#, 9.5% BF
Morning weigh-in (Wednesday): 174#, 11% BF
Morning weigh-in (Thursday): 173.5#, 11% BF
Morning weigh-in (Friday): 173.5#, 11.5% BF
Oh well, looks like I wo'nt be Hemingway OR Skeletor anytime soon, two of my favorite muses being beer and food... Speaking of which, we (Anne and I, and Debbie) hit Tap & Table as an alternate venue for "Two-Brew Tuesday." It was pretty much as I'd heard: neat, French-rustic (and almost medieval) decor, a huge beer list with awesome selections and high-ish prices, and, I'm told, fantastic food -- everything they fry is fried in peanut oil, so I think it's best I just avoid their food altogether. Deb got a burger with fries and declared it the best ever, Anne took a bite and agreed, and I had another beer... (As an aside: there was nothing on the menu, nor any sign on the walls, that said anything about the peanut oil -- I'd seen it on their website and asked, and I could tell the bartender knew what I was getting at by her answer.)

This Will Make You Cry: Here's a little something, not really about cycling. Don't forget, it's not too late to donate to the PPRAC ride. Good Luck You Guys (and Gals)!

This Will Make You Laugh: Anne saw this in the NY Times and checked it out, then sent it to me -- it's where I got the above link.

Well, last night was the Brew Works, and today is the start of Musikfest, and I'm out of here for the tomorrow's Wilderness 101. I also posted more pictures; you know what to do.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Morning weigh in: 170.5#, 11% BF (Yeah it's a Sunday, but I felt like bragging.)

An Incident At The Hippie Deli: We went for breakfast Friday at a fairly popular (and crunchy) Ithaca deli, which shall remain nameless for fear of lawsuits. We happened to sit near the exit, which was also where the trash bins were -- trash bin, maybe one or two different recycling bins, and composting, they were really into it: while I was sitting there, one customer admonished another one for misusing the trash bins, and made him re-do his garbage.

They leave, we continue eating, and eventually an employee shows up to take care of all the refuse. Anne was about to say "Wouldn't it be funny if they put it all in one bag?" when that is exactly what this guy did. We actually stared and watched everything he did to make sure we weren't imagining it, but sure enough, he dumped all the oh-so-carefully separated refuse into one big bag and tossed that in a bin outside.

Arachnology: We had a houseguest the week before last, one of Emmi's scientist friends stayed over while passing through en route from Knoxville to somewhere in New England. She arrived while I was out riding, and I caught up with her and Anne at the Brew Works -- it turned out that she's an entomologist and a spider expert. I asked her to tell me "in layman's terms" what her research was, and tried not to drool when she said she studied the effect of spider predation (who are, in her words, "the lions and tigers of the little world") on the impact of other insects on leaf mold formation. I asked her if she was talking about something like the Lotka-Volterra equations, and she just chuckled.

Anyway, we're winding down from vacation and getting ready for work tomorrow. We got back Friday and unpacked, then we did a fairly long ride yesterday, stopped in at Hans & Kim's wedding reception picnic, then stopped in at Toby & Erica's housewarming party, then utterly crashed... Today we're making beer -- rather, Anne's making beer, and a cherry pie, and I'm fooling with this interactive-TV lightning-box doohickey until there's some heavy lifting to be done. It's stupid hot and humid, and I'm trying not to move too much.

Meantime, more pictures, this time of our hike. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Yeah I Ate Pie For Breakfast...

...but that was back in Vermont, where it's all about "when in Rome." Right now I'm sitting in The Owl Cafe in Ithaca, drinking coffee and getting ready to go enjoy dinner at the Moosewood Restaurant (if we can get in), and a cucumber-infused gin and tonic at Felicia's Atomic Lounge -- well, maybe not in that order...

We've been bouncing between really nice hotels, and camping, all week. First was Middlebury VT, where we met Ben, then the three of us went up to Silver Lake State Park -- we were told of a great place called "Silver Lake," with lots of hiking, and primitive camping, but ended up at a "family friendly" lakeside camp, which happened to have the same name, and (unlike the other place) happened to be on the map. Oh well, we had fun, and I finally got rid of my "biker's tan" on the beach.

The next day we climbed Mount Abraham, an awesome hike, and then went back to civilization in Middlebury: we saw the new Harry Potter movie, which I enjoyed more than I thought I would, and had dinner at the local brewpub.

The next two days were camping between Lake Saranac and Lake Placid, and it was definitely a mixed bag. We finally found some good roads to ride, but local traffic, and road conditions, were pretty bad especially between the two towns. (We did find some good stuff, with the help of some local bike shops.) Camping was fun the first night, then the next night was rainy, and the tent leaked so we slept in the car, and I got positional vertigo again, and puked up my spaghetti & meatballs...

Things were trending downhill, so yesterday we high-tailed it out of there. We found a laundromat -- long story, but basically they don't have many near Lake Placid -- and relocated our base camp, with our wet camping gear & clean clothes, to Ithaca. It was time for a nice hotel again, so we're staying at the Holiday Inn downtown. Dinner, drinks, a good night's sleep, and a good ride, and things are looking up once again.

By the way, I've posted pictures: some shots of a recent ride at Jacobsburg, and of our first camping adventure. Enjoy!

Friday, July 17, 2009


Well it's been a rough week, but now I'm on vacation, and last night I finally committed to the W101 -- as in, paid and registered -- and I also got us those reservations for Elk River in late August. Right now I' supposed to be getting ready for our Vermont/Adirondacks trip, packing, getting an oil change etc, so we can leave around noon, but I just thought I'd touch base here first -- I'm bringing the computer, so I'll post (and post pictures) as I can, but I wanted to say that though the world will never be the same, at least things are starting to look up and feel normal again.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Goodbye My Friend

Brian Poses On Porcupine Rim
Originally uploaded by donXfive.
This is a shot of my good friend Brian Hahl, posing last year at one of his all-time favorite places in the world. Brian passed away about an hour or two ago. There's not much more I can to say right now. I love you, brother.