Thursday, November 27, 2008

Expedition photos, and my web site

When I was in High School, my family lived for a year in Cambridge England. As part of that experience, I attended a British boys' school (it's co-ed now), which sent a small expedition to the Arctic island of Spitzbergen. My parents offered me the opportunity, and I took it.
Recently I scanned the photos from that trip and uploaded them to Picasa. Then I made a web page to show them off. Find it here. Please don't expect to find much on the rest of the site; there are tidbits, but not much. I don't do this professionally, and I'm busy with a lot of other things. But at least the expedition photos are all commented and in good order. I hope you enjoy them.
I hope that one day, I'm able to provide my own children with the same kind of incredible opportunities that my parents gave me.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Two Little Biking Rants

One for the cars:
Why do cars feel the need to accelerate and swerve to get in front of me at a stop light or stop sign!!!?? We're both going to stop anyway, and I'm probably going to pass you on your right anyway. If you don't leave me room to pass, then that's just really rude, and if you do leave me room, what's the point?

And one for the bikers:
Why not stop at stop signs? Especially when there are cars two deep in each direction, when you blow through without a care in the world, it disrupts the turn-taking and does all bike commuters a big disfavor by pissing off the drivers. I'm sympathetic to blowing stop signs on empty residential streets if you at least make a motion of slowing down, but out in the busy-traffic public? Come on!


Saturday, November 8, 2008

Pedal Therapy

I wish I could convey the kind of day it was today: sunny, cool, and quiet with an out-of-place rising current of nonsensical irritation that made me realize I needed to get out and exercise. I realized that I'm addicted to my bike. I found myself looking for an excuse to get out and ride somewhere, so I convinced my son (with whom I had recently snapped out of an unpleasant downward dance of mutual aggravation) to hook up the tagalong trailer and come with me to get a part to repair my chainsaw. On the way, I remember that I had something on hold at the library, so we zipped in to pick it up. Then we spent some time wandering around trying to find the repair shop. While we were finishing up there, I realized there was an archery store nearby that I had always wanted to visit since Ian has expressed some interest in getting a bow. (He's actually made several that work pretty well but have subsequently broken.) Well, it didn't take too long to realize that it was a very high-end store and the least expensive option for a beginner youth bow was far above what I wanted to pay. We went on, and I decided to make a small detour to see the new library branch that's going in, and we happened to be by a friends house, so we stopped in for a visit and a fudgesicle. Then it was home. The trip was about 10 km all together and took something like 2 hours.
I'm sure I wouldn't have wandered around like that in a car. I'd have been worried about gas and taking too long and getting home and probably wouldn't have been paying attention to my surroundings enough. The bike is kind of a refuge for me: I pray, sing, think, listen. It provides a comfortable solitude that is not lonely and that the car does not provide, so I find myself seeking out opportunities to go out and bike.
Plus, there's my odometer obsession, and I was looking for a way to flip 52oo km before the end of the week. I bought the bike (my Crosstown 7) in August of 2007, so that's 5200 km in 16 months, or an average of 325 km per month, or about 83 km per week. Most weeks that I bike I go about 100 km or a little bit more, and there are weeks that we are gone that I don't bike at all, so that seems about right.
Today as we were in the final stretch coming home, the bike felt good, the wind was the perfect temperature, and there was a certain freedom to being out and about with no expense and no stress.  It was therapy.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


We have had no fewer than 7 Robocalls on behalf of Senator Cornyn, Congressman McCaul, Senator Obama, Senator McCain, Larry Joe Doherty, etc. Yeesh! We've just stopped answering the phone today, it's so crazy.