Lately I’ve been playing with an Electric Imp, using it to control a single 3-color LED. My goal is to develop a product out of it, but I’m skeptical that I’ll ever get it off the ground, so I’m sharing my findings here. (Also, if and when I do start selling this, all hardware and software will be open anyway). (more…)
When I was in high school I participated in a summer jazz camp program. Yes, I went to band camp. Laugh if you want to, but know that I’m writing this prelude to calm myself down. Because I almost died tonight. (more…)
alternate title: Lookout! A Weekend Getaway to Cape Lookout
This past weekend I passed a milestone of training for the Big Adventure: I rode approximately 100 miles from my home in Portland, OR to the Pacific coast on Cape Lookout. The route I took went through some really beautiful country, including an Oregon Scenic byway along the Nestucca River and the Oregon Coastal Highway (101). This trip offered me the chance to test various aspects of myself and my gear that need to be in working order for me to bike halfway across the country in three weeks…
Over the last year I’ve been trying to adopt the philosophy that emotions don’t belong on the roadway. This started when I first got back on a bike after my collision last January. I was hyper-aware of other drivers at first, and developed a sort of mantra to keep my own priorities straight: “not your problem, not your fault”. In other words: I am neither to blame for, nor am I in control of, other drivers’ actions.
Then a few months ago I made a snarky comment to a driver on a motorcycle–something about stop lines–and he turned around and caught up with me. Turned out he was a cop, and he calmly and effectively explained the situation. I apologized and we went our separate ways. One thing he said to me sticks out in my mind: “If that’s the way you think, you’re part of the problem and not part of the solution”.
I cannot overstate how simple it is to get a WordPress site up and running, or how easy it is to deploy a site on Heroku. I might assume, therefore, that deploying a WordPress site on Heroku would be just as simple and easy, and this was largely true. There are a couple of hiccups however.
I realize I never really blogged about part 1, but it’s up here.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been working on something fun. About a year ago I built up my first gaming computer since high school, and my first computer with high-quality components that I put together myself. As part of this system I purchased Razer peripherals: the TRON-branded mouse and keyboard. The case I ended up buying was the NZXT Phantom, in black and green. It turns out there’s a better-looking version of this case now, but that’s ok.
Perhaps the most impressive moment of my college education was this: I was sitting in my sophomore Thermodynamics course, and the professor–a tall athletic man who coached grade school basketball in his off hours–was telling us about engine cycles and “input vs output”. Some systems had an open loop–the energy leaving the system was lost to the outside world and the energy entering the system came from some unknown source–and some have a closed loop–at least some of the energy leaving the system goes right back in at the beginning. At the end of the lecture he brought the point into a real-life context, with this advice: “take all of your old, graded homeworks and quizzes and put them in a binder. That way, when you study for the next homework or quiz, you have your old mistakes to learn from. This is the difference between ‘open loop’ and ‘closed loop'”. Open-loop students will take an exam, get a grade, and put it in a pile they never again look at. Closed-loop students will study their mistakes and correct them. Lately I’ve been evaluating my recent and future journeys through this lens.
Right now it’s Day 27. I’m at my friend Grace’s house in Hannibal, MO. Over the past few days I’ve been thinking, and I’ve reached a conclusion. The tour ends here. I will fly home after the weekend, from St Louis.
I’ve had a lot of fun so far, but I cannot continue. Of course I have excuses, like “I’m only a third of the way across and yet halfway through my leave time”, or “I’d have to shuffle some savings around in order to not starve”, but those can’t get in the way of the real decision. There are also elements of this lifestyle I don’t enjoy, which similarly should not get in the way of decision-making. The physical discomfort of riding all day is the greatest of these.
The real reason is that it isn’t fun any more. I knew from the beginning that riding all day would be a different lifestyle, and I don’t mind the new routine (once I figured it out). I also knew this tour would happen in two halves. The first half was all about visiting family and friends, the second about following the Lewis and Clark trail.
I realized at some point, maybe near Boston or DC, that the First Half would always be about destinations. It would be “get up, be sad to leave, push hard, be happy to arrive, take a day off”. While there were pieces of the journey that were enjoyable–the C&O Towpath and Great Allegheny Passage, Amish country, the Atlantic ocean–my attitude was largely affected by the destination. I hoped that this would change upon reaching St Louis, and to that end I made a deal with myself in Pittsburgh.
If I could start enjoying the journey more during the 8 or 9 days it would take me to get to Missouri, I would know that I could continue on the L&C. Maybe I picked the wrong part of the country to enjoy the journey, since it’s all corn and soybeans and flat. Maybe I needed more of a push, to jump off the deep end so to speak (I had one more destination in Missouri before St Louis, which biased my attitude). Whatever I needed, I didn’t have. My mood only improved with the thought of arriving in Hannibal. And when I got word that she could come pick me up, saving me a day of riding, I knew from my own response that destinations would always win over journeys, at least in the context of this tour.
So I relax this weekend, go exploring and take my mind off the road. Don’t worry though, I’ll be back in the saddle next season.
Well I’ve had a relaxing few days in Pittsburgh. I arrived here Sunday evening, after three days on the trail from DC. DC itself was a lot of fun. I stayed with my high-school drama instructor, which was sort of surreal since I hadn’t seen him in 7 years. Apparently I have the same laugh as back then, and the same desire to implement useless solutions.
Hello from DC! The tour so far has gone really well. The last couple of days were very warm but I’m fine as long as I keep pedaling. The bike is in the shop today, getting a new cassette installed, so that I might have some chance of getting over the mountains in my future. My camera holster suffered a minor break, so until I glue that there will be no road-filming. Other than that everything is in great shape. My left leg is starting to get a little tanner than my right, so I know I’m still headed West.