Snowy Mountains

There’ll come a time when the pictures friends send me from their epic vacations (mountain climbing, skiing, frozen biking) will once again appeal. Their crisp blue skies, the carapaces and undulations of the mountain wearing a mantle of whitest snow, the gray, almost smoky clouds hovering low over a brilliant orange or yellow tent, bike wheels packed with snow, and water bottles frozen solid all meant to inspire a longing for a road less traveled. But for now even the notion of cold is entirely lacking in merit in my eyes.

Seriously. I get up fairly early every day. Generally 5AM somethin’. And all autumn, winter and through most of spring that means it’s at least chilly outside if not cold as a witches elbow. It makes it hard to get up, hard to get out, and it’s really demotivating when what you have to do is not fun. Getting up that early in the cold to go skiing? Doable. Getting up that early to get ready for work and take out the garbage? An effort of will. I rode my bike throughout the winter regardless of temperature or precipitation. I hustled my little family out the door t the ridiculous hour we leave for jobs and school. But I’ve kinda had it with the cold for now.

So for the time being, if you live in Alaska, or climb in the Himalayas, or are running some program in the Arctic, or Antarctica, please spare the snowy, cold pictures. No matter how beautiful. Wait ’till maybe the end of August or September when the oppressing humidity of a New York summer has kicked in with sufficient strength to cause even the staunchest of summer folks to wilt. By then I’ll be toast. Then bring them on!

As always your support is appreciated. (wink)

Taking Things Apart

Taking Things Apart:

John August, asked by a working screenwriter how he can keep improving throughout his career:

My advice for you is to dedicate one day a week to disassembling good movies. Take existing films (and one-hour dramas) and break them down to cards. Think of yourself as an ordinary mechanic given the task of reverse-engineering a spaceship. Figure out what the pieces do, and why they were put together in that way.

I think this true for any craft.

[It’s a great way to hone one’s touch and grow new skills. I especially like doing it as a group exercise to learn what others see in something that I don’t.]
Source: Daring Fireball

Winning Sweetwood

Winning Sweetwood: There was a climb up Fifth Street last year when I nearly cracked the Animal then blew up and finished fifty feet behind him, and that means more to me than any of the times I’ve finished ahead of everyone else. [I know exactly how he feels. Last Sunday on the short and steep opening climb I passed a friend who says she’s not a fast climber, but certainly climbs better than I in general, and nearly caught someone else whom I never have caught, and may never catch, on a climb. It meant more to me to almost latch onto his wheel than a lot of other cycling related things. I don’t finish climbs ahead of everyone else, but it’s nice to think that one day, with continued perseverance, I might. Head for the hills!]
Source: Sitting In


merb-slices are “Little slices of MVC cake”. These are self contained merb apps with models, controlers, views and assets that you can distribute as rubygems. You can mount a merb-slice at a specific point in your router definition and you can override any part of the slice up in your main app. So in a way these are similar to what Rails-Engines promise, except merb-slices are built into the framework and will not break when merb itself is updated.

Check out the tutorial/screencast for a peek at how merb-slices work.

[Nice. Merb continues to impress.]

A short story: AJ, the cyclist, and a large brown dog

A short story: AJ, the cyclist, and a large brown dog: He noticed when there were no cars coming towards him, cars would swing over to the other side to pass. However, when there was traffic in both directions, they passed by a 60 mph with no thought of slowing down, often missing him by inches.

At one time, a large eighteen-wheeler went by, and although it missed him by at least two feet, its shear size, and those huge wheels, gave AJ the scare of his life. And the back draft almost blew him off his feet [If more folks would have to get out of their cars and trucks, and for that matter, lived with fewer bits of insulation between each of us the world would be a better place.]
Source: Dave Moulton’s Bike Blog

The Joys Of Life…

The Joys Of Life…: Watching 4 guys in a pace line, with full-on Time Trial gear, going -maybe- 12mph while Chloe and me passed them at 19mph, with Chloe honking her newish Honka Hoota and shouting, “EYE OF THE TIGER BABY… EYE OF THE TIGER!!!”. [Not that long ago I witnessed a similar happening. I was pulling Noah in the trailer, and there were signs and then cops and then hordes of people at the usually quiet park. The signs said “Biathlon” (well, there was a sponsor’s name, but they’ve never done me any favors…). For one split second I wondered who was going to the shooting with images of cyclists jumping off their bikes to take aim at something… and realized that someone was trying their hand at marketing and failing (apparently the name is changing next year to duathlon eliminating my vision and possibly a fatal misunderstanding). Anyway, so the competitors start arriving in all their racing glory, and behold the always enjoyable sight of someone on a “townie” bike (upright, non-aero position) in shorts and t-shirt, passing someone in full tri gear… skinsuit, aero bars, disk wheel… the works. I burst out laughing, but only Noah heard me, and there was no way to explain… It’s not about the bike (or gear).]
Source: Large Fella on a Bike

Dissecting today’s Internet traffic spikes

Dissecting today’s Internet traffic spikes: This, in many ways, is like a tornado. Our ability to predict them sucks. Our responses are crude and they are quite damaging. However, predicting these Internet traffic events isn’t even possible — there are no building weather patterns or early warning signs. Instead we are forced to focus on different techniques for stability and safety. The idea of a DoS, a DDoS or the sometimes similar signature of a sudden popularity spike doesn’t increase my heart rate anymore — it’s just another day on the job. However, I thought I’d share the four guidelines that I believe are key to my sanity in these situations [Good article… from someone who knows. I worked with Theo & Co. back in ’00-’01. They do this stuff all day every day.]
Source: The Scriptures of Jesus

The North County Trailway

north_county_trailway_05_2008.gifA nice sized group of us collected over in Westchester county for a social 40+ mile jaunt up the North County Trailway. A rail to trail conversion project it has a fairly consistent 2% grade while you’re headed north. The ride leader thought to start off with a bucolic scene of a local farm and cows grazing in the fields. Don’t let that wall like double climb worry anyone… it’s short. Naturally, it completely fractured the group.

NCT initial elevation.png

After spending a long time regrouping (almost) we were heading up the trail. I didn’t snapshot the speeds enough to know for sure, but most of the riding was in the 13 – 15 area, and of course, stunting and sprinting, and playing around ensued so there were section cranked up to 28.7 mph while we all goofed around.

I still seem to be bonking after about 18 miles… I’m not sure why. A short rest and some light pedaling is all it takes to revive, but I never noticed it in prior years. Hmmm.

Anyway, it was a beautiful day for a ride, and much fun was had. Thanks always to my sponsor… my lovely wife, who sprung me loose for the day.

I should also point out that the giant blank area on my back could be displaying *your* message, advertising, or company logo. Feel free to get in touch.