Administrivia, Family

Feh. Travel does wonders for your workout schedule, as does getting sick.
Last Wednesday (that's 9/11), Thursday and Friday, I was travelling to Detroit for work to visit the fine folks at GM. No bike time those three days. Rode my loop around Hopkins, through Druid Hill Park and back down Druid Park Dr. to 41st St on Sunday; Monday night Kevin and I did a ride together (his first urban mountain biking experience) through the Druid Hill Park backroads and around the Disc Golf course.

Then Tuesday, I came down with a fever. I think it might have been West Nile, but it could have just been a 24-hour flu. Anyway, I was out of commission.

Wednesday, I was still recovering, and had deadlines to meet.

Thursday, I was back in Detriot again.

Today, I got a ride in, a hill-climbing mountain biking run up the back edge of the Disc Golf Course and along the Baltimore Zoo's perimeter fence, then back down mountain bike slalom style, using disc golf “holes” and tees as waypoints and launchpads. It was a good upper/lower body workout, and fun; any time a 280-pound guy can get airborne on a bike, there's fun to be had.

Standard
gallagheria

Feh. Travel does wonders for

Feh. Travel does wonders for your workout schedule, as does getting sick.
Last Wednesday (that’s 9/11), Thursday and Friday, I was travelling to Detroit for work to visit the fine folks at GM. No bike time those three days. Rode my loop around Hopkins, through Druid Hill Park and back down Druid Park Dr. to 41st St on Sunday; Monday night Kevin and I did a ride together (his first urban mountain biking experience) through the Druid Hill Park backroads and around the Disc Golf course.

Then Tuesday, I came down with a fever. I think it might have been West Nile, but it could have just been a 24-hour flu. Anyway, I was out of commission.

Wednesday, I was still recovering, and had deadlines to meet.

Thursday, I was back in Detriot again.

Today, I got a ride in, a hill-climbing mountain biking run up the back edge of the Disc Golf Course and along the Baltimore Zoo’s perimeter fence, then back down mountain bike slalom style, using disc golf “holes” and tees as waypoints and launchpads. It was a good upper/lower body workout, and fun; any time a 280-pound guy can get airborne on a bike, there’s fun to be had.

Standard
General Chaos

Workarounds

Some of the things I've had to do to function in my electronic world as of late remind me of the workaround solutions to problems that made me infamous during my last tour in the Navy.

In 1989, I was the intelligence and photographic officer (among other things) for a river patrol boat squadron. One day, we were preparing a briefing on a particular operation for a particular flag officer, and I was tasked with putting together the slide deck for the unit commanders. And when I mean slides, I mean slides–the presentation was to be done with a Kodak carousel slide projector.

Unfortunately, the images they wanted to use for the presentation were a stack of 8 x 10 prints. And I had two hours to get them turned into slides.

So, lacking a photographer's mate, I used state-of-the-art 1989 technology: I used a video grab software package to digitize the prints (no scanner–we had a standard video camera on a tripod). Then I used a slide printer to transfer the images to Polaroid instant slide film. A quick run through the developing can, and I had my slides, which I then had to cut and mount, and add to the carousel.

Elapsed time: 1 hour, 59 minutes, 30 seconds.

The same is true of some of my experiences as a sysadmin and programmer–there's always that hairy problem that can't be dealt with effectively with current technology, and you end up using the digital equivalent of spit, chewing gum and strands of twisted pair to fix it.

The latest one involves my ISP. Every now and then, they apply some sort of security patch, which (at least temporarily) changes the configuration of my view of my FTP site. So I've been scripting a solution that checks to see if something can successfully be FTP'd on a regular basis, and if not, adjust my FTP settings to an alternative path.

The things we do to blog.

Standard
General Chaos

The Tostitos are still here

Thursday, September 12:

I checked into the Courtyard by Marriott Detroit last night after an
uneventful (but annoying) day of 9/11 travel. The night clerk asked,
“Smoking room?”

Non-smoking please,” I answered.

“Does it have to be a king?” he asked, pleading for compliance.

“If the choice is between a king smoking room and a non-smoking
something else, I'll take the non-smoking something else.”

“Oh, you're in luck–a Marriot Club member just moved out of this room
because they said it was too big.”

Too big, I thought. “I'm sure that'll be fine,” I said unknowingly.

After getting my key, I went to the room. It was big–it was a very
poorly designed conference and guest room, with a king bed at one end of
the room and a conderence table at the other, with the usual
accompaniment of furniture. But it was all dwarfed by the room, which
measures about 28 feet by 30 feet. You could play roller hockey in here
and not touch the furniture cowering on the borders.

And there were still signs of continued inhabitance. A bag of Tostitos
sat on the conference table in the room, and a melted candle smoldered
next to it in a bowl. Women's bath products lined the tub, and a
woman's AT&T calling card and key still sat on the nightstand.

“Are you sure this room is empty?” I asked over the phone. “There are
some things here…a phone credit card…”

“I'll be right up to get them,” said the guest services rep.

Midnight came. A message light blinked on the phone. “Mr. Gallagher,
We're sorry didn't get up to pick up the other guest's
effects tonight. Please call us and tell us when it's appropriate to
come by to pick them up.”

Next morning, I dropped the card off at the front desk. “There's still
some bath products and other trash in the room; could somebody get them
out?” I asked.

I returned to my room late this evening–and the Tostitos are still
here. As are the various and sundry Victoria's Secret bath gels and
such, a plastic body scrubber, and the molten candle.

This is not a particularly good hotel, I have determined.

Standard
General Chaos

Birthday ride today — at lunchtime, I did the 6-mile loop, from Falls and 41st uphill, past the Rotunda, down to University Parkway, up to Charles Street, down the glassphalt Charles St access road past JHU to 29th St, down Maryland Avenue cranking to keep near traffic speed, across North Ave and a right on LaFayette, down into the Jones Falls Valley and north (and uphill) on Falls Road, to Clipper Mill Road, under the JFX and over the Jones Falls on Union to the gates of the old (now burnt-down) Clipper Mill industrial park, up Druid Hill Park Rd to 41st Street and back across the bridge over the JFX, uphill to 41st and Falls. 40 minutes.

90 degrees, low humidity, it was a beautiful day. Aint the beer (well, okay, the Diet Pepsi) cold?

Yesterday and the day before, I did a new route, as yet not measured. It starts off like the one I described above, but I cut over on 29th St. to the bridge to Druid Park Ave, 170-degree turn onto the access road around the Druid Lake reservoir, and through Druid Hill Park past the Conservatory and Zoo. Then down through the frisbee golf course (screaming as I caught air off a frisbee launchpad and a few moguls), and down Druid Park Rd to the 41st St bridge. Advantages to this route: A nice view of the city from the top of the reservoir access road, you get to go down (instead of up) the 10% grade on the north exit from the park, there's still some puffing up hill from the 29th street bridge, and traffic in the park is light. Downside–dealing with freeway exit and entrance traffic crossing the 29th St bridge, and traffic in the park is light, so few will note your encounters with interesting people there.

I'm going to guess this route is about 5.5 miles, with about 350 vertical feet uphill total.

Standard
General Chaos

38 Special

Today, I turn 38 years old–another year successfully navigated without too many close encounters with mortality is reason enough to celebrate. However, as people with too much time to think often do, I've been reflecting on my personal life “to-do” list, and find many of the tasks pencilled in for before my 38th birthday are being carried over as incomplete. Then again, the list needs some heavy revision.

Success is where you find it. And looking around me, based on my current priorities, this has been a pretty successful year.

My ambitions in life these days center on spending more time doing the things I like and with my family and friends rather than on the material and professional.

We had a cookout with friends on Sunday; September 10 is also the birthday of our friend and neighbor Ying Hui, so we had a consolidated event in her backyard. It was the first time in a long time I've had anything closely resembling a party on my birthday; it felt good. I felt…established. Settled.

Standard