new design?

Yeah, I got bored with my old design a little while ago, and I've been futzing with this new one for a few weeks now. Still doesn't feel like it's quite done, but I'm reasonably happy so far. 🙂

What's your top five favorite things about Olympia?

1) Bike trails!
2) The library. 🙂
3) The Farmer's Market
4) Picturesque views of one sort or another: looking up at the capitol or down over the sound, little funky neighborhoods and wild open spaces.
5) It's just big enough to be interesting, but small enough that it feels plausible to be involved in civic life.

Considering your biking experience, if you had to buy a new bike what would it be and what accessories would you have on it.

My first impulse is to think about upgrading the bike part of my Xtracycle – something with a step-through frame and more upright handlebar position.

But an entirely new bike?

I’d like to get a basic mountain bike at some point so I could try out trail riding. I test-rode a Giant Rainier, which I really liked, but all they had at the time was a small, which was way dinky. 🙁

I’m also partial to bikes in the dutch/cruiser/upright style, generally speaking, although it’s tricky sometimes finding ones that have enough gears for the Oly hills. There’s nothing specific I have in mind at the moment, though.

Accessories, on the other hand, I have more opinions about….

Fenders, always. I’ve had Planet Bike fenders on two of my bikes, and they’re pretty decent, although stylish wood or metal fenders would be fun.

Lights, too, of course. I’d love to get something like the B&M Ixon. ( And the Radbot tail lights look pretty cool:

Rack & panniers; if I were getting a non-longbike, I’d want a couple of different kinds of panniers, both water-proof and open, a bit like the combo that I was rolling with on the Smoke & the Townie. EcoVelo has highlighted some that look quite lovely and functional. I’m also a big fan of the rack trunk for a minimal travel kit, and a front rack or basket would be spiffy.

I’d love to upgrade my cyclometer, ideally to something super-high-tech (Garmin?) or even use an Android phone as a cyclometer.

I adore my bell-brand bell, but if I were to replace it I’d go with something very similar, maybe even a classy brass bell. There’s nothing like that cheery ring!

A rear-view mirror, definitely; the el-cheapo (fred meyers for less than $10!) one I have now is ok enough that I haven’t done a lot of research into anything else. I tried a glasses-mounted mirror and HATED it, and I have a hunch helmet-mounted would be the same.

I like the ergonomic style of grips, with a bit of a spot to rest the heel of my hands. The cork grips on the Ute were nice as well.

Oddly enough, I don’t have a strong opinion about saddles. The one I have now is women-specific, it’s not super, but it’s good enough. I’ve always wanted to try a Brooks saddle, though. 🙂

Whew, that’s a lot of stuff! And I haven’t even gotten into clothing, gloves, helmets, etc. At the minimum, I’d say fenders, rack, bucket panniers, basic lights, non-stock saddle.

Oh, and a bottle cage. They’re hard to find, which I find weird, but I like the softer plastic versions, because they don’t scratch metal cups/bottles.

How many countries have you traveled to?

Not counting the one I live in 🙂 I've been to three countries. In 1989 I went to Germany & Austria with a local youth orchestra, which was an amazing experience. In 1999 or thereabouts I went to Whistler, BC for a United Way conference, carpooling with several of my co-workers. I wish we'd been able to stop in Vancouver; it looked really interesting.

Bonus answer: I've been to these states:
* California, Oregon & Washington, obvs.
* Arizona, several times visiting grandparents
* New Mexico, on one of those visits, just for a one-day trip when Grandpa was filling in for another minister.
* Texas for SXSW.
* Massachusetts for training when I worked at United Way.
* Montana, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota & Wisconsin when we drove out to the Madeline Islands to stay with a friend's family. (In July/August in a car with no air conditioning. I wouldn't necessarily recommend it.)
* As an infant, I was taken on a vacation that included a visit to the Four Corners, so also Colorado & Utah, although I generally don't count that.

What's your favorite drink?

non-alcoholic, hot: nonfat mocha, esp from the Cherry St Cafe. second choice is Good Earth Chai with sugar and half & half.

non-alcoholic, cold: sparkling water with a bit of juice or juice concentrate. oddly enough, second is iced chai or thai iced tea. (mmmmm, chai.)

alcoholic: spire pear cider, very very cold. no strong second choice…I'm not much of a drinker.

seen on campus

Today while I was on my way to a meeting, I saw a guy wearing a shirt that said:

Shirt of Invisibility +2

I couldn’t seen the 2 originally, so I stopped and asked what the plus was, and then where did he get it. Alas, it was borrowed from a friend, so he didn’t know. 🙁

And then I had to get on the elevator, so I didn’t learn any more.

Update: Chad sez: “invisibility doesn’t have a plus.” (such a cute geek!) also, Hot Topic (oy!) carries them.

too much to read

First, a personal note.? I am doing much better, well enough to ride my bike to the vanpool today.? C is getting better also, albeit more slowly.? The sun (o the sun!) is helping both of us.

After bookmarking/blogging/whatever the 5th article in two days that I’d tagged as “to-read” because I just don’t have the brainspace or time for it now, it occurred to me that I have an input problem.

The same thought comes to me when I get an email from the library saying my hold is ready, and I’ve hardly even cracked the last book I picked up.

You know that saying about “eyes are bigger than the stomach”?? I think I’m that way with words, because when I get to the library, I almost always end up grabbing 2 or 3 more books in addition to the hold.? Hey, they look interesting.

Several things happen as a result:

  1. I don’t read all of the things I really want to.
  2. I forget stuff that I’ve read, because I read it too quickly.? (With the internets, this is less of a problem, as I can generally find it later if I need to reference something in particular.)
  3. I work less on my own projects, be they web sites or stories, or sometimes, embarassingly enough, stuff around the house.

I don’t know what to do about it.? Or even what to think…it’s amazing that all this good stuff is out there.

I’ve learned more in the last couple of years than I did in most of the decade before that.? I’ve met people, thought big thoughts, connected incredibly disparate books, essays & whatnot in ways that engage my mind.? Plus there’s all that good practical education.
Which doesn’t make me feel any less as though I were drowning in words.

Funny thing for a hyperlexic to say, ain’t it?

like a tubercular smoker

Over the last few days I’ve developed this lovely cough; the back of my throat is itchy and I feel the compulsion to cough every few minutes. Otherwise, I feel fine. Tired, as usual, just because I’m not meant to be awake before 7:30 am, but generally upbeat and creative.

I’m not done with it yet, so no review, but those of you who have encountered depression in one way or another should run to your library (bookstore, Amazon, whatever) and get Against Depression. Some science, but a lot of philosophy. I mentioned it to C last night and called it mind-expanding.

So your head is like a popcorn kernel popping?

Yes, precisely. Big fluffy thoughts springing forth!

Or something like that. Seriously, though, go find a copy now. I’m even thinking of emailing a select group of friends who I don’t think read this too often.
(Thanks, Kat, for the recommendation.)

help me understand….

I’m not using an IDE for PHP development now.? Alex King (whose blog is down at the moment) has been speaking quite highly of Zend Studio (which I can’t afford) and also mentioned PHPeclipse (which I can afford) as an alternative.

Why would I want to use an IDE?? Why wouldn’t I?

(Don’t know what an IDE is?? Then move along; there’s nothing to see here….)