Guess Who's Back?
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Hello, Ell Jay, it's been awhile. A few changes have gone down since we bought the Party Van. It continues to be surprisingly awesome, and I love it. I've driven it once in the past two weeks because of scheduling differences. Mostly I'm on the bus and the bike now.

The Bike



It continues to go well. Last Friday, I spent the last nine miles in a torrential downpour during my ride to work, and I fucking loved it. Felt all Belgian and was all "HTFU!" for the rest of the day. A little squishy on the ride home, but whatever.

Yesterday's commute, I rode hard on the way in. On the way home, I was facing a headwind and sore muscles, but I buried it as hard as I could and didn't look at my data while riding. When I uploaded to Strava, I got a pretty pleasant surprise -- I'd claimed a KOM (king of the mountains, best time on a particular stretch), set 5 PR's on other segments, and even though I bonked like fuck on the final climb, I still managed to pull out my 2nd-best time on it.

The muscles are coming around -- the bottoms of my quads have definition again. The heart has definitely come around, too -- since starting this in June, my average heart rate on given segments at the same speed is down 20bpm, and my power output is up about 25 watts.

Since I'm really finally getting back to the riding thing as a regular task, I'm avoiding any real structured training for 2014. The goal is to just ride, and to tackle a few races.

I signed up (as part of a team) for the Powderhorn 24, a 24-hour road race in Minneapolis. Next month. Before then, I do want to get a couple of longer rides on my legs. I'm going to go out and try to get an 80-miler and a 100-miler on my legs in the coming weeks, just to help fine-tune my feeding intervals and get the sit bones accustomed to being abused for long stretches.

The other thing? Cyclocross season. If I can figure out how to get a CX frame under me. Basically, this would involve a tubeset. Which I don't have. I'd like to race CX anywhere from four to six times this season, just so I can wrap my head around the rigors of racing again. It'll also be great motivation to stay on the stationary trainer over the cold winter months.

Back on the weekend of the 4th, I also took a little trip to Duluth for some mountain biking, and had a great time. I'd like to do that again on Labor Day Weekend, revisiting Lester Park, but also hitting up Mont Du Lac, and Pokegama (Wisconsin). We'll see.

Written Word



I'm finally ahead of the curve on my goal to tackle 50 books in 2014. That bus commute is helping, I guess. Currently I'm reading Some Remarks... by Neal Stephenson, which is a mix of his essays and short fiction. He left out some material because it felt "ponderous" and I was all like, "Dude, have you met you? Did you read REAMDE and Anathem? 'Cause you wrote 'em!"

Anyway. Yeah. So I don't know if you know how obsessive I get about tracking my books (2012), but I did post a short analysis of where things are at the midway point in 2014.

I've finally switched e-reader apps now that I have a new iPad (thanks, mom, for the "congrats on a new job" gift). I've ditched the Kindle app for Marvin, which is fucking amazeballs, and interfaces directly to my Calibre library.

On the creation side of the house, The Blackjack Runner is semi-stalled. I have some good ideas, and I've been getting them onto magnetic substrate, but it doesn't seem to want to jump off the page just yet. So, been stepping back to do some brainstorming. I think the world surrounding the characters needs more fleshing out.

Addendum



Max was not euthanized -- we found a local vet who has a small no-kill shelter in it. They took him in, but because of his outstanding personality, they made him one of the office cats.

This is My Life Now
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Yes, Virginia, I own a minivan. Or I will once the transfer from the credit union comes through. We're going to be a one-car family, and I'll continue to bus/bike to work. There's a blog post that'll be cropping up on DB.N tomorrow. It's strange that it's a.) not silver, and b.) will be the most expensive car I've ever owned.

Back to the Bus/Bike Thing


So yeah. I've been riding to work once a week -- it's 23.2 miles each way, so I'm getting a pretty heavy day in, given my lack of training. Thus far I've ridden it three times, and each time I've been a bit faster than the last. So I'm pretty pleased with that. In June, I'm riding about once per week, and in July, I want to up that to 2x/week, with 3x/week in August.

The bus has been pretty awesome. It's got free wifi, which is nice, and it's an express so we're not doing the stop/start lurching about that usually leaves me violently motion sick if I'm trying to do anything other than stare out the window. I've been taking the opportunity to catch up on my reading, and that's been pretty sweet. I was pretty behind schedule (goal of 50 books this year) for awhile there.

What Else?


For now, nothing. More later.

Quick Hits
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Downloading a new instance of MAMP to install on the Mac. I'm past the point of scribbling database relationships on graph paper, and it's time to start hammering at the Garage Rocket project.

Completed This Weekend, Thus Far:


  • left work a little early
  • posted my look back at the movies I watched in 2012
  • took the kids to the park
  • MAMP downloaded
  • MAMP installed
  • kitchen cleaned
  • kids fed
  • cats fed
  • toenails clipped
  • kitchen, round two
  • made lunch for Eddy
  • loads of laundry (x1)
  • started mindmapping new book to write
I'll be updating this list over the course of the weekend.

Sam the Viking

Sam


Sam had his six month appointment today and is doing well. Seventy-fifth percentile for height, 25th for weight (which has doubled since he was born), and seventy-fifth for head size. Might have his dad's build. Yikes. Other than that, he's great. He's been rolling over in both directions, and can rotate himself left and right with his navel as the center axis. Crawling will be sometime in the near future, I think.

Currently Reading


Been plowing through Shubin's Your Inner Fish, a fascinating work on how we evolved from our ancestors. It's written in layman's terms, and I'm learning a ton as I work my way through it. About 40% done right now, and should be through it by the end of the weekend.

Next up: either Century Rain by Alastair Reynolds or A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking.

I'm still five books behind the curve on my goal of reading 50 this year. It probably won't happen unless I start taking public transportation to work -- which is actually a distinct possibility.

Eddy Progress
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Kate and I took separate cars home from the weekend at the cabin. She drove her mom's underutilized Subaru Forester and took Sam with her. I drove Eddy home in the Kia. He and I made pretty good time, with the only real slowdowns being once for an accident just outside of Duluth, and then on I-494 South along the west side of the city, where things were a little jam-packed (60 mph vs the 80 mph I had been doing elsewhere).

During the drive, Eddy apparently had a pretty bad nightmare during the car ride home because all of a sudden he was frantically screaming, "Bob? Hi Bob? Hi Bob?" and shaking his stuffed toy ("Bob"), and sounding like he was going to burst into tears. I said, "Bob's okay, buddy."

"Bob okay. Dada okay?"

"Dada's okay, too."

"Mama okay?"

"Mama's okay."

"Okay." Pause. "Eddy okay." Followed by a big, relaxed sigh and the sound of him working the pacifier rather enthusiastically.

I've been amazed at the level of imaginative play he's been undertaking these last few months. His "buddies" (his stuffed animals) are so real to him -- he takes the various stuffed kitties around to the cat food bowls in the morning and puts their faces in and makes little lip smacking noises (and I splode from the cute), and he babbles with them all night and makes them "talk" to each other. The other day, he was playing with an old parking access badge of mine (a white plastic rectangle) and was clearly pretending it was a smartphone. After watching mom feed his brother, he took his baby doll and mimicked having her nurse off of him.

Despite all this, we've continued to be worried about his language skills.

He finally got a full battery of tests from the county -- everything from language to motor skills to social skills. He tests at the low end of normal on most things, so there's no cause for concern.

It's interesting. He's definitely got a couple of words that mean something to him, but damned if we can figure them out. He's also creating his own sign language words, which have been easier to understand ("egg" in particular). I showed him a signing show on PBS on Friday and his mind was blown when he saw words he knew (strawberry, pear, banana), and he was very intrigued by the words for colors, which I followed and have been working on with him.

So yeah, all's well.

Fuck Yeah Friday
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So it's Friday and I've got the day off from the office (they cut us all loose). I'm okay with that -- and today I have done the following:
  • Costco run for produce, cat litter, and dishwasher pellets
  • mowed the Giant Fucking Yard™
  • accepted an offer on our house in Savage
That last one is a big one and a big load off my mind. Whew.

Two things I'm working on:

1. A metahumor page for my DB.N site. It'll be run by a Wordpress plugin.

2. A novel. I've been plugging at it in fits and starts for the last year, but during my lunch break on Wednesday, I crushed a very fast 1000 words. I'm doing a couple of things to keep myself on-track -- first, I'm refusing to go back and edit anything until I'm done with the first draft. I'm also keeping track of word count every day, and set up the spreadsheet to show pacing so when I skip a day or two of output, I can see the impact on my timeline immediately.

Weekend So Far
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Done:

  • 10-hour shift at the bike shop (Friday)
  • started emailing recruiters to tell them to stop looking on behalf
  • started writing blog post
  • bought new keyboard for Mac
  • unfucked Mac
  • mowed/trimmed/raked yard and hedges at Savage house
  • mountain bike ride
  • deep cleaning of kitchen
  • filled out W4, I9, etc., online

To-Do:

  • prep for work tomorrow
  • litterboxes
  • living room
  • start cleaning office
  • start playing with PHP
  • look up Strava API

I'm Only Here for the Gummi Bears, Motherfuckers
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Eddy, Mid-Flight Throw (Cropped)I haven't seen much of Eddy the last two days, largely because of workload. Friday I did a ten hour shift at the bike shop and was gone before he woke up and home just in time to read him a few stories (I also had to run an errand before coming home, which didn't help things). Today, I was tied up doing work on the Savage house, which still hasn't fucking sold (a rant for later), and then did a mountain bike ride at Murphy-Hanrehan since I was in the neighborhood. Just got home in time to read him a story. Again.

The picture above is one of my favorites of us. He was learning to throw while we were up at the lake house last fall. My mother-in-law snapped the picture just as the rock was leaving his hand on one of his few perfect throws that day. Great moment. Now if I could just find a way to stop him from throwing things in the house when he's mad about something...

Sunday Funday

A big part of tomorrow is going to be consumed by getting ready for Day One of my new gig. Because yes, please. Bag will be packed, clothes washed and ironed, lunch pre-made, etc. I'm really looking forward to the new gig and I plan to go in there and make them wonder how the hell they ever managed without me.

How's everyone's weekend been going?

Bike Idea
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Frame: custom steel (obvs) -- Columbus Zona or something similarly inexpensive, making use of some generic cast lugs. Steel fork, also lugged. Think traditional European lines and paint scheme. Except for the sliding dropouts and disc brake tabs.

Wheels: Velocity Deep-V rims laced 32/3-cross to some form of singlespeed disc hub.

Drivetrain: nice-ish cartridge bottom bracket (square taper), early 80's Campy crankset with some nice drillium channels milled into it and painted to match frame, and -- here's where it gets funky -- nice polished aluminum belt drive chainring and cog.

Rider Interface: Thomson stem and seatpost (silver), Selle Italia SLR seat.

Braking: Avid BB7 road, with SRAM levers.

Color Scheme: Blue, with white accents and some gold anodized parts.

Crushing Monday
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Accomplished so far:
• emailed recruiter X
• emailed recruiter Y
• emailed recruiter Z
• emailed recruiter AA
• trolled LinkedIn, saved a few jobs to apply for tonight
• took out trash
• drove to Savage house, took out trash
• checked yesterday's sump pump repairs (all good)
• laundry work
• shower
• haircut

Still to do:
work on "Power of Less" master goals list
• update system to ruby 2.x, install Rails
• watch Rails tutorials
• clean up downloads folder
• re-install backup drive
• workout: core and legs
pick up living room
• vacuum
• arrange floor freezer in garage
go back to Savage house, bring in trashcans and pack up and move the fixture to Chaska
call recruiter X

Ugh
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Had to write about it somewhere. Main blog.