Bike challenge 2005 roundup

Yesterday was my 49th bike commute to work. I got a flat tire on the ride and had to catch a bus the rest of the way. I’m going to count it since I did get 6 miles in and I feel like I kept the spirit of the goal. Still – I was one ride short for the year so I’m extending the goal into next year. I have to ride to work 50 times in the coming year.

Now – to figure out how to change a road tire. They’re so small.

WWII Cloth Maps

fabric maps!
Over christmas my mother gave me some maps/charts that my Grandma had. They’re charts of the Pacific ocean with currents and political boundaries printed on some sort of fabric. This site suggests that the maps are printed on rayon, though others say silk. Apparently the idea came out of MI9, a sub-unit of British Intelligence as a means to provide compact, foldable maps that could be used for troops to escape capture and return safely. I’m not sure what the exact intent of these maps was, or what my great-uncle used them for, but they’re pretty damn cool.

The two I got (well, three – but two are duplicates) are an Army-Air Force series of Japan and the South China Sea (No. C-52) and a Naval Air Combat Intelligence-Hydrographic Office map of the Western Pacific with two sides for different currents during different seasons (NACI-HO No. S-12). The idea for the maps is pretty dark but really quite functional and they have definitely stood up well over time. I wonder how one goes about printing on silk with an ink-jet?

bikini atol
This one has the Bikini Atoll on it, which is one of those places you really hope you didn’t find yourself during WWII. Imagine looking for landmarks and seeing a mushroom cloud. That’d really inspire you to keep trying to find your way back to civilization.

We’re trying to think of something cool to do with the maps but it’s hard to decide because both sides have something. I’d feel guilty about making some boxers out of it, and well, scarfs just aren’t my thing.

First Gallery with SD550

I’ve posted the first set of photos taken with the SD550. I really like the Color Accent feature, which you’ll notice in several pictures. The camera lets you select a color (like the photoshop eyedropper) and it then highlights that and changes the rest to grayscale.

I also use the stitch assist last night but the picture itself isn’t that good. More to come though.

Lastly – I’ve changed the image resolution to 800×600, so the images will be a little bigger from now on. What’s the point of hosting at home if you can’t overuse disk space?

Changing of the guard

MyPowershot S300 and SD550Thanks to my awesome sister, I’m going to retire my Canon Powershot S300. The workhorse has taken over 7560 pictures since March of 2002 and has handled a rugged life like a champ. I’m particularly fond of the camera and Michelle thinks I’m being silly for being so nostalgic about it, but the camera has captured so much, and put some miles on. It’s even been underwater in the Atlantic on our trip to Bermuda.

At the time of it’s purchase (the last time I got a tax rebate) in 2002, it was $499. I picked it because of it’s excellent optical zoom, metal body, size, resolution, ability to shoot short movie clips and portability. I’ve been extremely pleased by it’s functioning, and love the panorama stitching function. It has also been very forgiving and has lived through a couple drops, a bike wreck or two, being sat on once or twice, and just riding around in my pocket for nearly 4 years.

side by side

Back to my awesome sister (and Fletcher). She’s noticed the uncomfortable 20 second pause between I ask people to smile and when it focuses and flashes. So Hilly got us the SD550 for christmas. It’s awesome. Small, sleek, clean, and easy to use. Oh, and it’s really fast. It shoots faster and downloads quickly (thanks to USB 2). The LCD is freakin’ huge – nearly 4 times larger than the S300, so I’ll have to watch the battery life and be more cautious about pocketing it.

I’m quite excited and have been very pleased by several of the photos I’ve taken with it. I look forward to another 4+ years of exciting photos.


Advice for those applying for jobs at an academic institution:

Do not answer supplemental questions with content that you have taken verbatim from a Google search. There’s nothing wrong with doing some research to understand the field you’re getting in to, but credit the work or at least change some of the wording.

The Vegetable Challenge

Michelle and I just joined a CSA called Organics to You in an attempt to improve our diets and to help encourage the ag boom in Oregon. Don’t get me wrong – Michelle and I eat very well – but it isn’t always the best for us. We’re especially weak in the fruit/veggie section of the Pyramid.

Oddly enough, Michelle and I are 80% vegetarian, but we’re doing a poor job of actually getting the raw fruits and veggies. So here’s the challenge. We’re starting with a “Bin for one” and intend to eat all of it before the next bin arrives two weeks later. So far, things look good, and we’re pretty excited about the challenge.


I won tickets to last Friday’s Blazers v. Sonics game. Michelle and I went figuring “how bad can it be? It’s free!” Well, it was pretty bad. It was my first NBA game and I admit that seeing the Globetrotters back in middle school set the bar pretty high. I’ll also admit that I went in to it hoping the Sonics would win. I’m not sure why, but I felt a greater sense of loyalty to them. Needless to say, when we left at the end of the third period $40 poorer, I had picked the winning team.

Here’s a couple things I noticed.

  • The rose garden was empty. We sat 10 rows down from the top which gave us a pretty good view of the arena. The entire crowd could have fit into the 100s section.
  • The event and it’s immense chaos is meant for TV viewers. The ultra-bright LCD scoreboard/pep-machine that encircles the arena will burn the retinas of anyone actually sitting above the 200 level. Luckily those people are poor anyway so it doesn’t matter.
  • Did the court get smaller? It only takes the players like 10 strides to cross the court!
  • I finally get the jokes about traveling in the NBA
  • How does Portland support an NBA team? The place was empty and most of the crowd looked to be under 16.