Month: April 2011

More ranting about drivers – or – Gaaaahhh!! The stupid people follow me around!

This is just a rant. I don’t care. When I am stopped at a light I just sit there until the light turns green — then I go. It makes sense, right? When other folks are stopped at a light about 10% seem to want to constantly creep forward as if their car came to a full stop they might never be able to get it to go again. Eventually the light turns green and for the most part they have worse reaction times and don’t move before I clear the intersection! Well yesterday I saw someone get their due. Finally. (Ok, they didn’t get much, but that’s OK I guess… ) I’ve colored the inductive loop “car sensor” green in the diagram above. They pulled so far up that they were no longer on the loop and they didn’t get a green light! (You can take a look on Google Maps if you want — this is rotated north up so you’ll have to mentally flip something around) Suckers. If you just follow the rules in this case you can actually have things work better for you! That and I kept getting behind people driving 10 mph under the speed limit for no good reason. And no, I don’t count being on your phone or drunk as a good reason. Put the phone/bottle down before you kill someone!...

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Where’s the money in this scheme?

First a bit of background. En has a new bike and I moved my bike computer (Garmin Edge 305) to her bike. My bike (older) has a new computer to replace it (Garmin Edge 800 — more on that in another post). Problem: in the five years since I purchased the old computer the battery has degraded. What started off as an 8-10 hour battery life is now closer to 4 hours. Not just that but the self-discharge rate has gone through the roof (25% in three days! Gaaahh!!). Not to fear, the internet comes to the rescue with instructions on how to replace the non-replaceable battery! Internet: +1. Step one: acquire battery. This is the point of this. The battery was purchased on eBay for the princely sum of $3.05 shipped to my doorstep. How on earth is that profitable? The price of shipping is $0.44. Oddly, the USPS shipping label is printed on UPS label stock. I’m guessing that was a “donation” from UPS so I’m not going to count that (or the printer that was used to print it). The envelope is a pretty decent one with bubble padding and all that. The price I’m seeing for that is around a dime. The PayPal fee for this small transaction is $0.39. Summed up this is $0.93. This is just simple overhead that can’t be avoided at any cost....

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Summer plans – Acadia, New York, ????

It’s that time of the year again: time to figure out where to go for the summer vacation! The best we can think of at the moment is to head east to the coast then follow the coast up to Acadia National Park up in Maine then spend some time touring around up there. As an added bonus we can visit Cynthia, one of my good friends, who’s up there in New York City (“New York City? Get a Rope!”) and have a look around there. We’ve not been there to visit since around 1999 or so for a Rocky Horror convention that was up there. Beyond those two destinations does anyone have any other...

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Credit Card Fraud — A new use case for me

I found a UPS envelope on my doorstep today and in there was a new credi card from American Express. American Express monitors all account for fraud on an ongoing basis. Our fraud detection systems determined that you name and card number may have been intercepted by an external party and, as a precautionary measure to protect your account against unauthorized use, we have issued the enclosed replacement Card. This happened before — kinda. They called and asked if I was trying to book a flight from London. While I wish I was it wasn’t me in London. They gave me a new card then. Today this came and I hadn’t talked to them recently. I checked the recent transactions and nothing came up looking odd. I’m not even on using the online Playstation gaming network. I wonder what triggered this. I’ve not been hanging out in any seedy parts of the internet. (Or at least not any new seedy parts.) The FAQ specifically says “American Express cannot disclose information regarding ongoing fraud investigations.” Odd. It’s just a pain in the butt to now give everyone my new card that regularly bills me for stuff. Oh well. I suppose it’s better than the...

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Hand signals

Today was the first almost close call of the year. It wasn’t that close so I hesitate to call it a close call, but regardless. This is just a reminder to everyone out there in cars that a bicycle on the road is a vehicle that has right to the road too. The proper way to turn left on a bike is to signal with your left hand then take your lane that you are entitled to. By taking the lane I mean get yourself in the middle or even to the left of the lane. Think of where you are in in relation to the lane when you’re driving in a car. That is where you want to put yourself. So you communicate your intentions and act on them when it is safe to do so. Why? So some douchebag doesn’t try to cut you off when you actually turn. It almost happened today. I wanted to take my lane since traffic ahead was stopped since a car wanted to turn left as well and I was going the same speed as the car behind me. I signaled and I took my lane in the big gap between cars. The douchebag went left of center to try to pass me even though if they did they had no place to go afterward except into oncoming traffic or the...

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W8DFL QSL Cards – 4/25/2011

We have a few different countries in today’s update. Mostly Europe — and a bit of Africa that used to belong to Europe. I’ll start off with the girl drinking a good Czech beer. Most likely a Pilsner from Boheme — the birthplace of Pilsner beer. 1971 Pilsner beer in this case. In a classic tall Pilsner glass. I’ll raise a glass to that! Next up: an old one from OH5PW in Finland: Just look at the side of that radio! My radio which is 100 W (unlike the 150 that’s in the picture) is the size of a couple of phone books. Thor’s radio is the size of him! There’s an improvement if nothing else! :-) The last two of the lot are from the Belgian Congo: …and… Like any kid I like the zoo. :-) Who can say no to an elephant or a rhinoceros? I especially like the second one from OQ5FV. That’s from Dr. Henry S. Nelson, M.D. that was helping out there in Luebo in the middle of Africa. As much as the notion of “missions” kind of freak me out, at the same time I think that people that go in and actually help people and don’t ask for anything in return — like doctors — transcend that. It reminds me of the more modern Doctors Without Borders of today. But this was back in...

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Sanity for today (and tomorrow… and the day after…)

Happy Easter everyone! This gets me onto my rant for today: holidays. This isn’t a rant from today, but from the past. Today was fine. We all got together for dinner at my in-law’s place. En and I were there as way my mother. En’s sister and husband and their two kids came along as well. En’s uncle (mom’s brother) was there as well. We all sat down for dinner which turned out quite good and all seemed to get along just fine. The rant is about the past. (…and present for some people) The holiday where you need to make an appearance with everyone — because if you don’t visit you obviously don’t love them. When you’re growing up you have a set of traditions that your parents have. It’s what you you wind up feeling comfortable with. It’s like the big comfy blanket on your bed. It’s home; it’s safe. Then you meet someone. Everyone, of course, has different traditions. He/she/they will want to do other things. Sometimes they interleave, sometimes they conflict. Sometimes it’s just way too much. Here’s my order of priorities in this case: My (hypothetical) kids Me (my sanity for the most part) My partner Our collective families and friends Why put me nearer the top? You can say it’s selfish… Ok. But if I’m insane then that doesn’t do anyone any good....

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I’ve been doing cycling for as long as I can remember. For some reason I’ve always had somewhat of a masochistic tendency with hills — again, for as long as I can remember. Today I did one of my classic training rides (well, almost classic for me — Bainbridge has some construction so I took the long way). View Ride 4/23/2011 in a larger map In total it worked out to be a bit over 40 miles (65km). F#cking head-wind the whole way back though. :pain: Jen has a new bike too. Finally we have a road bike under her. You can say it’s dumb to get a carbon bike, but I can tell you wholeheartedly that carbon bikes simply ride smoother. If that’s what it takes to get you to ride more… well I consider it a small price to pay. More on that bike later. It’s a beauty though! :-D Goal for the summer: ride a century. I don’t think I’m that far off now if I were to do it on flat land as opposed to the...

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