• Big Breezy Day

    Posted on by Don

    Morning weigh-in: 193.0#, 15.0% BF

    Not sure what happened there with the weight, except that there were several days without real exercise — hey but I did make my steps! — and last night was a night out with John. We did the Brew Works, our usual, where it was quiet, almost empty even when we arrived, but it eventually picked up. Anne and I had eaten a fairly healthy meal at home (lamb with cauliflower, delish) but I had a rye IPA and two glasses of mead, and I think that might be at least partly to blame for those numbers.

    In terms of rides, I just got back from one, down the towpath to Easton and back. It’s a beautiful day and, except for a strong breeze, cycling conditions were ideal. It’s hard to believe we’re expecting two to four inches of snow tomorrow.

     


  • I Am Not Your Negro

    Posted on by Don

    Morning weigh-in: 191.0#, 13.5% BF

    We saw I Am Not Your Negro last night, the the documentary about James Baldwin. Unbelievably good — it cut between Baldwin himself in speeches, interviews etc, other documentary footage from various eras (60’s era riots, lynchings, Ferguson) and movie footage, especially of movies from when he was a kid, with a voice-over of his writings (mostly musings from an unfinished project, a tribute to Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King — “three friends who had been murdered” as he put it at one point), read by Samuel L. Jackson. More a “time to face some things you already know but have trouble admitting” story than an eye-opener, the structure, and Baldwin’s own powerful words, made for a very intense movie.

    Highly recommended — go see it.

    Afterward we went to a nearby pub that shall remain nameless, where the food was good and the beer was pretty decent, but it seemed one of those places — there are a number of them in the Valley, on the outskirts of urban areas — where there were noticeably no black people. (Admittedly, there were few people at all in there, and those few were annoying, so maybe I had a sour view of things.) There was also a whiskey ad on the wall, a mocking take on “Black Lives Matter.” Nothing serious, maybe a bit “edgy,” passive-aggressive even, but hey free speech and where’s your sense of humor?

    It could almost have been a scene from the movie, like a substitute for the outtakes from “The Pajama Game,” while the voice-over talks about white apathy and the emptiness of American lives. I guess that’s what great art does to you, it sensitizes you to the things it showed you.

    Anyway, not much else got done yesterday, though I did manage to lose another half pound. No ride today, since I’m going over to volunteer at the Museum, but possibly a road ride tomorrow.


  • Bright New Monday!

    Morning weigh-in: 191.5#, 13.5% BF

    Did a towpath ride yesterday, ended up fighting headwinds again on the way back but it was a beautiful day. I can’t say I ate all that smart or light yesterday, but they were healthy meals at home, so that’s something.

    Today is a rest day: did a few online and IRL chores, and hopefully I will be heading in to help with more Bethlehem Steel drawings this afternoon at the Canal Museum. Breakfast was fruit with cottage cheese, lunch will be something in the same vein.

     


  • Home Sweet Home

    Morning weigh-in: 192.5#, 13.0% BF

    Oh yeah, I’m back to that….

    We are also back from a mini-vacation: several days in Montreal, followed by a few more in Northampton, Massachusetts — a week in total, Wednesday to Wednesday. Our plan was originally to do a little XC skiing somewhere in New England, but in the week before we left it became apparent that the weather would not cooperate, so we aimed further north. Even there, the weather was forecast to be weirdly warm, but we figured we’d find more things to do in a big city if the skiing didn’t pan out.

    And that’s exactly what happened: we visited the Biodome and Insectarium, and the art museum (“Chagall and music”), and sampled the local nightlife, and got in several good long exploratory walks through the city, including a hike up Mont Royal. Northampton was more bookstores and coffee shops, but we did get in a day hike, to the overlooks on Mt. Tom.

    We drove home on Wednesday, and were back into the maelstrom by Thursday. Friday I got in a morning towpath ride, and volunteered again at the Canal Museum, where I’m helping to evaluate old — like, circa 1900’s old — engineering drawings they’d acquired over the years from Bethlehem Steel. Yesterday was housework and food shopping…

    I may go for a ride this afternoon if it warms up, or a hike if it doesn’t.


  • Winterized

    There is still snow on the ground, but what’s been falling, overnight and all day so far, is freezing rain. Things have quieted down since last week’s big move, so today we slept in and are doing indoor hobby things: Anne is sewing upstairs, and I spent the morning getting various QGIS add-ons up and running.

    This is really a story for another post, but I’d had trouble running SAGA through QGIS (when I was doing those online courses), even though I had SAGA running on my laptop. There had been some upgrades since that misadventure, so I gave it another try the last week, but it was still broken. Then I got sucked in: I sat down and read the error logs, realized that QGIS was calling the SAGA routines with outdated command line parameters, and managed to batch fix the QGIS end of it — 250 commands fixed with a simple, multifile search-and-replace, two minutes and I was done. And it worked!

    I got so excited that I SAGA’ed the shit out of a bunch of data, realized I had no current use for the tool, and decided to install and play with a bunch of other processing add-ons, like hydrological (flow and runoff) modeling with TauDEM, satellite image processing using Orfeo, and statistics using R, which I already had installed. TauDEM and Orfeo seemed to work fine, but R didn’t so I spent some time getting that figured out. I think I like the idea of these tools more than actually using them, because I get a lot of satisfaction out of getting them to work.

    Anyway, there will be no outdoor sports activities today, or even outdoors at all given the general nastiness in the air (and slipperiness on the ground). We’ll probably go out to the usual later with John and Donna — we went out to Easton last night with them, but found Two Rivers and Porters both completely¬† full up, and Black & Blue still closed, so in effect we did the “Beermuda Triangle” without any beer, drove back to Bethlehem, and went instead to the Beef Baron, which was a nice change of pace.


  • Well the Groundhog Was Half Right

    Here we are, February already, and only now dealing with the first big snowfall¬† of the season… unfortunately, we only got about 5″ on the ground here, though other areas got quite a bit more — Anne’s sister is visiting from Connecticut, and called home to find that they got more than a foot “so far,” along with high winds and thunder. The ground is white here, and we had to shovel the cars out, but that’s really all she wrote. The snow is too shallow, and too wet, to be much good for winter fun. (It was a work day anyway: today was the day we moved Anne’s mom into her new place. Tomorrow will be more of the same, as we move her furniture and set up her apartment.)

    Yesterday was warm and sunny, literally in the sixties, it’s hard to believe the difference from then to now. I put my singlespeed back together yesterday — all it really needed was to have the tires and pedals put back on — then rode around the neighborhood all afternoon.

     


  • Another Win Is Another Win

    Wooo! Did the Superbowl of Chili yesterday with Eric and his neighbor George, and we had a beer-and-chili-fueled blast, if you’ll pardon the pun. No morning run, but that’s fine, Anne and I may do a hike in Jim Thorpe this afternoon.

    Meanwhile… My WordPress page (you’re looking at it) uses a theme called Raindrops, which I like a lot of course, but it seems to be a hobby project of some guy in Japan, and there is a persistent error in his code. Specifically, he’s missing a closing anchor tag in the function that creates “featured images,” so that on a page with a featured image, everything after the image is part of the link back to the image’s page. It’s easy enough to find and fix (I did it) but my attempts to contact the author about the error got me nowhere.

    Like I said, fixing this error is easy enough, but the Raindrops theme gets updated a lot, and when it does, the file with the corrected code gets overwritten (with a newer version of the buggy code). Every update would find me going in and manually re-doing the fix — it got old.

    WordPress themes are built so that one can refer to another, as in a parent theme and a child theme, and the child would inherit from the parent theme all its attributes (layout, behavior etc) except those specifically overridden by the child theme, which can also add functionality etc. This seemed to be ideal for my needs: I could create a child theme, which would only override that one bad function with my corrected version.

    My first look at this, several months ago, made me think it wouldn’t work: the original theme’s function coding has to be set up to allow itself to be overridden (each function is tested to see if it does not already exist before being defined), and I could have sworn that my parent theme was not set up like this. I looked again more recently though, and sure enough, everything was good. (Maybe I was mistaken in my first look at the code, or maybe this was added in one of the theme’s many upgrades.)

    So I’m good to go, and late last week I sat down and made my child theme, and that all worked out fine. The real moment of truth came this weekend: the parent theme had an upgrade, and the upgrade didn’t break my website. Success!


  • A Win Is A Win

    Remember how I said my only New Year’s resolution was to ride more this year? Well, procrastination FTW: I just got out for the first ride of the year today… Out along the towpath, taking pictures of old locks and industrial ruins. Cold but sunny, it was a pretty nice day for a ride, even though the ground was mushy in places and there were headwinds on the way home, and it felt really good to be riding.

    By the way, tomorrow is the big Chili Contest in Easton. I’ll be meeting Eric and his neighbor George there, and maybe Doug and Lori, and I expect to see a whole bunch of the old Easton crowd as well. I just may get up early and do a short run before going over, but as they say, we shall see.


  • Experiments in Routing, Part 2

    This is my second post in a series, where I report back on my results from playing with various ways to use routing, in QGIS and related programs. My immediate task is to identify those cycling amenities that are nearest to access points along the Lehigh Towpath. You can read Part 1 (the introduction) here. In this post, I’ll be using the QGIS built-in Network Analysis Library. Follow along after the break…

    Continue reading  Post ID 622