• Garbage Plate

    Greetings from Rochester, NY! We’re up here to celebrate our nephew Greg’s graduation, which is tomorrow. We drove up today, got into town maybe an hour or so ago, and immediately went out to Nick Tahou Hots for “garbage plates.” They lived up to their name, being basically everything the place makes (hot dogs or sausage, with potatoes, macaroni salad, etc) all scumbled together on one plate and covered with meat sauce. Not HUGE huge, but plenty of food and very filling. We are both stuffed now, and sitting in our hotel room trying to digest — we expect to have to go to dinner at Sticky Lips BBQ when the rest of the gang arrives…


  • Readings

    We went down to visit Ben & Candace in Philly on Monday. We took a walk around Bartram’s Garden, grabbed some lunch downtown, and made our traditional trip to Penn Books — they may not be there much more longer, so it was good to get in one last visit. I got a few SF titles, and already finished one: Jeff VanderMeer’s The Strange Bird. This is another story in the “Borne” universe, and I think it’s by far the best story in that universe, though it probably can’t stand on its own – it needs those other stories to make sense. Still, it’s got my recommendation.

    Last night was a poetry reading at the library: a public reading of Leaves of Grass in honor of Walt Whitman’s birthday. Anne read a poem, as did our friends Matt (poet/librarian), and Sarah, and many others. Very fun!


  • The Week of Living Busily

    This week has been fun, but a bit on the busy side:

    Tuesday night we hosted a “meet & greet” with City Council hopefuls Will Carpenter and Paige van Wirt. Some friends and neighbors, cheese and crackers, and some insight into who the candidates are, why they are running, and where they stand on local issues. Democracy!

    Wednesday night was Anne’s ukulele night, and we hosted, and Thursday night Anne had some friends over to play flute/violin quartets, and Friday morning was cello duets for me with Donna H.

    Today I’m doing a cello recital at the place I take lessons, then we’re helping with Bike Day at the Easton YMCA, and tomorrow is a birthday lunch for Anne’s mom.


  • Readings: Mr. Shivers

    Another book from the library; I finished this one a week or so ago. This was by Robert Jackson Bennet, the same guy who wrote Foundryside, but it was a very different book: set in an almost post-apocalyptic, Depression/Dustbowl-era America, it’s the tale of strangers who join together to hunt down a killer. It’s full of stories within stories, as they, and the people they meet, tell their tales — very Americana Gothic, with a bit of Cormac McCarthy thrown in.

    There’s an element of fantasy, or the supernatural, thrown in just at the very end, and I think it actually detracts from the story, but not enough to ruin it. I really liked this, it was world-building as historical fiction, and world-building at its best.


  • The Old Tree

    Service Berry Flowers

    Continuing my themes of Death and photography, here is a photo of some flowers on the service berry bush in front of our house. This was a from a few weeks ago, at the tail end of its bloom — glorious blossoms, white as snow on the ground when they fell. Most years we could expect berries in a few weeks, ones that taste like cranberries (only sweeter and more delicate), great in pancakes and a favorite of birds, but as of today the tree is no more: it had always been small and spindly, and it started to lean over the past few years, and the lean began to accelerate this fall; the tree guy, showing us that it had been improperly planted, pushed and almost knocked it over. That was probably in December, and today was the day they came to take it out. (They also pruned the persimmon trees out back.)

    We have plans for another tree, but we don’t yet know what kind we want. Maybe another service berry, maybe an oak…


  • Goodbye, Old Friend

    dog in snow
    Langston in the Snow

    We heard the other day that our old dog Langston finally had to be put down. Anne had him when we met in 2008; he wasn’t more than two years old at the time, and we were the best of buddies for about two years, until it became apparent (rather I should say: undeniable, un-hideable) that he was making me very sick, and we had to give him to her ex. We saw him a few times since, the last time being about two years ago, when we all got together to plan Emmi’s wedding. He was a bit older and grayer, but then so were we, and he was happy to see us, breaking out some of his toys to play tug-of-war. He had a pretty good life, but I still feel bad that he couldn’t have stayed with us.

    I don’t have very many photos of him. That one was from a day of hiking and playing in the snow at Sals, in January of 2009.


  • Pictures Or It Didn’t Happen

    Happy birthday to me! That was last week, but I did manage to milk it all the way through the weekend: Anne and I went out for drinks at The Mint on my actual birthday, then on Friday night we went out again, to Lehigh Pizza and Bonn Place, with John & Donna.

    On Saturday night we saw Dar Williams at the Sellersville Theater, with Kathy and Jordan and a friend of theirs, and I got more birthday greetings but I think the bloom was finally fading from that rose. We had a great time at the concert: I knew the name “Dar Williams,” but I knew none of her music (Anne swears that she’s on the radio all the time) and so she was an awesome discovery, at least for me. I am currently in the process of putting her music, ripped from the CD’s we bought after the show, into our system.

    Earlier in the week I got in a great ride at Sals, with John E and his friend Dan. I rode really well and felt good, but when I got home I found that my GPS had died somewhere on the ride. Permanent malfunction: I lost the data for my awesome ride, and I also need a new GPS. Oh well…


  • Seize The Days

    There was no concert tonight to go to, but except for that the last few days have been extraordinarily full: I got in a ride on Saturday and today (and did a “practice event” for BikeSmart Lehigh Valley on Saturday), got in some pretty decent practice sessions with the cello, and went to local concerts on Saturday and Sunday. I’d consider those days seized…


  • Day of the Munchies

    It’s not the “medically-induced” kind of munchies, but I have been hungry and eating all day. Bacon and eggs for breakfast, some leftover beef & beans & rice for lunch, chicken soup for dinner, and slices from a blueberry tart all day, plus candy. I just finished dinner, and I am hungry right now…

    I basically ate a slice of cake and a bratwurst yesterday, so maybe it’s just that I am running on empty. Yesterday was the big CAT 25th Anniversary celebration, and in the morning we were busy helping to put it together: Anne made the giant cake and some iced tea, we took things over to the Library around 1:00, spent some time setting things up, and the event itself started, with the cutting of the cake and the obligatory speeches, at 3:00. (Since this was also CAT’s annual meeting, there were also things like treasurer’s reports and such.) We even got to see a short film, made about CAT maybe 10-15 years ago. There were volunteer awards, and more speeches and more cake, and then it was time to clean up and go. A few of us got a little party going afterward, outside at the Sun Inn: Main Street was bustling, the day was cooling but still warm, and it was really pleasant to sit outside with friends at a beer garden — that was where I got that brat. A pleasant day, and it felt good to see all the evidence of CAT doing as well as it is has been lately.

    Today was colder again, and rainy in the morning, and we’ve just been hanging out. I’ve been kneading my “trail amenities” database, trying to get it into a more professional, normalized form, and (now that I got through the log-jam that was The War of the Gods) I’ve been thoroughly enjoying Foundryside.


  • Interim Report

    I have the first part of my new Python project (reading and analyzing data from my Garmin): it can now extract (or calculate) distance, time, moving time, maximum speed, average speed, average moving speed, maximum and average heart rates, time in each heart rate zone, and calories for the overall ride and each lap, as well as a linestring of the path taken, and starting points for each lap. For now I only store some of these in my database, but I may add them later — that’s a database task. Here is the output for a ride where I hit the “lap” button a lot:

    Processing /home/don/Desktop/temp_stuff/zippy_towpath.fit
    
    Overall Ride Stats:
    Start Time: 2019-03-15 18:32:22
    Distance: 25.48 mi
    Elapsed Time: 2:01:10   Average Speed: 12.62 mph
    Moving Time: 2:01:08   Moving Average Speed 12.62 mph
    Maximum Speed: 28.62 mph
    Avg Heart Rate: 143    Max Heart Rate: 160
    Calories: 977
    Time in zones: ['0:00:00', '0:02:29', '0:53:39', '1:02:17', '0:00:00']
    Estimated MET calories (dirt road): 975
    Estimated MET calories (generic MTB): 1429
    
    Lap 1 Stats:
    Start Time: 2019-03-15 18:32:22
    Distance: 2.55 mi
    Elapsed Time: 0:10:14   Average Speed: 14.96 mph
    Moving Time: 0:10:13   Moving Average Speed 14.98 mph
    Maximum Speed: 28.62 mph
    Avg Heart Rate: 121    Max Heart Rate: 149
    Calories: 78
    Time in zones: ['0:00:00', '0:02:29', '0:03:09', '0:01:49', '0:00:00']
    Estimated MET calories (dirt road): 82
    Estimated MET calories (generic MTB): 120
    
    Lap 2 Stats:
    Start Time: 2019-03-15 18:42:36
    Distance: 3.55 mi
    Elapsed Time: 0:14:22   Average Speed: 14.84 mph
    Moving Time: 0:14:22   Moving Average Speed 14.84 mph
    Maximum Speed: 18.94 mph
    Avg Heart Rate: 156    Max Heart Rate: 160
    Calories: 160
    Time in zones: ['0:00:00', '0:00:00', '0:00:00', '0:14:22', '0:00:00']
    Estimated MET calories (dirt road): 116
    Estimated MET calories (generic MTB): 169
    
    Lap 3 Stats:
    Start Time: 2019-03-15 18:56:58
    Distance: 0.40 mi
    Elapsed Time: 0:01:51   Average Speed: 13.05 mph
    Moving Time: 0:01:51   Moving Average Speed 13.01 mph
    Maximum Speed: 15.24 mph
    Avg Heart Rate: 149    Max Heart Rate: 156
    Calories: 19
    Time in zones: ['0:00:00', '0:00:00', '0:00:00', '0:01:51', '0:00:00']
    Estimated MET calories (dirt road): 15
    Estimated MET calories (generic MTB): 22
    
    Lap 4 Stats:
    Start Time: 2019-03-15 18:58:49
    Distance: 3.89 mi
    Elapsed Time: 0:17:07   Average Speed: 13.65 mph
    Moving Time: 0:17:07   Moving Average Speed 13.64 mph
    Maximum Speed: 18.08 mph
    Avg Heart Rate: 145    Max Heart Rate: 153
    Calories: 172
    Time in zones: ['0:00:00', '0:00:00', '0:03:21', '0:13:46', '0:00:00']
    Estimated MET calories (dirt road): 138
    Estimated MET calories (generic MTB): 202
    
    Lap 5 Stats:
    Start Time: 2019-03-15 19:15:56
    Distance: 2.33 mi
    Elapsed Time: 0:10:21   Average Speed: 13.50 mph
    Moving Time: 0:10:21   Moving Average Speed 13.52 mph
    Maximum Speed: 18.29 mph
    Avg Heart Rate: 139    Max Heart Rate: 147
    Calories: 83
    Time in zones: ['0:00:00', '0:00:00', '0:08:44', '0:01:37', '0:00:00']
    Estimated MET calories (dirt road): 83
    Estimated MET calories (generic MTB): 122
    
    Lap 6 Stats:
    Start Time: 2019-03-15 19:26:17
    Distance: 5.73 mi
    Elapsed Time: 0:28:15   Average Speed: 12.17 mph
    Moving Time: 0:28:16   Moving Average Speed 12.16 mph
    Maximum Speed: 22.55 mph
    Avg Heart Rate: 142    Max Heart Rate: 152
    Calories: 196
    Time in zones: ['0:00:00', '0:00:00', '0:19:47', '0:08:29', '0:00:00']
    Estimated MET calories (dirt road): 227
    Estimated MET calories (generic MTB): 333
    
    Lap 7 Stats:
    Start Time: 2019-03-15 19:54:33
    Distance: 6.32 mi
    Elapsed Time: 0:32:54   Average Speed: 11.53 mph
    Moving Time: 0:32:55   Moving Average Speed 11.52 mph
    Maximum Speed: 14.50 mph
    Avg Heart Rate: 143    Max Heart Rate: 150
    Calories: 230
    Time in zones: ['0:00:00', '0:00:00', '0:16:08', '0:16:47', '0:00:00']
    Estimated MET calories (dirt road): 265
    Estimated MET calories (generic MTB): 388
    
    Lap 8 Stats:
    Start Time: 2019-03-15 20:27:28
    Distance: 0.70 mi
    Elapsed Time: 0:06:05   Average Speed: 6.94 mph
    Moving Time: 0:06:03   Moving Average Speed 6.99 mph
    Maximum Speed: 12.39 mph
    Avg Heart Rate: 146    Max Heart Rate: 158
    Calories: 39
    Time in zones: ['0:00:00', '0:00:00', '0:02:30', '0:03:36', '0:00:00']
    Estimated MET calories (dirt road): 49
    Estimated MET calories (generic MTB): 71
    Done
    

    There’s a little room for improvement — rounding errors cause a few problems with moving vs total times in some laps, for instance — but this is what I’m looking for. My next question is: do I want this to be a standalone program, with its own GUI and everything, or do I want to build a web interface?