• Category Archives day by day
  • This is the category closest to just being a plain diary. Places I go, things I do, people I see, what’s happening in my life.

  • A Story

    We went out yesterday to the Allentown Farmer’s Market, and on the way we stopped at Syb’s Deli for lunch. We sat near the window, and Anne noticed a cute little birdhouse, built to look like the deli, just outside on a telephone pole. (I didn’t see it until she pointed it out.) We asked the waitress about it, and she said they had no idea who put it up — one day it was just there. There were three other little birdhouses that also appeared in the neighborhood at the same time, she said, but these didn’t look like the Syb’s one or any local buildings: they were undecorated, except each of them had “eat the rich” written on it. Here’s a photo of the one outside Syb’s:

    syb's deli birdhouse
    Syb’s Deli Birdhouse

    We got a bunch of other stuff done yesterday, and then met Judy and Erika, at Stoke in Easton, to plan our Thanksgiving dinner. Today I raked the leaves; it’s cold and windy, and it even snowed a bit this morning, so I figured it was the perfect day for it. Later this afternoon Anne’s quartet will be doing a “house concert” at Jeff and Kristen’s, then we might go out for drinks after dinner, to a new place — new to us, anyway — down by Sand Island, called Artisan.

  • Back From The Dead

    Yesterday was a completely wasted day — I was tired and headachey from the time I got up until around 9:00. I couldn’t tell if it was a sinus headache, or maybe tension, or dehydration. It felt for all the world like a hangover, but even though we went out Tuesday night I had only one beer; if one beer can knock me out of the game like that, it’s time for me to to hang up my drinking shoes.

    I suspect it was the aftermath of the ride we did Tuesday. Anne and I did a solid 65 miles, through four counties and over two gaps: we rode over Blue Mountain at Little Gap and came home by way of Wind Gap, with a lunch stop at the diner there. Not the most difficult of rides, but my nose was seriously draining and I have not done any rides like that in a while, and maybe that was what beat me down. (Anne of course was fine, the weeks I took off from riding were the weeks she spent riding, over New England mountains on a loaded tour bike.)

    I would show you the ride’s GPS and stats, but well, you know how that has been working out with Garmin, and that gave me the germ of an idea for my next map project: something that can extract and display my ride data in a frame on my blog. I started looking into it yesterday, and promptly fell down the GPX/FIT rabbit hole. I learned a lot though — mostly that this might be more of a PIA than I figured. Oh well, everybody needs a hobby…

    Meantime, Halloween. We had Trick or Treat on Friday, and we had a few friends over to help (they got adult-liquid treats), and then on Sunday the parade came by on Broad Street. Yesterday was pretty subdued, though the library did a cover-to-cover reading of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, in honor of the 200th anniversary of its publishing. Anne was there for a big part of the afternoon, and I went for a bit too, listening through several readers before heading back home. I forgot how sad the story really is.

    Here are some pictures from the parade:

  • Brew Day

    The Hershey Half Marathon is tomorrow. Neither of us is doing it, but a number of Anne’s nieces and nephews are, and Heather & Bruce are coming to visit today so they can be closer to Hershey for tomorrow morning’s drive. It’s still pretty far, they could have found somewhere closer I’m sure, but we’re also brewing today (we’re doing our Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale clone) and they want to learn the process. They should be here in about an hour, and the brew stuff is all set up in the backyard. Of course Anne is cooking up a storm.

  • Donnie Getchyer Annie

    So the Big Stick Cleanup got started yesterday, but did not get finished: I got a call from Anne just before 2:00; she said she was somewhere in Connecticut riding alone, she was cold and wet, it was raining, and was done. I packed up what I was doing, got home and ready to go, and was on the road by 2:05 after getting her exact location by email. It was about four hours away, but the drive was pretty easy, and with an hour for dinner we were home by 11:00 or so, and totally crashed not long after. I guess we’ll have that pot roast tonight.

  • Infrastructure WEEKEND? Oh Noes!

    Infrastructure Week continues today with some yardwork, only it’s yardwork at Anne’s office: there is a huge mulberry tree in the neighbor’s yard, whose branches were damaging her roof. The roof guy cut a bunch of them off but now those are lying in a heap behind her office, and if the weather holds I plan to go chop and bag them. I suspect I may have to get access via the downstairs tenant’s office, so I’ve been waiting for the weekend, like everybody else.

    On my other projects:

    Phone: The new battery works great, and it’s like the phone has a new lease on life. The charger port cover seems fine too.

    Garmin: This was a bit scary since I had to mess with real electronic parts, but the battery change went off without a hitch. The new battery only holds 1000 mWh, as opposed to 1100 mWh for the original when it was new, but I charged the unit up and then let it run in the backyard, with GPS and the display on, for 5 hours and it went down to 60% charge. That means I can probably go for more than 12 hours on a charge now, as opposed to about 4 hours with my tired old original battery, so I am way ahead of the game. I read online that the new battery tends to rattle in the case, but I shook it and heard nothing. A real ride might let me know more.

    The Clock: It’s ticking away in the kitchen right now. I got it at Akroyd’s Hardware, where the guy was apologetic that it was the only one he had, but I was cool — it was exactly what I was looking for.

    Light bulbs: What do I want, a cookie?

    Anyway, I madeĀ tuna & wilted greens in garlic sauce over spaghetti last night, and also got tonight’s round roast going in the crock pot. I brushed my teeth and hit the road with Donna and John, ending up at The Mint where we were joined by Doug & Lori. Much pleasantry and merriment ensued…

  • Infrastructure Week Continues

    I got the new Garmin battery today, the last of my purchase items from Amazon, and I will be installing it today if I can find the instructional video online; the battery came with tools and an instructional DVD, but my laptop’s DVD player has decided it no longer works, so it’s either YouTube today, or I have to email the battery company to get a link to where they keep the video online. There will be some delay I’m sure, but we’re always moving forward…

    Several light bulbs burned out this week. I don’t know why, but they do seem to die in clusters, even these newfangled fluorescent/LED ones (some of these actually were fluorescent bulbs, which probably means they’re years old by now). I got all but one replaced, an outdoor one for the back porch light. So, off to the hardware store I go. I’ll be skipping Lowe’s because I am still looking for a kitchen clock and they didn’t have them; if whatever hardware store I hit is similarly lacking I’ll just go to Amazon again.

    Also up: food shopping. I’ve been eating like a king the past week, steaks with roasted veggies, ham & beans, etc until yesterday, when it was time for dinner and I realized I had no food. Since I was totally absorbed in that routing program — I’m trying to add a feature, but it seems to be putting up a struggle — I just sat home dinnerless, pissing the hours away until I went out to get some late-night nachos at Brew Works. Oops! So, food shopping.

    What’s not on the list? Cycling. I keep hoping that my toe will feel better day by day, good enough soon that I can put anything other than sandals on (I actually wore sneakers last night), but the truth is I have a broken toe and it takes 6 weeks to heal, so I’d better man up and get used to light duty for a while. Maybe in a few more days…

  • Housebound and Alone

    Well not really, but Anne is now into the second week of her bike adventure, and my stubbed toe — can you believe it? — along with the weather, kind of keeps me from wanting to be very active. So, what have I been up to?

    Well, for one thing, I’ve been trying to stay ahead of domestic disaster, here on my own. The Trail Summit kept me busy for a few days, then I went on a round of house cleaning: I straightened, dusted and vacuumed upstairs one day, then did the same downstairs another day, and in between I did some food shopping and ran errands. I also had a bit of an “infrastructure incident:” the support at the wall for one of the clothes hanger rods broke in my closet — I hung up some suits from the drycleaner the day before — so one errand was to Lowes, where I got the support but no other thing I needed. (We need a new kitchen clock, among other things.) This came on the heels of a completely wasted trip to a new phone repair place, which claims in their advertising, and in the “grand opening” article in the local paper, that they can fix just about anything. I show up, looking for a new battery and a replacement dust cover for the charging port — “we can’t fix that.” Yeah I was doing a slow burn after those trips…

    Anyway, I’m continuing with some minor repairs here, changing light bulbs, keeping busy, trying to stay on top of things. I got the phone parts, as well as a new Garmin battery, from Amazon, so when they show up I can do a little DIY repair. There are also a few things at Anne’s office that need doing, which I’ll probably tackle in the next few days. Keeping busy.

    The big thing I’ve been doing has been putting some finishing touches on my Lehigh Valley Commuter Bike Routing Project. I need to update the big database of streets (a daunting task), but I developed a way to quickly get streets that are a part of preferred routes, routes to be avoided, etc identified and updated. This has been a stumbling block, because I’ve had unused logic on the code, to prefer or avoid roads based on which preferred routes layers were visible, and I had no realistic “preferred routes” developed. With this new trick (short scripts to do the updating, based on spatial joins), I drew up a bunch of easy routes, more advanced routes, legal but inappropriate roads, and dirt paths, and added them to the database. Son of a bitch, it all worked!

    I also did a little site cleanup, making things work and look nicer; its close enough to done that I may show it to someone soon — it still has to live on my laptop, since I still have not found a free host that can/will handle pgRouting.


  • Start The Day Right

    Got up this morning, and pretty much the first thing I did was stub my toe on some furniture. It was the toe next to my left pinkie-toe, and it didn’t hurt too much at first, but walking was tough, and when I put my boots on it was torture. I tried other shoes, the only things I could wear were my sandals. Today is the start of the Trail Summit too, and today’s schedule included biking to Easton in my sandals, riding the canal boat — something I’ve never done, until today — then going on a two mile walking history tour before the return ride. It wasn’t too bad, but I think my toe is broken, and I think I’m going to take a nap.

  • Ham & Eggs

    That’s what’s for breakfast — Anne is out of town for a bit, on an epic bike-touring ride down the East Coast with two other women. They met yesterday at the start point (a two-day drive for Anne) and they are leaving either tomorrow or, if they move up their schedule, today. Meantime, I’m holding down the fort and doing my own cooking… I normally have oatmeal for breakfast, but hey it’s the weekend.

    Got in some mapping yesterday, moving some recent OpenStreetmap changes (ones that I’d made) over to my PostGIS/QGIS towpath project, as well as adding more stuff to OSM; I also worked through a bunch of yardwork and laundry. The car was in the shop for an oil change, inspection and (surprise) a new pair of rear tires, so I was sort of hanging around the house, awaiting developments.

    Later in the afternoon I went over to Southside. I got a haircut at Eskandalo and went to Bonn Place for a pre-dinner beer, which is where I ran into old Brew Works compatriot Brian. Haven’t seen him in years and we did a little catching-up, and then I walked over to El Jefe’s Taqueteria to meet Scott S for dinner. Nice place, I’ll be going back.

    After dinner I caught up with John & Donna at Molly’s, which was a fun change of pace, at least until the DJ started in with the club music. At that point we left, walked back over the river and through the last of Celtic Fest, and called it a night.

    Today is house work and (more) yard work and laundry — make hay while the sun shines — then I may do a towpath ride.

  • Rainy Day

    It’s another rainy day, in fact it came pouring down in buckets this morning, and I spent the morning doing some more OpenStreetMap mapping. There’s a new development in Bethlehem Township, mixed apartment buildings and single-family homes, with its own shopping center, swim club, bike paths and retention ponds, and I rode over there yesterday to gather information. GPS, geotagged photos, and now I’m just trying to put it all together. I think I need another trip over to get more street data, so for now I’m focusing on the stores in the shopping center — I did some last night, and a bit more today, and will probably finish the stores a little later this week. Meantime, here’s a photo from the yard:

    bee on flower
    Bumblebee on a Mexican sunflower.

    I took this a few days ago, playing with the “selective focus” on my camera phone since it doesn’t actually have a “macro” function… The summer is winding down, but the yellow and reddish-orange flowers are still doing great; the bumblebees are really enjoying the Mexican sunflowers right now, and there are usually dozens on each plant every time we walk by.