• 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.

  • Moving Forward

    We’re late this year, but I’ve been doing some planting in the garden the past few days. I got in some radishes, beets and various lettuce-like things (mustard, arugula) yesterday, and also planted several cuttings from a currant bush a friend gave us.This morning I put in a bunch of potatoes. I expect to be planting a few more things this week, and some warmer-weather stuff like tomatoes and peppers soon. Meantime, our new tree out front continues to thrive. I planted pansies around the base, and I water the lot of them, tree and flowers, every day.

    This afternoon I got back onto Project Creaky Bike: I removed the crank, then removed the bottom bracket bearing housings (they were in fact loose), cleaned and lubed everything and confirmed that the bearings themselves were OK, then put it all back together, nice and snug. I’ll find out soon enough if that solved my creak — hopefully success won’t conjure up a new one…

    I won’t be going riding tomorrow though, because we’re expecting the appliance service guy some time during the day — oven is on the fritz and probably needs a new thermostat or something. Since Tuesday is now also “cello duets day” with my friend Donna H, we’ll probably be playing here tomorrow instead of in her garden, so I can stay close to home. The expected rain held off today, but tomorrow and Wednesday are supposed to be wet. Maybe a ride Thursday?

  • Vaccinatus

    I don’t remember the whole story — I was young, and it was a long time ago — but I remember as a kid being told that people (like me) who’d had eczema could never get the smallpox vaccine, because instead of developing an immunity they would get smallpox from it. Therefore, since proof of smallpox vaccination was needed to travel internationally, I could not leave the USA. I didn’t really have international travel on my radar as a second grader — people weren’t telling me this to keep me from trying to leave the country or anything, it was just another piece of allergy folklore, passed like “whisper down the alley” from my allergist to my parents to me, and dumbed down for childhood consumption. But here in the present, fifty or more years later, I was wondering just how much of this I understood and remembered correctly…

    According to Google, I pretty much had the story right: thanks to vaccinations, smallpox was eradicated in the USA and Europe before I was born. So even though I couldn’t get the vaccine — vaccinatus eczema was and is a real syndrome — I was pretty safe. To prevent its reintroduction and international spread generally, people crossing borders had to prove they were vaccinated against smallpox (as well as other diseases, like yellow fever). There was a huge push starting in the late 1960’s to finally wipe out smallpox, and it was declared eradicated worldwide by 1980, and as of January 1, 1982, smallpox was removed from the list of required vaccinations, which was about eight years before my first trip outside the USA.

    This whole saga is why vaccine resistance rankles sometimes: Herd immunity is what protected me back then, even though I couldn’t be immune myself, and now people people come up with bogus reasons they “can’t” (won’t) be vaccinated, for things like measles, etc, as well as COVID, compromising the general immunity and putting those people who can’t be individually protected at risk — and the truth is none of us are wholly protected even by a vaccine: herd immunity, starving the pandemic to death, is the only way to really be safe.

    All of which us to say, I got my second jab of the Phizer vaccine on Friday. I felt a bit headachey, tired and out-of-sorts Friday and Saturday, but I’m not sure if it was the vaccine or just seasonal allergies. I’m feeling pretty spry now though, and just waiting for my superpowers to kick in.

  • Milestones

    So, eight years ago yesterday I wrote this, and I said it out loud in front of a judge:


    You brought things into my life I didn’t know were missing, and you’ve made me happier than I realized I could be. I love you with all my heart, and I’ll love you until the day I die.

    In my memory, our love has grown through a series of moments where, with some choice or decision, we were given the chance to deepen our relationship, and with some trepidation we took the chance, and each time it was like walking through a doorway into a better place. Now we’ve come to the next door, the next decision, a commitment that I think we’re both ready to make, and I want to take this next step and continue moving forward with you for the rest of our lives.

    I could say a thousand things here: how I love talking with you, and laughing with you, and how I love just hanging out, holding you and looking in your eyes, but I can sum it up by saying “I love you Anne.”

    Now let’s do this!

    We didn’t actually do much yesterday: Anne had some bike education work at CAT, and I went for an afternoon towpath spin. In the evening we got word that our neighbor got her PhD, so we walked across the street and offered our congratulations and a toast, along with John & Donna and a few other neighbors.

    Meantime, I’ve managed to keep my focus/patience long enough to read a book: The Regional Office Is Under Attack! by Manuel Gonzales. Pretty decent, and it doesn’t hurt that it’s mostly action — so far, but I’m only about halfway through…

    Today, for the first time in months, I’ll be playing outdoor duets with Donna H. I expect we’ll be a bit rusty, but the time has definitely come.

  • Contact!

    Posted on by Don

    I get email through my contact form, not much of it but a few arrive every week, and almost all of it is spam. I have things in place to block spammy comment form submissions, based on phrases that spammers (but hopefully not legitimate form users), might use, phrases like “Oakley Sunglasses,” “internet marketing,” and variations on “nude” — I got a whole cluster of these nudie offers a few months ago, and was a bit surprised that I hadn’t already blocked them, and actually hadn’t had a need to, until that point…

    Anyway, I still get a few spam emails through the contact form, but at this point they’re really vague, with innocuous wording, and enhancing the blocking efforts to catch them has become a diminishing returns / choose-your-battles kind of thing so I let them slide. Every so often I get a doozy though, and here’s one I had to share:

    From: [SOME FAKE NAME]
    Subject: Delivery of your email messages.

    Message Body:
    Hi! donkelly.net

    Did you know that it is possible to send message fully legal?
    We sell a new legal way of sending message through feedback forms. Such forms are located on many sites.
    When such commercial offers are sent, no personal data is used, and messages are sent to forms specifically designed to receive messages and appeals.
    Also, messages sent through communication Forms do not get into spam because such messages are considered important.
    We offer you to test our service for free. We will send up to 50,000 messages for you.
    The cost of sending one million messages is 49 USD.

    This message is created automatically. Please use the contact details below to contact us.


    You’re spamming me, through my contact form, to offer me your awesome contact-form-spam service? Gotta lotta damn gall I tell ya, and your phrasing… It seemed almost too provocative, as if they were fishing for someone to reply with a piece of their mind, and thus hand over their legitimate email address. Oh well, I (mostly) didn’t rise to the bait, and for this form submission I made an exception: I found a way to block similar messages.

  • Organization Man

    It wasn’t quite new-year’s-resolution level, but I’ve been having a sustained burst of productivity lately, or if not productivity then at least activity: I have been much better about cello practice; I’ve been more on top of bills, and housework, and exercise (i.e. morning calisthenics, not the biking); I’ve been making progress on learning SQL; and I’ve even chipped away at the greater part of my Flickr photos backlog. And I’ve managed to get all this done, to become my new, more organized self, through the use of my simple, lowly to-do list.

    I’ve written about my to-do list before. It’s basically just a text file; in the morning, or sometimes the night before, I’ll write what I want to get done at the top of the file, then as the day progresses and I do things I can mark the tasks done. If I don’t get to something it’s no big deal, it’s just not marked done and I can add it to the next day’s tasks (or not), but at any idle moment during the day I can see at a glance what I could be productive about, and the process gives me a chance to think about what I want to accomplish, what I ought to be doing, what might be more or less urgent, etc, for any given day. I also add specific appointments (a doctor visit, an afternoon ride with someone) to the end of the list, so I remember to budget my to-do tasks around them. The structure is pretty simple:

    Sunday 1/17/2021
    exercise (done)
    dishes (done)
      phone (done)
      gas (done)
      electric (done)
    study sql
    blog (started... running notes go here until it's marked done)
    @1:00 group road ride (done)
    Saturday 1/16/2021
    dishes (done)
    exercise (done)
    cello (done)
    study sql (done)
    flickr (done)
    work on bikes

    And so on.

    (I also keep a separate file, a spreadsheet that I call my “food diary,” where I keep track of everything I eat each day, but that does not get used nearly as much as the to-do list. It has a different pedigree, being something I saw once about behaviorist approaches to dieting, and has been much less successful in keeping me engaged enough to use it.)

    I find that I am more energetic in the late morning or early afternoon, but that may also be because the morning is when I’m selecting my day’s tasks, and therefore thinking more about them, rather than it being an issue of afternoon energy levels. The one thing that does sap energy levels — the thing that wrecks any given day’s remaining plans — is biking. Any day with a longish bike ride, nothing seems to get done after the ride…

    Anyway, here’s a product of one of my previous to-do lists: my first cycling video, posted on YouTube. The raw GoPro video quality is very high and the files are huge, so I spent some time learning how to process the clip into a format with reasonable values for both quality and file size. It looked great, but YouTube has taken to throttling quality to conserve bandwidth during this COVID-level use era. Here it is:

  • Looking Forward

    Morning weigh-in: 180#, 8.5% BF

    An official weigh-in!

    That’s not something I’ll be doing much going forward — I’ll weigh myself occasionally, but probably not be documenting it obsessively the way I used to. I put it here as a marker of where I am right now: back in November I was 172#, and I was pretty happy with that number, but that weight really was because of the gastrointestinal thing I was dealing with. I am back up to my “correct” current weight, which is way lower than it was a year or so ago, but I do want to see my weight — the real, “correct healthy weight” number — go down another 10 pounds. I guess that counts more as a wish than a resolution, but there it is…

    As for actual resolutions, I guess I’ll stick with my usual ones: bike more, exercise more, play the cello more. I also usually put in something about “use the computer less,” but this year I don’t think so, instead I’ll just resolve to spend a greater percentage of my computer time in more guilt-free, productive ways: learn some skills, do some mapping projects, that sort of thing. I what I really need is another hobby, like the mapping, that uses the computer.

    Speaking of being productive with the computer, I’ve been doing a lot of photo curating lately. Slowly but surely I’m getting them organized & categorized in my computer’s photo app. I’m now done through 2019, so I am now just about a year behind, which doesn’t really sound impressive but it’s a big improvement from the mess I used to have.

    The other part of my photo curation — where I upload my selected “best photos” to Flickr, and then give each one a title and description — that’s also moving forward. I now have uploaded photos through June 2019, though I’ve only got them annotated through April. Still, I am making progress. (By the way, I now have 9,925 photos on Flickr — I’m closing in on my 10,000th photo!)

    Meanwhile, back in meatspace… I’ve been doing morning calisthenics, with some weights and yoga added in. The biking is pretty dead right now, though I’ve been getting out with Anne almost every day, for short rides around the neighborhood. Part of the problem, at least for mountain biking, is that it’s cold (and wet), but not nearly cold enough: trails are muddy and mushy.

    There’s also this: the bikes could use a little love right now. The Santa Cruz needs a bushing for the rear shock, and maybe some new shifter cables, and will need new tires soon especially in the rear, while the road bike could just use a good solid overhaul after this summer’s long rides.

    A few more for the to-do lists…

  • That Was The Year That Was

    Whew! Happy New Year’s Eve, 2020!

    I haven’t had much to say here, and still feel I don’t, but I guess I can do a little news update:

    • I bought us a new stereo receiver, which came today. It wasn’t quite a Christmas present… We’ve been without a stereo for more than a year, and I was messing with our system a few months ago and realized that the problem was that the receiver had crapped out, everything else still seemed to work, all we needed was a new receiver. And that’s the way I left it, until a few days ago when I finally ordered the one I’d selected back then. Some fussing with speaker wires — this was the closest I came to bourgeois Christmas assembly, probably ever — but it all went together and we are rocking out right now.
    • I got a GoPro video camera for Christmas from my Uncle Pat. I took it out on the towpath yesterday (my last ride of the year), and got one or two good videos at the start of the ride, but I must have banged the mount somehow because the rest of my clips were of the handlebars. I guess it’ll be a process…
    • I have not been outside for too much activity lately, but we got snow a few weeks ago and I managed to get in a few days of XC skiing. Twice with Doug & Lori, and once with Scott & Kellyn, all over at the municipal golf course.
    • I’m still working my way through those SQL courses. I’m almost done with the second one. In the meantime, I felt bad that I couldn’t even run my material take-off and header calculation programs anymore, so I got the code from my old laptop and got busy porting it to this machine. The MTO program worked out just fine, but I need to switch the header calc one to use Postgres instead of MySQL, which shouldn’t be too crazy.

    Anne got a bamboo steamer from her sister, and she’s making shrimp dumplings right now. We’re planning for some pork ones (with homemade kimchi) tomorrow, and that’ll be our pork & sauerkraut for the coming year. Tonight we’ll do jello shots to ring in the new year, and hopefully get in a bike ride tomorrow. Happy New Year!

  • Seven The Hard Way

    About two weeks ago, I managed to lose seven pounds in a week…

    It all started with the donuts. On our D&L ride, we stopped for a bite in Jim Thorpe, but every place was packed so we just grabbed some junk food at a convenience store. I got some chocolate milk, which I almost never drink, and a bag of those small chocolate donuts you can only get at gas stations, with the plastic “chocolate” icing, one step up from Twinkies. We ate our “lunch” near the new bridge — I ate most of the bag and a a whole lot of chocolate milk — and continued on our way home.

    I felt fine, if a little stuffed, when we got home, but by the next day I had serious GI issues: bloating, constipation, abdominal pain, and it never let up. I looked online for possible causes — big mistake. I went to the doctor, who questioned and examined and prodded me, gave me an antibiotic (for what looked to her like an ear infection — no connection to the stomach), and advised Metamucil. So OK, Metamucil and an antibiotic.

    My GI situation kept up like that for more than a week afterward. I was in extreme discomfort, and with food going in but nothing going out I expected my weight to be ballooning up, but I actually lost seven or eight pounds over the course of the week.

    Then one morning, all of a sudden I felt like myself again. My body returned to its normal function over the course of the day, and the bloating and pain went away. I guess that whatever it was had worked its way through my system. I’m still taking the Metamucil “just in case,” and I am never, ever eating those donuts again…

    My weight has bounced back a little, but it’s now stabilized at about five pounds lower than it was. I’ll take it, but I wouldn’t recommend this as a weight-loss regimen to anyone.

  • Breathe

    What a week this was! The election was stressful enough but the follow-up was no better…

    We were worried about COVID so we applied for mail-in ballots back in August, but they took so long to come that when they finally arrived we dropped them off in person at the courthouse in Allentown. That was maybe 2-3 weeks before the election.

    Then on election day and after, there was a lot of talk about not counting those kinds of votes, so Anne made signs and we went to the courthouse to make our voices heard. We did that Wednesday and Thursday, and on Thursday we met others who also wanted every vote counted, and we joined them for another demonstration in Bethlehem. Friday looked much calmer, vote counting was moving forward, so we stayed home.

    On Saturday we did a bike ride up to Jim Thorpe from Slatington, and just before we arrived at the trailhead we heard that Pennsylvania, and therefore the election, had just been called for Biden. The ride would have been good “nature therapy” for recent stress anyway, but it was such a relief to have that burden removed.

    Things aren’t over yet, and a lot of damage has been done (with more possibly to come) which might never be undone, but I think the end is in sight.

  • Clean Bill of Health

    I got my colonoscopy today, a rite of passage I’d delayed for years. Fast and purge yesterday, then into the hospital for about two hours. I was pretty nervous, but the whole procedure was painless, even the “purge” part yesterday wasn’t as bad as people joke (though I wasn’t happy about the “fasting” part), and now I’m good for another 10 years.

    I just pounded down a turkey & cheese sub, and I think I’ll go take a nap.