• Some Mapping Fun

    Morning weigh-in: 190.5#, 13.0% BF

    Just got back from a walk over to Southside, where I took a few pictures of the new parking garage being built. I just updated OpenStreetMap by adding the new buildings on New Street and removing  the things they replaced (the Maze Garden). I’ve been doing a little bit of cleanup on OSM lately, mostly of things I find causing errors in my routing program — the connection between American Parkway, North Braddock Street and Dauphin Street (with the D& L Trail overlaid over the lot of it) in Allentown has been my biggest “problem child,” but I think I’ve got it mostly un-buggered.

    (My own routing database is now out of date — and therefore incorrect — but downloading the data and then running all the post-processing is so tedious I may just fix the database by hand.)

    Storm yesterday, but a few people showed up for Anne’s ukulele practice, including Julie G who brought a bottle of North Korean brandy that she’d picked up duty-free many years ago. It was …interesting, and I’m glad I can say I tried it, but I’ll make a point of never drinking that stuff again. “Rotgut” doesn’t even begin to describe it…


  • Science!

    Morning weigh-in: 189.5#, 13.0% BF

    “Science!” — that’s what I yelled in the kitchen this morning, after taking the final gravity of our new brew. It came in at 1.006, which means that our beer is probably about 2.1% ABV. Not exactly deadly, but it definitely tastes good. It should be ready to drink within a few days.

    My next task is to clean up the brewing equipment in the basement, maybe do a trainer ride, and get the 5010 ready for a snow ride tomorrow.

  • The Morning After

    Morning weigh-in: 189.5, 13.0% BF

    Here it is, the day after Pearly Baker’s 23rd Annual Superbowl of Chili in Easton — how can you tell I’ve been to all of them? …wait a few minutes and I’ll tell you — as well as the day after the Eagles win Super Bowl LMXXIIEIEIO. Philly still stands, as does the Valley, though both a little worse for wear.

    I don’t really have that much to say, so here’s what I said ten yeas ago.


  • I Get Mail!

    Morning weigh-in: 190.5#, 13.5% BF (must have been that midnight egg-salad sandwich)

    I get emails here, mostly spam, and mostly through my Contact Form, which then sends the messages along as emails. Things are usually quiet unless I post, but I’ve been posting almost every day lately, so I’ve been getting one or two every day, lately. It’s kind of funny to watch the evolution of the subject/content, as I slowly ban certain spammy words or phrases when I notice a pattern — I used to get way more than one or two, the low-hanging fruit is all blocked, and sometimes the ones that do get through make so little sense they just can’t be useful to the sender. Here are a few that I haven’t erased yet, most of this batch actually look like they’re supporting some business plan, however poorly thought out:

    Subject: We Will Like To Get Some Information?
    Message Body: Hey, I hope your day is going well; we are sending this message to acquire more information…To find out more about us, please visit our website at: [redacted for your benefit]


    Subject: just a though
    Message Body: GoodMorning, I was wondering if you’ve ever heard of [redacted]? its a place where you can purchase digital marketing services for extremely cheap from freelancers.
    I just wanted to ask you about it since I know that as a webmaster or business owner (like myself), you’re always looking for ways to save a few dollars on services like online marketing etc.
    Let me know what you think about it. I’ve used many gigs on there so I wanted to know your thoughts.I do recommend it though!
    I love your site! Have a great day!


    Subject: Improve Your Websites Rank in Google
    Message Body: New link building Software builds links to your website whilst you sleep. Save hours of manual labour and get your site ranked page 1 in Google in days. Submit your links to 1000’s of sites on complete autopilot and get a massive increase in traffic to your website. Try it out for a limited time at a special discounted price. Take a look at this powerful software in action; [redacted]


    And just today, my sad new favorite:

    Subject: Is It Too Late To Join The Bitcoin Revolution?
    Message Body: Bitcoin has increased in value by over 3000 in the last few years alone. The Crypto World is exploding with potential right now – this is the time to start and profit! Find out more; [redacted]


    Kind of click-baity, but at least they aren’t the word salad I sometimes get… I don’t use anything like Captcha, but I have blocked entire domains and blocks of IP addresses, as well as a whole lot of words and phrases — can you guess any of them from the above examples?

  • A Sudden Silent Slowdown

    Morning weigh-in: 189.0#, 13.5% BF

    Not much exciting going on today: I got up, got in my exercise, did some laundry and some housework, yadda yadda, basically running through a pretty boring to-do list which is now done. Anne is off doing historical research, the house is quiet. I may work on the bike later, I  might walk over to Southside to do some OpenStreetMap mapping. Ho hum…

    This is probably the calm before the storm though, since we’re going to visit my parents this Saturday, and then Sunday is the 23rd Annual Superbowl of Chili in Easton.


  • Exploratory Fat-Burner

    Morning weigh-in: 190.5#, 14.0% BF

    Got in a good ride yesterday, going upstream on the towpath. I only went about 20 miles, but with the snow and the soft mucky conditions, it took almost four hours of hard work, so I feel I got a serious ride — and since I went out to a less fully developed portion of the D&L, there was also a bit of adventure and exploration in the mix too.

    From Bethlehem I went west to Canal Park in Allentown, then north on some local roads and trails until I picked up the towpath again, off of Dauphin Street a little south of Catasaqua. I rode this to Race Street, and here my true exploration began: we normally turn right and then left here, to continue north on Front Street; I have contended that there is a bike path somewhere nearby we could take, while Anne feels that Front Street is the way — maybe the only way — to go.

    It turns out that we’re both right, though first I had to make a wrong turn and end up on RR tracks for a mile or so, before realizing that there was a bona-fide towpath just a few yards out of sight to my right. I was riding on the ballast, cursing whoever it was that thought this was a good cycling idea — uh, oh look over there, there’s a real trail and it’s so much easier! I got that sorted out and continued on my way, but even this trail deteriorated after a while — nothing too bad for mountain biking, but it was certainly not straight, smooth and flat towpath anymore either, and definitely not ready for a loaded touring bike. Still, I was having fun even if the going was rough, but then I came to a spot where a construction crew was putting in a bridge. I got around them, but past the construction site the trail was pretty chewed up from all the equipment; that, I decided, was my turn-around. (I’d wanted to go all the way to the 21st Street Bridge in Northampton to prove it could be done, but since I was within a mile of the Northampton portion of trail — which I was already familiar with — I figured I’d seen what I needed to. Besides, I was starting to get tired.)

    The ride back was pretty uneventful, though I did stop to note where I should have accessed the towpath in Catasaqua, and I did have to stop at a train crossing in Allentown. Back on the regular towpath at Canal Park, a snack break at the last lock before Sand Island, and I was home in no time. I then took a brief nap…

    We went over to Two Rivers in Easton last night, to catch up with Judy. Nice night, good beers (I had their oatmeal stout) and good conversation. I slept like a log when we got home, and I was surprised and disappointed to find I didn’t drop 20 pounds overnight. Today was volunteering at the Canal Museum, and tomorrow it’s going to rain I think.

  • Bad-Ass Brewing

    Morning weigh-in: 189.5#, 14.5% BF

    Anne asked me to use that title… We brewed yesterday, and since we brewed outside, and it still gets dark early, and we got a late start, we ended up brewing “into the night” last night. Not that deep into the night, we were done by 8:30 but the steam rising into the dark from our brew pot was pretty damn cool.

    We’re making an oatmeal stout, one we’ve made before, a clone of  “Navish’s Oatmeal Stout” from that Best of Brew Your Own compendium. I’d never even heard of this particular beer outside our recipe, so I don’t know how true to the original it really is, but we loved it when we made it last year for Christmas. We strayed this time from the recipe as written though, mainly by not following instructions closely enough — our oats went into the mash rather than the boil, oops — and we also deliberately hopped it up a bit more than the original recipe. The wort tasted great (if a bit hoppy, oops), and though the original gravity was only 1.022 (indicating to me either a lack of sugar, thus likely a low final alcohol content, or a mis-calibrated hydrometer), the beer is actively, happily fermenting  away just a few feet from me right now.

  • Sunday Morning

    Morning weigh-in: 190.5#, 14.5%

    It’s chilly again, and rainy out to boot, so I’m just chilling at home. Anne is playing violin with one of her concert friends, and later we’ll be brewing beer, but right now I’m enjoying my lethargy.

    We did a short ride yesterday, with our friend Shari W, going over to Southside where we picked up our brewing supplies, grabbed some take-out at Tulum, and then went over to Bonn Place for a long, liquid, late lunch. Allie was working behind the bar, and Erin popped in for a bit — we have mutual friends, and she lives in the neighborhood so that’s her hangout — and eventually Shari’s husband Rick joined us, so it was a good convivial afternoon. But I discovered once again, the hard way once again, that I am not much of a day drinker: when we got home all I wanted was to go to bed even though it was like 6:00. Two beers — maybe three? Party animal!

    We made a roast beef for dinner, and stayed up long enough to go to bed at a reasonable hour.


  • Sloppy Towpath

    Morning weigh-in: 190.5# 14.5% BF

    I went out for a chilly towpath ride this morning with Julie G (she has off Wednesday and Friday). I think she knew what was coming but I totally expected the ground to be frozen solid, and dry even if above freezing, and it was like that for the most part but there were long sections where it was soft, muddy or just plain wet. We had a great ride, 14 miles down to Hope Road and back, but we did come home dirty. I have my jacket and bike clothes in the wash as we speak.

    I wonder how the mountain is doing, if it’s in any rideable shape. I did a mucky towpath ride a few weeks ago, then met Greg the next day and rode SMB and it was in great shape; we did Sals a few days later, and it was a bit wetter than SMB but still OK. Maybe a Sunday ride, at one or the other?


  • I’m Just Here For The Weigh-In

    Morning weigh-in: 189.5#, 15.5% BF

    Solid trainer workout last night, followed by a pretty sparse dinner, and there you have it. I’m heading out in a few minutes to take a photo of the last bike-parking art installation over on Southside, which will finish up the Bethlehem bike-parking map project… Soon I’ll be heading back to my old projects — Lehigh Valley routing engine, LANTA bus stops and routes for OpenStreetMap, etc, and we may have a new project (3D  terrain models made from layers of CNC laser-cut plywood), but for now I’m sort of “on vacation.”

    Anyway and in other words, not much going on.