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Wednesday, February 28, 2001

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Tuesday, February 27, 2001
Added links to Plastic and metafilter, both of which are said to be degenerating from too many banal posts, according to camworld. Oh well, I guess I can't always be on the cutting edge.

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What a find! Two year's worth of American Artist magazines, at the public library, for $.20 each. Not to mention the recent New Yorker magazine and an Ahmed Jamal album for $.50. The joys of finding cheap treasures.

I can be very obsessive about some things. Currently I'm going through my CD and album collection, that is sorted in alphabetical order, and playing them one by one. That way I rediscover recordings that I might not normally play. I heard somewhere that the average CD gets played 3 times.

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Monday, February 26, 2001
Reading from The Cathedral and the Bazaar, a book by Eric Raymond about the open source programming movement.

Had a great mountain bike ride along a stream valley trail that was partially paved. Sections were a real mess since we had a lot of rain over the weekend. There was lots of mud and a couple of stream crossings. It was nearly 60 degrees and sunny. Don't know how far I went; my computer quit a while ago and I haven't replaced it yet. Lately I've been much less obsessive about keeping track of miles.

Yahoo now has a link to the Banff bike trip report that I put together after our trip this summer, under Recreation > Sports > Cycling > Travelogues. Traffic to the site doubled after it appeared.

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Friday, February 23, 2001
Finally got some snow yesterday. When I dropped off my skis for refinishing 2 weeks ago and was asked when I wanted them back, I said "before the next snow", and they didn't quite make it. It started snowing around 11am and at around 1:30pm the skis were ready to be picked up. The backroads were in gridlock, so I took the major routes and eventually got there, picked the skis up and made it back home. This is normally a 1/2 hour trip that took 2 hours. But I did get them, they're in great shape, and we had a good time moonlight skiing for a couple of hours on the nearby golf course. Forgot how much I enjoy skiing.

Fought with Photoshop LE for several hours yesterday. It is a subset of the full-fledged version and it's frustrating to find the feature I need in the helpfiles only to discover that it doesn't exist in the LE version. Trying to put together a quick and dirty prototype for a client.

Gonna need to learn more about style sheets, as I see the writing on the wall. Started a course in DHTML, which is basically javascript, style sheets, and other tools to create dynamic content. The mantra is "separation of style from content" (although an earlier article in A List Apart tries to debunk that belief).

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Wednesday, February 21, 2001
Dylan Casey is a US Postal Service rider reporting on the stage race, the Ruta del Sol.

bluishorange, an attractive web log.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2001
Back from Nashville wedding and visits with family, past and present. One of the few times that nearly the whole extended family was together. Survived a smoky bar so that we could do some Country dancing.

The Web Standards Project folks are attempting to support only standards compliant browsers, which leaves out at least 1/2 of the current web users, including such systems as WebTV that probably never will be standards compliant. A List Apart has an article on the effort, which primarily uses stylesheets to design web pages instead of tables as is done now. It also allows designers to hide their code by being able to load a file of styles that aren't visible when viewing the page source.

Spent some time today fielding phone calls from angry constituents. People rarely spout off when they really like what someone does. Maybe they should take the time to that once in a while.

Interesting article in the Post about the art of listening, and the advantages of taking the time to really listen to those speaking to us. Mentions the Zen concept of being in the now, really noticing our environment, breathing, and listening.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2001
Speaking of caffeine, here is a recently published book on caffeine, reviewed by Dan Bricklin. He mentions some interesting tidbits about one of the few legal drugs.

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I hate driving. Now that I drive so little, and am concious of the plight of pedestrians and cyclists, I drive slow. Meaning I drive the speed limit and am constantly passed by caffeine-addled yuppies in their shiny sport utes driving from Starbucks to their dot.com startup, weaving in and out of traffic. It seems that every time I drive I have at least 3 or 4 incidents in which someone tailgates, cuts me off or is otherwise rude. I think I've become very accustomed to hoping on my bike and taking the time it takes to get where I'm going, a very non-instant gratification mode of transit. Doubt that I will ever get used to the fact that there are so many assholes out there.

And yet most of them really aren't assholes. It's just that they hide behind their cars and think only of themselves while driving, treating others as cars and not people driving cars. I'm sure most of them, once they leave the anonymity of their cars, are relatively normal, friendly people.

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Monday, February 12, 2001
We were blessed with another mild mid winter weekend so that we were able to get some bike riding in. Another reported called today about the trails plan update; chances are there will be 3 different stories that appear about the same topic, depending on the questions the reporter asks and how my answers are interpreted. The one good interviewer used the classic who, what, when, where, and why questions to good effect.

Reading Release 2.0 by Esther Dyson, a book about life on the Internet, new communities, ethics, and behaviour. She compares moderators of online bulletin board systems to good bartenders; people who can facilitate conversation and keep the peace. Then later in the day I read a passage in another book I'm reading, This House of Sky, a memoir by Ivan Doig in which he talks about how his father, a moderate drinker, would go to White Sulphur Springs, Montana on the weekends and sit in bars and get all the latest gossip from one of the popular bartenders, who knew everything and everyone. Not having spent much time in bars, I never realized the importance of a good bartender.

I always seem to have at least 2 books going at once. I am also reading David Brower's Let the Mountains Talk, Let the Rivers Run, in which Brower, who recently passed way, discuss the importance of the existance of wilderness areas. A book in each bathroom and one by the bed...

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Friday, February 09, 2001
Spent most of yesterday morning working on a web page for Reston Digital, the consulting business that I haven't spent much time fostering. It replaces my Personal homepage, so am hoping that it didn't cause any problems for anyone trying to reach that page. There is a link on the new page, so with luck it can be found.

Realize now how careful one must be when talking to the press. Make it short, and stress the important concepts. I was recently interview by two reporters about the trail committee on which I serve as a volunteer. One of the articles, which discussed changes in a trails plan, got part of the story wrong, and stressed a relatively minor part of the planned changes. We'll see what feedback I get, if any. The second article (there are 3 local, free newspapers in this area) is much more thorough and accurate. I could tell by the interview that the reporter asked more comprehensive questions, and I hoped that she would tell the story in a more complete way and she did.

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Wednesday, February 07, 2001
Spent most of the day riding buses and trains. Took the bus to the subway at 7am, then rode to the end of the line and caught a bus to Annapolis, MD to attend a bike and walking conference. An Adshel bicycle that will be part of a free bicycle program in Annapolis was demonstrated. It is currently being used in Cardiff, UK and Rennes, France. Had some informative discussions with the Maryland bicycle advocates.

Annapolis is a beautiful old city and I could have spent hours just walking the streets and sketching, but had to catch the return bus at 2 p.m. After spending a little time watching the Maryland Senate in action, having lunch and walking around for a while it was time to head back to the bus stop.

Spent most of yesterday working on a web page for the consulting business that I've threatened to start for the past two years. Realize how much HTML I don't know, so it has been a learning experience. At least by hand coding it all, I know what is going on and how to fix minor problems.

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Sunday, February 04, 2001
Just discovered that the company that runs blogger.com, pyra.com, is going out of business. No wonder the service seems to have had so many problems in the past when I tried to edit and post these notes. They say that this service will be retained, at least for now. Editing by hand really isn't that difficult, so I'll rely on that once this dies.

Had a good time at the latest dance association dance last night. It's about an hour drive away, but it was worth it to spend some time with others having fun.

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Friday, February 02, 2001
Looks like the $200. computer has finally arrived, a system developed by a Brazilian firm geared toward providing computer access to the underprivileged.

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Can't remember how I found the time to hold a regular job. There never is enough time to do what I try to get done in a day. Maybe that's why I always felt exhausted while working.

Walked a prospective equestrian trail detour to avoid putting it on the parallel road that is undergoing improvements. Learned a little Javascript, then modified the page I use as a homepage so that I can find out if anyone is really using the current homepage. Later, rode into town to buy an electric pencil sharpener since I keep breaking my colored pencil leads as they are much softer than graphite. The colored pencil class was especially good as my former drawing instructor, Lisa Semarad, was the substitute instructor. Using color is a continous challenge.

Spend some time with some new library books on drawing and worked through one of the exercises with decent resutls. Of course it's much easier to follow some basic instructions than to create something original.

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