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Sunday, April 28, 2002
Lance placed 4th at Amstel Gold. It didn't help that he came down with the stomach flu on Friday. Sounds like he raced well, breaking away with a group of four who countered moves until the last meters. Fassa Bortolo had two racers in the group of four, and they ended up 1-2, Bartoli and Ivanov. George finished in 74th place (seen here leading the chase group).
Decided to drive out to Berryville, VA for a ride in the country yesterday. It was a good day to ride, a little cool and overcast. About half way through the ride I looked down and noticed that my bottom bracket was coming loose. I couldn't tighten it by hand, so we cut the ride short. I went right to the bike shop and the mechanic, who knew that his shop had built the bike from scratch, fixed it for no charge. Luckily the threads were not stripped which was my biggest concern.
Visited Berryville Used Books, the smallest used bookstore I've ever seen. It carries mostly history, but I found a couple of gems: How Prints Look by William Ivins, Jr., a small book filled with examples of printing techniques with a brief commentary below each, and Collected Stories by Paul Bowles, a beautiful paperback published by Black Sparrow Press.
Friday, April 26, 2002
Dan Bricklin has some interesting comments about his test ride of the Segway. I'm still not sure these will mix well with pedestrians, and wonder if people will walk even less with these available. However, I can see that for some people with physical limitations it will give them incredible mobility.
I'm anxious to try out the release version of Mozilla, the open source browser. There are good reviews in Time magazine and ZDNet. I tried one of the early beta versions and it was very buggy. The latest version is said to be very fast and has some nice features.
Put up another banner for the Reston Bike to Work Day event scheduled for next Friday, May 3. So far we have nearly twice the expected number of people sign up. I'm hoping for a clear, warm day.
Thursday, April 25, 2002
Scrounged some downed oak, put up a Bike to Work Day banner, got paid to update some web pages, adjusted the shifting of my mountain bikeall in all a rather busy day...
Wednesday, April 24, 2002
Bike to Work Day is just over a week away. I'm doing my best to promote it in Reston.
Reading House by Tracy Kidder. I've been a fan of Kidder ever since he wrote Soul of a New Machine about the development of the Aviion mini-computers. His style reminds me a lot of one of my other favorite authors, John McPhee, in his subtle way of telling a tale through the details of people's lives.
Just finished Amsterdam by Ian McEwan, a well-written, wry novel of modern day England. The city of Amsterdam plays a minor role in the plot at the end of the novel, which was a bit disappointing. Guess I'll have to track down a novel set in Amsterdam. It's not unusual for me to know very little about a book before reading it. I've learned to trust certain reviewers or friends who recommend books. I've found Michael Dirda to be one of the most reliable critics, at least according to my taste in books.
I also don't like watching movie or tv trailers; I don't want to see the highlights ahead of time. I've almost succumbed to watching the previews of 24 simply because I can't wait to see the next episode. Unfortunately Dennis Hopper will be speaking in his terible Baltic accent for a few more shows. I don't think I've ever been addicted to a tv show like this before.
Monday, April 22, 2002
This week's Washington Post Book World has some reviews of what look like excellent books: Everything is Illuminated By Jonathan Safran Foer, a debut novel by a 24 year old Washingtonian, about the narrator, Jonathan Safran Foer, who travels to the Ukraine in search of the woman who rescued his grandfather from Nazi extermination; The Horned Man by James Lasdun, about the strange occurances in the life of Lawrence Miller, a professor of gender studies in New York. When Michael Dirda says he couldn't put the book down, it's usually a good sign. There are others; check them out.
In the same edition is Poet's Choice: By Edward Hirsch, the column that explores poets and poetry every week, about Gary Snyder, one of the men I admire a great deal.
Sunday, April 21, 2002
George only managed a 20th place finish today in Liege-Bastogne-Liege, and Lance was 65th. Lance hasn't raced much this spring and wasn't expected to do that well. He should do much better at Amstel Gold, coming up next Sunday, the 28th.
I'm hoping that George races in this years US Pro championships in Philadelphia in June.
Friday, April 19, 2002
It's been a hectic and tiring week. Watched the tape of Paris-Roubaix on OLN-TV last night. I think George Hincapie had a good chance for a spot on the podium (1-3 places) until a team car blocked his way on the pave (cobblestones) and he wrecked shortly afterwards. He finished 6th.
Spent most of the week dropping off flyers for the Bike to Work Day event in Reston on Friday, May 3. Most of the big-box retail places have no community boards and refuse to post the signs. The fallback position is for them to post the sign in the break room, and most reluctantly agree. I now realize how few community bulletin boards are left. The grocery stores are the few remaining places that do have a board. We've got over 70 signed up for the Reston event, and it's still 2 weeks away.
Having a crisis at work; more on that later. Moral dilemmas can be very stressful.
Sunday, April 14, 2002
Johan Museeuw won Paris-Roubaix today, with Tom Boonen of USPS finishing second. Boonen is a first year pro from Belgium. He was going to work for George Hincapie, but George fell on a section of cobblestones and couldn't catch the breakaway. Unfortunately I forgot to watch the live coverage on OLN TV this morning. But then I wouldn't have been outside enjoying the rain-free day.
The predicted rain never appeared and we did a 40-mile ride to Leesburg. As is usually the case at this time of year, the Trail was very crowded. We managed to keep from trying to riding too hard, although we were compelled to catch a group of mediocre riders who had the nerve to pass us.
Thursday, April 11, 2002
Saw Pat Methney Group on Tuesday at Lisner Auditorium on the campus of George Washington University. It could have been an excellent concert but the sound was a few decibels too loud, which was almost painful when the full group was at full throttle. I could tell from the first few chords on the amplified acoustic guitar that the sound wasn't right. Guess I'll have to get some of those musicians earplugs for such occasions.
Spent most of the day at the Reston Charrette, a series of meetings to discuss the land use around proposed subway stations in Reston. I guess I still care about this place despite all the negatives. I just wish the air were cleaner and the roads more bike friendly. Just those two qualities would make such a difference in the livability of this place.
For some strange reason I'm finding lots of excuses to avoid the 4 hour commute. Also finding excuses not to work at all.
Wednesday, April 10, 2002
Another third place finish for George Hincapie, this time in Gent-Wevelgem. Super Mario won the finishing sprint, finishing ahead of Fred Rodriguez, another American. George's next change for a victory in a Spring Classic is Paris-Roubaix on Sunday the 14th. Watch in live on OLN-TV Sunday morning from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. ET.
Monday, April 08, 2002
Sunday's Washington Post Book World is devoted to articles on SciFi and Fantasy literature, including Close Encounters in which authors choose a SciFi or Fantasy book that had an influence on them. Maybe I'll finally get around to reading something in this genre, now that I've found a list of recommended works.
It was a quite weekend spent visiting at the old folks home, country and western dancing (yes, country and western dancing), and working in the yard. Sunday was one of those perfect Spring days, cool and sunny. It felt good to be working the earth again. Unfortunately the space where I had planned to plant a vegetable garden appears to be too wet and shady so I'll have to come up with an alternative. Community gardens are a great idea, but I've found that unless they are within walking distance, they tend to be neglected after a while.
George finished fourth in the Tour of Flanders on Sunday. It didn't help that his chain broke on one of the cobblestone climbs. Ghent Wevelgen on Wednesday is next on the list of Spring Classics, and I'm hoping that he'll repeat his 2001 victory.
Friday, April 05, 2002
The US Postal team seems to be in good form, with George Hincapie placing third in Three Days of Panne, a stage race in Belgium. He should do well in the Tour of Flanders on Sunday.
Getting a lot of reading done during my 4 hour commutes. Started Above the Clouds: The Diaries of a High-Altitude Mountaineer by Anatoli Boukreev today. He died in an avalanche in 1997. Many experienced mountaineers were upset with how he was depicted in Into Thin Air, Krakauer's book about the disastrous Everest expedition in which several people died. Sounds like he was a bear of a man.
Thursday, April 04, 2002
Maybe one day I'll get headphones that block background noise. The Silent Machine generates sound that is out of phase with the incoming noise and neutralizes it.
It's too nice to be inside. Think I'll lug the laptop out to the deck...
I sure hope Blogger isn't using all their bandwidth for their Blogger Pro customers. I couldn't upload the above today. Why? Blogger Pro users have a preference. Blogger has been a great service, and they've got to make money somehow. We'll see how often conflicts occur in the future. It's really not that difficult to edit the html and ftp it to my server.
Finished Picturing Will by Ann Beattie, a strange book about the lives of a woman, her son, her lover, and her ex-husband. There was very little of what I would call plot. A great deal occurred over the course of the novel, but it was told in a very blase, matter of fact style. Not exactly a page-turner. It didn't help that the first half of the book was told from the perspective of the woman, a likeable and interesting character, and the second half from the viewpoint of the sleazeball ex-husband. Read the review by T. Coraghessan Boyle.
Also finished an excellent, brief history of Jewish culture, The Story of the Jews by Stan Mack. It's a picture book that contains a great deal of information in a few pages. Highly recommended. Coincidentally, Ann Beattie wrote a cover blurb praising it.
Tuesday, April 02, 2002
It's that time of year. Lance finished second in the Criterium International, a two-day, three stage race in northern France. Earlier George Hincapie finished 16th in Milan-San Remo. George should do well in the upcoming Tour of Flanders on April 7, Ghent-Wevelgem on April 10, Paris-Roubaix on April 14, and Liege-Bastonge-Liege on April 21.