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Saturday, May 28, 2005
Corn I don't remember ever planting corn before. It's a crop that takes some space, enough for severals row. Corn is pollinated by the wind blowing the pollen from other corn plants, so there needs to be a critical mass of plants for formation of ears. I have a small garden. This year I decided to plant fewer seeds of crops that I know grow well and aren't popular with the local wildlife, such as zucchini, summer squash, beans, and potatoes. I also planted a few tomatoes. After planting the above, I had an unused section that was just right for 5 rows of corn. I planted the seeds today and used a straw mulch. The straw should keep down the weeds and keep the soil moist. I'm looking forward to some sweet corn by the end of summer.
Friday, May 27, 2005
Fine arts festival Attended the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival last week at the Reston Town Center. The quality at the show is usually very high, as are most of the prices. I found an excellent etching, DriftLine by James Skvarch, an upstate New York artist. He captures the feeling of the rural landscape, and works in a style that I admire. He was drawn to etching so that he could do detailed drawings and be able to sell more than just the single original. Plus he is able to keep a copy for himself. It's time to get out my etching plate.
Thursday, May 26, 2005
The Innocent Reading another excellent Ian McEwan novel, The Innocent. It's a spy novel set in Berlin in the early 1950's. McEwan has a way of expressing the deepest emotions and feelings of his characters in a way that few novelists can match. It was published in 1990, and was his most popular novel to date. His latest books have received almost univeral praise and for good reason, he's an excellent story teller. He's the kind of novelist one loves to discover, someone who has an extensive back list of critically acclaimed work.
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
MSN likes Google Maps too Not only do the folks at Microsoft like Google Maps, they plan to release their own, improved version to be called Virtual Earth. Terra Server was developed by Microsoft with data from various sources, including the USGS, but it has a clumsy interface and many data limitations. With Virtual Earth it looks like MS is being true to form, waiting for a good application to be developed, then trying to improve it to overwhelm the competition. Google will be hard to beat.
Hacking Google Maps Developers are creating some interesting applications using Google Maps. One of the more interesting that I've come across lately is the series of crime maps of Chicago at the Chicago crime database. Click on Location, then something like Library or Sidewalk and view the locations of recent crimes committed at these places. The City Map functions allows selection of the crime type, location, and time period.
Friday, May 20, 2005
A wet Bike to Work Day It wasn't raining when I got up at 4:30. I turned on the Weather Channel and saw that Reston was in the middle of two large patches of clouds and rain. The forecast had predicted rain all day today. By the time we had set up the tables and were ready for the cyclists at the Reston Bike to Work Day event, it was misting. The rain continued to get heavier as the morning progressed. It was encouraging to see so many cyclists who rode despite the conditions. We probably had about 1/3 of the number who registered actually show up, but even that was an impressive number given the rain. We even had some kids who stopped by with their parents on their ride to school. All things considered, it was a great success.
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Final Bike to Work Day frenzy It's ironic that about the only day of the year that I won't bike to work is on Bike to Work Day. Since I'm responsible for bringing the t-shirts, water bottles, registration supplies, bread, literature, etc., I'll be driving. It looks like everything is lined up, now that the bread order is confirmed. We're having the excellent Great Harvest Bread, along with peanut butter and jelly, energy bars, and juice from Whole Foods Market. A-1 Cycling will be there to check bikes and they're providing some free tune-ups as raffle prizes. There are also some other great prizes: U-locks, a messenger bag, lights, chain cleaning kits, etc. Too bad it's probably going to rain most of the day. It was bound to happen after the good weather we've had the past three years.
Monday, May 16, 2005
Garden It took a couple of weeks, but the garden is finally tilled. It was done one shovelful at a time. The soil was turned, the weeds that had covered the surface were pulled out, the soil on the roots shaken off, and the weeds taken to the compost bin. So far only the tomatoes have been planted, three Better Bush plants. It's time to head over to plant the squash, bean, and pepper seeds.
Thursday, May 12, 2005
Bike Florida Finally finished the first draft of the Bike Florida 2005 write-up.
Thursday, May 05, 2005
Netflix Despite not having lots of free time, it's been a treat to check out some movies that I've wanted to watch but that aren't stocked at the local video stores. Just finished watching (for the second time) The Last Waltz, The Band's final concert at Wonderland in San Fransico. Hard to believe that it took place nearly 30 years ago, in 1976. It contains some excellent performances, including a fine recording of Dylan. Ben Fong-Torres and Art Harris wrote an article about the concert for Rolling Stone.
Before that it was Radiohead: Meeting People Is Easy, released shortly after OK Computer became a best seller. Not your typical tour video, there are only snippets of interviews and performances along with lots of atmospheric, urban scenes and soundscapes that at first was off-putting. It grew on me, like a good album, better the second time around.
These were some of the other recent rentals: Ray, The Battle of Algiers, White, Red, 8 Mile, The Bourne Identity, Joni Mitchell: Woman of Heart and Mind, Blue, Pink Floyd: The Dark Side of the Moon, Brother's Keeper.
Pluggin Bike to Work Day In the past couple of weeks I've been interviewed on two local tv shows to plug cycling in general, and Bike to Work Day in particular. Fortunately I don't get quite as freaked out about appearing on tv as I did at one time. Maybe it's the lack of caffeine in the diet. The programs are pretty obscure local cable shows, Business Focus with host Ann Rodrigues, and Reston Impact, with host John Lovaas. I would link to the Reston Channel 28 Web site but as far as I can tell, one does not exist. When people mention that they saw you on one of these kinds of shows, you know that they have way too much spare time.