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Monday, November 28, 2005
 Legal options for cyclists 
Velonews has an excellent article on cyclists rights and legal options that cyclists can use to fight motorist bullies.

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Thursday, November 24, 2005
 Animated drawing 
By way of ongoing, discovered a site that contains an animation of a drawing of a woman, from the skeletal structure to the body to the final draped form. Fascinating.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Yesterday I was trying to update the shop Web site on Mac OS X. I don't normally use OS X for anything other than to start Quickbooks. I tried using Word and TextEdit and didn't feel like struggling to figure out how to edit and save and html file (I later discovered that TextEdit should work fine editing html given a few tricks). I searched around for a copy of emacs to download, but couldn't quickly find an easy way to do it. I ended up using AppleWorks which worked OK, although the linefeeds were all screwed up.

Today I was reading Tim Bray's ongoing and discovered Aquamacs, an OS X emacs implementation that sounds like just what I need. Installation looks pretty easy as well: download the installation file and drag it to the /Applications folder. We'll see.

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 Not a good week for Bush and the republicans 
Today the Post op-ed page contains three columns that sum why this has been such a bad week for the republicans:

No Way Out for Bush and Co. By Eugene Robinson
The mess that George Bush and Co. have created in Iraq doesn't have an unmessy solution. Murtha's plan -- just get out -- isn't really attractive, but at least it's a plan. The saying goes that when you're in a hole, the first thing to do is to stop digging. But the president, like the optimistic kid in the old joke, just keeps burrowing deeper into the pile of manure, even though by now we can be pretty sure that there's no pony down there.

Bring Democracy to Congress By E. J. Dionne Jr.
The current leadership in Congress simply refuses to revisit any of the tax cuts it has passed since President Bush took office. On the contrary, the leaders plan to push through $70 billion in tax cuts after Thanksgiving, including dividend and capital gains reductions that go overwhelmingly to the wealthiest Americans.

Iraq and the 'L' Word By Richard Cohen
But you would think that Bush himself would wonder about how he's gotten to this place where he looks like such a fool: wrong on the biggest issue of his presidency. He went out there and told the American people things that were not true. Does that mean he lied? Maybe not. Maybe he was just repeating the lies of others.

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 Van Gogh drawings exhibit 
Still haven't been able to make it up to the exhibition of Van Gogh drawings at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. The show will only be there until Dec. 31, 2005. Have contemplated taking one of the discount buses that leave from DC, but just haven't found the time; maybe in December. In the meantime I'll have to settle for the book of drawings that was given to me, or the online images from the show at the Vincent Van Gogh Gallery.

It's been enlightening to see the many pen and ink and graphite landscapes. I've been familiar with his paintings and pencil and charcoal drawings, but not the landscapes. Most were executed on 15"x20" paper. Many were done using simple reed pens. The strokes are bold and they contrast with the many textures produced using the pen point.

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Monday, November 21, 2005
 Cycle North Carolina notes 
Nearly finished with the Cycle North Carolina trip report. The beta version is now available.

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 Human-powered circimnavigation of the earth 
It can be done, as documented on the Expedition 360 Web site. Also, see this article on the Apple site.
Stevie Smith and Jason Lewis of Expedition 360 have already completed 25,000 of a 40,000 mile journey relying entirely on human power — pedal boat, bicycle, roller blade and kayak.

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Sunday, November 20, 2005
 Cross County Trail 
It was a bright, cool Fall day, ideal for a short ride on the recumbents. We headed south on the W&OD Trail toward Vienna to check out the soon to be completed Cross County Trail. At the Vienna Community Center we rode through the parking lot and turned right on Cherry St. to head toward the Fairfax Connector Trail that starts at the Vienna Metro Station. Cyclists have been trying to get the Town of Vienna to put signs on the back roads that lead to the Metro station from the W&OD Trail for several years. Each time it is proposed, homeowners along the route come out in force to testify against it. They don't want no stinkin‘ spandex-clad cyclists streaming by their property. Here's the route:

Vienna Community Center
R - Cherry St.
L - Center St.
R - Battle St.
L - Plum St.
R - Meadow St.
R - Tapawingo St.
X - Cross Nutley St. at the light
Nottoway Park - Hop the curb at the end of Tapawingo St. and follow the dirt trail that leads into Nottoway Park, then follow the paved trail to Vaden Dr.
Vaden Dr. to Vienna Metro.

From there we took the Fairfax Connector Trail south to connect to the CCT. Here's a map of the route, and a map of the rest of our bike ride on the Cross County Trail. You'll have to zoom out a couple of levels to the overall route view.

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Thursday, November 17, 2005
 Over the Hills: A Midlife Escape Across America by Bicycle 
Having ridden across the U.S. by bike, I enjoy reading about the experiences of others who have done the same. Over the Hills: A Midlife Escape Across America by Bicycle by David Lamb is one of the better accounts. Lamb is a resident of Northern Virginia, a reporter for the Los Angeles Times. After turning 50 he decided he wanted to ride cross country. Lamb was an out of shape smoker who rode around the neighborhood a few times before starting off. I didn't have high expectations for the book at first, but was rewarded for continuing to read to the end. He discusses the history of the bicycle and many statistics about bicycle use that make the account worthwhile.

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 The End of Suburbia and Control Room 
One of the benefits of being a Netflix member is the ability to find and view the many excellent documentaries that get only rare mass-market exposure. The End of Suburbia presents a view of American development patterns since World War II. The suburban developments in which many of us live are almost entirely based on the single-passenger automobile, natural gas and oil to heat the large homes, and fossil fuel-burning trucks to deliver goods from thousands of miles away. The end of this oil-based culture is in sight, mainly due to the fact that world oil production will soon peak, as predicted by Marion King Hubbert in 1956 (Hubbert's Peak). The movie describes how and why suburbia developed, why it won't work in the future, and a few ideas about where to go from here. There are no short term fixes.

Control Room, about the reporting of the current war against Iraq by the Al Jazeera satellite tv network, is basically supporting documentation for The End of Suburbia. Would we be in Iraq if we were not so dependent on foreign oil? The documentary depicts U.S. concerns about what the government considers to be biased reporting by the network. There are many clips of Rumsfeld talking about all the lies depicted by Al Jazeera, at one point stating that truth will eventually win out. I guess he was right; the lies told by the Bush administration are finally being exposed for what they were. Al Jazeera does present a one-sided look at the war, showing many of the images that U.S. reporters were not allowed to see or did not choose to report. Very enlightening.

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Friday, November 11, 2005
 Recycled bike parts 
Resource Revival makes interesting items from recycled bicycle parts. They should make great holiday gifts.

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Thursday, November 10, 2005
 Another successful pedestrian safety campaign 
Fairfax police conducted another successful pedestrian safety campaign recently, nabbing 6 of those law-breaking pedestrians. According to the police, "No violations for failing to yield the right of way to pedestrians were observed at any of the intersections." I suppose all the motorists stopped, looked left and right, then carefully proceeded through the intersection when the police were present.

They should follow me around for a day. Yesterday at least 3 motorists almost hit me. Of course I expected them to obey the law when I stepped into the crosswalk.

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 75 mile day 
Spent most of yesterday on the bike. The day started with a 20+ mile ride to the Bike to Work Day meeting at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments offices downtown next to Union Station. It's one of the few places that has covered, secure parking in the underground garage. Because of the forecast I hauled rain gear that I never used.

After the meeting I rode over to the National Museum of the American Indian for lunch (spinach, black bean and rice burrito with guacamole), then to the National Gallery to see the latest exhibits. There's an excellent show of engravings, The Prints of Félix Buhot: Impressions of City and Sea, which is adjacent to a show on development of printing techniques, Origins of European Printmaking: Fifteenth-Century Woodcuts and Their Public. I usually feel pretty secure leaving the bike parked in front of the museums. There are usually lots of people wandering about along with an occasional security guard. Nevertheless, I use two locks, a cable with lock and a Kryptonite U-lock.

Then it was time to head home to shower, eat and get ready for the next event, the Non-Motorized Transportation Committee meeting at the Government Center, about 15 miles away. I wasn't hungry but knew that I needed to take in some calories as I had already burned quite a few.

It was a mild evening and I was able to ride in shorts and t-shirt on both legs of the trip. A cold front was blowing in on the ride home and somehow I seemed to catch a tailwind no matter which direction I was riding. I sailed home.

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Tuesday, November 08, 2005
 Number 8 clipper 
I took the plunge today; I told Nahida, my longtime hair stylist, to get out the clippers and start mowing. She suggested I start with the number 8 attachment, which would leave some hair. I watched her closely, hoping to emulate her one day.

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 My Morning Jacket 
Stopped by the library to read the latest Rolling Stone Magazine and read about the group My Morning Jacket. Never heard of them and they sounded intriguing, especially their latest CD, Z. Z's copy protected, so that's one strike against it. The samples on Amazon sounded OK, but not great, so I checked out their most recent un-copy protected release, Dawn, which sounds great. May be my next CD purchase, even new if I can't find it used at CD Cellar.

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Monday, November 07, 2005
 Slow deflation of the bubble 
According to this New York Times article, people are getting fed up with high real estate prices and are fleeing to the Midwest and other locations where prices are more reasonable. It won't be long before this loss of population is felt in the real estate market and prices begin to moderate.

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Sunday, November 06, 2005
 Bicycle books 
I never knew there were so many books on bicycling. Pete and Ed Books carries a very complete line of books.

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Thursday, November 03, 2005
 Fall night ride 
Last night was a beautiful night for a ride. We strapped on our NiteRiders and rode to a meeting an hour away. The route is mostly on trails and we've got lots of lights and reflective gear. I think we're more visible to motorists at night than in the day, when we seemed to be ignored much of the time.

Wildlife was out, and the sky was as clear as I've seen it in a long time. At one point we saw a blazing shooting star streak overhead. It was a fun, close to home adventure. We just need to get better lights. The NiteRiders conked out after about an hour of burn time; they are rated for 2.5 hours, and we've only had them for a couple of years. Acording to the NiteRider tech sheet on our Trail Rat, we've been undercharing the batteries. I was sure the spec said not to charge for more than 5 hours, but the one on the web says 9 hours. Since we're only getting an hour now anyway, it can't hurt to try the 9 hour charge. We'll see.

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