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Hibernation

It's the last half-hour of 2017 and I'm pushing out a post to keep my blogging streak alive. I can't imagine this is interesting to anyone else, but that's never really been what this blog is for. I could write more, and maybe I should write more, but the only goal I've had for this blog for a while is to write at least once a year.

The last week of the year has become what I call my period of "hibernation." Between Christmas and the New Year, I stay home, do whatever I want on whatever schedule I want. This year, that meant a lot of nights staying up until 4 am and sleeping until 10 or 11. Other than trips to get food, I pretty much had no social interaction for the week. I don't know that I purposely take this time as a mental vacation, but that's sort of what it is.
I had several goals for this year's hibernation, but the one I've done best to stick to is physical: pedaling my stationary bike 40 miles each day. There is a Strava challe…
Recent posts

The 15-Year Blogoversary

15 years and 1,213 posts! My first experience with the World Wide Web came in 1995, and by 1997 I had my own web page. The first web authoring tool I remember using was Composer, an HTML editor built into the Netscape Communicator suite. That helped me learn some HTML, and later I used Microsoft Word 97 and then FrontPage 98 and later Macromedia Dreamweaver to design more elaborate pages. Some of my FrontPage-built sites are still on the web. As I learned more about HTML standards and validation I wrote more HTML by hand, but I still wanted a way to make publishing to the web easier.

By 2001 I understood that (a) sites should be updated regularly and (b) FTP'ing sites and pages from my desktop to a server was a bit of a pain. I had heard about some early blogging platforms and chose one, Blogger, to try out. As you can see, I'm still here.
My first post using Blogger came on December 8, 2001. A few months later I paid for Blogger Pro, which offered additional authoring tools, l…

Last.fm and Ten Years of Web 2.0

Ten years ago yesterday I scrobbled my first tracks to last.fm. What's scrobbling? On last.fm, scrobbling refers to automatic music track logging to the internet. For me, uploading a record of my music listening habits was my first real experience with "Web 2.0." Remember Web 2.0? It referred to websites of user-generated content that enabled virtual communities and interoperability. Now such sites are too ubiquitous on the web to warrant a special designation — they're just the web. But that wasn't true in 2006, and even though I'd been putting content on the internet since 1996, at the time it was enough to make me a little nervous. What did these strangers want with my data, and what was in it for me?

Ten years and 24,941 scrobbles later, I have my answer: I have a really cool record of all the music I've listened to the past 10 years! Well, not "all," technically: I've certainly listened to music in places and on devices that didn't …

Muhammad Ali, 1942-2016

Muhammad Ali died late last night. To say I saw this coming wouldn't tell the whole story. Several times, over the past few years, I found myself suddenly struck with the thought, "Ali will be gone soon." It was the kind of thought that hit me as I lie in bed, unable to sleep, but unable to focus my thoughts. I wasn't seeing the future, and I'm not particularly sentimental about the dead. But the fact that my subconscious would do this to me should give you an idea of what Muhammad Ali means to me.
Early Memories As a young boy, I had a few pieces of sports equipment: a bicycle, an old baseball glove passed down from my dad, and a pair of boxing gloves, which I used to hit a heavy bag fashioned from my dad's old Air Force duffle bag. My interest in boxing was initially driven by the Rocky movies, but I remember the first Ali fight I ever saw: an ESPN replay of the first Ali-Norton fight, from March 31, 1973. I'm going to guess I was 11 or 12 years old whe…

RAGBRAI 2015: Fort Dodge

I made it to Fort Dodge and the mobile networks seem to be coping with traffic so far, so I'll add more to this post. Last night in Storm Lake I awoke to rain at about 2 am. I knew it was raining because I had purposely left my rain fly half-on and it didn't take much to secure it to keep me dry. I woke up around 5:30 to the sound of other people breaking down their tents, and I (slowly) followed suit, eventually rolling out of town at 7:15. Bathrooms, bottle filling, bag loading, etc. can all take a while with so many people doing it at once.

I've quickly learned that while I might not be fast to get up, I'm decently fast on my bike. With about 3000 training miles in Colorado, I can keep a pretty fast pace without getting winded. I rode the first two hours today in the rain, which finally let up around the time I got to Manson.

Some people come to RAGBRAI for the ride, some come for the party. Most balance the two, but I'm one of those who's here for the ride…

RAGBRAI 2015: Storm Lake

What a beautiful day to ride a bike! The air was cool and (relatively) dry for July in Iowa and I couldn't help but push the pace today. Some riders surely got out before 6 am, but I didn't dip my rear tire in the Missouri River in Sioux City until 6:45. I left town slowly in a crowd, but as I passed people and skipped most of the many stops along the road, the number of riders around me shrunk considerably. I saw very few riders in the last 10 miles into Storm Lake, and I felt a little like a guest who showed up to an event well before it was scheduled to start. I couldn't find a place to fill with water, the food vendors hadn't finished setting up, and the volunteers at the bag pick-up were still getting the hang of things. Getting here early did have some advantages, though: I had my pick of tent sites, plenty of time to shower and rest, and for an hour or two, Verizon's network was still mostly functional. That last bit is certainly not the case now, so I'm…

RAGBRAI 2015: Sioux City

As a kid in Iowa whose childhood freedom was viewed over bicycle handlebars, I always wanted to ride RAGBRAI, the [Des Moines] Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa. It might have taken me a while to get here, but I'm writing this from my tent just feet away from the banks of the Missouri River in Sioux City. Tomorrow I pedal.

I bought a new bicycle in January of 2013. I don't remember why I thought I needed a new one, exactly. My 1990 Bianchi Osprey mountain bike was (and still is) serving me pretty well as a commuter bike back and forth from campus. But Boulder is a bike-crazy town, and a trip to one of Boulder's many bike shops (which outnumber coffee shops, to give you an idea of their number) turned into a shiny new Fuji cyclocross bike. I'd never ridden cyclocross, but I liked the bike's versatility and robustness over a regular road bike.

Since then, I've put many a mile on my new bike, much of it on the roads north of Boulder. It's a…