I Love Radio Shows

Day’s Verse:
Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God.
1 Peter 1:18

When I listen to NPR, I sometimes hear spots for L.A. Theater Works productions. Usually they don’t sound particularly compelling, so it doesn’t generally bother me that they start at 10 pm. Yesterday evening, though, I just had to hear their production: War of the Worlds, with Leonard Nemoy and a bunch of other Star Trek cast. SUPER COOL.

The upshot is that I didn’t stay up, but thanks to the interwebz, it’s easy enough to listen later. It makes me happy that, in a world of Kinects, iPhones, YouTube, and flying cars, the art of the radio show has not died.

When I was a kid, I listened to The Shadow (episodes here!, thanks again to the interwebz) religiously. Before I went to bed, Dad would come into my bedroom, sit on the floor leaning against my bed, and we’d listen to an episode of The Shadow. This worked better than trying to have Dad read aloud, because listening to a tape, Dad could fall asleep (which he’d do even while reading aloud, which would partly account for the extremely long time it took us to get through Texas) and I could keep listening.

We also enjoyed Hank the Cowdog, which actually continued to be pretty hilarious as we got older, thanks to the many jokes for adults built in. Colleen and I also listened to The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings as we got a older.

All this to say that radio shows comprise a very real, meaningful portion of my growing-up years, and I’m delighted that this isn’t an entirely lost art.

Sewage Director Position No. 2

Day’s Verse:
I greet you with the grace and peace poured into our lives by God our Father and our Master, Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 1:2

John Bidet

Occupation: Business Consultant

Education: BS, Pennsylvania State University; experienced toilet user

Statement: As a business consultant, I understand the importance of doing your business. I have the experience, both in the home and in the public sector, to make decisions that represent your interests because I understand your everyday struggles.

In these uncertain economic times, bathroom users around the region face increasing unease before every flush. My focus will always be with the you, the 99% who are just straining to squeeze out a living. I will be your open door in government, listening closely to neighborhood residents.

My priorities are:

  • Using performance-based budgeting to streamline our sewers;
  • Having open, transparent, public interactions — under my watch, nothing will happen behind closed doors;
  • Eliminating wasteful spending;
  • Creating sufficient reserves to get us through difficult times; and
  • Leveraging technology to ensure smooth transitions.

I understand the diverse needs of all area residents, and I will work to bring together all of our resources for a smoother future. A vote for John Bidet is a vote for movement. I ask for your vote on election day.

Contact Information:
P.O. Box 123
Bothell, WA 98034
425-555-5555
bidet@pmail.com

What I Did: Quincy TTT and After

Day’s Verse:
It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for.
Ephesians 1:11

Oh boy, all this exciting stuff has happened since I posted last.

Actually it hasn’t. Sorry to disappoint you. But stuff in general has happened.

I drove to Quincy via Highway 2, through Leavenworth and Wenatchee. I kept almost driving off the road, gawking at the gorgeous fall color. It wasn’t New England-y in the least, because it was almost entirely bright yellows, and mostly deciduous interspersed among evergreens.

The sun glinted off the river, which flowed and rippled in some places and in other places moved slowly enough to reflect the golds, bronzes, reds, and oranges in still patches. Higher up, mountainsides bare of trees had transformed into a patchwork of the most vibrant green, red, orange, and yellow heather (?) you’ve ever seen. The view was just spectacular. Words really can’t do it justice, and I was on a schedule, so I sadly couldn’t stop for pictures.

Then I got to Quincy, little North Mexico. I stayed in the Crescent Motel, which was my second-worst motel experience ever (my first-worst experience being one involving bedbugs on our drive across the country with the U-Haul). It was dark — half the lights in the hallway were out — and depressing. The ceiling was low compared to the incredibly wide hallway, and every room had hospital-width doors, which made it feel oddly surreal. The decor was hideous. The carpets were stained in bizarre, disturbing ways. I could hear everything happening in the room next to me (happily, nothing like this): The TV show and phone conversation in the evening; the 6 o’clock radio alarm clock; the shower; those cement wall blocks don’t insulate very well. I had a fly in my room, found a hair (not my own) in the tub, and a centipede in the hallway. I hate centipedes almost as much as I hate earwigs. The continental breakfast was the nastiest I’ve ever seen — OJ settling out, congealing scrambled eggs and sausages, a few quartered old muffins and some old bread for toast. Most of all, there was the entryway:
Crescent Motel
Yes, those are three 3-foot-tall Elvis statues in front of home-made gold glitter letters, since you ask. The second night I spent there, it was a real effort not to slit my own wrists out of sheer desperation.

The next day, Friday, I learned from one of the PE teachers that before becoming the state’s nastiest motel, that building had been a mental hospital (“place where crazy people live,” is the way he put it). SO MUCH was explained.

Wednesday afternoon I paid $75 for the pleasure of staying there. I thought that covered Wednesday and Thursday nights — it was that quality of place. But the Thursday afternoon I got back and found my keycard had been disabled. I had to pay another $75 to spend a second night there. Now I kind of wish I’d just gone to the Best Western-style place down the road. Shudder. It was awful.

Happily, that was the worst part about Quincy. The teachers I worked with were engaged and willing to give this a try, even if they weren’t sure what they were getting into. We had five PE teachers, and it was so refreshing to have more than three participants. It’s amazing how even just a couple more makes all the difference in the world. I’ve taught this enough that I feel confident coming into a town, scouting it out, and teaching confidently without knowing all the details going into it. I’m much more comfortable winging it/playing it by ear now. I think the teachers can tell that I’m relaxed and competent and enjoy doing this.

Although we had a real concern about time this time — one of the teachers had to leave at 1:30 to coach a football game, two hours early — we got through everything in good time and didn’t have to sacrifice breaks or lunch. I was glad none of them wanted to be TS101 certified. That sped things up. One of them was also a bicyclist who owned a pretty nice bike, and that really helps too: One of their peers saying “When I ride my bike, I…” has a lot more credence than if I say the same thing.

Overall, I’d say it was a very good training. And now I know to never, ever stay at the Crescent Motel again.

I got home about 5:00 on Friday afternoon, having managed to miss almost all the traffic, which was excellent. Highway 2 was pretty, but not so spectacular in the rain. As usual, I came home exhausted. After the trainings, there’s all this follow-up work, and I always forget how draining teaching is. I work hard to be energetic, engaged, and enthusiastic, and that takes a lot of energy. Also, driving for 3.5 hours is amazingly tiring, maybe more so than riding my bike an equal time.

However, Dad and I did tentatively agree to do a bike ride Saturday morning, weather permitting. I woke up at 6:45 on Saturday and heard all the rain on the roof and knew that plan was out. But we quickly improvised and decided to hike up Mt. Si instead. Hiking is much nicer in the rain than biking. Along the way, we encountered a couple of our biking buddies coming down as we headed up. They, too, had evaluated the weather and opted for hiking.

On clear days, you can see all the way to Seattle from Mt. Si. Here’s what we saw at the top today.
Mt. Si Vista

Back at the bottom, I played with my underwater camera a little bit more (more here).
Underwater Leaf 3

That’s it.

See what I mean? Nothing exciting, but stuff did happen. Next week is looking low-key, and then the following week it’s off to Skagit Valley for another training. Oh, and tomorrow is the first Team Group Health event, their Annual Meeting (where we shell out all that $$ for team kit, racing licenses, and what-have-you). Excited and nervous about meeting my teammates.

Taking the Bike Racing Plunge

Day’s Verse:
Lady Wisdom goes out in the street and shouts.
At the town center she makes her speech.
In the middle of the traffic she takes her stand.

Proverbs 1:20-ish

One of the things about being an adult is that you listen to advice from people you respect, but you don’t always have to obey that advice. That’s why it’s advice.

I mention this because today, against the advice of many people whose opinions I value and respect, I joined Team Group Health, an all-women bike racing team.

This will be a big outlay of time, money, and energy for the next year, and I’m kind of nervous at the prospect, but I am also excited to try it out for the next season. That is all for now. I have lots of work to do to get ready for the BAW train-the-trainer I’m doing in Quincy later this week.

Beautiful Morning

Twin Falls Hike: Photo Impressions

Day’s Verse:
When down-and-outers get a break, cheer! And when the arrogant rich are brought down to size, cheer! Prosperity is as short-lived as a wildflower, so don’t ever count on it.
James 1:9-11

Dad and Carmel on the Twin Falls trail.
On the Trail 1

I meant to do this.
Forest Blur

Nothing like a hike for getting out in NATURE.
Gridwork

I liked this leaf.
Watery Leaf

Dad gets credit for snapping this partially-submerged shot of Carmel.
Underwater Dog Nose

Trying out the waterproof claim of my camera.
Underwater

Check my Flickr photostream for more pictures.

Welcome, Garmin Edge 800

Day’s Verse:
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
James 1:2-4

I have NaNoWriMo brain right now, but I’m shifting gears because I want to talk briefly about the replacement I bought for my sad, squashed Garmin Edge 605.

REI is having a 20% off sale right now, so I decided to go there and buy a Garmin Edge 800. Garmin has changed their Edge lineup significantly, and the 800 is the only one that still displays maps, a feature I really want (as per my 2008 blog post, Directionally Inhibited). As it turns out, the 20% off excluded “devices using GPS,” so I didn’t get my $90 off. As REI members we’ll still get $45 back at the end of the year, though, so that’s something. Plus I was able to obtain it in time for the Sunday’s ride. After a mere one day on the data wagon, I fell back off again, gladly.

I bought the Edge 800 on Saturday afternoon after we finished moving dirt. I used it on my short Sunday ride, and while out Monday and Tuesday for errands. I have not yet used the navigation features, but I can speak to using the device in general. Oh, and I didn’t buy the heart rate monitor, cadence monitor, power meter, or rocket pack, either.

My experience so far with the Edge 800 all by itself:

1. I love the touch screen. I always found the little toggle button on the 605 irritating to use, but got used to it because in 2008, when I bought it, touch screens weren’t exactly mainstream. Now if it’s not touchscreen, you wonder why not. Garmin did pretty well with the touchscreen features; my only complaint is the hard-to-use vertical scrolling. But being able to change the data display by pressing and holding more than makes up for any annoyances.
2. The elevation data is noticeably more reliable. By now I have a sense of how big hills are, and about how many feet I can expect to climb on a given ride. My 605 would report head-inflatingly large climbing values, I think because it relied entirely on GPS satellites for vertical data. The 800 (like all new Garmin bike computers, I think) uses a barometer for a more accurate elevation estimate.
3. The user interface is improved. Features are listed in logical places. Sometimes the sub-menus seem excessive, but mostly they’ve organized it into many menus with a few sub-menu options each. This may be annoying in the future, when I don’t want to go 4 menus deep to simply turn a thing on or off again. That said, on to number 4.
4. There are many shortcuts to the most frequently used features, so you don’t have to go 4 menus deep to change those features.
5. The device itself feels sturdy and well-built, although I’m skeptical about whether it can take the same kind of beating my 605 took before finally giving up the ghost. Being a touchscreen, I won’t be able to abuse the screen as thoroughly as I did with the 605.
6. It finds satellites just fine.
7. I like that I can put my own background picture on it. That is a neat feature. The background in the screen shots, below, is I took in Ashland this summer.

Here are some screen shots (yet another neat feature).
The home menu.

Main training screen.

Second training screen.

Settings menu.

Training screen sub-menu.

Training screen sub-sub menu. This would be annoying, except that the navigation goes quickly thanks to the touchscreen.

Summary: I’ll have to see how the navigation features work before I confirm that it’s worth $450 + sales tax. But so far it’s performed well and I anticipate that, once I get used to the screen configuration, I’ll find it as useful a tool as its predecessor. (I would set the screens up the same as my old one, but despite having looked at the old one thousands of times, I still can’t remember exactly what went where. I just know when I look at this new configuration that data isn’t displayed quite right.)

I Forgive Your Envy

Day’s Verse:
Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven.
James 1:16b-ish (out of context)

It’s about time I talk about bikes again. Remember Artemis, my Seven Alaris?

The top picture is what she looked like shortly after I bought her in October 2008; the bottom picture is in January 2008, her winter look.
Sunset Artemis

3Jan08 019

Compare that original style to what she looks like now.
Pink Tape

Your keen observational skills will notice that she went from pretty badass, especially in the winter, to just plain pretty. She started off ti with black and red; now she’s ti and pink. Today I swapped out my old black bar tape for the new, free, PINK bar tape I got on my trip to CBS with Dad on Friday. That’s right, the last holdout of black* on Artemis has succumbed to pink. I even used some fun swirly reflective tape on top of the black finishing tape.

Pink Tape Closeup 1

Pink Tape Closeup 2
(This is my first attempt at wrapping bar tape, so I have a lot to learn still, but it turned out tolerably well.)

And you know what? Since I started pinkifying Artemis, I’ve gotten more compliments than ever on her style. Guys, by and large, tell me how good she looks. Seriously! I can’t remember all the admiring conversations I’ve had about her pink coloring. Last spring, I had a (cute) guy in a convertible pull up and say, “Hey, nice pink fenders,” before driving on. I trust he was talking about my bike.

Anyway, I like that as a pink bike, she’s not just your standard black-and-red, which everybody has**. She’s unique, but no less tough for being pink. And it takes guts to ride a pink bike, as the Soft Like Kitten guys will confirm. Of course, I really just do it because pink on this bike makes me happy.

* I know, the bottle cages are still black and red. I want to replace them, but I can’t justify buying new ones when those are perfectly functional. Almost all the pink conversions, excluding the fenders, have been extremely cheap or free. I also would like to get a pink-and-black Lazer helmet (the Genesis or Helium), but again, my blue-and-white one (which was also free) is still perfectly good. Christmas gifts, anybody?
** For example: Here, here, here, and here, just to list a few.