"Lies will flow from my lips, but there may perhaps be some truth mixed up with them; it is for you to seek out this truth and to decide whether any part of it is worth keeping." --Virginia Woolf A Room of One's Own

my politics are local

Regular readers might recall that I joined the city's Bicycle Advisory Board sometime last spring, after attending a few meetings and doing some volunteer work for the board. Since then I won't say that I've thrown myself headlong into local politics, but I do find myself involved to a much greater degree than I expected. I had hoped that working with the BAB would give me a way to contribute to the city with an emphasis on my love for bicycling.

snow cycling

soma doublecross snow machineThis is my Soma Double Cross after a ride in the snow. The bike is technically a cyclecross bike, which is a road bike ridden like a mountain bike for lack of a better way to describe it. I've been using this as my commuter and hope to make it a solid ranndoneuring bike as time goes one, but for now, it's getting me back and forth to campus while also being my bike to ride in lousy weather. There was only about an inch of new snow on the ground today and most of the major roads were fairly clear with dirty, yucky slushy snow. Although you can't  tell, the front has two lights, one a steady beam  that I can use to either see or be seen and another that can either flash or be a steady light, but it's only good for helping me to be seen. It throws very little light onto the road, but I rarely ride when it's that dark. The rear light can alternate between steady, flashing or funky strobe, which means it flashes one light at a time, up and down and up and down and up and down.  The flash is all four lights together. studded bike snow tire

I've been told that the steady light is better at dusk because drivers can better tell how far ahead I am, but that the flash is better when it's dark, dark, dark.  I've also been told that a German study shows the flashing light attracts drunks, so it may not be the best to use in the holiday season. The second picture is a close-up of my rear tire. Snow is covering some of the studs.  The studs are nice on ice, but don't much matter on the wet concrete, except to slow me down even more than the  low pressure and deep tread already slows me down. In order to get the studded tires to fit, I had to take off my rear fender and rack. The present rear fender, such as it is, is actually a fender designed to mount to a front bicycle shock. It keeps most of the mud and water off my back and butt, but not all of it.

Cycling in the snow is a bit of a challenge. Part of it is the roads can be slick, but these tires help with most of that. When the snow is soft, the front tire tends to want to pull in all directions, much like a car tire in slush and deep snow. On compact snow, in a straight line, I can move along pretty well, as can I in no more than a few inches of soft snow. Riding over snow with lots of foot prints is more of a challenge. The tires grip the compacted snow, but the ride is rough and bumpy going from soft to hard and back again over and over. Cycling in the snow is fun. I wish I could do more of it.

wish I spoke, or at least understood, Spanish

This video just came to my attention, thanks to Charlie over at cyberdash. Why is it that Spanish language pop music from Uruguay strikes me as being so much more interesting than most American crap-pop? The band is El Cuarteto de Nos. Google translates this as "The Quartet We."

know your rights; thoughts on copyright and fair use

The below is an article draft for Pacific View. It's, I'm, not able to take into account many of the complexities of the argument, because I don't have the space, and I also don't have the time to do much more than I have done here. Still, the fundamental argument that many publishers assert greater copyrights than they have is not a new one, and not at all uncommon. These assertions scare of legitimate use for teaching. That these assertions infringe upon constitutional rights is widely dismissed when it comes to crafting policy, more because people and institutions want to cover their butts and avoid legal troubles. Publishing interests are more likely to fight, and generally have deeper pockets than colleges and universities for this sort of thing. Generally, academe has been cowed by threats from the commercial sector. Here's what I wrote:

Know Your Rights

If you happened to be looking for an article for your students to discuss in class, you might find yourself at some place such as the Seattle Times website, seattletimes.nwsource.com. Finding the right article, you’re likely to hit “print view,” but when you do, this is what you see: “Permission to reprint or copy this article or photo, other than personal use, must be obtained from The Seattle Times. Call . . . or e-mail . . . with your request.”

If you’re like most people, the message may give you pause, and rightly so, but for all the wrong reasons.

nanowrimo day thirty entry two and done!

Woo-hooo! I made it. I wrote over 50,000 crappy words of a crappy novel draft in 30 days, something easier said than done. Okay, words by themselves aren't crappy. But in the way they are now arranged, I think it's safe to say this is a crappy novel. But I got my winners link and logo, over there on the left of the screen. See? Whoopie! Below is the final installment. The counter in Word (sorry about that OpenOffice folks) tells me I have 50.272 words. The official counter puts me about 50 words over the line. I think it's because I used '--' to introduce dialogue, and Word counted those as words and the word counter for NaNoWriMo didn't. Either way, I did it, simply by slogging on, one word at a time until I had fifty thousand of them. Now, If I can just bring myself to keep working on it, to go back to the beginning and incorporate the ideas I had as they emerged. This was one, long free write. Now, if I'm a writer, I have to go back and revise, and make something worthwhile of the mess this thing is. But for now, I'm done.

nanowrimo day thirty

I'm up to 47,150 but I have to leave the house for a meeting downtown. I hope to churn out more words, to make 50k by the end of the day, but I have the meeting for a couple of hours, with a 30 minute walk each way, and then I have to pick the kids, Tobias and his two car pool mates, from school at 3, which won't give me time to write until I get home with them. But with just under 3000 words to go, I think I can get it done. It won't be good, that much I'm sure of, and that much I'm okay with. But I'll have gotten it done. Here's what I wrote in the last two hours:

nanowrimo day twenty-nine entry two

Okay, I got back from my celebrity gig being interviewed about bicycling on local cable 5, the city's channel where they also draw rave reviews broadcasting city council sessions. At least Rachel and Tobias watched and had kind things to say. I don't feel I did that well, and I stumbled some on a couple of questions when my mind went blank, but that's the way it goes with live! television. This was my second time, at least, doing a show of this sort. Couple that with two sessions on Comcast Local Edition and I've got a lot of airtime under my belt. Oh yeah, and the J.P. Patches show as a kid, with my sister's Brownies group I think it was. Five times on television, in Seattle, Spokane and Las Vegas. A star is born, not. Anyway, here's a couple thousand more words of the not so great American novel. I broke the 44,000 word barrier, leaving me only 6,000 words to get done tomorrow. It's do-able, but it won't be easy.

nanowrimo day twenty-nine

Fortyonethousandtwohundredsixtyfour. That leaves nearly 9,000 words to go, by midnight tomorrow. I have a meeting. I get to be on the telly, cable channel 5 in Spokane to talk about the state of bicycling in the city and making it a better place to bicycle. I have to leave in about 15 minutes to do that. Upon my return home, I hope to churn out a few thousand more words, leaving me with a manageable task for tomorrow. If only I hadn't blown off writing on those several days I did so this month, the 50k would be so in reach. Still, I'll slog on. If I make it, I make it.

nanowrimo day twenty-seven

Today was my first commute day in the snow, on the bike. I saw three other commuters on the road, two this morning and one this evening. It was a bit dicey at first, but I bought studded snow tires yesterday. I had to take off my rear fender and rack and go "commando" with the rear wheel, getting a little splattered by snow and mud. The only close calls were on the way home where people had shoveled their drives into the street, creating mounds of snow and slush. There was also a point heading down the last hill to the house, on an arterial, where something similar happened and I had a quick scare, but no cars were near. Too many car this morning, however, were bombing down the hill, even though it had been de-iced. I should say, because it had been de-iced. They figured it was just another day on the road, never mind the snow that fell last night.

As for the novel, I've hit several walls. I'm running out of steam, and time, both by the day and for the month. And ideas, ideas in particular. I thought I'd be able to milk several thousand words out of today's bit, but I got only a thousand, or a little more. I'm at 37,587 words. More than 12000 to go and just a few days to do it. 4000-plus a day is a long, long shot. We'll see what happens. It could pan out, but, well, but, but, but . . .

nanowrimo day twenty-five

Not writing for several days over the Thanksgiving holiday has put me into a hole. After today, I need to churn out about 2800 words a day for the next five days, which is not quite how many words I churned out today. I had some ideas to develop, but none of them went so far as I would have liked. Such is how it goes with writing. I still, though, have some major points to develop. I think I'm close to writing them up. Maybe I'll jump straight to it tomorrow, though making the time is going to be difficult.

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