Sam the Shih Tzu

The ride home on Tuesday the 20th was interesting.

About a mile into the ride, I passed a house and a little Shih Tzu came charging out at me. It was more comic than anything, of course, so I laughed and kept riding. I came to a stop at the highway a half-mile down the road, and what should go charging past me but the same Shih Tzu! Holy cats!

I’m not sure how it avoided being hit, but it did, and I was able to get traffic stopped so that I could retrieve it and carry it back to its owners. I learned that its name is Sam, so I’ll be able to call it by name in the future.

I rode to work yesterday too, but not today. My legs are tired and need a break, so I’m giving it to them. I’m on pace for a 50 mile week, which I consider good.

Actually, I dug back through my copious biking stats and discovered that when I was riding so much in 1998, I was averaging about 50 miles a week, too. So, I’m off to a good start for the year. I wish that I was actually losing weight, too, but I’m not. Maybe I really do need to be tracking calories in order to lose weight, regardless of whether I’m exercising. I’ve never been able to lose weight without calorie tracking. I just eat too much if I don’t.

I’ve also begun remodeling the Custom Box Service web site. There aren’t any actual changes posted yet, but I’ve begun to generate content, which is actually the most time-consuming portion of the task.

I’d like to construct a couple of PHP scripts to facilitate quotation requests and the like, but I lack the required PHP skills. I can modify scripts, but not create them from scratch. I may have the company buy me a book so that I can teach myself to do this, but it’s a low priority. Right now I need to get the web site up and operational.

I continue to be frustrated by my Computer Resources partners, but in a sort of turnabout, I think I’m beginning to frustrate them, too.

Biking Statistics

It wasn’t wet this morning, but sure was cold. It froze last night and the chill was still very much in the air as I left the house at 6:15.

The ride to Custom Box Service is nice in the summer when the morning temperatures are right around 60 degrees, but in the winter and spring the ride can be a chore. Low temperatures are a problem, but more common is a constant rain.

I don’t generally liking in either set of conditions, but I have some new clothes that are helping. Last fall I purchased a jacket and a pair of pants that actually keep me quite warm while keeping the rain out. Because of the new clothes, I’m able to ride on days that I normally wouldn’t.

So far this month, I’ve covered 79.0 miles on my bike. This isn’t a lot to a serious biker, but to a fat middle-aged man like myself it’s quite an accomplishment. As I gradually lose weight during the spring and summer, I hope to be able to get in 300 or 400 miles per month. If I’m able to get 200 miles during March I’ll be overjoyed. The 79.0 miles so far already give my my second highest number of miles ever for March.

As with everything I do, I tend to overanalyze my biking statistics.

I keep a detailed record of the number of miles that I ride, the amount of time that it took to ride them, the temperature during the ride, and my top speed during the ride. I keep a weekly and monthly summary of these statistics, and often find myself falling into the trap of riding to achieve some statistical goal (must average 17 miles per hour today!) instead of just riding for fun.

I don’t want to stop keeping the statistics. I know myself, and if I stop keeping the stats, I’ll stop riding. The statistics keep me going. Instead, I need to find a way to de-emphasize them so that they don’t become my focus. I want the riding, and the joy of it, to be the focus.

I love being out on the bike. (Okay, the dogs suck, as do certain motorists. And the poor quality roads in this section of Clackamas County. But mostly it’s good.)

First Post

We’ll call this the first official post to my weblog. I’m using blogger to automate the process of updating this log; without it, content would become stale after this first post. There’s no guarantee that I’ll upate with any regularity, but I’ll do my best. Many people see weblogs and webjournals as narcissistic drivel. I view them as a cathartic and creative outlet for the creators, a way to keep in touch with friends and to make new ones. I don’t pretend that I’ll ever acquire regular readers, but I have an urge to write. This weblog will provide an outlet for that urge.

This afternoon was an odd mixture of tumult and silence.

Work at Custom Box Service was slow: the phones just stopped ringing, as did the fax. Jeff sent the crew home at noon, which is a nice break for them, I think. They’ve been working hard lately, and had many hour of overtime last pay period. I hope the business picks up again soon. (I’ve talked with several other people whose businesses are slow now, so I’m not too concerned that this is Custom Box specific — it’s likely an industry-wide slowness.)

Meanwhile, the Computer Resources team experienced friction. We’ve decided to throw in the towel on the computer that we’ve been trying to build. We can’t get the components to work together no matter what we try. It’s the most frustrating computer-building experience that I’ve ever had. The parts need to be returned soon, but nobody is willing to do it. Though I value Jeremy and Andrew as friends, having them as business partners is often frustrating.

Kris and I just finished watching Waiting For Guffman. It came highly recommended, and with a good pedigree (from the same people who brought us This is Spinal Tap and last year’s Best In Show.

All three movies require a certain sense of humor; they are droll and self-mocking and because they are played straight they could easily be mistaken for insipid dramas. Of the three, I like Guffman the least. It has some amusing moments but lacked any of the laugh-out-loud humor that was present in the other two movies (from Spinal Tap: the diminutive Stonehenge, the amp that goes to eleven — from Best In Show: “We have so much in common. We both like soup.”, Parker Posey’s frantic search for the stuffed bee).

I’ll spend the rest of the evening cleaning the house and installing software on this rebuilt computer (I’ve added a new motherboard and processor). I’ve been busy lately, and the house is a pig sty. There’s crap everywhere. I accumulate too much stuff, a habit that I’ll likely never cure despite the fact that I recognize it as foolish. I’d love to find somebody that could use all this crap and just donate it to them. I have scores of computer books, magazines, notebooks, and more. Many of these items are scattered over the office floor in semi-organized piles. Others are stacked in the storage shed with no organization whatsoever. For a guy who is so anal-retentive about order in certain facets of his life, I sure have cluttered surroundings.