So this afternoon as I'm heading off to class, I notice that a wayward bird has managed to find himself stuck in the front porch. No doubt he snuck in under the porch door the previous night looking for some place safe and warm to nap.
Now seeing as the front porch isn't a terribly good place for a bird to live, what with all the glass windows and complete lack of anything edible, I decided to help the bird back out into the wild blue. I opened the porch door, and set about chasing the little bugger out.
It didn't go quite as planned though, and the bird ended up parking himself on top of a wood pile in a corner of the porch. I used a stick to chase him out of there, at which point he hopped over to just behind the wood fridge (long story).
Seeing as his tail was sticking out, I came up with the bright idea that I would grab his tail, pluck him out, and toss him out the door. Well, as it turned out, his tail feathers were the only part I managed to pluck out. Oops.
Undeterred, I used the aforementioned stick to prod and poke the bird, eventually dragging him out from behind the wood fridge, at which point I just picked him up and tossed him out the door, and watched him safely fly away.
Pop Quiz: What has 6 legs, can fly, and is sexually attracted to my windshield? If you answered "every single bug in the state of Montana" you'd be wrong. The correct answer is "every single bug in the states of Montana and Idaho".
I couldn't even make it 30 kilometers with a clean windshield.
Pretty much the same as last year. Nevada was very hazy though, I wonder what was up with that. I also saw a nice flashy thunderstorm in the distance when I turned north from Nevada to Idaho. That was kind of neat.
I had a Monte Cristo for lunch in Roseville. I think I have possibly found the most fattening sandwich ever invented.
So last weekend while I was out on my epic ride I had a bit of excitement. I was coming down Montevina, just taking my time not in any hurry; I was riding the rear brake to keep my speed down on the straights, then using my front to slow for the corners.
Unfortunately, as I was braking for a hairpin corner I didn't let up on the rear brake enough and I locked it up, causing the rear to start skidding sideways. I quickly recovered by letting off both brakes and then grabbing just the front, which caused the rear to gain traction again and snap back into line with a fair bit of force. I was able to make the corner without running off the road or in any way injuring myself, so all's well that ends well.
When I got to the bottom of the hill, though, I noticed that the hard jolt to the rear wheel had managed to put a bit of a bend in the rim. It wasn't bad enough that I couldn't continue on my ride, so I carried on for the rest of the uneventful journey.
Once I got back to my apartment I trued up the wheel, gave everything else a once-over, and figured everything should be just fine.
Fast forward to this morning, and I decide it's a lovely day to go out cycling. I bring my bike in from the patio and decide that I'll give the rear wheel another quick truing to make sure it hasn't pulled itself back out of shape during the week. It turns out it had grown a bit of a wobble, so I went about adjusting the spoke tensions to correct it.
Unfortunately, after 7 years of hard riding, it turned out to be just a bit too much, and I broke one of the spoke nipples. Bummer.
So, now I have to get my wheel rebuilt (which I kind of suspected I'd need when I first bent it). I tried one bike shop over by San Antonio but they wouldn't be able to do it before the end of the month, which is just crazy. I phoned a different bike shop and they said they'd be able to do it in a few days, which hopefully translates into "before next weekend", and I also emailed a co-worker who does a lot of bicycle work to see if he might want to do it for me.
But no matter which option I take, it looks like I won't be able to get out cycling this weekend.
Also to be known as "the eventful day". I've arrived safe and sound in Sunnyvale.
The day started off boring enough. Some rain fell (no different from previous days, and yes, it rained in Minot too), and some miles passed. I made the mistake of not stopping at Elko for lunch and instead had to make do in Battle Mountain (a stupid little one-horse town). Mental note for next year: don't do that.
The first real excitement came when I arrived in California proper, at Truckee in particular. I have no idea what was going on, but the signs said something about a 10 mile traffic jam. I took a look at the map and said "fuck that with a grass rake" and slipped off at the next exit and took the highway down through Lake Tahoe instead (well, it didn't go through the lake itself, more around it). It made for quite a splendid mountain drive.
The next excitement came as I discovered that, as the 90 billionth customer on I680, I'd won a free prize consisting of a nail, specially delivered in my right rear tire. Luckily it's just in the tread and only a slow leak, so no harm done. I didn't even find it until I had stopped at the hotel in Sunnyvale.
The third and final bit of excitement was, right on cue as I started to unwind in the hotel room, the realization that I'd left my american ATM card at home. It's no big deal as I'll just go get a replacement tomorrow, but all the same...
Glendive to Twin Falls. Took a bit longer for lunch than I planned, as I got lost trying to find the IHOP in Billings. Mmm, pancakes.
Staying in the Super 8 here, and I'm not sure I like it much more than the Motel 6. They don't seem to have free internet here either, though I can get a decent signal from the car dealership across the road (thanks, Middlekauff Honda of Twin Falls, ID!).
Actually, double-checking their website (Super-8's, not Middlekauff Honda's), they say they have free high-speed internet so maybe I just need to call the front desk to get the wireless password or something. Meh, mooching the neighbour's wifi works just as well.
I'm finally at the DS7002 stage with my visa application, so that means that in the next day or two I should get my DS2019 soon and be on the road. Woot!
I'll be staying in Apartment 55 at the Thomas Jefferson Apts this year. It's a one bedroom cottage, and should be quite a bit nicer than having to live with people (even nice people). I just hope it doesn't spoil me too much, since I still have a few winters with Father to endure.
Well, it seems that my visa won't be processed in time to keep to my original schedule of leaving on the 24th, as it takes 10 days to process and I just confirmed today that it hasn't yet been submitted.
I cancelled the application for the apartment I was going to rent (no expense incurred), and will now wait for word that the papers have been submitted before attempting to rent another. It's a good thing I don't need to buy plane tickets to fly down.
So I got some good news today in the form of a little package delivered by Purolator, containing a shiny new 16 Gig Purple iPod Nano, and a set of Shure SE115 headphones.
Not only will I now be able to take my entire music collection on the go with me, I'll be much better equipped to listen to and watch podcasts. On top of that, the sound isolation from the headphones will mean I can listen at a much lower volume when I'm on the bus or walking next to traffic.
I think I might try using my shuffle with the regular iPod headphones while I'm cycling, as they block absolutely no noise, and I won't be worried about getting it all covered in sweat
Got my Advanced Calculus test out of the way yesterday afternoon, and I'm quite happy to say that I did quite well with it. I did muck up one or two questions a bit, but in the end I think I should be good for 90% or so.
Now I just need to get through Rings and Fields, Non-Parametric Stats, Applied Algebra and Number Theory.
My headphones started coming unglued today. They're just the free ones that came with my iPod shuffle, and they began suffering the common ailment wherein the little rubberized rim around the ear buds starts to randomly peel off.
It's not a big loss, but all the same I do need headphones. I guess it's a good thing I put those Shure SE-115 headphones on my birthday wishlist so some kind soul could buy them for me in but a few weeks time.
They're holding together for the moment, but won't be lasting much longer.
So it looks like apple came out with a new Mac Mini today. It's even better than I expected: not only does it support the 2560x1600 resolution required to run a 30" display, it can do so while also driving a second display at 1920x1200! Sweet!
It's so going on my christmas list. So many things to buy...
Today marks a very special day for my stock portfolio. I made a bunch of stock shuffles back in August, just before the market really went pear-shaped, and today marks the first day since the bottom that one of my stocks has gone back into the black.
As I type this, my Palm stock is at $8.53, which is just over the buy price of $8.44. Meanwhile the rest of my portfolio is still down 20-60%, which should mean very, very good things for my Palm shares once things start to really bounce back.
So the one thing keeping me using Windows on my laptop when I'm off in the wonderous world of California was having to use iTunes to keep the music on my iPod fresh. But now, no longer, as I have been able to successfully sync my iPod with iTunes running under VirtualBox!
It turns out that it was actually working fine all along, but due to a bug in VirtualBox the VM would grind to nearly a halt, so it would look like it was frozen up. Running VirtualBox on my much faster desktop system resulted in perfect execution.
I guess I'll just have to upgrade my lappy to a shiny new Lenovo X200.