2011 (1)

Here is a progress report on some of my 2011 objectives, roughly a month in to the year. (But don’t expect this to become a regular thing. What do you think this is – some kind of blog?)

1. Running

Like a million other people, I went for a run on New Year’s Day.

Unlike most of them, I’ve continued running, in hardy defiance of the Dark and the Cold and the Wet. I ran in two January Freeze 10ks – my first races at the 10k length. As reported elsewhere, I even sustained minor flesh wounds in the second race. I’ll spare you photos, but it was rad.

Three weeks in, I got a cold. I took about a week off from running to let my damage repair crews immune system restore full respiratory function. Went back out for a jog today to shake the kinks out. Felt good to rev the jets up above idle again! A week off really sets you back, though.

Fitting a run into the daily schedule can be hard, especially in winter. For me, the hardest part is not coping with the cold or negotiating snowy paths (hell, that’s the fun part; see e.g. here) but just crossing the threshold from indoors to out. I find that focusing on getting outdoors by just putting on some running clothes before I’m entirely out of workday/errand mode helps make that happen. A little attitude helps, too. (“Yeah, it’s 16˚F out and I’m running. You’re not. I win.”)

What’s in store for this month? There’s a 5k coming up in a week or two I’d like to do. Otherwise, just get in the habit of running and work on a modest base to launch from once spring hits. My friend and running mentor Pre promises me it’s gonna be brutal.

2. Brick Blueprint

I enjoy fiddling with LEGO and LDraw software. Most of the models I build these days are built with pieces from specific sets. I started a Flickr group called LEGO Remix for these sort of creations, and it seems to have caught on. I’ve thought about combining these interests with a little modest capitalism for a few years. Now I’m going to give it a shot.

Brick Blueprint is the working name for an online store where you will be able to buy affordable high quality instructions for new models you can build with the LEGO sets you already have.

There are already some great sources out there for awesome custom models, such as Brickmania. Two things set Brick Blueprint apart, and will, I think, make it appealing to a broad market:

There’s not much to report on the web site side of things, but a few pawns are in place. (Incidentally, the Brothers Brick posted an interview with four part resellers today – some of them full-time.)

If I’m going to design many models using parts from popular sets, I don’t want to be hung up by the absence of certain new or unusual parts in the LDraw part library. I’ll need to be able to draft them myself. Towards that end, I’ve modeled a newly-introduced canopy.

92579 progress

I used SketchUp to generate most of the shape, and a Ruby script based on Jim Foltz’ su2ldraw to export the SketchUp model to LDraw format. I intend to post my version of the script once I get a chance to clean it up a bit and add some more error handling.

More images documenting my part-authoring experiments are posted here. My canopy part is now in the library tracker and progressing towards certification. (That’s a lot of big talk for a digital model of a model toy, I know, but hey – geek cred where credit is due.)

3. Bicycles

Is announcing your intent to build something fun really much of a new year’s resolution? I guess this questions applies to objectives 2 and 3.

The goal of this project is to build a new bike for my stable. I already have a couple bikes, but I look forward to the process of picking out individual components and assembling a machine tailored for my needs and interests.

Earlier this week I was actually thinking about building two bikes – one city bike for errands and commuting, and one touring bike for trips and more recreational rides. Then I realized that duh, I already have a solid city bike. (Insert lesson about candy-shop greed here.)

A few repairs and additions (lighting and new brakes, for sure, and maybe a rebuilt/replaced rear hub) will bring the Schwinn up to the desired level of performance and reliability that lead me to think about a new city bike – for far less than the cost of a new bike. (When I say “city bike” I have the upright posture and relaxed handlebars of a cruiser in mind. It’s about comfort and everyday practicality.)

So, the new bike will fill the go-fast/go-far niche. It will be heavy by racing bike standards, but light and zippy compared to my cruiser or mountain-bike-hybrid-street-stomper. Its load-bearing capacity will rival the hybrid’s, with less of the Frankenstein’s monster look. Chances are good it will begin with a Nashbar touring frame, but I’ll have to have a look at some of the area bike shops that sell parts and used machines before committing to any components.

4. Occupation

SIGINT sources report low to no chatter on this channel.

Posted on Sunday, January 30th, 2011. Tags: , , .