2011 (2)

Here’s an update on some of this year’s objectives.

1. Running

I resumed running in March. My intent was to run six days a week, but the weather and other circumstances dictated a few extra days off, so it was more like five days a week. Still, I logged about 110 miles over the course of the month. That works out to about 27 miles a week. To put things in perspective, a marathon is 26.2 miles. Later this year I intend to run in a few hours what I currently run in a few days.

Today I did an interval workout on the track with my friend and running mentor Pre. It was difficult, but fun to run fast. (Most of my daily runs have been at a pretty relaxed pace.) In post-run conversation, it was decided I will bump up my weekly mileage quite a bit in April.

The plan is to run this November marathon, not just survive it.

2. Brick Blueprint (LEGO instruction store)

All the technical pieces are in place for this endeavor. Now just I need to get my rear in gear if I want to make it happen!

In semi-related news, I placed my first Bricklink order today. It’s like eBay for LEGO. With prices for most elements in the couple-of-cents range, I see the temptation that leads some hobbyists from creativity to collection. Anyway, my order was actually inspired by a request I received to model a new part, similar to what I described in this section of my last update. Three bucks for a bunch of novelty parts.

3. Bikes

I pulled the trigger on parts for a new touring bike last week. I did consider some nice name-brand bikes (I looked at a 2009 Jamis Aurora Elite, a KHS TR-101, and a Cannondale T-2 locally, as well as many other models such as the Surly Long Haul Trucker online), but ultimately I decided to assemble something myself, mainly so that I can make the claim of “and I built it meself!” once I ride it somewhere. With a frugal mix of parts, I’m coming in under the cost of most commercial alternatives, too (but I will be paying higher in total once you factor in time and effort).

Of course, this was a bit of a gamble, especially since not every dimension is documented online as well as I might like (generally, though, the attention to detail among part vendors is high). Now that most of the parts have arrived, it turns out that I seem to have done my homework – everything fits good! Well, one thing doesn’t fit – the rear brake hangar – but that’s a $3 doodad. Also, the nice brake levers I got from Velo-Orange fit well, but I realize I would prefer to route the cables under the handlebar tape, for reasons to be documented in future updates, which requires a different lever housing design. I also forgot to order a headset (ironic, after learning all about them). So, back to the drawing board on a few fronts.

Some basic specs for any bike nerds in the audience: 56cm aluminum frame, green; hardy 36-spoke wheels; 2 x 9 speed drivetrain (ensuring those parts cooperate will have to wait until assembled); cantilever brakes; bar-end shifters; platform pedals. Progress photos will surely show up on Flickr once I start assembling things.

4. Career

Bit by bit, I’m studying and brushing up on some remote sensing topics with the intent to create a competitive portfolio of image analysis skills. Topics include DEM extraction, mosaicking, and land cover/vegetation classification. I have not yet collapsed the portfolio wave function to a single objective; conceptually, it still exists in a superposition of ecological interests (content focus) and commercial image acquisition/processing (technique focus).

I have a meeting this week to discuss Long Term Plans with the boss-man. My present position is potentially as good a launch pad as any for the first option, especially given the fledgling “urban ecology” focus in the biology department where I work. On the other hand, my interest in launch pads is not wholly metaphorical: I’m resigned to the fact that I probably won’t ever pilot my own starship – but imaging satellites are real!

Posted on Sunday, April 3rd, 2011. Tags: , .