A Bike Ride

I found the Easter Bunny today. Apparently, he's stuck like the Tin Man waiting for oil.

I've been hearing about the Deer Creek Tribute Trail and I thought I'd see if I could bike it. I rode down to Pioneer Park at the end of a little gravel path up to the overlook parking lot on Park Avenue.

Pi Songs and Copyright

Another Biking Day

I haven't biked up above Wet Hill on North Bloomfield for a while. Last time I did go up that way was the only time I've been chased by a dog in this county. Today, though, it was a quiet ride.

I came back down Coyote, which is both fun and painful to my hands. I really rode the brakes all the way down. In fact, I had to drift into the Forest Service parking lot or I'd have not stopped at 49, which is not so great a thing to contemplate. Might need to check the brakes.

There's still snow across the way. You can see it in this picture I took from near the top of Coyote.

view from sugar loaf

60°F and Not Quite 3 Miles

It's a beautiful day for a ride even if I didn't make 3 miles. It's hard to believe, after all that snow, that I rode 4 times in January. Well, maybe I'll be able to make it so February is the only month I miss completely.

And I'm going to be able to go up North Bloomfield Road twice in one day.

I mean, look at those temperatures.

More from Hawaii

I couldn't go to Hawaii and not make a pineapple, right?


pineapple and apples

ceremony sign

This is another in the continuing series of wee toaty explorers, a project to keep me busy while I'm on the road. A nice summary is here.

It's a Hard Life

Much as I resisted it, my job forced me to go on travel this week. So I left the snow and rain behind me, went down the hill, and got on an airplane. Of course, the wee toaty explorers went along, too.

An octopus

Two octopi

I think they worship at this Indian Banyan tree.

Indian banyan with octopi

tree in park

Greetings from Hawaii!

This is another in the continuing series of wee toaty explorers, a project to keep me busy while I'm on the road. A nice summary is here.

Alpharetta, Georgia

This week brings me to a suburb of Atlanta. Here's a little flock of ducks.


This apple doesn't look as angry as the others.


Even so, you just can't trust the apples.

long shot of bowling apple

These guys shoulda been in Baltimore instead of Atlanta. You can understand why, right?

high shot

This is another in the continuing series of wee toaty explorers, a project to keep me busy while I'm on the road. A nice summary is here.

Today's Earworm

I don't understand, but I must obey. This must be posted:

Glen Burnie, Maryland

Had trouble narrowing this down to just a few shots. More apples after the jump-cut.

angry apple one

Drawing Back the Anonymity Curtain For Just a Sec

So, the way it starts is: On a Wednesday, there's a call from a very nice woman named Emily. She's in Chicago. She wants to know where I live. I tell her it's a little place called Nevada City in the mountains of California. She asks what I do for a living. I tell her "agile software development coach." She wants to know what that means and I realize I don't have an elevator pitch for my own job. She wants to know what I do for fun. You might think she's kind of nosy, huh? I really don't mind, though.

It turns out I was a back-up contestant for that week's Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me.

Emily tells me that I'm to sit next to the phone that Thursday for a few hours in case they lose a contestant. I forget to ask how they might lose one, or if they ever have. They want me to use a landline. Good thing we kept it for the DSL. I fidget all day. I decide that the cordless phone is not going to sound too good, so I go over to Staples and get a cheap corded phone with my Staples Rewards points.

It's not neurotic if it didn't cost anything, right?

So I plug in the corded phone and wait. It's funny how the word just pops out at you if you're waiting for a show called "Wait, Wait..." I read through news reports and blogs to try to prepare. It's impossible to prepare. I read E! Online. After that, I give up on humanity. At any rate, I won't drag it out. Emily didn't call me that night.

The good thing, though, is that being a backup contestant is just the first step. So a week goes by and I find myself in Chicago when Emily calls again. She wants to put me on that Thursday. Sadly, I have a plane ticket for a ride home. That's OK, she says, there will be other weeks. I forget to ask if I can hang out with the crew since I'm in Chicago anyway.

So there's this week. Emily calls again and I'm on for certain. I pace. I fidget. The entire week is antsy. I try to figure out a short description of my job. I try to think of all the things Peter Sagal might ask me. What is there to do in Nevada City? There's kayaking and skiing. There's the film festival and the bike race. There's panning for gold. I am not going to talk about the weather. I am not.

I don't have to read entertainment news this week because she puts me in the Bluff the Listener game. Oh, that game is the worst one. I had been hoping for the Listener Limerick Challenge. I think that's the easiest one. She calls again on Thursday to make sure I'm ready. The show will start around 6 and somewhere in that half hour she'll get me on the line. She verifies my landline number. At 5, I go down to the stuffed chair next to the corded phone. I check the ringer. I make sure there's a dial tone. I have my laptop and try to surf the web to distract myself.

It's no use. I can't think straight. I'm going to be a complete spaz on the show. So I practice introducing myself. "Hi, Peter!" I tell the cat fifteen times. "I'm an agile software development coach. I help teams fail fast." "Lips, Teeth, Tip of the Tongue."

Emily calls. They've rearranged a bit, so I'll go on a little later. I can listen in on the phone while they do the Not My Job with the famous person. I hope they have me potted down because I laugh at some of the jokes and the cat starts shouting at the door. I think I might just explode. It's that kind of tension.

Finally, finally, Peter asks who is on the phone. I sure hope it's my turn. I babble. I want to make sure I get my speech in. The audience laughs over my "I help teams fail" line. Then we're into the panel telling stories about keeping a job. I listen carefully trying to figure out something to pin a guess on. I can't even think of a joke! I briefly consider "I like pie," but discard it because Peter is back and bugging me for an answer so quickly! Garg.

So, I give a guess based on who I want to win the game. And it's over. They disconnect me. Emily doesn't even say "goodbye."

That's a lot of angst for 3 minutes in the spotlight.

So, there you have it. Any of you readers who don't know me will get to hear my name on this weekend's edition. Then I'll go back to anonymity until my next story gets published.

Update Wednesday: I finally got to listen last night. They really edited it down. All gone: Peter making a joke about teams dancing and skipping around, my line about helping teams fail, my line about none of the stories rhyming, Roy's and my discussion of where whack-a-mole machines can be found... Still, lots of fun to do.

Snow Review

Well, we got us a big ole dump of the white stuff, didn't we? Do you remember this year's birthday tree? Here is how it looked on Sunday:

snowfall in Nevada City

I picked the wrong week to use Reno for flying instead of Sacramento. (In fact, since October, I've flown out of Reno twice and those are the only real snowstorms we've had.) When there's snow here, you can guarantee there's more up at Donner Pass. I came back from Chicago late on Thursday night. I took a hotel room in Reno, but on Friday morning the interstate was closed altogether (not just restricted to 4WD). So I didn't get home until Saturday.

I know Reno is a bad idea in the winter, but there was a $300 difference in price, not to mention better flight choices. Neither airport is always better than the other, but I'll stick to SMF for a few more months.

While in Reno, I stopped to see the creepy wax presidents at Scheel's.

creepy Scheel's wax president

When I got home, of course, there was no power. Power returned on Saturday afternoon and lasted to Sunday, but it went away again until about 8:30 pm. I'm glad for the woodstove, though I don't think it's great for the long-haul.

I guess other folks were more artistic during their break. Even in the rain today, this face is still sitting on Alexander Street:

snow face