The Weekend on Lopez

As I posted about earlier, Diann & I spent a long weekend on Lopez Island in the San Juan Islands the weekend before last.  Other than the absurd waits at ferry lines, it was a great trip.  Sadly, my plans to use Qik to stream a lot of the trip were foiled by spotty (at best) cell coverage.  I was able to snag a quick video on the ferry ride, an a couple on the island.  They’re all available at the Qik link above, but here’s the one from the ferry trip:

Tour de Lopez Elevation Profile Lopez Island is one of the larger islands in the San Juans, and is probably best known for biking (it’s relatively flat and has mostly patient residents) and local farming.  We made use of both.  We recently picked up a bike carrier for the Prius, and we hauled the bikes up with us.  We did one major day of riding, but it was our longest ride yet: 32.4 miles by my reckoning, with a total climb of 2,340 feet (elevation graph to the left).  We started out at about 9:30am, and did a few little pit stops throughout the island, checking out some of the parks/preserves with some periodic walks through the forest and to the beaches and a pit-stop for lunch.  Overall, I think we probably spent a good 4 hours in the saddle of the bike.

We also went on a ~4.5 mile sunset say kayaking trip, and I’ve got a monster blister to show for it. I should’ve worn my biking gloves.  Somewhat graphic-ish photo to the right. :)  Kayaking Blister I’d never been kayaking before, and it was really nice and relaxing.  Less of a work-out than I anticipated, but I guess we were going slow considering it took us about 2 hours to make the 4.5 mile trip around the harbor. 

Other than that, it was mostly R&R.  Ate some good food in town, and I’m pretty sure we either drove or biked on every road on the island.  More pictures to come soon once I copy them off the cameras we toted along – I think I got some cool pics at the museum on the island.

Oh – farming.  On the way out of town, we stopped at Horse Drawn Farms.  They mentioned they’re open all the time because they have a farmstand, and I had no idea what to expect.  When we got there, there was a open building that had three deep freezers (one each for beef, pork, and lamb), and several refrigerated areas for produce.  There was a weigh-scale, and everything was priced by the pound.  It was up to you to calculate everything, add it all up, and deposit your money in the cashbox (and make change).  Call my cynical, but I’m still shocked and amazed that an honor system like this still exists and seems to work!  There was probably thousands of dollars of meats and produce, not to mention the well-stocked cashbox.  Neat stuff.

The last two meals we’ve made at home have featured foods we picked up here: flat iron steak and potatoes on Sunday, and Chile Rellenos last night.  I’ve gotta say: farm fresh meats taste so much better than the same stuff from a grocery store.

Blog post for a T-shirt? Sure. :)

I’m not above selling out periodically.  A few months back, I posted here for a chance to win some vanilla beans after winning some saffron.  Now, it’s time for a t-shirt.

Thanks to Bill, I’ve stumbled upon the Microspotting site.  And I definitely want one of the “I am the empire” t-shirts.  Oh, and Ariel, consider your blog subscribed to my RSS reader.  Great stuff!

Trying something a bit different

The car is packed (camping gear, bikes, telescopes), days off work are scheduled, and the route is planned.

Diann & I are taking a long weekend and heading out of town. Posting will be non-existent. 🙂

But wait!  I am going to try something out.  I signed up with Qik, a service that you can stream video to the Internet from your cell phone.  I think I’m going to periodically post updates from the road, ferries, bike, tent, and kayak while we’re out.

If you want to check it out, just check out my Qik profile page periodically over the next few days, or keep an eye on the Qik videos list over there on the right of my blog.

Is Qik’s open beta really an open beta?

Try as I might, I can’t see any difference in Qik’s recent change to an “open” beta.  I’ve submitted my cell phone number to them, received the SMS, opened the link, and then I get a page that says:

Request received!

Thank you for your interest in Qik. We will be in touch to let you know when you can get started – thanks!

Nothing after that, even though their blog post says “No more waiting for approval.”

Anyone have a Qik invite they can share with me in the meantime, since it seems like everything is status quo over there?

Biking Milestones, and why Guy Kawasaki is partly wrong

Yeah, this blog post is going to be non-sequitur. Bear with me, the first part is short, and I want to brag.

About a month and a half ago, we bought bikes.  I’ve been commuting by bike to work averaging about once a week – it definitely takes a while to get into the rhythm of things.  From the previous post, you can see that there’s a crazy huge (well, I’m call it crazy huge) at the 3.4 mile marker.  The first few time we it the hill, we took two mini-rest breaks.  The second time, and subsequent times, I’ve taken one mini-rest break (walking the bike a short distance, along with a few other people that poop out around the same point).  I’ve been getting farther and farther up the hill before the rest break, though, until yesterday… when I made it the whole way sans stopping.  Yay!  Here’s the problem: now that I know it can be done, I no longer have excuses to stop.

Ok, that was longer than anticipated, and many people that ride bikes will say “wow, he’s pathetically out of shape” – they’d be right, but I guess I’m working on fixing that, and that counts for something.

So, back to Guy Kawasaki.  A month or two ago I read Presentation Zen, an excellent book that I recommend people read.  I liked his section on prototyping presentations using paper, pen, tape, and a wall, and I’ve done that when putting together the last few presentations I’ve done.  Where’d Guy go wrong?  Well, he says that slideware (e.g., PowerPoint and Keynote) isn’t usable as a presentation design program.  I think I’ve just come to realize why.

I was putting together a quick & dirty presentation for my homeowner’s association the other day, and I did it directly in PowerPoint.  It worked fine to mock things up, but I found myself doing exactly what you shouldn’t be doing when drafting a presentation: I’d throw text on a slide, and immediately start putting graphics in, figuring out the right formatting, etc.  That doesn’t go in a mock-up, and that’s where Guy is right.  But, if you can ignore the formatting/etc. in your slideware app, I think it’s a perfectly fine spot to put together presentations.

Weekend in Port Angeles

Diann & I spent the weekend on the peninsula, mostly in the Port Angeles area.  We attempted to hit up the Hurricane Ridge Star Party put on by the Olympic Astronomical Society, but were foiled by clouds.  (funny aside here: I showed up, along with Nick who is also a member of the Seattle Astronomical Society, yet no one from OAS showed up)

While in Port Angeles, Diann & I watched the 4th of July fireworks and parade in the city, and we wandered around the downtown area quite a bit.  I figured these two photos were worth sharing:

Tattoo Parlor Wall Mural    Taekwondo Door

See if you can spot the humorous bit on the door to the Martial Arts training center.