Saturday, February 24, 2018

was gonna be 45 miles

We were at about 25 miles at 10:50 am when the rain started in earnest. That's when we decided not to head for the stop (planned for about mile 31) and to go straight back to the start, and the cars, instead. Tom peeled off a bit before Mercer Park East picnic area, where we were parked, to head for home. I knew Laura had ridden in from home, and I asked if she was going to want a ride, but she figured that if the rain was only as bad as it was by the time I asked, she'd go on her own (and I heard Ricky G ask something similar; Chris C was off the front heading back to his truck).

By the time we got to Edinburgh Road, Laura decided she' risk the weather and peeled off to head for home; Ricky and I caught up with Chris and went back to the cars. The dry, soon-to-be-warm cars.

We got into this mess because Tom had sent out an email which I saw Friday morning; he'd been watching the weather, and early reports indicated that we could get a ride in before the rain started; he had a 45-mile route in mind. I resolved to clear things with The Excellent Wife (TEW) and attend.

For once, I was NOT incredibly early, but only because I tried a new route and got lost. Imagine!

When I got there, Chris C and Ricky G were already waiting with Tom.

(a couple of extras, just because I like the way they came out.)

Laura came riding in from home.

And off we went. The only thing I knew about the route was that Tom had planned on a roll down Rues Rd. We chatted about winter, recovery from illness, and being fat and out of shape (like, it wouldn't kill me to lose the eight-or-so pounds I seem to have discovered since Thanksgiving).

Laura stopped for pictures, so I got a few, too.

We stopped at Walnford for a few pics. I remember working a rest stop on a rainy Event there, years ago. (I hear the Event is cancelled for this year. I'm not sorry.)

We got to the sharp turn at Polhemustown, and Tom decided the weather looked like it would hold off, so we started the scenic route to Allentown... until the rain started. But you already know that part.

So now I'm in dry clothes, and the laundry is going. when I see you, you can ask about how I knocked over the file cabinet and killed it.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

gettin' back ride

Regular readers (those who don't only visit when I post a link on the Princeton Freewheeler Facebook page) may remember that I was sick for over a month over the winter, and went out with the excellent Ricky G a couple weeks ago on a 30-mile ride that I felt like I barely finished.

I've been dreading a B ride with my usual compatriots, so when Tom H emailed that he was thinking of Tru's slower-paced, shorter (at 35 miles or so) C+ ride, I figured it was just the ticket. Now, two things:
  • Tom had also emailed around separately to the usual crew asking if anybody was going (and several did), but since I didn't check email for almost a full day (unusual for me), I didn't know, and
  • Tom also had concerns (not ill-founded) that if I didn't get out of the house for a bit, two things might happen: first, my head would be so far up my posterior for so long that my ears would start to take root in my large intestine, and second, that The Excellent Wife (TEW) would stick the stiletto cleanly between my third and fourth ribs, resulting in a term of incarceration for her and as-yet-undetermined injuries to yours truly.
So Tom's outreach really was a work of mercy.

I got to the start early. Now THERE's a surprise. 

And slowly, people came in: some I'd never met:

...and some old friends:

Above, Tom H, Winter Larry, and Laura OLPH. Below, Dave H.

Prem came out, and had his first flat in, like, ever. 

We tried to change it out, but the fit between his tire and wheel was so tight that we killed the replacement tube; he limped off home to fix it under better circumstances.

A dozen of us, however, went off to Princeton Junction on this ride. And while I'm still not at the level of fitness I had hoped, I'm glad to say that it's comin' back.

I think that some of the riders on this ride will be glad to hear that (not that I'm the one coming back, but that it happens at all). At least one of the riders was complaining about loss of speed and stamina over the winter. It happens to most of us even if we get to ride comparatively frequently over the winter; when illness, weather, and other commitments conspire to keep us off the bike (as they did for me) the results can be disheartening. Keep pedaling; we'll be back to speed in a couple more outings.

I had time to speak to Laura (about the end of the Ride for McBride, and how rumors if its demise may be ill-founded, among other things), and Tom (about work, and home projects), and hung out some with Ricky G as we herded up the stragglers (Hrmph! Two weeks ago, I would have been one of them!). We got a little rain: just enough to make us uncomfortable (and give us Rule 9 bragging rights). But I got 36 miles in that I didn't expect to, and reconnected with some people whom I haven't seen in too long, and, to the best of my knowledge, TEW isn't keeping the stiletto up her sleeve for now. Life is better.

(And this post was written on that revivified computer with the real keyboard. Gott sei dank.)

Saturday, February 3, 2018

bad computer juju

It's been a season of bad computer juju.

It reaches back at least as far as a couple of weeks before Christmas, when The Excellent Wife (TEW)'s Prius wouldn't start, then wouldn't show icons on the dash, then wouldn't shut down. She wound up buying a plug-in Prius, with, if not ALL the bells and whistles, then at least enough to start a good-sized carnival.

Then, Optimum raised our rates for internet and phone by 40% and would not listen to reason; they only offered a lower price after we'd already set up the other service. No thanks; we'll go back when Verizon screws us again (as I'm sure they will; don't get me started on Verizon).

This morning, her eight-plus-year-old laptop stopped responding to any trackpad or mouse inputs (I suspect some dodginess in the USB interface). The replacement is on order.

In between, the motherboard for my desktop gave up the ghost. There had been a weirdness for years; I'd gotten messages that some of the USB ports weren't responding, but I could get around that by using other ports. But then the hard drive controller gave up, too. I kept it limping along long enough to do a final backup, and went shopping for parts.

I built this computer from parts in 2009; I'd done a few upgrades in the meantime, but I know it was old. I built it, though, on the understanding that I'd be able to swap out parts and keep it going. So I did.

Now, there have been some changes since I built my last computer. Time was when you could tell if a motherboard had graphics built in by looking at the ports: if there were video ports, no separate video was necessary (this blog is about the most demanding thing I do on the computer). In the intervening time, however, AMD has built some video processing into their main chips. So I needed to get a board/chip combination that did the video, and I didn't know that until I'd bought some parts. I got the board, the memory, and a wrong chip from Newegg, and then was lucky to find a proper chip for $20 on Ebay (didn't need the heat sink; I had that).

The last of the parts came today. I'd downloaded a fresh copy of Linux Mint to install after the build, and I was ready to go.

Case empty, ready for install.

...and a table full of parts to go in.

The hole where the motherboard panel shows in the back of the case.

...and the panel installed.

Motherboard in. The one it replaced was twice that size, and the case could hold the old full-size one.

That silvery rectangle at center is the chip that makes all the difference. Not much to look at, is it?

The chip, though, gets covered by a heat sink and fan. It looks all industrial-punky, but its whole purpose is to take excess heat from the chip. Under the fan are heat-dispersion fans, and copper tubing. The utility of the copper tubing is beyond me, but it looks cool; it's a shame it's gonna get closed up in that case.

Memory: the two blue strips to the right of the fan. Memory now comes all suited-up-and-bowtied, but I liked it better when it was just modules on circuit board.

I keep three hard drives and a DVD drive in there. The computer likes to boot from drive 1, so I only hooked up that drive and attached the peripherals to see if it would turn on.

Not only did it turn on, but the copy of Linux Mint that was already on the hard drive booted up; I didn't need to do a new install. I've gone and re-attached the other drives, and closed up everything, and found the couple of weirdnesses that always go with a new computer (and I'm sure there will be more). But I wrote this blog post on that computer. It's going fine.

(AND it's got a real keyboard. Having to type everything on that benighted membrane on the laptop has been a painful penance.)

So Reg's car is going great, and this computer is working again. Here's hoping Reg's new laptop is a success (and here's hoping my laptop lives long enough that I can save some money before I have to replace it).