epersonae's blog

South Sound Tour of Lights - a map!

So we actually got the paper over the weekend, and I saw the article about light displays around town...and was annoyed that there wasn't a map. Well, local web guy Luke Bowerman has put together a Google map:

View South Sound Tour of Lights in a larger map

Odd thing is, his place really ought to be on that map: he does crazy things with lights over the holiday. (IIRC, it's on 9th near Boundary...totally worth a drive past if you dig light displays.)

Why I bicycle

I was a little startled at some of the comments in Berd's post about an encounter with OPD while cycling. It wasn't particularly harsh, but Norm's comment has stuck with me: "You seem to have all kinds of issues with bike riding and people abusing you or not being aware of you, but you still seem to ride. You must really enjoy your bike."

That made me think about why I bike. I haven't had that much hassling, either from motorists or from "the man," with the exception of an issue with getting one of my bikes on the bus a couple of years back. But there's definitely challenges to cycling, especially this time of year when it gets darker, colder and wetter. Still I ride, and I like riding...why?

It's crazy cheap. Yes, you can spend a bundle on a new bike and gear to go with it, but I've seen car repairs that cost more than a nice little ride-around-town bicycle. And when it costs $50 to fill up the big dumb truck :) then I'd like to make that last as long as possible!

It's convenient. No, really. For commuting, I'm comparing to the bus, which is what I take when the weather is too much for me; in comparison to that, I can leave when I want and make whatever detours I need. Plus with my big cargo bike, I can carry way more stuff. For jaunting about town, I rarely wear specialized bike gear, except for helmet and gloves, so it's just hop on the bike and go. Again, the big cargo bike helps, both with carrying stuff and with being able to wear my normal clothes...the rear wheel is far back enough that I can wear most skirts w/out worrying about it getting snarled.

Roundabouts Rock!

Article in Slate this week: "American drivers should learn to love the roundabout" - compares the "modern" roundabout to older styles, traffic circles, etc., then uses a cute acronym to explain why they rawk. (STEP: Safety, Time, Energy, Public Space)

Also: "a larger question here is whether people who cannot manage to merge at low speed into a counter-clockwise circle and, yes, perhaps even change lanes in that circle, before finding the correct exit should actually be holding licenses that enable them to operate heavy machinery in the first place." Daaaamn...nice diss.

Yesterday's Olympian had an article about the roundabouts coming to Boulevard Road*, starting with the Log Cabin Rd intersection. (Info also at the city's site, including some nifty drawings.)

I gotta say I'm excited. I love the smooth swoopiness of the roundabout. I know bikes are supposed to exit to the sidewalk on most roundabouts, but sometimes it's just fun to roll through with traffic.

* Boulevard Road still strikes me as one of the funnier street names out there, right up with Farwest Drive Southwest in Lakewood, where I used to live. Is it possible to cram more street descriptors into a single street?!

A couple of civic-minded links

First, tomorrow is the deadline to register to vote for the next election. You can check whether you are registered on the Secretary of State's website "My Vote" -- plus find out all your federal, state and local reps with contact info!

Secondly, here's a nifty site with lots of information about federal government spending: USAspending.gov -- I find the IT Dashboard particularly fascinating.

Got any great government links to share?

Chehalis Western Trail update

A quick update on my previous post...

For the tl;dr* crowd: I heard that the state DOT was taking over maintenance of the CW Trail. There's a meeting at Thurston Co Parks HQ on Sat.

There are green fliers along the southern leg of the trail saying that Thurston Co Public Works is taking over trail maintenance from the Parks Dept. No more information than that, unfortunately. (Oh, and the Thurston County website is so very awful.)

My previous engagement for Saturday has been canceled (long story), so I may be going to the meeting mentioned in my previous post. Or I might bike in the Earth Day ride. Or do yardwork. :)

*too long; didn't read

Chehalis Western Trail advocacy group?

This morning on my commute I was stopped by a nice woman with a couple of dogs -- I see her fairly often in the mornings (through the winter, her dogs had little headlights!) -- and she invited me to a meeting to organize a trail advocacy group for the Chehalis Western Trail.

Apparently, budget cuts at the county are basically closing the entire parks department (News Tribune, Nisqually Valley News), and the management of the trail in particular is being handed over to the DOT. (That 2nd bit I don't have any direct info about.)

So folks are getting together to keep the trail useful by pedestrians and cyclists.

They're meeting Saturday April 18 at 11am at the Thurston County Parks Office, and will be talking to Kerry Hibdon, the Thurston County Capital Projects Manager. Unfortunately, I can't be there, so I thought I'd pass this along to the OlyBlog community

If anybody has any questions, I'd be happy to pass them along to the dog-walker who gave me the flier the next time I see her. (I don't have any other contact information!)

Keep Calm & Carry On

Not exactly Oly-specific, but I just found an article about this WWII British poster that I think could be a great personal motto.

And it's striking graphic design, too!

poster: Keep Calm and Carry On

From another article:

Back in the spring of 1939, it was an anonymous civil servant who was entrusted with finding the slogan for a propaganda poster intended to comfort and inspire the populace should, heaven forbid, the massed armies of Nazi Germany ever cross the Channel.


Drupal MiniCamp?

Anybody interested in going to the Seattle Drupal MiniCamp on Saturday? (Drupal is the software that runs OlyBlog, among other things.)

so, what now?

Our street is getting to the consistency of a slushee with ice chunks in it. chad360 & I have spent some time out there shoveling -- no sidewalk, but we've worked on the edge of the roadway, and he did some cleaning on the roundabout at the corner.

But it's turning into water pretty fast, and the drains aren't draining very well...I can't imagine we're alone in this, either. Anybody know what happens now? (Other than, well duh, flooding.)

Oh, I can't wait until it's gone and I can get back on my bike! I tried riding around our neighborhood this afternoon. Some spots had "tracks" in between berms of snow, others were clear, and some were slushy messes that I had to get off and walk through. Bleh.

A starting point of thoughts on online community

Because if I don't start, it won't happen.... Here's a huge batch of articles on online community:

These come from some folks who have run or are running fairly large online communities, some of which have been going for quite a long time.

The point being that I think OlyBlog as a community could stand to do some learning from these sources. (I almost jumped into the anonymity question but never did get my thoughts together.) After almost 10 years of web communities, there actually is some best practice available. :)

More to come, hopefully. I am notoriously lousy about following up on these sorts of vague big ideas, so no promises.

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